Viet Nam is located in Asia. It shares borders with China, Laos and Cambodia, and faces the East Sea. Thanks to its location, Viet Nam is bridge linking Southeast Asian mainland together. It is an S-shape peninsula, with thousands of offshore islands, the largest archipelagoes being the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands and the Truong Sa (Spartley) Islands. The country’s land area is 331,690 sq.km and lies between East longitudes 102º08’ and 109º28’, and North latitudes 8º02’ and 23º23’. Viet Nam offers a 3,260km coastline and its inland borderline is 4,550km. From North to South, the country stretches on about 1,650km.
Viet Nam has two major deltas, including the Red River Delta in the north and the Mekong River Delta in the south.
The Red River Delta, or Northern Delta
This region stretches for 15,000 sq. km. Over time, deposits of alluvium carried from the Red River and Thai Binh River have accumulated to form the delta. The ancient Viet people settled at the junction of the two rivers . At that time, the wet rice civilization was established.
The Mekong River Delta, or Southern Delta
This region is approximately 40,000 sq. km. The land is very fertile and has favorable climate conditions for agriculture. As a result, it is the largest rice growing region in Viet Nam.
Three quarters of Viet Nam’s territory consists of mountains and hills. Viet Nam is divided into four distinct mountainous regions.
The Northeastern Region (Viet Bac)
This region stretches from the Red River Valley to the Gulf of Tonkin. The mountainous area of Viet Bac is scattered with famous sights: Nhi Thanh and Tam Thanh caves, Mau Son Mountain in Lang Son Province; Pac Bo Cave and Ban Gioc Waterfall in Cao Bang; Ba Be Lake in Bac Kan; Yen Tu Mountain and Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh; and Tay Con Linh (in Ha Giang Province), the highest mountain peak in the region reaching 2,341 meters above sea level.
The Northwestern Region
This zone is comprised of mountains that run from the north of the Sino-Vietnamese border to the west of Thanh Hoa Province. This magnificent mountain range is nationally known for its tourism town of Sapa in Lao Cai Province, which is perched 1500 meters above sea level. Several ethnic groups, such as the H’mong, Dao, Kinh, Tay, Giay, Hoa, and Xa Pho, still reside in this region.
The Northwestern region is also famous for the historical site of Dien Bien Phu and Fansipan Mount, which measures 3,143 meters above sea level and considered as the peak of the Indochina.
The North Truong Son Region
This zone runs from the western part of Thanh Hoa Province to the Da Nang- Quang Nam Mountains. This region is known locally for its picturesque Phong Nha Cave and its two breathtaking passes, the Ngang Pass and the Hai Van Pass. It is also known worldwide for being the location of the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail constructed during the second great resistance war.
The South Truong Son Region
This region is located to the west of the south central coast provinces. Behind these huge mountains is a vast area of red soil known locally as “Tay Nguyen” (the Central Highlands). There are numerous legendary accounts of the flora and fauna and of the lives of several different ethnic minorities living in the Central Highlands. Dalat, established during the 19th century, is a popular vacation city in this part of Viet Nam.
Viet Nam’s coastline is 3,260km long. If you have a chance to travel along the coast of Viet Nam, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Tra Co, Sam Son, Lang Co, Non Nuoc and My Khe, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Vung Tau, and Phu Quoc, etc. In some places, you will see mountains jutting out to the sea. One such magnificent site is Halong Bay, which has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Ha Long, Lang Co and Nha Trang baies were member of Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World – Worldbays
Viet Nam’s coast has been awarded a series of large seaports, such as Hai Phong, Da Nang, Qui Nhon, Cam Ranh, Vung Tau, and Saigon. There are thousands of islands and islets scattered offshore from north to south. Among the most popular ones are the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa Archipelagos.
The forests of Viet Nam account for most of the total land area. National parks are preserved by the state and follow a steady development plan. Some of the famous national parks located throughout the country include Hoang Lien in Lao Cai Province, Ba Be in Bac Kan Province, Ba Vi in Ha Noi, Cat Ba in Hai Phong City, Cuc Phuong in Ninh Binh Province, Bach Ma in Thua Thien Hue Province, Phong Nha – Ke Bang in Quang Binh Province, Cat Tien in Dong Nai Province, Con Dao in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, Phu Quoc in Kien Giang Province, U Minh Ha in Ca Mau Province, etc.
Viet Nam is located in both a tropical and a temperate zone. It is characterized by strong monsoon influences, but has a considerable amount of sun, a high rate of rainfall, and high humidity. Regions located near the tropics and in the mountainous regions are endowed with a temperate climate.
The monsoon climate also influences to the changes of the tropical humidity. In general, in Viet Nam there are two seasons, the cold season occurs from November to April and the hot season from May to October. The difference in temperature between the two seasons in southern is almost unnoticeable, averaging 3ºC. The most noticeable variations are found in the northern where differences of 12ºC have been observed. There are essentially four distinct seasons, which are most evident in the northern provinces (from Hai Van Pass toward to the north): Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism
Address: 80 Quan Su Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi
www.vietnamtourism.gov.vn and vietnam.travel
The 10th day of the third lunar month: The ancestors’ death anniversary of the whole nation (one day holiday)