Rich in history and diverse in culture, Vietnam is incredibly scenic from its equatorial lowlands, temperate plateaus and alpine peaks, drawing multitudes of tourists to plan holidays to Vietnam.
Vietnam stretches more than 1,600 kilometres along the eastern coast of the Indochine Peninsular in Southeast Asia, surrounded by China in the north, Laos to the northwest and the South China Sea to the east.
A quick skim over the map of Vietnam shows that Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam. However, the capital, Hanoi is where most of the political and cultural action takes olace. Haiphong is the Northern region’s main industrial centre and a major seaport, while Da Nang in the Vietnam’s Central region is promoted as the gateway to Indochina. Other major centres include Dalat and Kontum in the Vietnam’s Central Highlands, which are well known for their gorgeous views and cool climate.
Formerly dependent on wet rice cultivation and Bauxite mining, Vietnam’s manufacturing, information technology and high-tech industries now form a rapidly growing part of the national economy.
Vietnam People & Culture
People in Vietnam
Over 90.5 million people live in Vietnam, a population almost exclusively made of indigenous Viet (Kinh) people, with the remaining 10 percent made of 53 other ethnic groups such as the Cham, Chinese, Hmong, Tay, Nung, Muong, Khmer, Ede, and Hoa with a sprinkling of expats in urban areas.
Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are the most densely-populated but most of the population reside in rural areas.
Things to Do In Vietnam
Shopping in Vietnam
Vietnam is a shopper’s paradise with its variety of quality goods at tempting prices, which are open to further bargaining at shops, stalls and shopping arcades everywhere. Take home a wide variety of handicrafts, including lacquerware, mother-of-pearl inlay, ceramics, bamboo products, jewellery, silk goods, intricately carved statues and paintings. Bespoke tailoring in quality silk and textiles is popular too, with many requests for the national dress ao dai.
Nearly 500 traditional Vietnamese dishes are recognised, ranging from exotic meats such as bat and cobra, to a variety of fish, vegetables, spices and sauces. Central Vietnamese food is spicy, while the Northern Vietnamese cuisine is milder; the Southern Vietnamese favour a peppery flavour to their dishes, with Vietnam being the world’s largest producer of the spice. Be sure to try the ubiquitous pho in Vietnam, a rice noodle dish served in a rich broth made of sliced pork, beef or chicken.
Essential Travel Tips for Vietnam
Going to Vietnam
Flights to Vietnam are served by most major airlines and land at the international airports at Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City is the nation’s largest airport, which handles 75% of international passenger traffic. Vietnam Airlines is the state-owned airline.