Located in the eastern coast of the Indochina Peninsula, Viet Nam has about 331,051.4 km2 in area, extending from 8o02' to 23o23' Northern Latitude and from 102o08' to 109o28' Eastern Longitude.It shares borders with China, Laos and Cambodia, and faces the East Sea. It's an S-shaped peninsula with thousands of offshore islands, the largest archipelagoes being the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands and Truong Sa (Spartly) Islands.
Viet Nam has 2 major deltas of the Red River and Mekong as well as 4 distinctive mountainous zones, each possessing its own unique features.
Viet Nam's population is about 86,927,700 people (2010) with 54 eth-nic groups, of which the largest group is Viet (Kinh) accounting for 80%.
Viet Nam has a tropical climate; there are four distinct seasons in the North (spring, summer, autumn, and win-ter), and only two seasons in the South: rainy season (from May to September) and dry season (from October to April).
There is no official religion in Viet Nam but Buddhism is very popular and most Vietnamese worship their ancestors. Besides, Viet Nam also has other religions such as Catholicism, Caodaism, HoaHao, Protestantism, Islam.
Viet Nam is located in a region considered a cradle of mankind, one of the earliest agricultural centres practicing wet rice farming, where the stone and metallurgical revolutions took place. Van Lang State, the first state in Viet Nam was established in the 7th century B.C and then Au Lac State lasted until 208 B.C. The next main periods of Viet Nam include: Chinese dynasties' domination and the struggle for national independence (208 B.C – 939 A.D), national construction and defense for independence (939 – 1945) and national independence and socialism (1945 up to now).
The Vietnamese culture, endowed with a long-standing and rich heritage, is deeply stamped with national pride. Despite of historical contingencies, there are still about 7,300 preserved historic and cultural sites over Viet Nam. Specific features of Viet Nam are likewise reflected in other cultural tokens such as legends, festivals, traditional theater, water puppetry, music, dances and customs. Viet Nam has 2 natural heritage sites, 5 cultural heritage sites, 6 intangible cultural heritage forms, 3 documentary heritage recognized by UNESCO, one global geopark recognized by Global Geo-parks Network (GGN) and one new natural wonder of the world recognized by New7Wonders.
Vietnamese is the official language of the country. Learning foreign languages, particularly English and French, is now quite in vogue among young people.
Working hours of government offices are Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed for one hour at lunch). Shops are open from 8:00 or 8:30am to 9:00 or 10:00 pm.
For further information, please visit the websitewww.vietnamtourism.com.
Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism
Address: 80 Quan Su Street, HoanKiem District, Ha Noi
Source: ASEAN Tourism website, http://aseantourism.travel/country/detail/viet-nam