Vietnam is one of the most naturally beauty endowed countries in South East Asia. It shares a long border with China in the north, with Gulf of Tonkin in the east and towards the south is South China Sea. Its south-west side it sees Gulf of Thailand while Cambodia and Laos are located to its west. The unique location of Vietnam gives it an elongated S shape. This provides it with a coastline extending more than 3200 km and a number of large seaports located at Danang, Haiphong, Cam Rahn, Nhon, Vung Tau and Saigon. There are also thousands of islands and islets dotted offshore extending from north to south making for popular tourist destinations in Vietnam.
Most of Vietnam’s land mass is occupied by forests. The state preserves all National parks and a systematic plan of development is followed. Some of the well known parks of the country include Cuc Phuong in Ninh Binh, Ba Vi in Ha Tay, Cat Tien in Dong Nai and Cat Ba in Haiphong. The climate of Vietnam is divided between tropical and temperate zone. It experiences strong monsoon sways along with a good amount of sunshine, lots of rain and high humidity. The areas closer to the tropics in the mountain areas are awarded with temperate climates.
South China strongly influences the culture of Vietnam due to the many periods in history when it was occupied by China and the long boarder the two counties share. Confucianism forms the foundations of Vietnamese society. Even though the languages of the two countries have nothing in common, Vietnamese language uses many words from the Chinese. Buddhism continues to be the single largest religion in the country. Vietnamese culture is very diverse from Chinese culture since it also adapted elements from the neighbouring Hindu civilizations. The colonization of the French too has left its mark on Vietnam most notable among them being coffee and baguettes still being popular among the local population.
Vietnamese food is generally healthy with unique taste, and eating out can range from street food to fine dining experiences in luxury hotels. Typically Vietnamese cuisine employs a variety of vegetables with rice as the staple cereal. Nuoc mam, a fish based sauce is used extensively while Pho, a noodle soup using beef or chicken as its bases is the most popular dish. Spring rolls are another specialty available in varying versions. Restaurants offer menus that are essentially non-vegetarian with dishes created from fish, pork and beef, while soft shell turtle and snake dishes are the delicacies offered. Fruit smoothies made from seasonal fruits like jack fruit, durian, strawberry, dragon fruit, mango, lychee and passion fruit are also very popular.
Government: Socialist Republic
Monetary unit: Vietnam dong
Total Area: 331,690 km2
Language: Vietnamese (official), many minority languages
Religion: Buddhism, Taosim, Confucianism, Christian, Muslim