Top events in Vietnam

December
25

Celebrated by the small Christian community but increasingly seen as a party period by other groups.

January
23
Tet

Tet (Vietnamese New Year) is the most important celebration for the Vietnamese when families get together. The celebrations start seven days...

January
23
Tet

Tet (Vietnamese New Year) is the most important celebration for the Vietnamese when families get together. The celebrations start seven days...

Rice fields, Vietnam
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Rice fields, Vietnam

© www.123rf.com/Kris Vandereycken

Vietnam Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

331,210 sq km (127,881 sq miles).

Population

92.5 million (2013).

Population density

279.2 per sq km.

Capital

Hanoi.

Government

Socialist republic since 1980. Gained independence from France in 1945.

Head of state

President Truong Tan Sang since 2011.

Head of government

President Truong Tan Sang since 2011.

Electricity

220/127 volts AC, 50Hz. Flat two-pin, round two-pin and square three-pin plugs are used.

Vietnam is an utter assault on the senses; at once dizzying, frenetic and fascinating. Conical-hatted street vendors sell their wares on the pavements outside gleaming high-rises and exquisite temples are surrounded by streets buzzing with thousands of motorbikes.

Wherever you travel you can't fail to be intrigued by this frenetic, fascinating country. The capital Hanoi is the focus for arts in Vietnam and has been since its foundation in the year 1010 while in Ho Chi Minh City business is king. Hue is steeped in imperial history, Hoi An the place to soak up the atmosphere and the largely undeveloped coastline is the place to kick back.

Life in urban Vietnam is conducted on the streets. In bia hois (pavement pubs) men sup ice-cold beer and odours from makeshift food stalls fill the nostrils: see steaming pho, a noodle soup with various unidentifiable chunks of meat, or grilled chicken feet. Along nearly all the moped-clogged streets produce is sold. Tubs wriggle with live sturgeon, crabs and frogs (still a delicacy from French colonial days), baskets are top heavy with colourful and bizarre fruit, and every possible piece of a pig is on sale.

Rural Vietnam is entirely different. Just a short distance from the cities, water buffalo wallow in green rice paddies and elegant women wearing traditional conical headwear cycle along dusty paths.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 23 November 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Tropical cyclones affect the eastern coastal regions. The season normally runs from May to November, but tropical cyclones can occur outside this period. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the advice of the local authorities.

There is a low threat from terrorism.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Around 100,000 British nationals visit Vietnam every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

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