Vietnam

Introduction

History

The ancestors of the Vietnamese are said to be the nomad Mongols who hailed from China and also, the refugees from Indonesia.

The history of Vietnam says that the nation established in 2879 B.C. by Hung Vuong who is believed to be the first ruler of Vietnam. The country was ruled by China from the 111 B.C. to the 15th century and given the status of a helot state. During that period, it was called Nam Viet. This era is also known as the period of Nationalist Expansion, and during this time, Cambodians pushed out of the present-day southern Vietnam.

After about a century, Europeans came into the area of Vietnam. The first Europeans to enter Vietnam were the Portuguese. The invasion of France in Vietnam started in the year of 1858 and was concluded by the end of 1884. Thus, in 1887 Vietnam became a region under the French Indochina. After the World War II, Vietnam attained independence, but even after that, the French rulers continued to govern the country till 1954. During this year, the French were subjugated by the forces of Communist parties under the leader named Ho Chi Minh, who ruled the northern area after his victory.

In an endeavor to strengthen the Vietnamese government, the United States provided military and economic assistance to South Vietnam during the 1960s. But after a ceasefire agreement in 1973, the armed forces from the United States were withdrawn. After two years, the troops from the North Vietnam swarmed the South. It led to a significant disturbance of peace in the country. The impacts of such disturbances persisted even after two decades in the form of weak economic growth which was a result of standard policies of leadership. After 2001, the authorities and the government of Vietnam started to pay heed towards the liberalization of the economy and in this concern; many structural reforms were passed in a light to renew the economy and to produce the competitive industries that can boost the trade of the country.

The country also faces oppositions and protests from the Montagnard minority of the Central Highlands. The reason behind these oppositions is the loss of land which was taken over by the Vietnamese colonizers. These protests still continue to the present day.

PEOPLE, CULTURE AND RELIGION
  • Population

    The people of Vietnam is composed of 90% Vietnamese. The indigenous groups of which the ethnic minority population consists of belonging to the Thai and Hmong. These minorities contribute 85% to the community and have put down their roots in the mountainous area of the country since centuries. The mid of the Southern Vietnam inhabited the Chinese population that makes the 3% of the total population.

  • Language

    The terms used by the people of Vietnam is a blend of Mon-Khmer and Tai. Most of the words used for official, a technical and literary purpose derives the Chinese language. The system of writing used in Vietnam is called Chu Nom.

  • Religion

    The religion followed by the people in Vietnam is Buddhism. This doctrine developed in Vietnam since ages and on a very broad scale. There are millions of followers of Buddhism and around 20,000 pagodas in Vietnam. But this is not the only religion adopted by the Vietnamese as there have been some imported religions from time to time. For the instant, Catholicism is the second major religion in the country which was brought by the missionaries from Europe. There are around 6,000 churches in Vietnam. Indigenous religions also exist in Vietnam like HoaHao sects and Cao Dai. People often embrace ancestor worship, animism, atheism, etc.

  • Tourism

    Vietnam is a land of an assortment of old and picturesque vistas that attract a lot of tourists to the country. The tourist spots in Vietnam are Ho Chi Minh City that possesses the necessary evidence in the war museums, and the scenic beauty can be at the Ha Long Bay in the North which adorned with the towering islands, caves and junk boats. Hanoi, Da Lat, and Sa Pa are also some of the most famous tourist's places in Vietnam.Thus, the economy of Vietnam is greatly influenced by its globally significant tourism.

TOURISM

Vietnam is a land of an assortment of old and picturesque vistas that attract a lot of tourists to the country. The tourist spots in Vietnam are Ho Chi Minh City that possesses the necessary evidence in the war museums, and the scenic beauty can be at the Ha Long Bay in the North which adorned with the towering islands, caves and junk boats. Hanoi, Da Lat, and Sa Pa are also some of the most famous tourist's places in Vietnam.

The country is globally famous for its scenic tourist attractions that offer a lot of adventure to the tourists. Visitors can take up trekking trips, cruise trips and can even enjoy the indoors of the cities on their journey to Laos. All the fun accompanies the unique and mouth-watering cuisine of Laos and that of the Southeast Asia.Thus, the economy of Vietnam is greatly influenced by its globally significant tourism

Highlights

Map

The Social Republic of Vietnam (SRV) is in the middle of the Southern Asian Region. It is in the easternmost fringe of the Indochina Peninsula The country shares its boundaries with countries like China in the North and Laos and Cambodia in the West. The country’s map simulates the ‘S’ shape.

Vietnam is between 8°and 24°N latitudes and 102° and 110° E longitudes. The coastline of Vietnam is around 3260 Kilometers (1258.693 square miles), and the inland borderline is around 3730 Kilometers (1440.1611 square miles) in length. From the northernmost point to the southernmost point, the length of Vietnam measures to around 1650 Kilometers (637.0686 square miles). The width of Vietnam, when measured from the eastern coast to the western border, is measured to be 600 Kilometers (231.661 square miles) at the widest area and 50 Kilometers (19.3051 square miles) at the narrowest area of the central coast in the province of QuangBinh. The continental shelf area is around 700,000 so km in measurement.

  • CLIMATE

    A diversity of topographic reliefs and the difference in latitudes makes the climate different from place to place in Vietnam. Vietnam is in a tropical zone. The climate of Vietnam is sometimes sunny days, strong monsoon influence and a high proportion of humidity and rain. The places are situated in the mountainous or tropical areas witness temperate climate.

    Throughout the year, the average temperature in Vietnam ranges from 22°C to 27°C.

Climate Information:

  • Guide

    In Vietnam the climate is tropical in the north, and subtropical in the south-central, and is influenced by the monsoons: the south-west monsoon from May to October, and the northeast monsoon from November to April. The former brings heavy rains in exposed areas, therefore the north and the south, while along the central strip, protected by the mountains, it brings relatively little rains and leaves often space to the sun. The north-east monsoon is generally drier, but it brings heavy rains in the early months (October-December) in the centre-south, and light but frequent rains in the north.

    In inland areas, there are the hills and mountains that make the climate milder in the summer months, but even cold in winter in the north.

    The rainfall amount is normally between 1,500 and 2,500 millimetres per year, while there's a relatively small arid zone in the PhanThiet area (north-east of Ho Chi Minh City), where it's slightly above 1,000 mm.



Visa Information:

  • Passports

    Your passport must be valid for six months upon arrival in Vietnam. Many nationalities need to’ arrange a visa in advance.

  • Visas

    Some nationalities need a visa in advance for all visits, some don't. The standard length of stay for tourist visas is 30 days; for visa-exempt nationalities it is 15 days

  • Types of Visas

    The (very complicated) visa situation has recently changed for many nationalities, and is fluid – always check the latest regulations. The government has relaxed visa exemption rules to include more countries and reduced visa fees in a bid to stimulate tourism.

    Firstly, if you are staying more than 15 days and from a Western country, you'll still need a visa (or approval letter from an agent) in advance. If your visit is less than 15 days, some nationalities are now visa-exempt. Tourist visas are valid for either 30 days or 90 days.

    Until recently there have been two methods of applying for a visa: via online visa agents, or via a Vietnamese embassy or consulate. That is changing as e-visas are rolled out for many visitors.

  • Online Visa Agents

    This is now the preferred method for most travellers arriving by air, since it's cheaper, faster and you don't have to part with your passport by posting it to an embassy. It can only be used if you are flying into any of Vietnam's five international airports, not at land crossings. The process is straightforward, you fill out an online application form and pay the agency fee. You'll then receive by email a Visa on Arrival approval letter signed by Vietnamese immigration which you print out and show on arrival in a separate queue at customs, where you pay your visa stamping fee in US dollars, cash only. There is no additional visa fee.

  • Visas via an Embassy or Consulate

    You can also obtain visas through Vietnamese embassies and consulates around the world but fees are normally higher than using a visa agent, and (depending, on the country) the process can be slow. In Asia, Vietnamese visas tend to be issued in two to three working days in Cambodia, or in Europe and North America it takes around a week.

  • E-visas

    A pilot e-visa program introduced in early 2017 allows visitors to apply for visas online through the Vietnam Immigration Department. Citizens of 40 countries are eligible, including those from the UK and the USA. E-visas are single-entry only, valid for 30 days (non-extendable). Processing takes three to five days. As this is a pilot program, conditions may change and some website glitches have been reported; check the latest and apply at www.immigration.gov.vn.

  • Visa-exempted Nationalities

    At this time, citizens of the following countries do not need to apply in advance for a Vietnamese visa (when arriving by either air or land). Always double-check visa requirements before you travel as policies change regularly.

  • Visa-exempted Nationalities

    At this time, citizens of the following countries do not need to apply in advance for a Vietnamese visa (when arriving by either air or land). Always double-check visa requirements before you travel as policies change regularly.

  • Country

    Myanmar, Brunei 14 Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, UK 15 Philippines 21 Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore,Thailand 30

  • Multiple-Entry Visas

    It’s possible to enter Cambodia or Laos from Vietnam and then reenter without having to apply for another visa. However, you must hold a multiple-entry visa before you leave Vietnam.

    If you arrived in Vietnam on a single-entry visa, multiple-entry visas are easiest to arrange in Hanoi or HCMC, but you will have to ask a visa or travel agent to do the paperwork for you. Agents charge about US$50 for the service and visa fees are charged on top of this – the procedure takes up to seven days.

  • Visa Extensions

    If you have the dollars, they have the rubber stamp and have to be organised via agents. The procedure can take seven days and you can only extend the visa for 30 or 90 days depending on the visa you hold.

    You can extend your visa in big cities, but if it's done in a different city from the one you arrived in (oh the joys of Vietnamese bureaucracy!). In practice, extensions work most smoothly in HCMC, Hanoi, Danang and Hue.

    Note that travellers using a visa exemption cannot extend their stay at the end of the visa-exemption period and must leave Vietnam; they cannot return again using a visa exemption within 30 days. So if you are from a non-visa exemption country (say the USA, Australia or New Zealand – for now) or you wish to stay longer in Vietnam than your permitted exemption period, or you wish to enter and leave Vietnam multiple times, you will need to apply for a visa in advance, which may be online with an e-visa – check the current regulations.



What to pack

  • Guide

    Hundreds of thousands of people travel to experience the wonders of south-east Asia every single year, and understandably, Vietnam – the land of emerald waters, tropical islands and an exceptional history – is one of the top destinations in that part of the world. Although visitors may travel on a variety of budgets, trip durations and holidaying styles, here’s a list of essential items that should definitely be packed no matter what. Take a look at these 15 suggestions:

  • A Backpack

    Considering all the walking and traveling you will be doing, a thick-strapped backpack is necessary to carry all of your belongings, like a change of clothes, a water bottle, sunscreen and snacks for the day. Plus, if you make any purchases along the way, they can be stored safely in your pack instead of in plastic bags that would otherwise get in the way.

  • A Travel Pillow

    If you are planning on taking a number of trips around the country, prepare for hours upon hours of time spent on the road. These days, transport within Vietnam offers air-conditioning, but a travel pillow will aid you in getting that much needed shut-eye whilst in transit.

  • Ear Plugs

    Light sleepers should bring a pair of ear plugs with them to get a full night of restful sleep. Very cheap and effective, they are a way to ward off distracting snorers in shared hostel rooms, as well as that wailing baby on that long bus journey across the country.

  • A Quick-Dry Towel

    Not all hostels or hotels will provide towels free of charge, so a super lightweight and non-bulky option might be a good idea. A quick dry towel is an essential item that can really enhance your traveling experience, whether it is drying off after getting caught in torrential rain during the monsoon season or covering yourself after a swim.

  • Diarrhea Treatment

    There’s no getting away from it, at some point during your travels, it is likely that you will be hit by a stomach bug from drinking non-bottled water or simply eating something you’re not used to. Although most symptoms will pass quite quickly, it might be worthwhile to bring along travel remedies to speed up the recovery process when you’re in areas far away from a drug store.

  • Below-the-Knee Skirts or Trousers

    If you would like to get access to pagodas and temples, modest below-the-knee clothing is a must. Despite the heat, local men and women dress quite conservatively, and you should be expected to do the same by covering your shoulders and legs, especially when visiting sacred places and government buildings. Avoid 100% cotton garments as you are likely to be too hot and uncomfortable – the perfect balance being a blend of Rayon and Polyester.

  • Durable Shoes

    If you’re planning on doing a lot of trekking or hiking on your trip, a pair of durable closed-toe shoes will ensure that your feet remain blister-free and protected from the elements. Alternatively, opt for a comfortable flat sandal as sneakers may not be too kind to your feet in the warm weather.

  • Flip-Flops

    Alongside practical footwear, bring along a pair of flip-flops – or even better, purchase some once you’re there. Not only will these be easy to take off when visiting temples, certain bars and restaurants, but they will also allow your feet to breathe in the hot and humid weather. Avoid expensive footwear that might ‘walk away’ when you’re not looking.

  • Travel Adapter

    Thai sockets fit two plug types. However whilst your plug will work in Thailand, it is recommended you come prepared with a global adapter in case you have to travel through other countries.

  • Portable Phone Charger

    Pre-charged battery packs and portable phone chargers will save your life on that long bus or train ride. This is also essential if you plan on using your GPS a lot, meaning that your battery will burn down faster. After all, there’s nothing worse than being stranded in a place you don’t know.

  • Sun Protection and a Hat

    For protection from the powerful sun rays, opt for a high SPF solution or a spray. A wide-brimmed hat is also a must to ward away the dreaded sun-stroke.

  • A Light-Weight, Waterproof Jacket

    During the monsoon season, it is wise to bring a light jacket to protect you from the rain that can come and go in a flash. Or do as the locals do and opt for a plastic poncho, especially useful if you are planning on cycling or riding a motorbike.

  • Bug-Repellent

    Although malaria is rare and seldom found in most areas of Vietnam, Dengue fever can pose quite a problem – this is a viral infection that knows no bounds, with outbreaks in urban areas being quite common. Due to this, it is wise to carry a bottle of insect-repellent just in case. Try to remember to apply the mosquito repellent every morning before you head out for the day and to re-apply right before dusk.

  • Tiger Balm or Cortisone Cream

    If you do happen to get bitten by mosquitoes, tiger balm or cortisone cream can prevent the bites from getting infected. Rub it over the affected area to reduce aches, swelling and other discomfort.