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Vietnam Overview

Vietnam is situated in Southeast Asia and borders with Laos and Cambodia to the west and China to the north. It is a small country compared to its neighbours, covering only 128,000 sq miles, making Vietnam travel pretty easy compared to some other Asian countries. Vietnam’s current government is run by a prime-minister, with the head of state being the president. The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese, like Chinese and Japanese this is a tonal language, with meaning changing depending on stress and intonation. Those taking Vietnam travel can check out our Useful Phrases page to familiarise themselves with the language. The most popular religion in Vietnam is Buddhism; however there is a wide variety of other religious beliefs including Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Cao Dai and Tam Giao Dong Nguyen. You will also come across a wide number of ethnic groups on Vietnam travel, particularly in the highlands; these include the Muong, Hmong, Dao, and Khmer Krom people. There is also a significant Chinese community here. You are likely to find people from all kinds of religious and cultural backgrounds on Vietnam travel so it is worth keeping an open mind.
Those planning Vietnam travel will probably know that this country has been the subject of much invasion and foreign control, from Chinese control until the 9th century to the French invasion in the 19th century up until Japanese occupation during the Second World War, whose unwanted presence resulted in the French Indochina War. Vietnam won this war and a short period of peace lasted until 1964 when civil war between the north and south broke out. The U.S. became heavily involved, fighting on the side of the anti-communist government of the South. The country became a war zone for ten years and Vietnam travel during this time was only done by soldiers and journalists. In 1975 South Vietnam and the U.S. lost the war to the North Vietnamese and in 1980, the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was drawn up. Following the end of the Cold War a new constitution was drawn up in 1992 and many western countries, including the U.S. re-established good relations with Vietnam once more. When people shed the misconceptions of a war-torn and ruined country, wrecked by years of violence and invasion and Vietnam travel was taken up once again, they realised that much of the country has been restored to its natural state and that Vietnam is home to some of the world’s most beautiful people and most breathtaking tropical landscape.