Vietnam Pages

Ho Chi Minh City Hue Demilitarised Zone HoiAn Shopping

Trang Tien Bridge, Hue

Vietnam - overview

Vietnam is a long (1600 km), thin country bordered by China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, and the South China Sea and gulf of Tonkin to the south and east.

Two major rivers enter into the South China Sea through Vietnam. The Song Hong (Red) River in the north which flows through the capitol, Hanoi; and the Mekong River in the south which flows south of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in the south.

Before my first visit all I knew of the country was the Vietnam war (called the American war by the locals to differentiate it from so many other wars fought in Vietnam), and the boat people. So it was not my idea of a holiday destination. However that view has now changed.

It is an incredibly interesting and diverse country with wealth of sights, sounds and scenes to keep the visitor occupied, but perhaps Vietnam's greatest asset is it's people. They are nearly all kind and helpful, and do their best to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as they can.

I can higly recomend the country as a tourist destination whatever your budget, and whether you want a sun and sand holday, a culture tour, adventure trip or a combination of all of these. You'll get it here.

Vietnam Fast Facts

  • 3451 km of coastline with some fabulous beaches.
  • Land area 326,797 sq km.
  • Largest cities, Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Haiphong, Danang.
  • Population in 2001 78 million.
  • Ruled by China from 2000 BC - 938 AD.
  • Various Vietnamese dynasties 1000 - 1859.
  • French rule 1859 - 1954.
  • 1954, temporary division into North and South Vietnam, with countrywide elections planned for July 1956 (the Geneva Accord).
  • 1955 Ngo Dinh Diem, convinced that Ho Chi Minh in the north would win any countrywide election, held a rigged election in the south, declared himself president and the South a republic.
  • 1955 - 1975 the American war.
  • 1975 reunification.
  • In 1975 there was not a single bridge in the north which had survived US air raids.
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