Vietnam Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Vietnam > Map Economy History

Bach Ma National Park Information about the park
Ha Long Bay
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
Cat Tien National Park Information about the park with lots of pictures.
Vietnam Protected Areas and Development Review of Protected Areas in the Lower Mekong River Region.

Facts About Vietnam

Background: France occupied all of Vietnam by 1884. Independence was declared after World War II, but the French continued to rule until 1954 when they were defeated by communist forces under Ho Chi MINH, who took control of the north. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later North Vietnamese forces overran the south. Economic reconstruction of the reunited country has proven difficult as aging Communist Party leaders have only grudgingly initiated reforms necessary for a free market.
Government type: Communist state
Capital: Hanoi
Currency: 1 new dong (D) = 100 xu

Geography of Vietnam

Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, alongside China, Laos, and Cambodia
Geographic coordinates: 16 00 N, 106 00 E
Area:
total: 329,560 sq km
land: 325,360 sq km
water: 4,200 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 4,639 km
border countries: Cambodia 1,228 km, China 1,281 km, Laos 2,130 km
Coastline: 3,444 km (excludes islands)
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (mid-May to mid-September) and warm, dry season (mid-October to mid-March)
Terrain: low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Ngoc Linh 3,143 m
Natural resources: phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, forests, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 17%
permanent crops: 4%
permanent pastures: 1%
forests and woodland: 30%
other: 48% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 18,600 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding
Environment - current issues: logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices contribute to deforestation and soil degradation; water pollution and overfishing threaten marine life populations; groundwater contamination limits potable water supply; growing urban industrialization and population migration are rapidly degrading environment in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: extending 1,650 km north to south, the country is only 50 km across at its narrowest point

People of Vietnam

Originating in what is now southern China and northern Vietnam, the Vietnamese people pushed southward over two millennia to occupy the entire eastern seacoast of the Indochinese Peninsula. Ethnic Vietnamese constitute about 90% of Vietnam's 79.9 million population.

Vietnam's approximately 2.3 million ethnic Chinese, concentrated mostly in southern Vietnam, constitute Vietnam's largest minority group. Long important in the Vietnamese economy, Vietnamese of Chinese ancestry have been active in rice trading, milling, real estate, and banking in the south and shopkeeping, stevedoring, and mining in the north. Restrictions on economic activity following reunification in 1975 and the subsequent but unrelated general deterioration in Vietnamese-Chinese relations sent chills through the Chinese-Vietnamese community. In 1978-79, some 450,000 ethnic Chinese left Vietnam by boat as refugees (many officially encouraged and assisted) or were expelled across the land border with China.

The second-largest ethnic minority grouping, the central highland peoples commonly termed Montagnards (mountain people), comprise two main ethnolinguistic groups--Malayo-Polynesian and Mon-Khmer. About 30 groups of various cultures and dialects are spread over the highland territory.

The third-largest minority, the Khmer Krom (Cambodians), numbering about 600,000, is concentrated near the Cambodian border and at the mouth of the Mekong River. Most are farmers. Other minority groups include the Cham--remnants of the once-mighty Champa Kingdom, conquered by the Vietnamese in the 15th century--Hmong, and Thai.

Vietnamese is the official language of the country. It is a tonal language with influences from Thai, Khmer, and Chinese. Since the early 20th century, the Vietnamese have used a Romanized script introduced by the French. Previously, Chinese characters and an indigenous phonetic script were both used.

Population: 83,535,576 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 33% 
15-64 years: 62% 
65 years and over: 5%
Population growth rate: 1.49% 
Birth rate: 21.62 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 6.26 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -0.51 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 31.13 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.27 years
male: 66.84 years
female: 71.87 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.53 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural)
adjective: Vietnamese
Ethnic groups: Vietnamese 85%-90%, Chinese 3%, Muong, Tai, Meo, Khmer, Man, Cham
Religions: Buddhist, Taoist, Roman Catholic, indigenous beliefs, Muslim, Protestant, Cao Dai, Hoa Hao
Languages: Vietnamese (official), Chinese, English, French, Khmer, tribal languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.7%
male: 96.5%
female: 91.2% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Vietnam > Map Economy History