Country Profile: Vietnam country profile: Vietnam

Southeast Asia is one of the most thrilling, interesting, wild, and picturesque places in the world to visit – a true traveler’s dream. But while the majority of tourists touch down in Thailand, we’re going to encourage you to visit neighboring Vietnam, too. We’ve shared some reviews about the best beaches in Vietnam , best places to go in the country, and more, but today, we’re going to zoom out and give you a general profile of the nation.

Official country name:
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Vietnam has a population of 92 million, which is considerable for a country its size. It ranks as the #13 most populous country on earth.

Land area:
The borders of Vietnam encompass 127,123 square miles (329,247 sq km). That means Vietnam is around the same size as the state of New Mexico.

Vietnam is still a wholly Soviet Communist nation, one of the last remaining in the world. Technically, its governance is referred to as the Socialist Republic.

Major language:
The official language of the country is Vietnamese (and it’s not easy to speak – believe me!)

Vietnam is chiefly a Buddhist country, with the Mahayana form of Buddhism being practiced by 85% of Vietnamese people. The second most popular religion (a small percentage) is Catholicism, and Cao Dai and Islam follow.

The dong (it’s ok to chuckle) is the official currency of Vietnam.

Capital city:
The northern city of Hanoi is the capital, as well as the center of government. The southern city of Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) is considered the business capital of the country and more modern and westernized.

Leaders: Tran Dai Quang was elected President of Vietnam in 2016, although the position is mostly symbolic and doesn’t hold significant political power. However, his cohort, Nguyen Xuan Phucwas elected as the prime minister that same year and does hold major sway with the Communist Party and other dealings.

State censorship:
The media is still largely censored by the government, and the Internet was largely regulated until recently.

A war-torn modern history:
Vietnam was under French colonial rule until the 1940s, when Ho Chi Minh led the country’s freedom movement and soon established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. As the internal and external war over French influence raged on in the IndoChine war, Vietnamwas split between north and south.

The United States came to support the southern part of the country, especially when the Soviet Union and the spread of Communism started affecting the nation in the 1960s, leading to the bloody Vietnam War.

In 1975, northern communist forces overthrew Saigon, ending the war and reunifying Vietnam under communist rule.

Economy and growth:
Vietnam, despite being a one-party Communist state, is one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing economies in all of Southeast Asia. In fact, Vietnam has declared the economic goal to be a developed nation by 2020, and is not so far off track.

Although it is a Communist nation and the state runs its economy, Vietnam is fairly progressive (considering), with certain elements of free markets and Capitalism integrated.

Tourism is also a fast-growing industry in Vietnam, with more than 5 million tourists arriving every year.

Fun places to visit in Vietnam:
• Hanoi is the capital, and the northern city is the second largest in the country.
• Dalat is a nice city in the highlands.
• Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) is the largest city in Vietnam and the southern economic center.
• Hoi An is a charming ancient port city.
• Hue is the ancient seat of Vietnam’s emperors.
• Nha Trang –a fun and funky coastal city that’s popular with travelers and expats.
• Ha Long Bay – incredible scenery on the bay.
• My Son –Hindu ruins that are a UNESCO World Heritage Site