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Overview of Vietnam

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is located in the center of Southeast Asia, and is shaped like the letter "S". The country lies in the eastern part of the Indochina peninsula and bordered by China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, and the East Sea and Pacific Ocean to the southeast. Vietnam's coast line is 3,260 km long and its inland border measures 4,510 km.

Geography

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is located in the center of Southeast Asia, and is shaped like the letter "S". The country lies in the eastern part of the Indochina peninsula and bordered by China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, and the East Sea and Pacific Ocean to the southeast. Vietnam's coast line is 3,260 km long and its inland border measures 4,510 km.

The country's total length, from the northernmost point to the southernmost point, is 1,650 km.

Its width, stretching from east to west, is 600 km at the widest point in the north, 400 km in the south, and 50 km at the narrowest part in the Quang Binh province on the central coast. Vietnam is also a transport junction from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Climate

Vietnam 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 annual average temperature ranges from 22ºC to 27ºC. In Hanoi, the average temperature is 23ºC, in Ho Chi Minh City it is 26ºC, and in Hue it is 25ºC.

The monsoon climate also influences the changes in the tropical humidity. In general, in Vietnam there are two seasons, a hot and rainy season (from May to October), and a cold season (from November to April). However the four distinct seasons are most evident in the Northern provinces (from Hai Van Pass to the north): Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.

Because Vietnam is affected by the monsoon, the average temperature is lower than the other countries which are located in the same longitude in Asia. In comparison with these countries, the temperature in winter is colder and in summer is also cooler in Vietnam.

Under influence of the monsoon, and further because of its complicated topography, the climate in Vietnam can changes from year to year and in different area (from North to South and from lowlands and highlands).


Topography

Three quarters of Vietnam's territory consists of mountains and hills. Vietnam is divided into four distinct mountainous zones.

The Northeastern Zone (Viet Bac)

This zone stretches from the Red River Valley to the Gulf of Tonkin. The mountainous area of Viet Bac is full of famous sights: Dong Nhat Grotto, Dong Nhi Grotto, and Tam Thanh Grotto in Lang Son Province; Bac Bo Grotto and Ban Gioc Waterfall in Cao Bang; Ba Be Lake in Bac Can; Yen Tu Mountain and Halong Bay in Quang Ninh; and Tay Con Linh, the highest mountain peak in the region reaching 2,341 meters above sea level.

The Northwestern Zone

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 known for its resort 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 zone is also famous for the historical site of Dien Bien Phu and Fansipan Mountain, which measures 3,143 meters above sea level at its peak.

The North Truong Son Zone

This zone runs from the western part of Thanh Hoa Province to the Quang Nam-Da Nang Mountains. This region is known locally for its picturesque Phong Nha Grotto 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 Zone

This zone is located to the west of the south central coastal 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 resort town in this part of Vietnam.

Vietnam 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 over 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 and it was at that time that the wet rice civilization was established

The Mekong River Delta, or Southern Delta

This region is approximately 36,000 sq. km in size. The land is very fertile and has favorable climate conditions for agriculture. As a result, it is the largest rice growing region in Vietnam.

Vietnam is crisscrossed by thousands of streams and rivers. There is a river discharging every 20 kilometers along Vietnam's coastline. The waterways are a very convenient means of transport, particularly with major rivers like the Red River in the north and the Mekong River in the south.

Vietnam's coastline is 3,260 km long. If you have a chance to travel along the coast of Vietnam, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Tra Co, Sam Son, Lang Co, Non Nuoc, Nha Trang, Vung Tau, and Ha Tien. In some places, you will see mountains jutting out into the sea. One such magnificent site is Halong Bay, which has recently been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Along Vietnam's coast are a series of large ports, such as the ones at Haiphong, Danang, 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 tourist destinations are the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa Archipelagos.

The forests of Vietnam account for the majority of the total land area. National parks are preserved by the state and follow a steady development plan. Some of the more famous national parks located throughout the country include Ba Vi in Ha Tay, Cat Ba in Haiphong, Cuc Phuong in Ninh Binh, Bach Ma in Hue, and Cat Tien in Dong Nai.

Vietnam has a variety of mineral resources. Beneath the forests are valuable minerals such as tin, zinc, silver, gold, antimony, precious stones, and coal. Vietnam has large deposits of oil and gas on its offshore islands and on the mainland.

Vietnam also has abundant subterranean mineral water sources. These are found at Quang Hanh in Quang Ninh, Hoi Van in Binh Dinh, Vinh Hao in Binh Thuan, Duc My in Nha Trang, Kim Boi in Hoa Binh, and Binh Chau in Vung Tau.

Communist Party of Vietnam - (14/11/2005)


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