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Vietnam Travel Guide

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Conical hats emerging from lizard green rice paddies? Grainy black and white colonial-era photographs of slender. dark-haired women in flowing white Ao Dai dresses? Shinning exotic white-sand beaches fringed with coconut palms? Luxurious Asian style resorts and golf courses? Saigon, the exciting southern city, or Hanoi, the northern Vietnamese capital. Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam to Dalat, the romantic city, fabulous sites as the World Heritage, Halong Bay. Vietnam is all these things and more, a country with a past as rich as the Soil in the blazing green deltas. This past reads like a romantic legend full of heroic struggles and astounding victories, whereby this small country retained its culture, absorbing and adapting the strengths of its foes but never losing its traditions or its sense of history. With 54 ethnic groups, most of whom live in remote areas and follow age-old customs, Vietnam offers unparalleled opportunities for cultural exploration in Asia.

It is beautiful country, a long, hourglass of land, stretching over 900 miles up the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula. Vietnamese people describe their country as a bamboo shoulder pole slung with two baskets of rice - the fertile southern Mekong Delta and the northern Red River Delta. From these lowland paddy Fields stretch vast rubber plantations, rolling hills covered with thick jungle, and jagged mountains rising more than 10,000 feet in height. Vietnam is an incredibly exotic Asian jewel, with over 1900 miles of coastline features the endless stretches of empty, serene white sand beaches of Phan Thiet, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc and others. And Vietnam can accommodate the seasoned world traveler in everything from five star Vietnamese resorts and Asian expats can find even the most modest of Vietnam housing for long term stays.

Vietnam's varied topography allows for an incredibly varied Asia travel experience. The country offers everything from tropical coastal lowlands to temperate zones above 6000 feet. In South Vietnam, the rainy season lasts from May to November, but the showers are usually limited to brief bursts in the late afternoons. Along Vietnam?s central coast, the driest season runs from June to October. Visitors to North Vietnam are often surprised by the region's distinct seasons; summers are hot and humid while winters are invigoratingly cool. Travel to Vietnam is a year round adventure.

Along with fine tropical weather, spectacular natural scenery and historic sites, Vietnam's greatest resource is its friendly, welcoming people. Long closed to the outside world, Vietnam retains a charming innocence that more touristy regions lack. And the Vietnamese people and their smile will remain in your memory long after you depart.

In the decade since the country opened its doors to visitors, Vietnam has built world-class hotels and tourism facilities. With international-standard lodgings, world class Asian food, and traditional Vietnamese hospitality, Vietnam is ready to take you on an unforgettable adventure. Join us and explore the legend of the blue dragon and what is now known as the friendliest Asian country... Vietnam.

Topography

Three quarters of Vietnam's territory consists of mountains and hills. Vietnam is divided into four distinct mountainous zones.

The Red River Delta, or Northern Delta

This region stretches for 15,000 sq.km. Over time, deposits of alluvium carried from the Red River and Thai Binh River have accumulated to form the delta.

The ancient Viet people settled at the junction of the two rivers . At that time, the wet rice civilization was established

The Mekong River Delta, or Southern Delta

This region is approximately 40,000 sq. km. The land is very fertile and has favorable climate conditions for agriculture. As a result, it is the largest rice growing region in Vietnam.

Vietnam is crisscrossed by thousands of streams and rivers. There is a river discharging every 20 kilometers along Vietnam's coastline. The waterways are a very convenient means of transport with major rivers like the Red River in the north and the Mekong River in the south.

Vietnam's coastline is 3,260 km long. If you have a chance to travel along the coast of Vietnam, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Tra Co, Sam Son, Lang Co, Non Nuoc, Nha Trang, Vung Tau, and Ha Tien. In some places, you will see mountains jutting out to the sea. One such magnificent site is Halong Bay, which has recently been two times listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Vietnam's coast has been awarded a series of large seaports, such as the ones at Haiphong, Danang, Qui Nhon, Cam Ranh, Vung Tau, and Saigon. There are thousands of islands and islets scattered offshore from North to South. Among the most popular tourist destinations are the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa Archipelagos.

The forests of Vietnam account for most of the total land area. National parks are preserved by the state and follow a steady development plan. Some of the more famous national parks located throughout the country include Ba Vi in Ha Tay, Cat Ba in Haiphong, Cuc Phuong in Ninh Binh, Bach Ma in Hue, and Cat Tien in Dong Nai.

Vietnam has a variety of mineral resources. Beneath the forests are valuable minerals such as tin, zinc, silver, gold, antimony, precious stones, and coal. Vietnam also has large deposits of oil and gas on its offshore islands and on the mainland.

Vietnam also has abundant subterranean mineral water sources. These are found at Quang Hanh in Quang Ninh, Hoi Van in Binh Dinh, Vinh Hao in Binh Thuan, Duc My in Nha Trang, Kim Boi in Hoa Binh, and Binh Chau in Vung Tau.

Rivers

The Red River in the north and the Mekong River in the south are the two major freshwater streams. The Red flows almost directly southeast from the northwestern highlands, whereas the Mekong follows an irregular path from Cambodia, crosses southernmost Viet Nam, and empties in the South China Sea through a complex network of distributaries. Both rivers have been leveed to prevent flood damage.

Climate

Vietnam is located in both a tropical and a temperate zone. It is characterized by strong monsoon influences, but has a considerable amount of sun, a high rate of rainfall, and high humidity. Regions located near the tropics and in the mountainous regions are endowed with a temperate climate.

The annual average temperature ranges from 22șC to 27șC. In Hanoi, the average temperature is 23șC, in Ho Chi Minh City it is 26șC, and in Hue it is 25șC.

There are two distinguishable seasons. The cold season occurs from November to April and the hot season from May to October. The difference in temperature between the two seasons in southern Vietnam is almost unnoticeable, averaging 3șC. The most noticeable variations are found in the northern provinces where differences of 12șC have been observed. There are essentially four distinct seasons, which are most evident in the northern provinces.

Vegetation and Animal Life

Abundant vegetation exists throughout Viet Nam except where the landscape has been denuded. Typical mixed stands in the rain forests contain a wide variety of pines, broadleaf trees, vines, and bamboos. Dense mangroves bordering the distributaries of the deltas often hinder access to the water's edge. The tropical rain forests are inhabited by large mammals such as elephants, deer, bears, tigers, and leopards. Smaller animals, including monkeys, hares, squirrels, and otters, are found throughout the country. Reptiles such as crocodiles, snakes, and lizards, as well as many species of birds, are also indigenous.

Mineral Resources

The northern highlands of Viet Nam contain valuable minerals, including iron, anthracite coal, phosphate, zinc, chromite, tin, and apatite. Petroleum and natural gas deposits lie offshore.

Languages

Vietnamese, the official language, is spoken by the majority of the population (see Austro-Asiatic Languages). The use of French, a remnant of colonial times, is declining. Some Vietnamese people who live in urban areas speak other languages, such as English and Russian. Khmer, Montagnard, and Cham are spoken primarily in the interior.

Currency

The currency of Vietnam is the dong (VND). Notes are available in paper denominations of 500,000; 100,000; 50,000; 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 200 and 100 VND, and also in metal denomination of 5,000; 2,000; 1,000; 500; 200d

 
 
 
 
 


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