Top 50 Interesting Facts About Vietnam and Vietnamese people

Vietnam is a unique country in the Indochina Peninsula, sharing many similarities with its neighbors in the region. At the same time, it is an exceptional country with its own customs, history and culture. In our article, we have collected 50 fascinating facts about this country and its people, which will help you to get a first impression and plan an interesting vacation in Vietnam.

50 Most Interesting Facts About Vietnam and Vietnamese People

Let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions and sights of this amazing country.

Historical Facts

1. The first humans appeared on the territory of modern Vietnam 800 thousand years ago. The oldest tools found in Zialai Province belong to this period.

2. The first states of the Southern Viets appeared in the valley of the Hong Ha River in the VI century BC. Then the kingdom of Vanlang was formed, ruled by the eldest son of the Great Dragon, the mythological ancestor of all Vietnamese.

3. But already in the 2nd century B.C. the lands of today’s Vietnam were conquered by the Chinese, who dominated the region until the 5th century A.D..

4. During the Middle Ages, there were numerous civil wars in the area, and the Vietnamese also had to defend themselves against Chinese troops and the powerful Khmer Empire of the time.

5. In the XIX century, the country came under the rule of France, which divided it into three parts: North, Central and South Vietnam.

6. During the Second World War, the country was occupied by Japan. After its liberation in 1945, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was established under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh.

7. The following years were marked by two major wars. First, the DRV fought with France for freedom, then with the United States to reunite the northern and southern parts of the country.

8. In 1976, Vietnam became a unified state, although minor internal conflicts continued until 1989.

Vietnam Today

9. Modern Vietnam is a parliamentary republic with supreme power represented by the National Assembly, the elected body of the Communist Party.

10. The very name «Vietnam» appears in ancient times and translates as the land of the Southern Viets. There is also the land of the Northern Viets – the Chinese province of Yuenan.

11. The capital of the Republic is the city of Hanoi. It was founded in 1010 and is located in the valley between the rivers Hongkha and Tolt. Hence, its name – the city between the rivers.

12. Hanoi is the second city of the Republic in terms of population. It is home to 8.5 million people. Only the southern capital Ho Chi Minh City has a larger population. It has 9.3 million inhabitants.
The modern city of Hanoi, capital of Vietnam

Modern Hanoi, Vietnam's capital

13. Vietnam stretches rather narrowly (in some places only 60 kilometers from the sea to the border) along the South China Sea. In the south, its coasts are washed by the Gulf of Thailand. On land the republic borders with Cambodia, Laos and China.

14. The republic covers an area of 331 thousand square kilometers, but is home to more than 100 million people. This makes Vietnam one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

15. The monetary unit of the Republic is the Dong. This word translates as «copper» and has been used for money since ancient times. Nowadays, the dong has a very low purchasing power and there are banknotes in the country up to 500 thousand dong.

16. Today, Vietnam is a mixed agricultural-industrial economy. It produces mobile phones and electronics, but agriculture still makes a significant contribution to GDP. The country ranks first in the world in coffee exports.

17. The average salary of the population in the country depends largely on the region of residence. In large cities it is around $500 per month, while in agricultural regions it drops to $150.

18. The official language is Vietnamese. It is spoken by 96 percent of the population. At the same time, many national minorities use native languages for communication, of which there are about 100 in the country.

19. Despite the fact that the titular nation, the Vietnamese, accounts for 86 per cent of the total population of the Republic, Vietnam is in fact a multi-ethnic country. Representatives of more than 50 nationalities live here.

20. Officially, Vietnam is a secular state. There is no state religion as in neighboring countries in the region. The majority of the population practice local ancestor worship, but visit Buddhist temples and are considered by tourists to be Vietnamese Buddhists.

21. The Republic is located in the +7 UTC time zone, which is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich time.

Attractions of Vietnam

22. The main tourist attraction of modern Vietnam is probably Halong Bay in the north of the country. The name of this bay translates as «the place where the dragon descended into the sea». There are more than 3000 islets in the bay, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination.

Halong Bay in Vietnam desktop

Halong Bay in Vietnam mobile phone

23. An iconic site for tourists and locals alike is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi. It houses the body of Ho Chi Minh, the founder of the Republic and independence fighter, which was embalmed rather than cremated, against the will of the deceased.

24. The Citadel of Hanoi, a symbol of the capital, recalls earlier stages of history. It was built in ancient times, destroyed and rebuilt many times. Nowadays, archaeological excavations are constantly going on, and the Banner Tower towers over the city.

Po Nagar Cham Towers in Vietnam

Po Nagar Cham Towers - Nha Trang, Vietnam

25. Another iconic place in Hanoi is the Pond of the Returned Sword or Hoan Kiem. According to legend, it was here that the hero Le Loi received a sword from a sacred turtle, which he used to defeat the Chinese invaders. After victory, Le Loi returned the sword to the turtle.

26. A completely different architecture can be observed in Ho Chi Minh City, which used to be called Saigon. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Saigon, built by the French at the end of the XIX century, is considered the symbol of the southern capital. This cathedral is built of red bricks brought specially from Marseille.

27. Another iconic site in Ho Chi Minh City is the famous Kuti Tunnels, a real underground city used by rebels to fight the American troops. Now the site has become a popular tourist attraction.

Vietnam - Golden Bridge

Vietnam-Golden Bridge-Danang

28. Among the attractions in recent years, the Golden Bridge in Da Nang, also known as the «Hands of God», has been particularly popular. The bridge was built in 2018 and is located at an altitude of 1,500 meters. It is in the shape of a golden ribbon held in weight by the hands of giant stone hands. The total length of the bridge is 150 meters.

Character, Traditions and Customs of the Vietnamese People

29. The main character traits of ordinary Vietnamese people are modesty, patience, and diligence, as anyone who has ever visited this country can attest. The formation of these qualities is mainly due to the history of the country, which has had so many episodes of struggle against foreign invaders.

30. Another important characteristic of ordinary Vietnamese people is their collectivism. They do everything together and help each other, whether it is a relative or a stranger in a difficult situation.

31. One cannot ignore such a trait of the local people as patriotism. Flags of the Republic are everywhere, memorable dates of history are widely and massively celebrated, heroes are known, loved, remembered, and tourists like to tell about them.

32. Kinship ties in the country are very strong and families are numerous. And if young Vietnamese in the cities often live separately, in the countryside they are never in a hurry to leave their father’s house. Several generations and even distant relatives can easily live under the same roof.

33. Elders in the countryside are treated with respect, their words and opinions are always listened to, the eldest in the family is considered the head of the family.

34. Vietnamese treat children even more reverently. They are loved and pampered, and not necessarily their own. Often, ordinary people will treat the children of tourists right on the street, and parents can make a nice gift.

35. Because of the tropical climate, the locals prefer to start their work day very early, even before sunrise, to allow for a long lunch break until the heat subsides. Even school classes here start at 7 a.m.

36. Contrary to popular belief, most Vietnamese are not Buddhists. They worship their ancestors, and every home has an altar in front of which they not only pray, but perform all their ceremonies. Even newlyweds exchange rings in front of their home altars.

37. There are interesting funeral traditions in this country. Cremation is common here, but the funeral itself is very long. The Vietnamese mourn the deceased for exactly 100 days, and the mourning lasts up to 3 years.

38. As in many neighboring countries, people here do not like to sunbathe. Overly tanned skin is considered a sign of poverty and physical labor. Therefore, local fashionistas hide their faces from the sun’s rays under masks or use special protective creams.

39. Traditional conical Non La hats are considered one of the symbols of the country. It is worn by both men and women. The usual clothing of a Vietnamese is baggy pants and shirts that do not restrict movement, very comfortable and practical.

40. As elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Vietnamese cuisine involves the extensive use of pungent spices, which help fight intestinal infections typical of the hot climate. The famous fish sauce is made from rotten fish and has a peculiar odor.

41. And the favorite drink of the Vietnamese is not coffee, which they produce, but sugarcane juice or green tea with lotus. However, young people increasingly favor beer and coffee.

Nature of Vietnam

42. The country is located in Southeast Asia on the Indochinese peninsula. Two thirds of the republic are covered with mountains and plateaus, but in the north and south stand out vast lowlands – the valleys of the Hongkha and Mekong rivers.

43. The highest mountains are located in the northwestern part of the country. There is the highest point of the republic – Mount Fanshipan. Its height is 3143 meters.

44. The country is situated in the area of tropical monsoon climate, but due to the extension of the territory in meridional direction, the weather conditions of the north and the south are very different. The south has a hot climate throughout the year, while the north can be cool in winter.

45. In the north, the beach season on the coast of the South China Sea can only be enjoyed from April to November, while in the south, the warm Gulf of Thailand can be swum in all year round. The total length of the coastline is 3260 kilometers.

46. Along the coast are thousands of small islands, covered with dense forest and a favorite place for tourists. The largest island is Phu Quoc in the Gulf of Thailand. Its area is just over 500 square kilometers.

47. Vietnam has more than 3200 rivers, but almost all of them are of short length. The exceptions are the Mekong and the Hongkha, which originate in neighboring countries.

48. There are six volcanoes in the Republic, which are now considered dormant. Most of them are located on small islands and archipelagos in the South China Sea.

49. Thanks to the abundance of mountains, the country has many picturesque waterfalls and caves. Among them is the world’s largest cave, Shodong Cave. Its volume is estimated at 38 million cubic kilometers. In some places, the height of the cave vaults exceeds 200 meters, and real clouds can form under the dome.

50. The nature of the republic is characterized by tropical diversity. Here grow humid tropical forests, bamboo groves, lotus blossoms. There are different species of monkeys, tigers, elephants and crocodiles.


Friends! If you know more interesting facts about Vietnamese and Vietnam, please share them in the comments. This country is full of amazing stories, culture and traditions, and many people would be happy to learn something new. We will be very grateful!

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