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Welcome to Vietnam


Socialist Republic of Vietnam

  • Capital: Hanoi
  • Currency: Vietnamese Dong (VND)
  • Dialling Code: +84
  • Language(s): Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer, mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian).
  • Population: 95,261,021 (July 2016 est.)
  • Religion(s): Buddhism
  • ‎Total Area: 329,247 sq km (127,123 sq miles)
  • Time Zone: UTC +7

Vietnam, officially known as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam or Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam in the local language, occupies the easternmost section of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. The country is bordered to the north by China, to the northwest by Laos, to the southwest by Cambodia, and Malaysia to the southeast across the South China Sea.

Formerly a part of imperial China for over a millenium, Vietnam, which was established in 939, now has an estimated population of over 95 million (as of July 2016), making it one of the top 15 most populous country in the world and Asia. Following a Japanese occupation in the 1940s, the Vietnamese fought French rule in the First Indochina War, eventually expelling the French in 1954.

Thereafter, Vietnam was divided politically into two rival states, the North and South Vietnam. Conflict between the two sides resulted in the Vietnam War. The war, which ended with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975, had a great impact on the nation’s history politically and economically.

Vietnam is blessed with a pleasant climate and stunning landscapes ranging from mountains to river basins, dense forests and vast tracts of emerald green rice fields. Agriculture still plays a predominant role in the country’s economy.

Hanoi, the official capital, is the second largest city behind Ho Chi Minh City (formerlly Saigon). 

Information & Facts


Vietnam is large enough to have several distinct climate zones.

  • Central: The central has the weather patterns of the North and South. Summers are hot and dry, while the North East Monsoon conditions (strong winds, large sea swells and rain) makes it a miserable and difficult time to travel through Central Vietnam from September – February.
  • North: The North region has four distinct seasons, a chilly winter, hot and wet summer, pleasant spring (March-April) and autumn (October-December) seasons.
  • South: The South region has three distinct seasons – Hot and Dry (from March to May/June); Rainy (from June/July to November) and both Cool and Dry (from December to February). April is the hotest month of the year while December to February is the most pleasant time to visit.


Communications in Vietnam include the use of telephones, radio, television and Internet.

Duty Free

The following items may be freely imported into Vietnam by travellers without incurring customs duty:
  • 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500g of tobacco.
  • 1.5L of spirits over 22% volume or 2L of fortified wines or liqueurs under 22% volume or 3L of other alcoholic drinks.
  • Other goods to the value of ₫10, 000, 000.


220V/50Hz (both American and European plugs work throughout country).

Getting Around

  • By Plane: Traveling by plane is cheap and fast. For longer distances it is probably the best way to get around. There are several domestic carriers in Vietnam including Vietnam Airlines, VietJetAir, Jetstar Pacific and Air Mekong.
  • By Train: Taking the train is one of the smoothest and easiest ways to go around Vietnam. The rail network extends to most destinations of interest and the system serves a large part of the country – only the Central Highlands and Mekong Delta are left out.
  • By Bus (Public Buses, Open Tour Buses): Long-distance bus services connect most cities in Vietnam.
  • By Car: Rental cars for long distance travel are yet to be popularised in Vietnam, and seeing the state of the traffic it's easy to see why self-driving is unwise.


Health risks in Vietnam include Hepatitis A and E, typhoid, dengue, cholera, bird flu, rabies, bilharzias, diarrhea, Japanese encephalitis, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. In the past (2004), there had been a bird flu outbreak that let to the loss of many lives. While there are abundant Pharmacies and English-speaking doctors, especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, it is better to have a health insurance before hand.


Vietnamese (tiếng Việt) is the only official language in Vietnam. It is the first or second language of many ethnic minorities in Vietnam, but some mountain tribes also speak a language of their own. Vietnamese is among the 20 most spoken languages in the world, spoken by around 80 million people worldwide.


The Dong (VND) has been the official currency of Vietnam since May 3, 1978.

Passport Visa

Like most countries of the world, a passport and visa (or pre-approval for a visa on arrival) is required to visit Vietnam. The passport must be valid for six months beyond planned stay and at least one blank visa page is a must have.


Vietnam is a relatively safe country for visitors, including women travelling alone and violent crimes are uncommon. Pick-pocketing and Drive-by thieves are very common in the streets, especially in cities like Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Nha Trang. Old war relics are advised not to be touched as they are still classified as dangerous.


Reunified Vietnam follows UTC +7, which is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and Coordinated Universal Time.


Generally, tipping is not expected in Vietnam, but is very much appreciated as many workers do not earn much money. The practice is especially common in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and certain other major cities. Vietnam’s official currency is the Vietnam dong (VND), however the US DOllars is accepted at most places, and can also be used for tips.

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