Viet Vision Travel is one of the leading travel agencies and tour operators in Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia, with many years of professional travel service experience. We provide Vietnam vacation packages, adventure tours, Halong Bay cruises and city tours in and around the major tourist cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue and Sapa as well as the Mekong Delta and other locations.
We specialize in tailor-made and customized tours for individuals, families, business travelers and groups large and small, throughout Vietnam at reasonable prices.
In additional, we offer the best hotel rates for all popular tourist destinations in Vietnam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Hoi An, Hue, Phu Quoc and more.
Contact us now to get your best Vietnam vacations.
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15 Day This is Vietnam

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Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh city, Mekong Delta

15 Day This is Vietnam was designed by a quick brain storming when she (Mrs Thu Ha – Viet Vision Travel Director of Sales) was at Berlin, Germany. A 15 days' delightful tour will awake all your...

15 Day The Unforgettable Vietnam & Cambodia Tour

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Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Cu Chi Tunnel, Mekong Delta, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap

  You won’t forget Vietnam and Cambodia after you take this trip with us. From Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, to the cultural masterpiece  of the Angkor Temples...

9 Day Vietnam at a Glance

Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An Town - Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Cu Chi Tunnels - Saigon

This tour takes us from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) within 9 days. The trip includes most of the main attractions in Vietnam including three world heritage sites. It travels from the stately...

13 Day Vietnam Honeymoon Tour

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Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Nha Trang - Hoi An - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hanoi

Vietnam is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the most romantic countries in Asia and has become a popular destination for an unforgettable and extraordinary honeymoon or  wedding anniversary...

14 Day Vietnam Family Travel With Kids

(Saigon) Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Nha Trang – Hoi An – Hanoi – Halong Bay – Hanoi Departure

This trip is specially designed for families traveling with kids. It starts in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) then takes in many highlights of Vietnam including: Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hanoi and...

21 Day Classic Vietnam Vista

Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnel, Mekong Delta

Starting from Hanoi, the Capital of Vietnam, you will travel to northeast visiting Halong Bay, one of the Natural World Heritage Sites in Vietnam, then up northwest to the scenic Sapa, experience the...

15 Day Classic Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnel, Mekong Delta, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay

The 15 Day Classic Vietnam Tour is specially designed for your first time visiting Vietnam. This tour makes your emotion changing surprisingly when you travel from one place to another. Since the...

12 Day Friendly Vietnam Tour

Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Hoi An – Hanoi – Halong Bay

Now a day, Vietnam becomes a very popular destination for visitors for all over the world. Vietnam is known for beautiful country, good foods and especially friendly people. This trip is a great...

10 Day Vietnam Highlight Tour

Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnel – Mekong Delta – Hoi An – Hanoi – Halong Bay

9 Day Vietnam at a Glance

Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An Town - Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Cu Chi Tunnels - Saigon

This tour takes us from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) within 9 days. The trip includes most of the main attractions in Vietnam including three world heritage sites. It travels from the stately...

12 Day Vietnam Family Classic

Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) - Mekong Delta - Hoian - Hue - Hanoi - Halong Bay

This 12 day family classic tour includes the most interesting sites in Vietnam from the South to the North. And the trip’s itinerary is special designed to meet the unique needs of the family...

14 Day Vietnam and Cambodia Family Fun

Ha Noi -Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) - Siem Riep

10 Day Vietnam Family Vacation

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) - Nha Trang - Hanoi - Halong Bay

15 Day Vietnam Family Adventure Tour

Hanoi - Halong Bay - Cat Ba Island - Hue - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnel - Mekong Delta - Home stay.

Within 15 days along Vietnam, let you and your children experience different cultures, and experience the adventure of unusual sights and sounds. The trip is special designed to strike the balance...

5 Day Southern Vietnam Family Tour

Ho Chi Minh City - The tunnel of Cu Chi - Cao Dai Temple - My Tho - Ho Chi Minh City

Experience the major highlights of the South of Vietnam: from the tunnel of Cu Chi, the Cao Dai temple and the Mekong delta, in this five day tour you will have chance to explore the history as well...

5 Day Northern Vietnam Family Tour

Hanoi - Hoa Lu Ancient capital – Tam Coc Caves - Halong Bay Cruises - Hanoi

Within 5 days 4 nights, we will be fascinating from charming colonial city of Hanoi to imposing landscape of kart stone mountains in Tam Coc, Hoa Lu ancient capital of Vietnam and Natural World...

5 Day Center Vietnam Family Tour

Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City - Da Nang - Hoi An walking tours - Hoi an cooking class - Da Nang - Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city

This family trip concentrates on Vietnam's diverse and fascinating cultural heritage and food. From Da Nang you make your way to Hoi An via the Marble Mountains. The picturesque town of Hoi An was...

14 Day Vietnam Family Travel With Kids

(Saigon) Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Nha Trang – Hoi An – Hanoi – Halong Bay – Hanoi Departure

This trip is specially designed for families traveling with kids. It starts in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) then takes in many highlights of Vietnam including: Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hanoi and...

19 Day Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam Tour

Bangkok – Chiang Mai – Phnom Penh – Siem Reap – Ho Chi Minh city – Cu Chi tunnel – Mekong Delta – Hoi An – Hue – Hanoi – Halong Bay

This trip introduces you to the highlights of three countries. It begins in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, takes in the charming town of Chieng Mai, the legendary Angkor Wat, the cultural hub of...

9 Day South Vietnam & Cambodia Extension Tour

Saigon - Mekong Delta - Cu Chi Tunnels - Siem Reap - Phnom Penh

Combination between the highlights of the two countries, Vietnam and Cambodia, this trip goes from the hustle and bustle of Saigon, the legendary Cu Chi tunnels, the colorful temple of Caodaism, to...

10 Day North - South Vietnam and Cambodia tour

Hanoi – Halong Bay – Can Tho with Cai Rang floating market – Phom Penh – Siem Reap

This trip covers most of highlights of Northern Vietnam, the Heart of Mekong Delta together with Angkor temple complex. It starts from the capital city Hanoi of Vietnam , go down to Mekong Delta to...

16 Day Vietnam & Cambodia Highlight

Hanoi, Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City - Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

If this is your first time to Indochina, the 16 Day Vietnam & Cambodia Highlight trip will give you vista of 2 beautiful, peaceful countries.  A Hanoi, the Capital city of Vietnam where you...

21 Day The Best of Vietnam & Cambodia Tour

Hanoi - Sa Pa - Ha Long - Hue - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City - Siem Reap - Phnom Penh

This trip will immerse you in cultural and natural of Vietnam and Cambodia. In Vietnam we will cruise the secluded waters of Halong bay, explore the waterway of Mekong Delta, and relax on the beach...

19 Day Vietnam & Cambodia Explore Tour

Hanoi - Ha long - Hanoi - Danang - Hue - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City - Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

This combination trip provides us the best part of Vietnam and Cambodia. From the spectacular Ha Long bay to the majestic temple of Angkor. From the historical and charming center parts of Vietnam to...

19 Day Vietnam & Cambodia Reveal Tour

Hanoi – Halong Bay – Danang – Hoi An – Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh city – Vinh Long – Can Tho – Chau Doc – Phnom Penh – Siem Reap

This combination trip provides us the best part of Vietnam and Cambodia. From the spectacular Ha Long bay to the majestic temple of Angkor. From the historical and charming center parts of Vietnam to...

15 Day The Unforgettable Vietnam & Cambodia Tour

Hot

Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Cu Chi Tunnel, Mekong Delta, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap

  You won’t forget Vietnam and Cambodia after you take this trip with us. From Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, to the cultural masterpiece  of the Angkor Temples...

24 Day Soft Adventure Indochina Tour

Starting from Hanoi through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in 24 days discover the French-colonial heritage, rural villages and people in Vietnam to the Angkor Wat and Luang Prabang the best-preserved...

18 Day Vietnam & Laos Explorer Tour

Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Cu Chi Tunnel - Hoi An - My Son Sanctuary - Hue - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Vientiane - Luang Prabang

Discover most highlights of Vietnam & Laos, from south of Vietnam along the coastline up to the north and then the lay-back neighboring country of Laos. This 18 days tour will bring you to many...

18 Day Discovery Indochina Tour

Siem Reap – Phnom Penh – Ho Chi Minh city – Mekong Delta – Hoi An – Hue – Hanoi – Halong Bay – Vientiane – Luang Prabang

16 Day Great Indochina Loop Tour

Vientiane - Luang Prabang - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels - Mekong Delta - Siem Reap - Phnom Penh

This trip is the great combinations between the highlights of Indochina. From the bustles and hustle Saigon to legendary Cu Chi tunnel, from the colorful temple of Dadaism to the lush green of the...

About Vietnam

Vietnam at a Glance

Vietnam at a Glance Capital: Hanoi (population 4.5 million)
Vietnam's population: 90 million people
Main language: Vietnamese
Currency: Vietnam dong (VND)
Vietnam's time zone: (GMT+07:00) Bangkok, Hanoi, Jakarta
Electricity: The voltage system in Vietnam is 220 volt.
Dialing code: (+84)
Shares borders with: North: China, West: Laos & Cambodia, East: the East Sea, West & South: Gulf of Thailand
Drinking water: Tap water in Vietnam is already filtered and sterilized, but it should be boiled before drinking. Buying bottle of water is recommended

Vietnam's Top Ten Sights

Those are the places you should not be missed in your Vietnam trip
 
Hanoi

1. Hanoi

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and could be the oldest capital in Asia. Hanoi's Old Quarter is dating back to 16th century; this district makes for interesting idle browsing and shopping
See also: Hanoi tours
 
Nha Trang

2. Nha Trang

Nha Trang idyllic beach is one of the greatest places in Vietnam to soak up in the sun and indulge in the fresh of seafood. The water is clean and lovely. Offshore islands are ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing
See also: Nha Trang tours
 
My Son

3. My Son – Cham towers

Located in Quang Nam province in the center of Vietnam, My Son is the most significant surviving Cham's monument in Vietnam, dating back to the 10th century
See also: My Son tours
 
Muine

4. Mui Ne – Phan Thiet

This is one of the finest beaches in the south of Vietnam. It is fast developing as a weekend gateway for tourists as well as Ho Chi Minh City's residents
See also Mui Ne beach vacation and Mui Ne hotels
 
Hue

5. Hue

Renowned for beautiful woman, Hue is also a repository of Vietnam's greatest cultural and historical treasures
See also Hue tours
 
Hoian

6. Hoi An

Hoi An is one of the most delightful old towns in Vietnam and it is listed as a World Heritage Site. The historical houses and temples are a must see
See also: Hoi An tours
 
Cham museum

7. Cham Museum in Danang

Founded in 1915, Cham Museum is a unique cultural treasure in Vietnam. It has an amazing collection of Cham's statues, statuary and bas reliefs
 
Halong Bay

8. Halong Bay

Another Word Heritage Site in Vietnam that should not be missed over 2000 limestone islands and islets are scattered across the huge Bay, some with wonderful carverns
See also Halong Bay tours and Halong Bay Cruise
 
Sapa

9. Sapa

Located near the Chinese border and lying in a lovely valley of northern Vietnam, Sapa is pleasantly cool during the hot season, attractions here include stunning scenery, scenic trekking and numerous colorful hill tribes
See also Sapa tours
 
Dalat

10. Dalat

Dalat is Vietnam's premier hill resort and a very nice place for honeymoon couples. Set by the banks of the Cam Ly River, it makes a refreshing cool change from the heat and humidity of the central coast.
See also Tours to Dalat

Some Suggestions for Your Trip in Vietnam

Vietnam is an S-shaped land, extending from the mountainous area in the extreme north and the Hanoi/Red River Delta area in the south to the rich flood plains of the Mekong Delta, offering a wealth of cultural delights. From the charming capital city of Hanoi in the north, with its distinctive blend of French colonial influences and Vietnamese character to the dynamic and fast-moving Ho Chi Minh City, the modern economic capital in the south, is a thrill to the senses. The diverse Vietnam in between offers stunning limestone scenery, ornate temples, heavenly food, villages populated by ethnic minority groups, as well as visible reminders of the Vietnam War. This is an outline of the regional highlights that will help you design your most suitable Vietnam trip.

1. Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City Named as the “Paris of the Orient”, Ho Chi Minh City is a charming blend of the old and new. The cultural hub of the city is Dong Khoi, the setting for Graham Greene's famed novel The Quiet American, where French-colonial buildings stand alongside smart new restaurants, hotels, and shops. City Hall is an architectural highlight. Its exquisite Parisian-style façade is perhaps the most photographed in the city. One of the best museums, the War Remnants Museum, portrays the horrors of the Vietnam War. To the north, the hectic bustling markets of Cholon, sell everything from spices and pickles to silks and herbal medicines and jostle for space with numerous temples, The Jade Emperor Pagoda has a richly decorated roof, itself a work of art. A day trip out of town is the remarkable Cu Chi Tunnels, a monument to the ingenuity of local people during the Vietnam War, and the Cao Dai Holy See, a vast complex at the center of the unique Cao Dai religion.

2. Mekong Delta & Southern part of Vietnam

Mekong Delta & Southern part of Vietnam
  • Experience the waterways and islands of the delta through the zigzag rivers and canals
  • Boat trips around Vinh Long or Can Tho for a visit to the floating markets
  • Mekong home-stay experience
  • Coral reefs at Con Dao or primitive beaches in Phuc Quoc
The Mekong Delta stretches across huge areas of rice fields and mangrove forests. River boat rides from My Tho or Vinh Long carry tourists along narrow waterways and canals to visit thatched-roof industry villages and orchard filled islands, while the busy floating markets near in Cai Be or Can Tho have a lively appeal. Nearby, the towns of Tra Vinh and Soc Trang are home to Vietnam's Khmer minority and boast some noteworthy Theravada Buddhist temples, which are quite distinct from the Mahayana pagodas of the ethic Viet. Just offshore, near charming Ha Tien lies Phu Quoc Island, known for its wonderful sunsets and scenic hiking trails. Beyond the delta, the Con Dao Islands are noted for their historical sites , fine beaches, magnificent reefs, and an amazing variety of marine life.

3. South Central Vietnam

South Central Vietnam
  • Fantastic beaches
  • Ancient Temples and Pagodas
  • Cool retreat at Dalat Hill Station
Vietnam's South Central coast is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Mui Ne - Phan Thiet beach is a relaxed stretch of palm-fringed shores and towering sand dunes, while the attractive coast around Nha Trang offers superb diving and water sports. Phan Rang – Thap Cham has two of the best preserved religious temple complexes in Vietnam. The cool climate, wonderful hiking trails, and cascading waterfalls of Dalat make this hill station a popular summer retreat, and the ethnic minority villages around Buon Ma Thuot and Kon Tum provide a fascinating insight into a traditional way of life.

4. Central of Vietnam

Central of Vietnam
  • Shopping in pretty Hoi An
  • Imperial palaces at Hue
  • Food in Hue and Hoi An
  • Enjoy the beach in Da Nang, Hoi An
  • A tour of the DMZ
The massive ramparts of the World Heritage Site – designated Citadel at Hue and the surrounding area reveal a grand city of ruined temples, royal tombs, and beautiful palaces. An icon of the Vietnam War, China Beach (called My Khe or Non Nuoc Beach by Vietnamese) was once a rest and relaxation center for American GIs and remains a popular seaside resort . The historic charming town of Hoi An is a Mecca for shopping, where tailors vie to rustle up a suit within hours. Former French resorts retain their appeal: Ba Na Hill Station offers splendid views over the East Sea of Vietnam while Bach Ma National Park is a bird watchers paradise. Tours to the former DMZ are a moving experience, as is revisiting key sites of the War.

5. Capital of Vietnam, Hanoi

Capital of Vietnam, Hanoi
  • Tranquil Temple of Literature in Hanoi
  • Explore the medieval streets of the Old Quarter
  • Street food and Bia Hoi in Hanoi
  • Cyclo trip in Hanoi's Old Quarter
  • Elegant colonial architecture
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam and the oldest capital city in the region, is home to magnificent indigenous and colonial architectural, a vibrant art scene, and some of the best restaurants in the nation. Nothing, however, beats exploring the historic, narrow streets of the Hanoi's Old Quarter, where craftsmen have plied their wares for centuries. Located at the heart of the city is the scenic setting of Hoan Kiem Lake, favored by locals for early morning Tai Chi, a stroll or a game of chess. The revered Temple of Literature is a clam sanctuary from the bustle of the city, and nearby, the elegant Old French Quarter features wide leafy boulevards and palatial colonial buildings. Curious visitors can observe the great communist leader's embalmed body at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Not to be missed is a Water Puppet performance, a traditional and mesmerizing art form that is unique to Hanoi and the Red River Delta.

6. Northern Vietnam

Northern Vietnam Both nature and tradition flourish in the northern part Vietnam. To the South of Hanoi is the sacred Perfume Pagoda, a pilgrimage site in a hillside grotto reached by an enchanting sampan ride through a flooded valley. To the north are the Truc Lam - Yen Tu Sites, tucked away in mist covered mountains, offering insights into truly Vietnamese religious tradition. In the northeast, spectacular mountain scenery and tranquil lakes distinguish the drive to Ba Be National Park. A boat cruise trip around stunning Halong Bay, where dramatic limestone islands and islets rise out of the sea, is an unforgettable experience. In the northwest, hill people, such as the Red Dzao and H'mong, gather at the lively weekend market in Sapa, and families in the Mai Chau Valley offer the chance to stay in an authentic Thai stilt house. The adventurous can attempt the challenging climb up Mount Fansipan, Vietnamese's highest peak.
Ha Giang is located in northern most Vietnam near the Chinese border; it has a really beautiful and imposing landscape of rocky plateaus. The area is home to twenty-two colorful, mostly untouched ethnic minority groups living on mountainsides surrounded by terraced fields. Many of these ethnic minorities maintain a very traditional culture and live an isolated life outside the mainstream society. With a temperate climate and it's almost cool all year round, much shrouded in legend and is not touched by tourism.

The Portrait of Vietnam

The Portrait of Vietnam Every year millions of tourist are going to Vietnam for its attractions of lush green mountains, scenic beaches, ancient pagodas, and the allure of a fascinating culture and thousand year of history. Today, Vietnam is emerging as a prosperous nation with thriving, foreign investments, industrial development and tourism industry, largely due to recent economic reforms and a successful effort by its people. Vietnam now is the name of a nation, not a war.

Bounded by the warm and blue waters of the East Sea, Vietnam is located in the southeast corner of the Indochina peninsula. Vietnam shares border to the west with Laos and Cambodia, separated from Vietnam by the Truong Son Range, while to the north it shares a border with giant neighbor, China. Vietnam is a long and thin country just 50 km wide at its narrowest in Quang Binh province. Vietnam has a long coastline stretching from the Gulf of Tonkin (Bac Bo) in the northern part to the Gulf of Thailand in the most southern part.

The Vietnamese territory could be divided into three regions: the North, the Center and the South. In the north, dominated by the charming capital city of Hanoi and covered in by mountains on three sides, is the fertile Red River Delta. The long central part of Vietnam is marked by many scenic beaches, the former Imperial city of Hue, the charming town of Hoi An, and the most dynamic port city of Danang, along with remnants of the former Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). In its lower half also called Center Highland – Tay Nguyen, it broadens and is home to the highlands around Pleiku, Dac Lac and Dalat... In the far south of Vietnam lies the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's commercial hub and most dynamic city, and the fertile Mekong Delta. Characterized by palm and coconut trees and a spider web of canals, this region is the country's largest rice producing area. Vietnam's geographical diversity is reflected in its people, and the country is home to 54 different ethnic groups. The largest, Viet (Kinh), constitute 86 percent of the nation's 90 million people and live mainly on the coastal plains and in the delta areas. Most of the ethnic minorities inhabit the Northern Part and Central Highlands of Vietnam are distinguished by their colorful costumes. The ethnic Chinese or Hoa, by contrast, are mostly based in the lowlands and major cities like Ho Chi Minh City in Cholon, while the Cham and Khmer are settle in the further southern coastal plains and the Mekong Delta.

The Climate of Vietnam

When is the best time to visit Vietnam?

General speaking, it depends on if you are going to the north, south or center of Vietnam. But the best time to visit Vietnam is from October to April.
During the summer, it is the summer holiday and tourist season for Vietnamese, so most of the tourist destination is full of Vietnamese.

Vietnam's climates

Vietnam's climates Vietnam has a tropical climate; there is considerable diversity and changes for the weather from north to south and from coast to highlands.
In general, the seasonal monsoons in Vietnam bring heavy rains between May and October, while it remains relatively dry from November to February. The hot season between February and April can be uncomfortable, with temperatures reaching up to 35o C (95oF), and humidity rising to a sticky 80 to 100 percent.
The south of Vietnam is consistently warm and humid, with frequent downpours during the rainy season. The central coast suffers typhoons between November and March, with occasional snowfall in Sapa, Mau Son or some others areas. Summer in the north is hot and humid.

Traditional Festival in Vietnam

Many traditional festivals in Vietnam have close links with Chinese cultural traditions, and follow the lunar calendar, which has only 28 to 30 days a month. Accordingly, the solar dates change annually, and festivals do not fall on fixed dates. Holidays are fixed to the Western calendar, and often associated with the Vietnam's recent revolutionary history. For the last two decades, with the liberalization of the Vietnamese economy and society, many traditional festivals have also staged a grand comeback, including those related to the Imperial dynasties of Vietnam. These are marked by ancestor worship ceremonies, colorful parades, feasts, singing, and dancing. In addition to Vietnam national wide events, there are many local place festivals as well, especially in the Red River Delta. The ethnic minorities of the north, and the Cham and Khmer of the south celebrate their own festivals.

Vietnamese Culture

Vietnamese Culture The structure of Vietnamese society has constantly been hierarchical and patriarchal. Influenced heavily from the Confucianism model, family and filial duties are upheld as cardinal virtues. Old people are given respect and education is highly esteemed. The role of women has changed a lot since their emancipation by the Communist party. Today, although women have gained equality in the public sphere, the home is usually still “run” by a woman but dominated by man.

Vietnamese culture is very fascinating and has been influenced by foreign counterparts for many centuries. Almost one thousand years of Chinese occupation has left its remarkable influence on the Vietnamese, who have selected and adopted those customs, traditions, beliefs, and architecture most suited to their culture. It is a love and hate relationship, with Vietnam emulating Chinese culture while rejecting any form of political domination by its northern neighbor. The impact of the French colonist (who attacked Danang, then Saigon and finally to conquer the country in the early 1900s) is less comprehensive. The colonial power's influence is mostly visible in the French colonial architecture of the cities and, to some extent, in the food (French bread, coffee…).

Thanks to the more flexible and open policy of Vietnam government, many overseas Vietnamese or also called Viet Kieu, who fled the country as refugees from the communist North in the 1950s and from the South in 1975 and many immigrants from Eastern Bloc Countries, are now returning and bringing Western cultural influences and money with them. Many members of the older generation of the Viet Kieu from the West refuse to visit their former homeland

Tourism, Internet and the media have also played an important role in the Westernization of the culture, which is evident among urban youngsters. Learning English is everywhere in the city centers, cell phones are coveted, and jeans and designer clothing are common. Even up to a decade ago, Vietnam was known for its austere fashions, but today, it is an emporium for purchasing clothes, accessories, and home-ware in luxurious fabrics and good designs. Western style clothing is popular among young women but the traditional charming “Vietnamese ao dai” or trouser dress continues to be worn, particularly on special occasions.

Vietnamese Language & Literature

Vietnamese is the national language of Vietnam, spoken by around 87 % of the populations as the first language and taught in all schools as compulsory language while the government still tries to preservers some ethnic minority's languages by teaching them as a subject at schools for ethnic minorities groups.
Until about AD 1000, there was no written form of Vietnamese, but in the 11th century, a system called “chu nom” was introduced using adapted Chinese character (written in the Chinese way and read in Vietnamese). In the 17th century, a Romanized script, quoc ngu, was developed by European missionaries, which has become the accepted script. However, there are regional and intra-regional variations in dialect throughout the country.

Vietnam's Economy

Vietnam's Economy Once among the poorest nations of the world after the war, Vietnam is now experiencing an unprecedented economic boom. The credit for this primarily goes to the introduction of “doi moi” (economic reforms) in 1986, which permitted the setting up of free market enterprises, abolished the practice of collectivized farming, and set the stage for political liberalization. After China, Vietnam boasts Asia's best-performing economy, with an annual growth rate of more than eight percent. In 1993, the World Bank declared 58 percent of the population to be living in poverty. By 2005, this figure was less than 20 percent. Agriculture remains the most important element of the economy, forming a major portion of the country's export sector and employing nearly 65 percent of the population. Today, Vietnam is the world's third-largest exporter of rice – an astounding feat for a nation facing famine in the 1980s.

The industrial sector of Vietnam has shown immense improvement and expansion as well. The mining industry still continues to be an integral part of the economy, and oil, gas, and coal production account for more than 25 percent of industrial GDP of Vietnam. The tourism industry is one of the largest earners of foreign currency in the country. Vietnam has also made great strides on the international stage. In 1995, it became a full member of ASEAN and of the WTO in 2006. However, up to now Vietnam still does not have a Ministry of Tourism like Thailand or some neighboring countries. Tourism is still part of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. That means the country does not have a really good strategy for tourism development.

The prosperity of Vietnam can be seen everywhere by new buildings, new urban areas…. Large, glitzy malls have cropped up in major cities like Hanoi, Hai Phong, Danang and Ho Chi Minh, while streets once filled with bicycles are now overflowing with locally produced Japanese motorbikes and air conditioned cars.

Conservation

Despite its increasing wealth, Vietnam remains a poor country with a rapidly expanding population and limited land resources. By 2020, Vietnam is projected to have around twice the population of Thailand, but with less than half the arable land. According to the World Conservation Monitoring Center, at present around 30,000 ha (74,000 acres) of forest is lost annually. Both plant life and wildlife have suffered at the hands of hunters and farmers, but the Vietnam War's effects have perhaps had the greatest long-term impact on the environment. Incendiary bombs and the defoliant Agent Orange decimated the country's foliage, destroying arable land and erasing habitats.

Fortunately, the outlook for Vietnam's nature is improving now. New laws protecting forests and endangered species are being introduced every year, in keeping with Ho Chi Minh's 1962 pronouncement that “forest is gold”. Tourism has indirectly had a positive impact on the environment by providing a new source of income that can prove far more profitable than hunting and logging.

Tourism in Vietnam

Tourism in Vietnam When Vietnam firstly opened for travel and tourism in the early 1990s a few years after the “Doi Moi”, many travelers were drawn by images of a war-torn nation, and Vietnam at that time attracted curious visitors because of the place names of the war. The Vietnamese have since done their best to change the view of the outsiders, and emphasizing Vietnam's beauty instead. Historic pagodas, temples and faded and decayed French colonial buildings have been well restored, while hotels, restaurants, bars in Vietnam have now returned to private ownership, allowing proprietors to strive for excellence in an increasingly competitive tourism industry. _Vietnam's roads, highways and rail transport infrastructure still need upgrading, but Vietnam's airports and airlines such as: Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airline, or Viet Jet Air…now offer a high standard of flight service.

The tourism industry in Vietnam is growing at almost 20 percent annually and 7 millions of foreign travelers are drawn to Vietnam each year by ancient monuments, scenic and white sand beaches, sophisticated foods, excellent shopping opportunities, and the friendliness of the Vietnamese people. Another positive outcome of the Vietnam's tourism boom is the resurgence of traditional culture, including music, dance, drama and traditional art such as: Cheo, Tuong, Cai Luong.... Traditional festivals are being re-established, and Vietnamese arts such as water puppetry are flourishing.

Landscape and Wildlife of Vietnam

Vietnam could be the most ecologically diverse countries in Asia. Habitats range from the cool mountains of the northwest through the narrow coastal plains and plateaus of the center highland, to the delta regions of the Red River in the North of Vietnam and Mekong Rivers in the South of Vietnam. Moreover, the country is remarkably noteworthy for wildlife enthusiasts with the expansion in many national parks in the Northern part of Vietnam, filled with fascinating flora and fauna. For sightings of indigenous and migratory birds, the Mekong Delta and Bach Ma national park near Hue offers some of best opportunities, while offshore are numerous islands nearby Nha Trang, Phu Quoc or Mui Ne, many with pristine coral reefs.

The Red River Deltas & the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

The Red River Deltas & the Mekong Delta in Vietnam The fertile Red River Delta forms the heartland of the Northern part of Vietnam; while Southern Vietnam is covered by the rich alluvial lands of the Mekong Delta (the Mekong Delta is 5 times larger than the Red River Delta). Most of Vietnam's rice is produced in those deltas. However, while the Red River Delta is almost completely given over to agriculture and produces enough rice for the region, the Mekong Delta produces a lot of rice to export. And it is also home of wildlife rich marshlands and mangrove forests.

Vietnam's Central Highlands

Facing the southern Vietnam reaches of the Truong Son Range, the Vietnams Central Highlands' topography is varied between mountains to the far west, and fertile plateaus toward the east. The red volcanic soil around Pleiku, Dac Lac, Kontum supports coffee, tea, and rubber plantations, while the mountains are home to jungles with many species of flora and fauna. Central highland of Vietnam is also the home of many ethnic minorities groups such as: Ede, Bana, Mnong.

Central Coastline of Vietnam

The center part of Vietnam comprises a very long and comparatively narrow strip of coastal land running along the blue and choppy waters of the East Sea. While the land is not as productive as the delta regions, it is home to some beautiful beaches, especially around Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang in the lower half of the central coastline.

Mountainous area in North Vietnam

The mountains in the northern part of Vietnam encircle the Red River Delta on three sides. Sharp peaks rise above long mountain valleys, forming the most spectacular part of the entire country. The forest-clad slopes of the northwest of Vietnam once provided a safe retreat for flora and fauna, but today new roads, logging, and human settlement pose an increasing threat to the area's natural beauty.

Vietnamese Peoples

Vietnamese Peoples Vietnam has a diverse mix of ethnic groups, now there more than 54 ethnic groups. Of these, the Kinh or ethnic Viet is the majority, which is about 86 percent of the population. The Vietnamese mainly settle along the coastline and in the Red River and Mekong Deltas; they share the plains with the Hoa or ethnic Chinese, as well as the Khmer and Cham. The others 50 minority ethnic groups live scattered across the Northern part of Vietnam and Vietnam's Central Highlands, all with their own distinctive custom, clothing, languages and cultures. While the northern groups, such as Thai and H'mong, have mostly migrated from China, those of the Central Highlands are mainly indigenous.

Religions of Vietnam

The most prominent religion in Vietnam is Buddhism. Added to this are the indigenous and recently revived customs of spirit worship, ancestor veneration, and the deification of Vietnam's patriotic heroes – all practiced wisely. Cao Dai is a recent syncretism religion based in the south. Vietnam also has a large population of Catholics, Christians and a smaller section of Hindu and Muslim Cham.

Some other Religions in Vietnam

Vietnam's ethnic diversity is linked by an equally eclectic range of religions and belief systems. Mainly through the efforts of European missionaries from the 16th century on, Vietnam is home to about nine million Christians, of which more than 90 percent are Catholics. A more local religion is Hoa Hao (also called Hoa Hoa Buddhism), which is centered in the Mekong Delta. The sect is based on a puritanical interpretation of Buddhism. In addition, Hinduism and Islam are followed by the Cham of the central coast and Mekong Delta respectively. There are also some others local religions in Vietnam as well.

Ancestor & Spirit Worship in Vietnam

Vietnamese worship _ their ancestors, they considered that the souls of their ancestors still remain and have some connection with their descendants. So Ancestor worship is practiced almost universally in Vietnam. Buddhism and Confucianism officially disapprove of spirit worship, but have never been able to eliminate it from Vietnamese tradition.

Traditional Music and Theater

Vietnam has a rich and long heritage of music and theater, combining both locally development and foreign influences. Its repertoire of musical traditions plays an intrinsic role (called Dan Bau) in Vietnam's many theater forms, and includes folk songs, classical music, imperial compositions, and the unique courtship melodies of various Vietnam's ethnic minorities. This multifaceted legacy is deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture and forms an integral part of all celebrations and festivals.

Vietnamese Music

Vietnamese Music The traditional music of Vietnam comprises several genres, including court, religious, ceremonial, chamber, folk, and theater music. Foreign music influences also have left their own mark, with the adoption of operatic traditions from China as well as Indian rhythms through contact with the Cham's music. All of that modification mixes well to create a distinctive Vietnamese style of music. Another aspect is the use of a five-tone scale in contrast to the eight-tone scale usually used in Western music. Some of the popular Vietnamese music including: Hat Chau Van, Quan ho, Ca Tru (Hat A Dao), Dan Ca Tai Tu.

Vietnamese Musical Instruments

Vietnamese have a diverse range of musical instruments manufactured from natural materials such as wood, animal horn, bamboo, stone, leaf and reed. Among the most commonly used are the “dan bau”, in which a single string is stretched over a sound box and plucked by a wooden pick or a piece of metal; the “dan nguyet” or moon-shaped lute, those have been used in Vietnam since the 11th century; “dan trung”, a bamboo xylophone; broth, a two-stringed bamboo flute; “dan ty ba” a pear-shaped guitar; and many types of gong (cong chieng) and drum (trong).

Vietnamese Theater Styles

Vietnam has a remarkable tradition of performing art genres, with music, singing, and dance as an essential aspect of all theater forms. The shows vary in style and intended audience “ cheo” is a popular style of theater that traditionally provided moral instruction for rural communities, while “roi nuoc “ (water puppetry) delivers spectacular entertainment at the end of the harvest season. “Tuong” or “hat boi”, a more classical form of theater, was developed as entertainment for the king and his court, and “cai luong”, a modernize form of tuong, was created for urban intellectuals.

Royal Court Music and Dance in Hue, Vietnam

The Royal Court Music and Dance is from Hue, the old capital of Vietnam. And the music was displayed to entertain the Emperors in the past. The entertainment for Vietnam's royal audiences found its main inspiration from the music of the Chinese Imperial Court. Nha Nhac Cung Dinh or court music was originally introduced in the 13th century and reached its pinnacle under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 - 1945). Performances of this elegant music, accompanied by dances, were held at royal ceremonies, such as coronations and funerals, as well as on religious events and special occasions. With the fall of the monarchy in Vietnam, Nha nhac was forgotten, but has been revived in recent years. In 1996, it was added to the syllabus of Hue College of Art, and in 2003, UNESCO recognized it as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage. Read more about Royal Court Music.

Architecture of Vietnam

Vietnam has a long history of foreign invasions. That has left a legacy in the form of diverse architectural styles found throughout the country. The popular architecture of Vietnam with the shape of “tube house” and single story pagodas exist alongside buildings that reveal foreign influences. The ancient buildings of the central coast in Vietnam indicate the Cham influence, while Chinese elements are reflected in the pagodas, especially in Hanoi and Hue. French influence is pervasive in the colonial buildings in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Pagodas in Vietnam

Pagodas in Vietnam There is quite a difference between the pagodas in the three regions in Vietnam: North, Center and South. Vietnamese pagodas are generally complex and the main pagoda is a single story buildings, resting on wooden pillars that support a complex cantilevered structure of timber beams, surmounted by a tiled roof with upswept eaves. The interior consists of a front hall, a central hall, and the main alter hall, usually arranged in ascending levels. In the north most are the Mahayana Buddhism type which came from China and in the south are Hinayana Buddhism style, which is came from India. Most pagodas have a sacred pond, a bell tower, and a garden. There is elaborate use of symbolism, especially including several Chinese characters. Here are some of popular pagodas in Vietnam: One Pillar Pagoda, The Thay Pagoda, The Tran Quoc Pagoda
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Citadel, Imperial City and Forbidden Purple city in Hue

Vietnamese citadels and the imperial city were constructed to provide defenses against both physical and spiritual attack. This was achieved by assuming Chinese characteristics of huge, square stonewalls topped by crenellations, along with elements of feng shui. Military architecture under French influence gave rise to citadels with massive, thick walls, ringed by moats, punctuated by towers, with crenellated ramparts and pentagonal bastions.

French Colonial Architecture in Vietnam

Becoming the capital of Indochina in the 19th century, Hanoi was transformed with the construction of villas in French provincial style, administrative buildings emulating Parisian styles, and even Franco-Gothic structures such as Hanoi Cathedral. Some of the French Colonial _buildings include: Hanoi's State Guest House, The Presidential Palace. Hanoi's colonial buildings are mixed very well along the tree-lined boulevards.

Vietnam's Tube Architecture (Long house) and Its Present Adaption

Originally built during Le Dynasty (1428 – 1788), “tube houses” can be as little as 2m (6,5 ft) wide, but up to 80m (262 ft) deep. Behind the shop front are work areas, courtyards and living rooms. Today, these houses have soared to create tall, thin “rocket buildings”, still limited in their ground area by the original land deeds.

Tet Nguyen Dan – Vietnamese New Year

Tet Nguyen Dan or Festival of the First Day marks the onset of the lunar New Year is the country's most important festival. The celebration is at a time of rebirth and renewal, this Tet festival serves as an opportunity for thanksgiving and paying homage to ancestors for a Vietnamese family. Normally, Vietnamese prepare a week before Tet, as people pay to clear their debts; clean the family tombs, decorate homes with peach blossoms or kumquat trees, and make offerings to the Jade Emperor. The three first days of the Lunar New Year are a purely family affair, as families gather for elaborate meals, exchange gifts, and wish each other a happy new year.

Vietnamese Ancestor Worship

The Vietnamese show of respect to their ancestors finds its greatest expression during Tet, when the spirits of deceased family members are believed to visit the living. The ancestors are invoked with prayers, foods, and symbolic gifts made of paper, such as fake money, clothes, horses...even watches.

Special Tet Food in Vietnam

Tet in Vietnam is a time of indulgence, and festivities are not complete without an array of delicacies. Vietnamese families may save all year for the necessary luxuries, but the resulting feast is considered well worth it. Pork, duck and chicken are on the menu, along with soups and mounds of sticky rice. Succulent tropical fruits follow meals, especially, banana, dragon fruit and watermelon whose pulp is an auspicious red. The two types of Vietnamese traditional cake Banh chung and Banh tet are savory treats most closely associated with Tet. They consist of glutinous rice, green bean paste, and fatty pork boiled together in small parcels of banana leaves tied with strips of bamboo.

Festivities during Tet in Vietnam

Lavish, exuberant and time-honored Vietnamese Tet activities, frowned upon during the years of communist austerity, have made a major comeback in recent years. Entire communities in either the cities or countryside in Vietnam participate in the traditional music, singing, and dancing, as well as fairs, processions, and games played through the centuries. Young people take advantage of this opportunity to meet and flirt.
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