VIETNAM, Vietnam has been likened to a bamboo shoulder pole with two baskets of rice perfectly balanced at either end. Inland Vietnam boasts rugged mountain ranges and misty tropical forests where the wild secrets and traditions of this historical land lay undiscovered. But more than anything, this diverse country is identified by the myriad traditions and cultures of the 54 indigenous minorities that call Vietnam home. Whether you enjoy sightseeing, leisure activities, adventure or cultural tours, Vietnam has it all.
Mainland Territory: 331,211.6 sq. km Population: 85,789.6 thousand inhabitants (Apr. 2009) National Capital: Hanoi
Lying on the eastern part of the Indochinese peninsula, Vietnam is a strip of land shaped like the letter “S”. China borders it to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, the East Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the east and south.
The country’s total length from north to south is 1,650km. Its width, stretching from east to west, is 600km at the widest point in the north, 400km in the south, and 50km at the narrowest part, in the centre, in Quang Binh Province. The coastline is 3,260km long and the inland border is 4,510km.
Latitude: 102º 08' - 109º 28' east
Longitude: 8º 02' - 23º 23' north
Vietnam is also a transport junction from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
Topography: Three quarters of Vietnam's territory consist of mountains and hills (detail) Administrative Units: Vietnam is divided into 63 provinces and cities
Vietnam is located in both a tropical and a temperate zone. It is characterized by strong monsoon influences, but has a considerable amount of sun, a high rate of rainfall, and high humidity. Regions located near the tropics and in the mountainous regions are endowed with a temperate climate.
The major religious traditions in Vietnam are Buddhism (which fuses forms of Taoism and Confusianism), Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), Islam, Caodaism and the Hoa Hao sect.
Among the 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups some have had their own scripts for a long time and some have not preserved their ancient scripts. As a matter of fact, some ethnic groups consisting of some hundreds of individuals living in remote areas have their own languages.
Vietnamese literary tradition has evolved through the multiple events that have marked the country’s history. New literary movements can usually be observed every ten years but in the last century, Vietnamese literature underwent several literary transitions.
Since coming into existence, Vietnamese literature has been rich in folklore and proverbs; tales that have been handed down from generation to generation, gradually becoming valuable treasures.
When World War II ended and Japan surrendered, the Vietnamese were successful in gaining independence in the August 1945 Revolution. President Ho Chi Minh read the Independence Manifesto to declare the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam at Ba Dinh Square on September 2, 1945.