Vietam

Capital city: Hanoi

Language: Vietnamese

Temperature: 13°C – 35°C

Best time of year to visit: Year round

Time zone: GMT + 7

Currency: Dông (₫, VND)

Exchange rate to RMB: 1 VND = 0.0003 RMB (April 2016)

Plug converter: Plugs with two flat pins, two round pins or three square pins, 220 volts AC, 50Hz.

Country code: + 84

Flight:Beijing,Shanghai,Guangzhou,Kunming have daily direct flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City

Highlights

This small country attracts many tourists from all over the world because of its beautiful white sand beaches, mystical bays, imposing highlands, well-preserved forests, numerous historical sites, , deeply traditional customs, amazing cuisine…. From the temples of Hanoi and the islands of Halong Bay to the beaches of Nha Trang and the palaces of Hue, the country is now firmly anchored in the mind of travelers also simply due to the  warmth and welcoming smiles of locals.

Nature

Vietnam is principally agricultural with a central tropical rainforest. The country shows a S-shaped and shares borders with the People's Republic of China, Laos and Cambodia.

The Northern part of Vietnam is dominated by the Red River plains. In the north west of Hanoi, green hilly areas can be found. In the East region of Hanoi.

Halong Bay features a stunning natural formation of more than 3,000 large limestone islands and beautiful beaches.

The Mekong River and its fertile plain provides good conditions to grow the rice. Amongst the plains, in the middle of the country, are mountainous areas, known as the highlands, where rubber, tea and coffee are grown.

History

The Vietnam we know today with its long shape and size, has only existed since the 19th century, although the nation itself has a long History which dates back to thousands of years ago.

Vietnam was, along with Cambodia and Laos, a French colony for a long period of time. In 1941, the Japanese occupied it during World War II. Communist Ho Chi Minh established the Viet Minh during that same period of time and started fighting for the independence of the country. The fight continued until 1954 when the French surrendered to the Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu and Hanoi then became the capital of North Vietnam. But Ho Chi Minh was determined to reunite the whole country.

The North Vietnam Army was then supported by the Soviet Union and fought against the Americans who supported the South Vietnamese Army. The fighting continued until 1975 when Saigon fell to North Vietnamese troops. Vietnam was thereafter reunited under communist rule in 1976.

The Vietnamese economy suffered in the following years in part due to the lack of foreign aid. A relation with the USA was later restored in 1995.

More recently, Vietnam experienced a rapid economic growth until the global crisis of 2008 but the Communist Party has no intention of relaxing its political power.

Culture

Religion:

There are about 54 unique national minorities in Vietnam. The majority of people are Buddhist. There are also minorities such as Taoist, Confucian, Hoa Hao, Caodaist and Christian. With the long historical influence of Chinese and European cultures, Vietnam has formed a unique local culture combining those into and creating one of their own.

Social conventions:

Handshaking and a vocal greeting are normal. Clothing should be simple, informal and discreet. Shorts are usually only worn by children. Footwear should be removed when entering Buddhist temples, pagodas and other religious sites. In addition, people should not touch the head of Vietnamese. It is also advised to give and receive gifts and business cards using two hands.

Food

Vietnamese food is famous worldwide for its fresh, flavourful and superb taste. Although there are regional variations, rice or noodles usually form the initial basis of a Vietnamese meal.

Not surprisingly, as the country lies along the coast of Southern China sea, a lot of fish is served in the local cuisine. There are also plenty of fresh herbs and vegetables, Shrimp paste and fermented fish sauce are also frequently used giving dishes their unique flavour. Vietnam is also the world’s second largest producer of coffee. The most famous food in Vietnam is Pho which is an omnipresent noodle soup served with meat.There are also various type of snacks, such as Spring rolls (Nem) and steamed dumpling (Banh bao).

Shopping

Vietnam is paradise for anyone who likes handicrafts and a bargain. Clothes are particularly good value and tailors can sew clothes within 24 hours, especially in Hoi An.

Other must buy goods include wooden water puppets, silk, colourful hill-tribe bags, clothing and hand-painted silk greetings cards. One or more markets are located in each town and city. There are upmarket shopping malls arising in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

What to pack?

Required clothing:

In general, due to hot weather, it is recommended to bring loose, natural fabrics clothes all year round, but warmer clothing is recommended when going to the highland region. Also bring sun screen, a hat and sun glasses. Beach and swimming wear, flip-flops or sandals are certainly a must when going to beach.