Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia with borders to China, Laos, Cambodia and the South China Sea. The country encompasses the vast plains of the river delta of the Red River and Mekong, the entire eastern mainland coast of Southeast Asia and mountain ranges and plateaus in the hinterland.
The entire coast is littered with partly undeveloped beaches. The two main cities are the capital Hanoi and the port city Phô Hô Chì (formerly Saigon). Hanoi maintains its image of being calm, elegant, while Phô Hô Chi is one of the fastest growing boom cities in the world.
The Vietnam War is probably one of the keywords that Europeans immediately associate with the country of Vietnam. Communism and great poverty are also images that you have in your head. As a result, only a few tourists come to Vietnam. Which is a shame, because the country and the people here have many facets to show. In the meantime, however, the attitude of the tourists is changing and you are also traveling to Vietnam on vacation.
Until a few years ago, Vietnam was almost exclusively visited by tourists or adventurers interested in culture. Vietnam has been experiencing a visitor boom for almost ten years. In addition to study travelers and backpackers, more and more package and bathing vacationers are also taking Vietnam trips. Meanwhile, cruise ships are also heading to some ports in Vietnam, anchoring off the coast and offering day trips to Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Dà Nâng or Hué.
The beach vacationers come mainly from Asian countries or neighboring regions of Vietnam, but the number of European tourists is also increasing steadily. Some fishing villages are slowly becoming tourist destinations. Hotel facilities are being built in Vietnam and the entire tourist infrastructure in the country is being expanded.
Area: 331,210 km² (land: 310,070 km², water: 21,140 km²)
Population: 90.5 million inhabitants (July 2011, CIA). Population groups: Kinh (Viet) 86.2%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.7%, Muong 1.5%, Khome 1.4%, Hoa 1.1%, Now 1.1%, Hmong 1%, Others 4.1% (1999 census).
Population density: 273 people per km²
Population growth: 1.077% per year (2011, CIA)
Capital: Hanoi (1.45 million inhabitants, 2006)
Highest point: Fan Si Pan, 3,144 m
Lowest point: South China Sea, 0 m
Form of government: Vietnam has been a socialist republic since 1980, the constitution dates from 1992. The unicameral parliament consists of the National Assembly (Quoc Hoi) with 500 members who are directly elected every five years. Vietnam has been independent of France since September 2, 1945.
Administrative division: 59 provinces (tinh): An Giang, Bac Giang, Bac Kan, Bac Lieu, Bac Ninh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Ca Mau, Cao Bang, Dac Lak, Dac Nong, Dien Bien, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Gia Lai, Ha Giang, Ha Nam, Ha Tay, Ha Tinh, Hai Duong, Hau Giang, Hoa Binh, Hung Yen, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Kon Tum, Lai Chau, Lam Dong, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Long An, Nam Dinh, Nghe An, Ninh Binh, Ninh Thuan, Phu Tho, Phu Yen, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Quang Ninh, Quang Tri, Soc Trang, Son La, Tay Ninh, Thai Binh, Thai Nguyen, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien-Hue, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Long, Vinh Phuc and Yen Bai
5 municipalities (than pho): Can Tho, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh
Head of government: Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, since June 27, 2006
Head of state: President Truong Tan Sang, since July 25, 2011
Language: The official language in Vietnam is Vietnamese; English is increasingly spoken and is becoming the second national language. The commercial and educational language is French, and Chinese, Khmer and various mountain languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian) are also spoken.
Religion: Predominantly Buddhism, other religions are Catholic Christianity, Hoa Hoa, Cao Dai, Protestant Christianity and Islam.
Local time: CET + 6 h. In Vietnam there is no changeover between summer and winter time.
The time difference to Central Europe is + 6 h in winter and +5 h in summer.
International dialing code: +84
Mains voltage: 220 V, 50 Hz
The Southeast Asian state of Vietnam is almost as large as Germany and is bordered by the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi in the north and by Laos and Cambodia in the west. To the east is the South China Sea, to the southwest is the Gulf of Thailand.
The north of Vietnam is located on the mainland of Southeast Asia, while the relatively narrow central and southern part is on the Indochinese peninsula.
Here you can find an exact map of the topography of Vietnam.
In Vietnam you can find the extensive plains of the river deltas of the Red River and the Mekong, as well as the entire east coast of Southeast Asia as well as inland plateaus and mountain ranges. The largest north-south extension is approximately 1,650 km, in the northern part the east-west latitude reaches 500 km, in the middle part at the narrowest point, however, only 50 km. The total length of the coast is more than 3,400 km, the total length of the land borders also exceeds 3,000 km.
Vietnam is often described as a “bamboo pole with two rice bowls”: the river deltas in the northern and southern parts make intensive agriculture possible, while the middle part, dominated by mountains and forest, is rather barren. Around three quarters of Vietnam’s surface is characterized by mountains and plateaus.
Five landscapes can be distinguished in the country:
The northern mountainous landscape of the Yunnan highlands, located in the border area with China. The highest mountain in Vietnam rises here with the 3,144 m high Phan-xi-păng. Numerous ethnic minorities live in this region, among tourists is the city of Sa Pa near Phan-xi-păng. The fertile Delta of the Red River stretches from the region of the Vietnamese capital Hanaoi to the Gulf of Tonkin. Special sights are the limestone cliffs of Ninh Bình (in the south of Hanoi) and Halong Bay in the east of Hanoi.
The Annamite Mountains in Central and South Vietnam, on the other hand, is sparsely populated, mainly ethnic minorities. The narrow, densely populated Annamite coastline lies between the Annamite Mountains and the South China Sea. In the south of the country is the fertile and densely populated alluvial plain of the Mekong Delta. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is located in the northeast of the delta.
Population in Vietnam
This map of the population distribution in Vietnam was created by the Worldmapper team. Densely populated areas appear bloated, the area of sparsely populated areas is reduced. The shape of the grid has been preserved; an underlying map with the original geographical extent helps interpret the map. The distorted map should help to present abstract statistical information clearly.
The climate in North and South Vietnam is different due to the large north-south expansion. While in the north there is a moderate tropical alternating climate with a cool season between November and April and a hot season between May and October, the southern part is tropical: here it is warm to very hot all year round, only between November and January it is a little cooler, but it is against it it is hot between February and May. In the south occurs the rainy season lasts from May to November.
Between July and November there is a risk of typhoons with flooding in the coastal areas in the north and the central areas.
The weather is determined by two monsoons. The northeastern winter monsoon between October and March brings wet and cold weather north of Nha Trang, while it stays dry and warm in the south. From April / May to October, the southwest monsoon brings warm, humid weather and high rainfall across the country (with the exception of areas shielded by mountains).
Best time to go to Vietnam
There are no good or bad seasons to visit Vietnam. When a region is humid and cold or hot and humid, sunny and pleasant conditions prevail elsewhere in the country. In the south there are two seasons: the wet (May to November, the wettest from June to August) and the dry (December to April). The hottest and sultry time is from the end of February to May. The middle section of the coast is dry from May to October and rainy from December to February. The mountain regions are significantly cooler than the lowlands, in winter the thermometer can drop below 0 ° C. The north has two seasons: the cool, humid winter (November to April) and the hot summer (May to October).
Travelers should consider the Tet festival (late January or early February) in their travel plans. Travel (including international travel) is very difficult at this time, as hotels are full and many shops close for at least a week and possibly much longer.
Currency: 1 dong corresponds to 10 hao and 100 xu (which no longer play a role in payment transactions)
Currency code: VND (ISO code), ₫, D
banknotes with a value of 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 and 500,000 dong are used. Coins are in circulation in amounts of 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000.
1 US dollar = 18,150 dong
1 euro = 26750 dong
1 Swiss Franc = 17600 Dong
Vietnam is a somewhat more unusual travel destination, but there is a long list of different sights to see here.
There are some cities in Vietnam that you should see. Hanoi is one of them. The city is the capital of Vietnam. Here you can experience the wonderful and lively bustle of the socialist city live. Since most of the country’s government institutions are based here, the city almost has an international flair.
Another city you shouldn’t miss is Hoi An. The old city is located directly on the Thu Bon River. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as there are many historical sights to see here. Hoi An was one of the most important trade centers in Southeast Asia in the sixteenth century. It is definitely worth experiencing the Chinese flair of the city.
Hue is also worth a visit. Hue is an old royal city and was also the capital of Vietnam at times. The city has also been a World Heritage Site since 1993. Hue itself has some interesting sights to offer, such as the old royal tombs of the Ngyue kings and also some old pagodas. The old town center of Hues is still in very good condition.
You should also have seen the city of Nha Tang. The city is the tourist center of the country. Tourists come primarily to Nha Tang because of the fantastic beaches and the excellent climate.
Another city in Vietnam that is known worldwide is Saigon. Saigon is one of the most visited cities in Vietnam, if only because Saigon is the location of some famous musicals, such as that some well-known films were made here. In the city you can get to know the local culture and the locals live.
One of the highlights of Vietnam is the main post office in Saigon. It was built between 1886 and 1891. It is located on Dong Kai not far from Notre Dame. It was recently restored with great effort and represents one of the most important sights in the country. You shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the interior of the main post office. The huge counter hall is reminiscent of the country’s past heyday. There is also a portrait of Bac Ho here.
The former city hall of Saigon is also worth a visit. It was built in 1906 in the French colonial style. Unfortunately, the magnificent building cannot be entered by tourists, but the building is still one of the most popular photo motifs for tourists. The Huc Bridge is one of the most photographed structures in the country. The bridge in Hanoi is a connection across Lake Hoan Kiem between the Jade Temple and the mainland. It is also called the Red Bridge of the Rising Sun by the locals.
The tunnels from the Vietnam War are absolutely impressive. They were a reaction of the Vietnamese resistance fighters to the American attacks. So the fighters almost literally dug themselves into the earth and created a widely ramified tunnel system. Thanks to the tunnel system, the Vietnamese were able to effectively resist the Americans through lightning attacks.
Other interesting buildings in Vietnam are the Vin-Moc tunnel system, the Ca-Chin tunnel system, the Long-Bietn bridge, the Ba Na gondola lift and the Hal-Van tunnel.
Museum lovers should not miss the historical museum. So you can get to know the history of Vietnam better here. There are some Buddha images, paintings, various handicrafts and even a water puppet theater to see.
A visit to the city theater in Saigon will certainly be interesting. The theater was built in the French colonial style. Its opening was celebrated in 1899. National assemblies were held here for some time in 1955, but the theater was restored to its original function. Today you can experience theater performances, dances and fashion shows in the Saigon City Theater.
An absolute highlight for Vietnam tourists is the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. In Hanoi there are famous water puppet shows that are only available in Vietnam. Exactly when exactly the first water theaters existed is not clear, the only thing that is certain is that they belonged to the cultural life of the Vietnamese from the eleventh century. The skills of the puppeteers were passed on in the family, so the performances in the twentieth century were close to extinction. It was only through a French group that the revival was achieved through the use of new dolls and new technology. The pieces played are closely linked to the everyday life of the locals and the legendary world of the country. The puppeteers are hidden behind a bamboo wall from the view of the visitors.
A visit to the War Renmants Museum will certainly be interesting. There is everything to learn about the terrible Vietnam War. You can visit everything from photos, war equipment to a guillotine. Even the Tiger Cage Prison is simulated here.
The Citadel of Hanoi is also worth seeing. It was built by the emperor Gia Long in the years 1802-1812. After the French conquered the fortress in 1872, it was partially destroyed. For fifty years, the area of the citadel was not accessible to military spearmen and visitors, but today it is partially possible again.
Other Vietnam sights worth seeing include the Jadeberg Temple, Notre Dame, An-Quang Pagoda and the Reunification Palace.
Vietnam also has some natural attractions to offer, such as Halong Bay. Halongs Bay with its more than two thousand islands is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is a wonderful nature to experience and many caves, as well as caves to see. The islands of the bay were of great historical importance for the country.
The Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi is also worth seeing. It is the most famous in the city and is the dividing line between the historic old town and the former French colonial quarter. Other natural beauties include the Mekong Delta and Phon Nha-ke Bang National Park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
All of the attractions and sights mentioned are only a small part of what Vietnam has to offer its visitors.
Interesting facts about the Vietnamese city
Hanoi is located directly on the Red River and is the capital of the socialist Republic of Vietnam. The city has an area of 921 square kilometers and is home to 3,100,000 people. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are considered the most important industrial locations in the country. The official language in Hanoi is of course Vietnamese, but English is also understood. Hanoi is six hours ahead of European time. Anyone who spends their vacation in Hanoi will be thrilled because the city has a wide range of sights to offer its visitors.
Interesting sights in Hanoi
Special places and buildings
Ba Dinh Square: Here in Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh had read the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence in September 1945. His final resting place, a mausoleum, is near the square. There is a small park near Ba Dinh Square.
Flag Tower: The flag tower has a height of 33.4 meters and is 41 meters high with the flags. The flag tower is the symbol of the city and was built in 1812. The tower consists of three floors and has been designed in the form of a pyramid. The tower has 36 windows that have been designed in the shape of flowers. You can also admire six fan-shaped windows on the tower.
Ho Chi Minh residential building: Bac Ho’s former home is near Ba Dinh Square. It is not a magnificent house, it is just a wooden house on pillars. Still worth a visit. Bac Ho’s private air-raid shelter is right next to the house. Between 1958 and 1969, Bac Ho lived here until his death and lived an extremely simple life.
Turtle Tower: The Turtle Tower is located on Koan Hiem Lake at its western end. According to legend, King Le Thanh Tong fished. The builder of the turtle tower is said to have been Lord Trinh. The tower was to house the lord’s followers.
The Huc Bridge: The bridge is the most visited building in the city and also the most photographed. The Huc Bridge is located in a picturesque area above Hoan Kiem Lake. The bridge connects the urban mainland with the Jade Temple.
Long Bien Bridge: The Long Bien Bridge spans the Red River with a length of 1682.5 meters. It is over 100 meters wide. Today, the Long Bien Bridge is mainly used by trains, pedestrians and cyclists.
The impressive bridge was built in 1898 and was completed in 1902 under the name Paul Doumer Bridge. The bridge was designed to commemorate the French General Government of Paul Douer.
During the Vietnam War, the Long Bien Bridge was one of the main connecting roads and was destroyed several times by American bombers.
There are far more attractions to explore in Hanoi. The old town of the Vietnamese city and the Citadel.
You don’t have to neglect education on a vacation in Hanoi, as there are a number of museums to explore in the city, such as the Air Force Museum. In the museum you can admire Soviet MIG jets, a huge Mi-6 helicopter and many other aircraft. The Army Museum is the right place for anyone interested in Vietnam’s military history. Other museums in the Vietnamese city are the Ethnological Museum, the Fine Arts Museum and the Historical Museum.
There is also a lot going on in Hanoi when it comes to fine arts. The highlight is the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatere. Here the famous Mua Roi Nuoc shows his famous water puppet shows. It is no longer possible to trace exactly when the first one existed. Scientists estimate that water puppet shows have been part of Vietnam’s cultural activities since the eleventh century.
Hanoi also has some ancient temples and pagodas to explore.
Ambassador Pagoda: In the fifteenth century, Buddhist envoys from home and abroad were housed in the pagoda. Today the pagoda is inhabited by monks and nuns. The Ambassador Pagoda is the center of Buddhism in the city.
One pillar pagoda:The one-column pagoda, built in the eleventh century, was destroyed during the French War in 1954. A year later, the pagoda was reconstructed on behalf of Ly Thai Tong. The building was designed in the form of a lotus flower.
Other important sacred buildings in Hanoi are the Jadeberg Temple, the Temple of Literature, the Stone Woman Pagoda and the Temple of the Trung Sisters. You can also go
shopping in Hanoi. Three of Hanoi’s best markets are the old town market, the Dong Xuan market and the Hang Da market. In just three markets you can buy almost everything a buyer’s heart desires. Ranging from food, clothing to souvenirs.
Ho Chi Minh City
General information about the Vietnamese city of
Ho Chi Minh City is also known by the locals under the name Tanh pho Ho Chi Minh. The city is the largest city in Vietnam. More than 7.1 million people live in the city and its associated administrative area. Ho Chi Minh City is not a coherent urban area. In addition to the core city, the rest of the area is dominated by the rural settlement structure.
Ho Chi Minh City is located north of the Mekong Delta, directly on the west bank of the Saigon River. The Vietnamese city used to be called Saigon and was the capital of Vietnam until 1975. The former Saigon is an industrial city and above all a cultural center with some universities, theaters, cinemas, museums and monuments.
Stadttheater: The Stadttheater stands on the east side of Lam Son Platz and was opened in 1899. The impressive dome-shaped entrance of the theater points directly towards Le Loi in a southwesterly direction. The National Assembly was housed in the theater for a period of time in 1955. Nowadays fashion shows, dances and plays are shown in the renovated building.
Hoa Binh Theater:The Hoa Binh Theater can be found in the three thang two. Performances in the field of modern and classical Vietnamese music are regularly shown here. Traditional plays, dances, fashion shows, concerts and dubbed films are also shown here.
Binh Quoi Cultural Village: The Binh Quoi Cultural Village is organized by Saigontourist. The program of the theater consists of folk music, traditional dances and water puppet shows. The cultural program of a visit to the theater can be rounded off with an evening cruise on the Saigon River.
Museums: War Remnants Museum
:The War Victims Museum shows pictures of the famous Napalm victim Kim Phuc and how Vietnamese people live today. Photos of an unknown napalm victim are also displayed. A collection of aircraft, tanks, and other weapons captured by the U.S. Army is also shown in the museum. In the museum, the late effects are made particularly clear by using Napalm, Agent Orange or Agent Blue. Such consequences would be the increase in cancer, birth defects, birth defects and also damage to the environment.
Historical Museum:The city’s historical museum is worth a visit for the building alone. The roof was constructed in the style of a pagoda. There are several galleries in the museum, which display various artifacts and paintings, in which one can understand the exciting history of Vietnam. In other rooms of the museum you can admire Buddha images from all over Asia. You can also visit Cham art from the seventh and eighth centuries, like various handicraft objects from the ethnic minority, in the museum.
Other museums in Ho Chi Minh City would be the Revolution Museum, the Ho Chi Museum and the Art Museum.
Special streets in the Vietnamese city of
Dong Khoi: During the colonial rule of the French, the Dong Khoi street was called Rue Catinat. At that time it was the promenade of the city. Even during the Vietnam War, the street was the location of many bars and brothels where the American soldiers were supposed to leave their money. Even today, Dong Khoi is a popular promenade. There are numerous bars, expensive designer shops and restaurants located in Dong Khoi.
Other interesting streets in the city are Nguyen Hue and Le Duan Boulevard.
Buildings in Ho Minh City that you should see
Main Post Office: The main post office is located on Dong Kho Street and was built between 1886 and 1891. No changes have been made to it since the building was created, except for renovations and the modernization of the switches. The French engineer Gustav Eiffel had built the steel structure.
Former City Hall: The former City Hall is at the northern end of Nguyen Hue. The town hall is a colonial building from 1906. The Corinthian columns and classic figures in particular characterize the town hall. Today the People’s Committee is housed in the building. On the gable of the building there is the statue of Ho Chi Minth with a small child in her arms.
Hotel Continental:The Hotel Continental is one of the city’s famous buildings. The hotel has a white facade with a rotating globe and an ocher roof. In the past, the hotel was a popular meeting place for fine French society. The Hotel Continental is still one of the most renowned addresses in Ho Chi Minh City today.
In Ho Chi Minh City there are several religious buildings to admire, even Christian ones. The most impressive would be the Jade Emperor’s Pagoda, the Neo-Romanesque Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Jade Pagoda the Central Mosque and the Sri Mariammam Hindu Temple and a few more.
In Ho Chi Minh City there are a variety of different green areas that are worth exploring. B. the Botanical Garden, Cong Vien Van Hoa, Binh Quoi Park and the Saigon Waterpark.