Though many westerners might still view Vietnam through the lens of war, in reality, the country is now a land of harmony and peace; full of wonderful natural sites, cultural and culinary surprises. Many of these historic and splendid places have been recognized as a World Heritage by UNESCO.
Vietnam has a length of around 2000 kilometers long and governed by 63 administrative units. It spans over 3 regions. Thanks to such diversity, the tourism industry is steadily on the rise all over the country.
Vietnam’s natural geography, rich history, and diverse culture have created great potential. It plays a significant role in its modern economy. Veterans, backpackers, and most anyone who has an affinity with nature frequent the country so much, that magazines worldwide took notice and hailed it as Southeast Asia’s new tourist destination. Long coastlines, dense forests, and towering mountains, these are just some of the numerous landscapes that all contribute to the magnificent country of Vietnam.
Discussing the diverse culture in Vietnam is so complex that it would take more than just a history lesson. From the indigenous crafts that reflect old mercantile practices to the metropolitan’s towering glass and steel buildings, it all shares Vietnam’s pivotal position in the pursuit of East Asian power and prosperity. Ancient Chinese temples to the North, pagodas originating from the Hindu at the South, and let’s not forget all that French architecture during the colonial period, every influence had a major impact that has shaped Vietnam to what it is today.
Vietnam’s geographical location places it where tropical monsoon climates with high humidity reign for about 80% every year. However, due to a huge difference in topography throughout, this creates a unique climate zone for each of the major regions. Densely forested mountains and vast ocean waters affect the weather and in turn, affect tourism itineraries as well.
Northern Vietnam enjoys the most diversified climate with four seasons throughout the year. Frequent heat and rain showers are common from April to September, while October to March offers a more temperate weather condition. Central Vietnam’s weather is tumultuous.
The dry and hot winds from the Southwest batters the entirety from January till late August, with temperatures reaching up to mid-30°C. Then ridiculous amounts of rainfall follow for the rest of the year.
Southern Vietnam’s climate is dry from November to April while being wet and humid from May to October. There’s not a wrong time to visit Vietnam as you’d experience sunshine and varying amounts of rainfall. It all depends on your itineraries so make sure to plan.
The population diversity in Vietnam comprises of 54 ethnic groups. That scatter throughout the 331,210 square kilometers of Vietnam. The majority which accounts for about 86% of the country’s total population is the “Kinh”.
Census reveals that this group populates the Red River Delta, Central Coastal Delta, and Mekong River Delta, to even some of the big cities. The rest of the ethnic groups such as the Tay, Nung, Thai, Muong, and Khmer have numbers reaching up to millions for each.
The rest are minorities with headcounts of less than a thousand. Some of them include the O Du and Brau ethnic groups. Which reside in the mountainous regions stretching from North to South.
In 1994, UNESCO declared Ha Long Bay as a World Heritage Site. The stunning seascape of Ha Long Bay might just have been taken straight from a movie scene. The 1600 limestone islands and islets dotted along the Northern shores of Vietnam spans an area of more than 1500 square kilometers.
The capital of Hanoi is a sweet blend of the old and the new, the West and the East. Stretching over four thousand years, the capital has gained for itself a rich culture as well as history. From the colonial French constructions to the moss-filled ancient villages, each part of Hanoi has its own beauty. Hanoi’s local cuisine is another factor that attracts visitors. Tasting local food on a Hanoi street food tour is a must-do activity at night. Other than that, you can spend a few hours at a cultural show.
Ever since being hailed as a Heritage Site back in 1999, the ancient town of Hoi An has converted most of its shops into boutiques aimed at tourists. Hoi An has been a blend of foreign influences with breathtaking Chinese temples, Japanese-inspired bridges, and French-colonial houses. They all lend their aesthetics to make this town so charming.
If exploring caves is second nature to you, then you’re definitely into the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. With over 300 limestone hidden caves, it remains a popular option for thrill-seeking tourists.
Hue Imperial City is a citadel on the Northern bank facing the Perfume River. It has been a UNESCO site since 1993 due to the historical importance dating back to the 19th century. Notable landmarks within the city are the hundreds of monuments. Some of the best icons are the Forbidden Purple City, Royal Tombs, pagodas, temples, and the royal quarters. This was where the former emperor used to reside.
This Southern metropolis has been existing for over 3 centuries. Once abandoned by the ancient Khmer kingdom, Ho Chi Minh City is now the economical hub of Vietnam. The lively landscape of Ho Chi Minh City shines through the towering skyscrapers and the mesmerizing scene of street food. Ho Chi Minh City mixes the diverse culture of the Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Indian. People of Southern Vietnam refer to it as Saigon. And this is also the live witness of the infamous Vietnam War. Cu Chi Tunnels and War Remnants Museums are the best reflections for this topic!
The immense network of rivers has shaped the beauty and culture of the Mekong Delta like nowhere else. It has the best rustic charm of the country. The Mekong Delta is also the kingdom of tropical fruit and the rice bowl of Vietnam. Boating, sampling authentic cuisine, fishing, and staying at the local homestays are the best things to do in the Mekong Delta.
Currency: Vietnamese Dong (VND)
Rate: 1 USD ≈ 23,000 VND
Area: 331,212 km2
Population: 94.6 million people
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