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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 329,560 square kilometres (slightly larger than New Mexico) with 86,116,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Vietnam

The terrain features 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 natural disasters 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

Vietnam Flag Icon

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military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973.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

SummaryContinent: Asia
Neighbours: China, Laos, Cambodia
Capital: Hanoi
Size329,560 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 127,243 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than New Mexico
CurrencyName Dong, Currency Code:VND
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).vn
Telephone Country Prefix+84
Mobile Phone Connections98,224,000
Landline Phone Connections17,427,000

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 nameValueWorld Rank
Area331,210 (sq km)66

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population92,477,857 14
Population growth rate1.03 (%)112
Birth rate16.56 (births/1,000 population)121
Death rate5.94 (deaths/1,000 population)166
Net migration rate-0.33 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)125
Maternal mortality rate59.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)101
Infant mortality rate19.61 (deaths/1,000 live births)95
Life expectancy at birth72.65 (years)130
Total fertility rate1.87 (children born/woman)143
Health expenditures6.80 (% of GDP)89
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.40 (%)77
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS280,000 21
HIV/AIDS - deaths14,000 22
Obesity - adult prevalence rate1.70 (%)186
Children under the age of 5 years underweight20.20 (%)35
Education expenditures6.60 (% of GDP)29
Unemployment, youth ages 15-244.60 (%)135


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)325,900,000,000 42
GDP - real growth rate5.00 (%)63
GDP - per capita (PPP)3,600 170
Labor force49,180,000 13
Unemployment rate4.50 (%)40
Distribution of family income - Gini index37.60 75
Investment (gross fixed)28.20 (% of GDP)28
Taxes and other revenues30.50 (% of GDP)90
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.90 (% of GDP)134
Public debt48.20 (% of GDP)67
Inflation rate (consumer prices)6.80 (%)176
Central bank discount rate15.00 (%)11
Commercial bank prime lending rate16.96 (%)30
Stock of narrow money37,050,000,000 53
Stock of broad money163,900,000,000 45
Stock of domestic credit140,000,000,000 47
Market value of publicly traded shares26,000,000,000 59
Industrial production growth rate4.00 (%)76
Current account balance-457,000,000 92
Exports114,600,000,000 35
Imports114,300,000,000 33
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold20,900,000,000 57
Debt - external41,850,000,000 64
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home75,450,000,000 46
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad7,700,000,000 57


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production117,000,000,000 (kWh)32
Electricity - consumption104,000,000,000 (kWh)33
Electricity - exports1,555,000 (kWh)86
Electricity - imports2,700,000,000 (kWh)46
Electricity - installed generating capacity26,300,000 (kW)30
Electricity - from fossil fuels55.00 (% of total installed capacity)146
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants45.00 (% of total installed capacity)47
Electricity - from other renewable sources0.10 (% of total installed capacity)91
Crude oil - production336,100 (bbl/day)33
Crude oil - exports188,000 (bbl/day)32
Crude oil - proved reserves4,700,000,000 (bbl)27
Refined petroleum products - production112,000 (bbl/day)71
Refined petroleum products - consumption259,900 (bbl/day)48
Refined petroleum products - exports37,050 (bbl/day)65
Refined petroleum products - imports184,900 (bbl/day)28
Natural gas - production9,300,000,000 (cu m)45
Natural gas - consumption10,200,000,000 (cu m)46
Natural gas - imports890,000,000 (cu m)61
Natural gas - proved reserves699,400,000,000 (cu m)31
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy112,800,000 (Mt)38


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use10,175,000 21
Telephones - mobile cellular127,318,000 8
Internet hosts189,553 74
Internet users23,382,000 17


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports44 97
Railways2,632 (km)62
Roadways180,549 (km)26
Waterways17,702 (km)7
Merchant marine579 20


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures2.50 (% 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

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 Fo ...
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 complex w ...
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 ...