Vietnam is an independent state in Southeast Asia. Despite its small size, it is a fascinating country with numerous natural attractions, historical monuments, and unique cultural traditions. It is a land with warm seas and beautiful beaches, impenetrable jungles, and mighty rivers. The people here are distinct from other nations, yet they are all very open, friendly, and independent. Welcome to Vietnam – the country eagerly awaits you!

Vietnam on the World Map

Geographic Location and Nature of Vietnam

The Republic of Vietnam is located in the eastern part of the Indochina Peninsula, which is part of Southeast Asia. Vietnam stretches in a narrow strip from the borders with China to the southernmost tip of the peninsula. In addition to China, its land neighbors are Laos and Cambodia. The country’s coasts are washed by the waters of the South China Sea, which is part of the Pacific Ocean basin. In the southwest, Vietnam is bordered by the Gulf of Thailand. The total length of the coastline is 3,200 kilometers. The coast is generously sprinkled with picturesque islands, most of which are too small to be inhabited.

The largest island in the country is Phu Quoc. It is located in the south and is washed by the waters of the Gulf of Thailand. The island covers an area of 593 square kilometers and is one of the most important resorts of the republic.

Halong Bay in Vietnam mobile phone

The terrain of the country is predominantly mountainous. Nearly three-quarters of the territory is covered by mountains and plateaus, separating Vietnam from other countries in the region. Extensive lowlands are found in the northeast and south of the country, in the Mekong Delta.

The highest point of the republic is Mount Fansipan, which stands at 3,143 meters.

Due to its geographical features, there are no long rivers in Vietnam. However, two of the largest rivers in the region, the Mekong and the Hongha, flow into the ocean here. In total, there are more than 2,300 rivers in the country, but there are no large lakes.

The nature of Vietnam is very diverse. Approximately 42% of the territory is covered with tropical forests, and significant areas are used for agriculture. Among the representatives of the fauna in the country’s forests are numerous monkeys, deer, and tigers. In the mountainous areas, bears and wild boars can be found, while wild elephants roam the savannas.

Vietnam Summary: What’s Important to Know

If you are planning to visit this country, here are some of the most important things to know:


The official language of the country is Vietnamese, which is the native language for the majority of the population (96%). Additionally, 132 languages of national minorities are used in the country. Older generations may speak French fluently, but the number of French speakers is steadily decreasing.


A beautiful Vietnamese girl

Currently, the country has just over 96 million inhabitants, with only 30% living in cities. The republic is a multi-ethnic state, although more than 85% of the population belongs to the titular nation, the Viet. In addition to them, the country is home to representatives of 54 other nationalities, including the Tay, Thai, Muong, Hmong, and many others.

  • For more detailed insights into Vietnamese culture, character, and local customs, additional information can be found in various comprehensive articles.


Vietnam is the only country in the region that is officially a secular state. The majority of the population is considered atheist, although in reality, more than 80% continue to practice ancestor worship, which does not have the status of a religious denomination. However, Tho Cun To Tien (as the local ancestor worship is called) has its own rituals, which are predominantly performed in Buddhist temples. The country has just over 9% Buddhists and another 4% Christians, predominantly Catholics.


Vietnam lies in the tropical monsoon climate zone, which varies significantly between the northern and southern regions of the country. In the north, the climate is cooler, with winter temperatures dropping to +15 degrees Celsius. In the south, there is little seasonal variation, and the average temperature exceeds +25 degrees Celsius year-round.

The rainy season starts in the summer, brought by the southeast monsoon. It begins in May and ends in October, bringing the maximum rainfall (up to 2,500 mm). During the other months, there is almost no rain.

From November to March, the country experiences a dry season. The number of sunny days is at its peak during this period, and temperatures in the south can rise above +32 degrees Celsius.

The best time to visit the country is during the transitional seasons: February-April and August-October. This is the peak tourist season when prices for vacations increase significantly.

Sea Temperature in the South China Sea

The average sea temperature off the coast of Vietnam varies greatly depending on the geographic location. The north is always cooler, while the south maintains a relatively consistent water temperature year-round.

  • Winter (December-January): +28 degrees Celsius on Phu Quoc Island, +24 in Nha Trang, and +19 in Ha Long.
  • Spring (March-May): +30 degrees Celsius on Phu Quoc, +27 in Nha Trang, and +23 in Ha Long.
  • Summer (June-August): +28 to +30 degrees Celsius along the entire coast.
  • Autumn (September-November): +27 degrees Celsius in the north and +29 degrees Celsius in the south.


The national currency is the Vietnamese dong, which is formally divided into 10 hao or 100 xu, although these smaller denominations are no longer in circulation. Currently, banknotes in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000, and 500,000 dong are in use, as well as coins in 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 5,000 dong.

Tourists are advised to carry cash in US dollars, or, alternatively, euros or Chinese yuan. In major cities and almost everywhere in resorts, you can pay with international credit cards. However, in rural areas, cash is the only accepted form of payment. It is best to exchange dollars for dong in tourist companies, large stores, and pharmacies, where the exchange rate is most favorable and there are no queues, unlike in bank branches.

Exchanging cash at airports is not recommended due to highly unfavorable exchange rates. The approximate exchange rate is 1 dollar for 24,000 dong.

Political System

Vietnam is a republic. The highest organ of state power is the National Assembly, whose deputies are elected for a five-year term. The head of state is the president, who is elected by the National Assembly. The country is governed by the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Administratively, the country is divided into 58 provinces and 5 centrally controlled cities. The capital of the country is Hanoi.

Symbols of Vietnam

Dragon – A symbol of wisdom and immortality. The republic itself is also called the Land of the Red Dragon.

Lotus – The national flower, symbolizing purity and beauty.

Bamboo – The national tree, representing longevity.

Non La – The famous conical hat, the national headgear of the republic.

Major Cities and Resorts

The modern city of Hanoi, capital of Vietnam

Modern Hanoi, Vietnam's capital

Ho Chi Minh City – The largest and most populous city in the country, with a population of 9.2 million people. Founded in 1698, it is the largest industrial center in the country and was formerly known as Saigon. The city boasts numerous skyscrapers, interesting museums, and the Binh Quoi ethnic village.

Hanoi – The capital and cultural center of the republic, home to 8.5 million people. Founded in the 5th century, it is renowned for its numerous cultural and historical landmarks, including the Hanoi Citadel, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and West Lake with its many pagodas.

Nha Trang – One of the most popular resorts in the country, originally a fishing village. Now it is home to 400,000 people. The city has a well-developed tourist infrastructure, beautiful beaches, a mud bath center, and many historical monuments.

Phu Quoc – One of the fastest-growing tourist centers, it is very popular due to its location in the Gulf of Thailand, which is sheltered from Pacific typhoons.

Da Nang – One of the oldest cities in the country, founded in 192 AD, with a population of 1.2 million people. The city features several unique pagodas, the statue of the goddess Quan Am, and is located near a famous amusement park.

Natural Disasters

Nha Trang City - Tornado - News

Nha Trang City - Cyclone - News

Vietnam is considered the most hazardous place in Southeast Asia regarding the threat of natural disasters. The primary calamity facing the republic is tropical typhoons, which strike the southern part of the country during the rainy season. These typhoons lead to catastrophic floods, hurricane-force winds, and landslides. The Mekong Delta is the most frequently affected by floods, but other regions of the country are also impacted, resulting in significant destruction and loss of life.

The most devastating flood in the country’s history occurred in the Hongha Delta in 1971, claiming over 100,000 lives. However, in recent years, the number of fatalities during severe floods and typhoons has not exceeded a few dozen, with most deaths resulting from landslides.

During the dry season, forest fires become more frequent, especially in mountainous areas. The primary causes of these fires are careless handling of fire and the clearing of new land for agriculture. Typically, such fires are small in area and do not pose a threat to tourism.

Vietnam has no high mountains, and therefore, no volcanoes. Earthquakes are not uncommon, but their magnitude rarely exceeds 4.0, making them relatively harmless. The largest earthquake in the country’s history occurred on June 12, 1961, with a magnitude of 5.7.

  • You can read about the most devastating disasters in Vietnam’s history in this article.

How to Get to Vietnam

For European or American tourists, the only way to enter the country is by plane. Residents of neighboring countries can enter by bus or car. Vietnam has nine operational and two under-construction international airports.

The largest international airport in the republic is Tan Son Nhat International Airport, located in Ho Chi Minh City. It handles over 40 million passengers annually and connects the country with destinations worldwide. Direct flights to Tan Son Nhat are available from cities such as Beijing, Tokyo, Delhi, Paris, Melbourne, Istanbul, and many others.

Many tourists also arrive through the airports in Hanoi, Cam Ranh, Phu Quoc, and Da Nang.

Best Things to Do in Vietnam

Po Nagar Cham Towers in Vietnam

Po Nagar Cham Towers - Nha Trang, Vietnam

The tourism industry is one of the most important sectors for Vietnam’s economy. The country has a well-developed infrastructure offering numerous services and unique locations. Vietnam provides everything for a quality and diverse vacation: the sea, beautiful islands, jungles, and mysterious temples. Below are 10 of the most attractive activities that make Vietnam worth visiting.

1. Beach Holidays: Most tourists come to Vietnam for its beach holidays. The country offers beautiful beaches with white sand and well-developed infrastructure, such as Long Beach on Phu Quoc, Cat Ba Island in Ha Long Bay, and Tran Phu Beach in Nha Trang.

2. Diving: This activity is attractive due to Vietnam’s rich underwater life and relatively low prices. The waters are home to thousands of exotic fish species, colorful corals, and jellyfish. Nha Trang is popular among beginners, while experienced divers prefer Hon Mun Island. The cost for two dives is approximately $75.

3. Kitesurfing: Enthusiasts visit Vietnam mainly from November to April when wind conditions are optimal, although kitesurfing is possible year-round. Many Vietnamese beaches, including those in Nha Trang, are ideal for kitesurfing. A full kitesurfing kit costs about $100 per day.

4. Island Cruises: The abundance of small, forest-covered islands makes boat or junk cruises exceptionally popular among tourists. Ha Long Bay is one of the most remarkable places for such cruises, a true earthly paradise.

5. Kayaking: This activity allows you to explore Vietnam’s nature from a boat. Options include sea tours in places like Ha Long Bay and river tours such as along the Cai River in Nha Trang. These tours offer views of authentic villages, ancient temples, forests, and waterfalls.

6. Trekking: Hiking enthusiasts will find many trails in this amazing country. Northern Vietnam offers challenging treks that allow you to disconnect from civilization, while the south presents adrenaline-raising adventures. These trips require time, often a week or more, but are well worth it. A hike along the mountain trails of northern Vietnam costs around $900 for nine days.

7. Electric Sledding: This simple but thrilling adventure doesn’t require much time. Several tracks run through jungles, leading to picturesque spots, such as the famous waterfall in Dalat. The cost for a ride is only $3-5 per person.

8. Natural Wonders: One such wonder is Son Doong Cave, one of the largest caves in the world, located in a national park in central Vietnam. Known for forming actual clouds inside due to its cavernous height of up to 250 meters, the cave even has forests lit by sunlight through ceiling collapses.

9. Historical Monuments: The rich history of the country has left numerous marks of past glory. Beautiful temples, monasteries, and pagodas can be found everywhere. Notable sites include the Tran Quoc Pagoda, the My Son temple complex, and the Cham Towers in Nha Trang.

10. Architectural Marvels: Modern Vietnamese architecture is also very picturesque and colorful. Highlights include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, the Golden Bridge in Da Nang, the cable car to Hon Tre Island in Nha Trang, and the Hang Nga Guesthouse in Dalat.

Holidays in Vietnam

Vietnam - Golden Bridge

Vietnam-Golden Bridge-Danang

Vietnamese people are joyful and lively, and they can’t imagine their lives without celebrations. On a national level, there are only six official holidays, but in addition to these, there are 26 commemorative dates that can be broadly categorized as either secular or religious.

Secular Holidays:

  • Independence Day: Celebrated annually on September 2nd.
  • Victory and Reunification Day: Celebrated on April 30th.
  • Hung Kings Memorial Day: A Vietnamese holiday and festival honoring the Hung Kings, who, according to legend, were the first rulers of Vietnam. This holiday takes place on the 10th day of the third lunar month.
  • International Workers’ Day: Celebrated on May 1st.
  • Western New Year: Celebrated on the night of December 31st to January 1st.

Religious Holidays:

  • Tet (Vietnamese New Year): Considered more of a religious holiday, Tet is celebrated in late January or early February.

Traditional Vietnamese Festivals:

  • Buddha’s Birthday (Vesak): Celebrated on the full moon day in May and is the most sacred day for millions of Buddhists worldwide.
  • Hoi An Lantern Festival: Held on the 14th day of each lunar month, coinciding with the full moon.
  • Mid-Autumn Festival: Falls on the full moon day of the 15th day of the eighth lunar month of the Chinese calendar.
  • Kitchen Guardians’ Worship Day: Celebrated on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month (seven days before Tet).

These holidays often turn into colorful festivals that consistently attract tourists.

Safety for Tourists in Vietnam

In the Global Peace Index, which considers factors such as tranquility, attitude towards tourists, and various other elements, Vietnam ranks 60th, between the United Kingdom and France. This is an excellent ranking among Southeast Asian countries, making the republic one of the safest places for vacation.

Vietnamese people are friendly and hospitable. Tourists are welcomed, but not always with selfless intentions. While the country ranks very low in terms of serious crimes, it is among the top for petty thefts. Theft is rampant, so tourists must be vigilant about their belongings, even those left in hotel rooms. Many streets become unsafe for walking after dark.

Another issue tourists face is chaotic traffic. Although traffic rules exist, they are rarely followed. Therefore, crossing the street requires great caution, as does using rented vehicles.

Sanitary and hygiene conditions also leave much to be desired. Only drink boiled or bottled water, wash fruits thoroughly, and generally adhere to personal hygiene rules. Try unfamiliar food cautiously and always carry medication for digestive issues.

Natural dangers in the country are plentiful. These include sharks that occasionally come into shallow waters and jellyfish, especially abundant during the hot season. Sand flea bites can be unpleasant. Vietnam also has many venomous snakes, including sea snakes. Many mosquitoes carry dangerous infections such as dengue fever.

Therefore, while vacationing in Vietnam, one must remain vigilant. However, by following basic safety precautions, you can have a wonderful time.

Travel Cost to Vietnam

The cost of a vacation in Vietnam can vary widely depending on whether you plan to travel independently or use the services of a travel company and experienced guides. Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia, almost on the other side of the world from both Europe and the United States. Therefore, flights for tourists from the EU can be long and expensive. For example, a round-trip ticket to Ho Chi Minh City from Paris starts at 550 euros in the lowest price segment.

The most affordable tours to the country start from 500 to 1,200 dollars for 7 days, excluding airfare. This is very inexpensive and suitable even for budget travelers. Once in the country, tourists can expect the following expenses:

  • Food: Food prices here are significantly lower than in Europe. For example, a meal in an inexpensive restaurant costs 10-20 dollars for two without alcohol. Fast food costs 2-5 dollars. A cup of cappuccino is 1 dollar, and a combo meal at McDonald’s is 4 dollars.
  • Accommodation: The average price for a double room in a three-star hotel is 10-30 dollars. The most comfortable five-star hotels offer rooms starting at 100 dollars.
  • Sightseeing: Most beaches in the country are free, although you have to pay for additional services (a sunbed costs from 1 dollar). Visits to museums, temples, and monasteries are paid, costing from 70 cents to 2 dollars. Tour prices can vary greatly. For instance, a one-day cruise to the islands of Ha Long Bay costs from 50 dollars, while a two-day cruise starts at 150 dollars. A full-day visit to an amusement park costs 38 dollars, and treatments at the Nha Trang mud bath center range from 4 to 27 dollars.
  • Souvenirs: Tourists bring home locally produced clothing (a T-shirt from 5 dollars, shorts from 10 dollars, a summer dress from 27 dollars), crocodile leather goods, local cosmetics and remedies, pearls, and jewelry. Popular food souvenirs include fruits (mango, rambutan, lychee at 1 dollar per kilogram), fish sauces, civet coffee, green tea, and local snake-infused alcohol. Souvenir expenses vary greatly depending on personal preferences.
  • Transportation: The easiest way to get around cities is by bus. A city bus ticket costs 30 cents, and slightly over 1 dollar to the airport. Taxi fares start from 0.7 dollars for the initial charge and then an average of 0.7 dollars per kilometer. Motorbike rentals cost 3-4 dollars per day.

Thus, considering a contingency fund for unexpected expenses, a vacation for two in Vietnam can cost from 1,200 to 2,500 dollars for 7 days, including airfare. The maximum vacation cost can, of course, be much higher.

Vietnam Holiday Reviews

If you have already visited Vietnam, please share your experiences in the comments. Write a few words about what you liked the most, which moments remain unforgettable, and what you would recommend to other tourists. We would be very grateful for your recommendations!

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