Vietnam, also known as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is located on the easternmost part of the Indochina peninsula. As of 2014, the population count is estimated at almost 91 million. It is the 13th largest in the world in terms of population count and the 5th in Asia. Vietnam is also one of the most visited countries in Southeast Asia with about 6 million tourists who travel to Vietnam annually (as of 2012).
The difference in latitude within Vietnam and its varied topography, it results in varying climate conditions across various parts of Vietnam. However, the general conditions would be the winter and dry season from November until April. During this time, monsoon winds pick up considerably. The average annual temperature in Vietnam is higher in the plains as compared to the mountainous areas. The average range is between 21 to 28 degrees Celsius.
Currency: Vietnamese Dong
Official Language:Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam.
Wi-Fi Availability: Surprisingly, WiFi connection is reliable and good in Vietnam. Last January, their railway system just introduced free WiFi access. You can also access WiFi through hotels, cafes and other establishments.
Airport/s:Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh is the largest international airport for those who travel to Vietnam.
Visa Required:All citizens who travel to Vietnam, except for those listed under Visa exempt countries, must obtain a visa and hold passport with up to 6 months in validity. For a list of Visa-exempt countries, visit this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Vietnam
Driving: The people of Vietnam drive on the right side of the road.
International Driver’s License Accepted? As of today, you cannot use your foreign issued or international driver’s license to drive in Vietnam. However, things are about to change soon as the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam is going to recognize international driver’s license this year.
Crime: In 2014, drug use became more prevalent in Vietnam resulting to a rise in crimes as well. Despite of that, the crime rate is still pretty low in comparison to other Western countries. The case of violence targeted towards tourists is extremely rare.
Electrical Adapters: In Vietnam, US tourists must use an adapter or voltage converter as they use 220 volts on electrical sockets and three plug types: A, C and G.
Trivia: DID YOU KNOW that despite being a developing country, Vietnam has one of the highest literacy rates in the world at 94%?
Cuisine in Vietnam
There are several similarities to Vietnamese cuisine with other Southeast Asian cuisines. The dishes are also most notable for its use of fresh ingredients such as herbs and vegetables. The right balance of herbs and spices make it one of the most savory and healthiest dishes in the world.
The main philosophy of Vietnamese cuisine hinges on the five fundamental senses: spicy, sour, bitter, salty, and sweet.
A typical Vietnamese meal consists of steamed long grain rice, stir-fry dish, vegetables (raw, pickled, stir fried or steamed), canh (clear soup or broth), dipping sauce or condiments, and fresh fruits for dessert.
Travel to Vietnam
There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam: Ha Long Bay and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Meanwhile, there are six bioreserves in Vietnam namely the Red River Delta, Western Nghe-An, Can Gio Mangrove Forest, Cat Tien, and Kien Giang.
Other famous tourist attractions in Vietnam are listed below:
- Cu Chi tunnels
- War Remnants Museum
- Independence Palace
- Saigon Notre Dame Basilica
- Hoan Kiem Lake
- Imperial City in Hue
- Pham Ngu Lao Street
- One Pillar Pagoda
Where I’ve Been to in Vietnam
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam
- Ha Long Bay
- Hoi An
- Complex of Hue Monuments
- Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi
- Mui Ne, Vietnam
- Saigon, Vietnam
- My Son Sanctuary