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Vietnam Country Guide

Explore Vietnam in Asia

Vietnam with the capital city Hanoi is located in Asia (Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand). It covers some 329,561 square kilometres (slightly larger than New Mexico) with 86,116,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Vietnam

The landscape offers low, flat delta in south and north with central highlands and hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest. The average density of population is approximately 261 per km². The notable climate conditions in Vietnam can be described as tropical in south with monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (May to September) and warm, dry season (October to March). Potential threats by nature are occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta.

To reach someone in Vietnam dial +84 prior to a number. There are 17,427,000 installed telephones. And there are 98,224,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".vn". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 127/220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Vietnam

Red field with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center; red symbolizes revolution and blood, the five-pointed star represents the five elements of the populace - peasants, workers, intellectuals, traders, and soldiers - that unite to build socialism.

The conquest of Vietnam by France began in 1858 and was completed by 1884. It became part of French Indochina in 1887. Vietnam declared independence after World War II, but France continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by communist forces under Ho Chi MINH. Under the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the communist North and anti-communist South. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later, North Vietnamese forces overran the South reuniting the country under communist rule. Despite the return of peace, for over a decade the country experienced little economic growth because of conservative leadership policies, the persecution and mass exodus of individuals - many of them successful South Vietnamese merchants - and growing international isolation. However, since the enactment of Vietnam's "doi moi" (renovation) policy in 1986, Vietnamese authorities have committed to increased economic liberalization and enacted structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The communist leaders, however, maintain control on political expression and have resisted outside calls to improve human rights. The country continues to experience small-scale protests from various groups - the vast majority connected to land-use issues, calls for increased political space, and the lack of equitable mechanisms for resolving disputes. Various ethnic minorities, such as the Montagnards of the Central Highlands and the Khmer Krom in the southern delta region, have also held protests.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Asia
Neighbours: China, Laos, Cambodia
Capital: Hanoi
Size 329,560 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 127,244 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than New Mexico
Population 86,116,000
Currency Name: Dong, Currency Code: VND
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .vn
Telephone Country Prefix +84
Mobile Phone Connections 98,224,000
Landline Phone Connections 17,427,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 331,210 (sq km) 66

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 92,477,857 14
Population growth rate 1.03 (%) 112
Birth rate 16.56 (births/1,000 population) 121
Death rate 5.94 (deaths/1,000 population) 166
Net migration rate -0.33 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 125
Maternal mortality rate 59.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 101
Infant mortality rate 19.61 (deaths/1,000 live births) 95
Life expectancy at birth 72.65 (years) 130
Total fertility rate 1.87 (children born/woman) 143
Health expenditures 6.80 (% of GDP) 89
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.40 (%) 77
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 280,000 21
HIV/AIDS - deaths 14,000 22
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 1.70 (%) 186
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 20.20 (%) 35
Education expenditures 6.60 (% of GDP) 29
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 4.6 (%) 135


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 325,900,000,000 42
GDP - real growth rate 5.00 (%) 63
GDP - per capita (PPP) 3,600 170
Labor force 49,180,000 13
Unemployment rate 4.50 (%) 40
Distribution of family income - Gini index 38 75
Investment (gross fixed) 28.20 (% of GDP) 28
Taxes and other revenues 30.5 (% of GDP) 90
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -3.90 (% of GDP) 134
Public debt 48.20 (% of GDP) 67
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 6.80 (%) 176
Central bank discount rate 15.00 (%) 11
Commercial bank prime lending rate 16.96 (%) 30
Stock of narrow money 37,050,000,000 53
Stock of broad money 163,900,000,000 45
Stock of domestic credit 140,000,000,000 47
Market value of publicly traded shares 26,000,000,000 59
Industrial production growth rate 4.00 (%) 76
Current account balance -457,000,000 92
Exports 114,600,000,000 35
Imports 114,300,000,000 33
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 20,900,000,000 57
Debt - external 41,850,000,000 64
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 75,450,000,000 46
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 7,700,000,000 57


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 117,000,000,000 (kWh) 32
Electricity - consumption 104,000,000,000 (kWh) 33
Electricity - exports 1,555,000 (kWh) 86
Electricity - imports 2,700,000,000 (kWh) 46
Electricity - installed generating capacity 26300000 (kW) 30
Electricity - from fossil fuels 55.0 (% of total installed capacity) 146
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 45.0 (% of total installed capacity) 47
Electricity - from other renewable sources 0.1 (% of total installed capacity) 91
Crude oil - production 336,100 (bbl/day) 33
Crude oil - exports 188,000 (bbl/day) 32
Crude oil - proved reserves 4700000000 (bbl) 27
Refined petroleum products - production 112,000 (bbl/day) 71
Refined petroleum products - consumption 259,900 (bbl/day) 48
Refined petroleum products - exports 37,050 (bbl/day) 65
Refined petroleum products - imports 184,900 (bbl/day) 28
Natural gas - production 9,300,000,000 (cu m) 45
Natural gas - consumption 10,200,000,000 (cu m) 46
Natural gas - imports 890,000,000 (cu m) 61
Natural gas - proved reserves 699,400,000,000 (cu m) 31
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 112,800,000 (Mt) 38


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 10,175,000 21
Telephones - mobile cellular 127,318,000 8
Internet hosts 189,553 74
Internet users 23,382,000 17


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 44 97
Railways 2,632 (km) 62
Roadways 180,549 (km) 26
Waterways 17,702 (km) 7
Merchant marine 579 20


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 2.50 (% of GDP) 54

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Hanoi
The Thang Long Imperial Citadel was built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet Dynasty, marking the independence of the Dai Viet. It was constructed on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century, on drained land reclaimed from the Re ...
Citadel of the Ho Dynasty
The 14th -century Ho Dynasty citadel, built according to the feng shui principles, testifies to the flowering of neo-Confucianism in late 14th century Viet Nam and its spread to other parts of east Asia. According to these principles it was sited in ...
Complex of Hué Monuments
Established as the capital of unified Viet Nam in 1802, Hué was not only the political but also the cultural and religious centre under the Nguyen dynasty until 1945. The Perfume River winds its way through the Capital City, the Imperial City, the F ...
Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site's o ...
Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to p ...
My Son Sanctuary
Between the 4th and 13th centuries a unique culture which owed its spiritual origins to Indian Hinduism developed on the coast of contemporary Viet Nam. This is graphically illustrated by the remains of a series of impressive tower-temples located in ...
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Palaeozoic (some 400 million years ago) and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park’s karst landscape is extremely comple ...
Trang An Landscape Complex
Situated on the southern shore of the Red River Delta, Trang An is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, some of which are submerged, and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs. Exploration of some of the highe ...