Vietnam is part of the geographical region known as Southeast Asia. It shares its northern border with China, and has a coastline stretching 2025 miles along the Pacific Ocean. The north of Vietnam is home to the country’s capital Hanoi. One of the most recognisable areas of Hanoi is the “Old Quarter” which can be identified by its narrow winding streets and traditional architecture. The south is the location of Vietnam’s biggest city and economic center – Ho Chi Minh City, still commonly referred to by its former name Saigon. The city is home to several famous Vietnamese landmarks such as the Vietnamese Notre Dame and the Reunification Palace. The Mekong river flows through Vietnam, from north to south, ending at the Mekong river delta near Saigon. Vietnam is home to 32 ethnic groups, the largest being the Kinh people.
The climate varies across the country – the north has four seasons (summer, autumn, winter and spring), whereas the south only has two (wet and dry). This is most clearly seen in the difference in temperature between the two regions. The average low temperature come December in Hanoi is 15C whereas in Saigon the temperature normally only falls to a low of around 22C. Vietnam has a diverse range of topography from mountain ranges, to river valleys, to coastal beaches.
The country is commonly associated with conical hats and its traditional dress known as the Ao Dài. Another prominent symbol of Vietnam is the motorbike. As cars are expensive, travel in Vietnam is primarily done by motorbike, which pack the roads during rush hours. Crosswalks are rarely found, to cross the street one simply walks straight into the road as the bikes drive around them. However, Vietnam is perhaps best known for its variety of street food. Street stalls can be found on nearly every street in Vietnam. Some of the most famous traditional Vietnamese dishes are Phở (soup with rice noodles) and Bánh Mì (a take on the French baguette sandwich).
- Vietnamese is a tonal language, consisting of 6 stones, and written with diacritic marks over the roman alphabet. The language has multiple dialects and regional standards, however northern Vietnamese is regarded as the official standard.
- Vietnam is home to the largest cave in the world with a total length of 5.5 miles
- Vietnam is the second largest exporter of Coffee in the world, only after Brazil. Popular coffee drinks in Vietnam include the Vietnamese Drip Coffee and the Egg Coffee. Vietnamese people often drink their coffee with ice.