Vietnam (Vietnam Công Hòa Xa Hôi Chu ‘Nghiã, Socialist Republic of Vietnam) is a Socialist republic of south-east Asia, situated in the Indochina peninsula. The country, washed to the east by the South China Sea and to the south-west from the Gulf of Siam, is bordered to the north by China and to the west by Laos and Cambodia. The capital is Hanoi, among other important cities are Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Haiphong, Da Nang, Hué. The country narrow and elongated shape has a coastline that stretches over 3,000 km, the Vietnamese territory includes the regions of Tonkin, Annam and Cochinchina, Vietnam also controls some islands of the Spratly islands.
Tonkin is located in the northern part of the country, near the border with China are the mountain ranges of Yunnan that rise over 3,000 culminating with the Fan Si Pan (Phan Xi Păng, 3,143 metres), the highest mountain of Vietnam, to the south lies the vast and fertile basin of the Red River (Hong Sông) in its valley lies the capital Hanoi. Annam, located in the central section of the country, consists of a narrow coastal strip behind the Annamite chain. To the south are the Tây Nguyên Plateau, standing at varying heights between 500 and 1,500 metres. Cochinchina is the southern flat area occupied by the Mekong delta, the largest Indochina river, in this region is also Ho Chí Minh (Saigon), the largest city in Vietnam.
Agriculture is the main Vietnamese economic sector, it produces rice (between the main world producers), maize, sweet potato, cassava, vegetables, fruit, sugar cane, tobacco, coffee, cotton, citrus fruits, tea, soybean and rubber. Other important sectors are fishery (crabs, shrimp, shellfish and freshwater fish), forestry (bamboo, ebony), farming (pigs, cattle, buffalo) and silk. Regarding subsoil resources, the country produces coal, oil, copper, tin, zinc, iron, chromium and natural gas. Among the industries are active areas steel, paper, textile, food, chemical. Increasingly important tourism.
- Area: 331,109 sqkm. (Arable 21%, Pastures 1%, Foresta and Woodlands 29%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 49%)
- Population: 87,375,000 (2007 data) (Vietnamese (Kinh) 87%, Tay 2%, Thay 2%, Khmer 1,3%, Muong 1,3%, Hoa 1%)
- State Capital: Hanoi.
- Languages: The official language is Vietnamese. French is also spoken.
- Religion: Buddhist 85%, Christian 8% (Catholic 7%, Protestant 1%), Cao Đài 3%, Tribal Animism 2,5%.
- Currency: đong (VND)
- Time: UTC +7 hours.