Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. Its neighbouring countries are China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west. It has a population of more than 80 million people, comprised of 54 different ethnic groups that possess historically rich cultural backgrounds and interesting folk arts.
The country has more than 1000 historical, cultural, and architectural sites which have been officially classified as Heritage Sites. Five of these sites have been recognized as world cultural heritage sites by UNESCO, including Halong Bay, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National park, the ancient capital of Hue, the ancient town Hoi An, and My Son Holy Land. It will become clear from excursions to these sites that Vietnam is a country with a long-established history.
Few countries have changed so much over such a short time as Vietnam. Manufacturing, information technology and high-tech industries now form a large and fast-growing part of the national economy. Though Vietnam is a relative newcomer to the oil industry, it is currently the third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia. Besides economy, Vietnamese scholars developed many academic fields during the dynastic era, most notably social sciences and the humanities.
Vietnamese people are energetic, direct, sharp in commerce and resilient by nature. The locals love a laugh and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to socialise with them and hear their tales. Generally the rule is the more uncomfortable the seats in the bar or cafe, the more fun you’ll have. Poor in parts but never squalid, Vietnam is developing at an astonishing pace and inevitably there are some issues to consider. However, on the whole this is an extremely safe and wonderfully rewarding country to explore.