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Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Hanoi is the Capital. Ho Chi Minh City (normally called Saigon) is the largest city and more exciting industrial centre. Hue, the Capital of the last Kingdom up to 1945 is still maintaining traces of the old reigns. Danang, the most important city in Centre of Vietnam, with close town Hoi An and My Son. Halong with the World Natural Heritage Halong bay.

91 millions in 2015. 54 ethnics. The Kinh (or Viet) ethnic forms around 86% of population and mostly inhabit in larger towns. A larger Chinese community of less than 2 millions inhabit mainly in Hochiminh City.

331,211 km square, roughly the area of Italy or Japan.

Neither boot-shaped nor gathering hundreds of islands. A huge “S” lying half-facing the Pacific Ocean as per a proud local expression.
Land Borders:

North to China, upper West to Laos, lower West to Cambodia, East and South to Pacific Ocean.
Sea Borders:

Northeast to East Sea or so-called East Sea, Southwest to the Gulf of Thailand.

Tropical monsoon. 4 seasons in the North, dry and rainy seasons in the South. Conditions vary North to South with elevation changes.

75% of the territory is limestone mountains, the rest are river deltas, fertile highlands, and small deserts.
Language: Vietnamese. Don’t ask the local people do they understand Chinese naturally. Vietnamese is a tonal language using Roman letters together with tone markers – main problems of foreign students. English is the most popular foreign language and French, Chinese, Japanese are expected to speak at service points. Literacy rate is 88%.

Figures are different. Estimated 60% ? 70% of population believe in Buddhist tenets with strong Confucian and Taoist influences. Catholic account for perhaps 8% ? 10% of the population. Cao Dai and Hoa Hao, local sects of Buddhism, are strong in the Mekong delta. Small group ( of about 50,000 people ) are Islamic followers living in the central part of the central coast of Vietnam.

Sole-party Socialist Republic under the leadership of the Communist Party. Important persons to name are the Party’s General Secretary (Mr.Nguyen Phu Trong), the country’s president (Mr. Tran Dai Quang), the Prime Minister (Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc). The leading offices are Politburo and National Assembly.
National flag:

Market-based economy. Second world leading rice exporter and coffee exporter. Other exported goods are rubber, timber, garment, shoes, seafoods, tea, crude oil, coal, and electricity.

New moon and full moon days are main anniversaries at temples. Main Festival of the year is the Lunar Calendar New Year (“Tet”) which often falls in mid-Feb. For 5 days to a week most of businesses closed except tourist points. Flower markets every where before the Eve. Temples and shrines are exciting with traditional anniversaries and pilgrims before and after Tet.

Public Holidays:

Jan 01 International New Year Days
Mid Feb Lunar New Year
Mid Apr Country Anniversary of the first King
Apr 30 Liberation Day
May 1 Labour Day (May Day)
Sep 2 National Day