The Overview of VIETNAM

Located in South eastern Asia, Vietnam borders Cambodia, Laos and China and stretches over 1600 km along the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula. The country of Vietnam has two main cultivated areas; the Red River Delta (15,000 sq km) in the north and the Mekong Delta (60,000 sq km) in the south. The lush green vegetation covers the lands throughout the country. Vietnam is made up of equatorial lowlands, high, temperate plateaus and alpine peaks. Less than 20% of the country remains forested, and what remains is under threat from slash and burn agriculture and excessive harvesting. The urban life is also prominent in Vietnam. Most of the larger urban centers are located in southern Vietnam. Of the major cities, only the capital city of Hanoi is not located on the coast. The other large cities are Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, Haiphong and Da Nang, near the ancient city of Hue. The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese spoken by the majority of the population. The use of French, a remnant of colonial times, is declining. Some Vietnamese people who live in urban areas speak other languages, such as English and Russian. Khmer, Montagnard, and Cham are spoken primarily in the interior. There is also a variety of religions throughout Vietnam reflecting the influences of many cultures. Traditional Vietnamese religion includes elements of Indian beliefs and three Chinese religious systems: Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. A majority of adherents today follow Buddhism, including a wide variety of sects. Other religions include relatively new sects such as Hoa Hao, associated with Buddhism, and Caodaism, a synthesis of Christianity, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Christianity, particularly the Roman Catholic church, claims as many as 6 million followers. The currency of Vietnam is the Dong. The four major ways to convert currency are at banks, exchange bureaus, hotels, and black markets. The Visa and MasterCard are also accepted in major cities and some towns.

CapitalHanoi, 21°2’N 105°51’E
Largest cityHo Chi Minh City
Official languagesVietnamese
GovernmentSocialist republic
General SecretaryNguyen Phu Trong
PresidentNguyen Minh Triet
Prime MinisterNguyen Tan Dung
Independence– Declared: September 2, 1945
– Recognized:  1954
Area– Total: 331,689 km² (65th)128,065 sq mi
– Water: (%) 1.3
Population– July 2005 estimate: 84,238,000 (13th)
– 1999 census : 76,323,173
– Density: 253/km² (46th)655/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2005 estimate– Total: $251.8 billion (36th)
– Per capita: $3,025 (123rd)
HDI (2003)0.704 (medium) (108th)
CurrencyDong (VND)
Time zoneUTC+7
InternetTLD .vn
Calling code+ 84


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