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General information about Vietnam
Vietnam has the mainland territory of 331,211.60 square kilometers with an estimated 90.5 million inhabitants(2014). 85% of the population is ethnic -Vietnamese. The remaining 15% are 54 ethnic -Minority: Tay, Nung, Ede, White Thai, Black Thai, and H’mong living in the mountainous regions. Lying on the eastern part of the Indochinese peninsula, Vietnam is a strip of land shaped like the letter “S”. China borders it to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, the East Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the east and south. The country’s total length from north to south is 1,650km. The coastline is 3,260km long and the inland border is 4,510km. Vietnam is divided into 63 provinces and cities. Vietnam is also a transport junction from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Many holiday makers opportunity to spend their time on the beautifulbeachesof Vietnam.
Plenty of resorts line the more popular beaches, and the warm sunny weather leaves nothing to be desired. Scuba diving and other water sports can be enjoyed, as well as sunbathing on the white-sand beaches. There are several islands dotted around the coastline which can be visited overnight or during a day trip. Many visitors prefer to see the more traditional parts and culture of the country. Extensive rice paddies line the mainland and mark an old and ancient heritage. National parks, waterfalls, lakes, caves and tropical rainforests can be found throughout the country, and visitors could spend weeks enjoying the wealth of beauty that Vietnam has to offer.
Culture & Religion
Vietnam has a population of 87 million, 85% of which are ethnic Vietnamese or ‘Kinh’. The remaining 15% is comprised of ethnicChinese, Khmers, Chams or members of more than 60 ethnic minority peoples living in the mountainous regions of central and northern Vietnam. The largest ethnic minority groups are the Tay, the White Thai, the Black Thai and the H’mong. These groups display similar rural and agricultural lifestyles, but have different languages, dress, cultures and physical features.
Vietnamese is native language. Today, English has replaced French and Russian as the most studied and spoken foreign language, and is widely spoken in major cities.
A warm welcome and hospitality from Vietnamese people, wonderful beaches, excellent hospitality, great scenery, exotic cultural experiences, historic sites, incredible food - Vietnam has it all. Among the most popular locations
The major religious traditions in Vietnam are Buddhism is the most common religion in Vietnam occupied about 60% of the population practicing some form of Buddhism. About 8% of the population is Catholic. Other religions include Protestantism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism and Caodaism.
Tet, the Lunar New Year, is undoubtedly the most important holiday for the Vietnamese. It usually takes place in February and is celebrated for five days. Visitors should be aware that virtually all businesses are closed during this period and international and domestic flights are fully booked as overseas Vietnamese return to visit their families and friends.
- Other significant public holidays include:
- January 1st: New Year’s Day (one day holiday)
- April 30th: Saigon Liberation Day (one day holiday)
- May 1st: International Labor Day (one day holiday)
- September 2nd: National Day of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (one day holiday).
Weather & Infrastructure
The most common (and affordable) air route is Bangkok to Saigon. Tan Son Nhat International Airport is overused and surrounded by metro-Saigon, so there's no room to expand it. A number of border crossings allow over land entry into the country. There are a number of border crossing points into Laos and Cambodia.
How to get to Vietnam Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh cities are still considered the major gateways for easy access to and from Vietnam. The major airlines operating to and from Vietnam are Vietnam airline, Cathay Pacific airline, China airline, China Southern airlines, Korean airline, Thai airline, Japan airline and Hong Kong airline.
The climate can generally be described as tropical, wet and dry seasons. The seasons vary from North to South and with elevation changes. The dry seasons lasts from November to April in the North, South and Central highland regions. In the winter in Hanoi can drop as low as the lower 5 decrees and northern Vietnam has four seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall). In the south there are two seasons (Wet and Dry).
Currency & Business hour
The currency in Vietnam is Dong”, although US Dollar is widely accepted in Vietnam.
Vietnam is in GMT +7 timezone. Most of offices open from 7:30 till 12:00 and from 13:30 till 17:00, Monday through Friday.
The easiest place to get a visa for Vietnam is in Cambodia. Processing there usually take only one day. You DO NEED a visa to get into Vietnam. Tourist visas are good for 30-day and are single entry. If you expect to be in and out of the country more than once, you'll want to apply for a three month multiple entry visa
Health and Services
Food and Beverages
Rice with chicken, pork or beef and typical Vietnamese dishes. Pho noodle is popular food in Hanoi and Bun Bo Hue is very traditional and popular in Hue City. However Chinese, European, Thai and Vietnamese food is available in most of restaurants in the major cities.
A wide array of handicraft is available, including quality hand embroidery, wood carvings, brass or marble figurines and ivory or tortoiseshell accessories. Paintings, silk screens and hand painted ceramics can be found in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and other big cities.
Safety in Vietnam
Crime in large cities is a problem. Look out for pickpockets. Drive by motorcycle purse snatchings are among the most common crimes. If your purse, bag or camara can easily be torn from your hand at by someone going 15 or 20 miles per hour, chances are someone will try...
Health Issues in Vietnam
There are a number of health concerns you should be aware of in Vietnam. Among them: mosquito borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria; typhoid and hepatitis from unsanitary water or undercooked foods; and rabies.
There are some state owned hospitals and international joint venture hospitals, where qualified Vietnamese and foreign doctors work such as SOS, French hospital. There are also a number of private clinics available in major cities.