Vietnam is situated on the Indochinese peninsula and borders the countries Cambodia, China and Laos as well as the South China Sea with Hanoi as the capital City with 1 million inhabitants. Vietnam was ruled by the Hung kings from the 3rd century BC. Chinese troops invaded the northern parts of the country in 111 BC and then various Chinese dynasties ruled the area, later in the 18th century the peninsula was colonized by France and from 1858 until 1954 the country was part of French Indochina.
The country is very narrow and long. It stretches over 1,650 km/ 1,025 miles from north to south. Due to the nature of the land the country has different climatic zones. The temperatures are generally higher in the southern parts than in the north. The country is one of the most densely populated countries, but large areas of the country are still very rural and consist of arable land, rice fields and forests.
Many dishes in Vietnam consist mainly of rice and vegetables as well as fish, seafood, chicken or beef. Enjoy the mouthwatering “Nem”-Grilled pork meat skewers which have been marinated in fish sauce served with spicy chili sauce and “Xoi”-Sweet sticky rice cakes made with coconut milk and mung beans, often with added food coloring. Also enjoy the cyclo pedicabs which roam the streets of Vietnam’s cities and towns. They are especially common in smaller, less busy cities like Hue, where it’s pleasant to cruise slowly along taking in the sights.
What don’t you know:
- In Vietnam, military service is compulsory for young men.
- Vietnamese people celebrate the new year twice. The New Year celebrations are on 1 January and the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.
- There are over 840 bird species and more than 310 mammal species recorded in Vietnam.
- The Saola, an antelope species, was only discovered quite recently and is considered one of the rarest large mammals in the world.
Must see places:
- Hạ Long Bay and its magical karst rock formations are among the most amazing wonders of the world.
- The Golden Bridge near the mountain resort of Ba Na Hill further inland from Da Nang is a wonderful new attraction.
- Hue and Hoi An are surely a must visit when in the central region of Vietnam.
- The Imperial City of Hue with its palaces and temples also houses the Forbidden City and the royal palace which was the emperor’s home for many centuries.