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Vietnam Travel Guide

Vietnam Introduction


South-East Asia.


331,689 sq km (128,066 sq miles).

Population: 86.9 million (2009).

Population Density: 261.9 per sq km.

Capital Hanoi.

Population: 6.2 million (2007).


Socialist republic since 1980. Gained independence from France in 1954.


Vietnamese is the official language. English, French, Chinese and occasionally Russian and German are spoken.


Buddhist majority. There are also Taoist, Confucian, Hoa Hao, Caodaist and Christian (predominantly Roman Catholic) minorities.


GMT + 7.


220/110 volts AC, 50Hz; flat two-pin plugs are in use. Occasionally round two-pin plug sockets can be found, so it is worth having adaptors for both.

Head of Government

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung since 2006.

Head of State

President Nguyen Minh Triet since 2006.

Recent History

Since the doi moi reforms by the socialist state in 1986, which opened the country up to investment and a liberal economic approach, Vietnam has been modernizing its agricultural and mining industries. It still, however, remains a one-party communist state. The country is ruled by a triumvirate of a president, prime minister and the secretary general of the Communist Party - the latter being the most powerful man in the country. The current president and prime minister are both seen as economic reformers and both hail from southern Vietnam. In order to achieve continuing economic progress they will have to propose more privatization and deregulation and will have to fight Communist Party diehards in the process. Small scale protests against the government, particularly to do with land reforms, appear occasionally. The human rights record was described as ‘poor' in a 2004 US state department report, for restricting freedom of speech, religion and of the press.


Country code: 84.

Mobile Telephone

Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies. Coverage is available throughout large parts of the country.


Internet cafes are widely available throughout the country.


The media is controlled by the Communist Party. Newspapers straying beyond restrictive government reporting guidelines are shut down. Internet access is tightly controlled. Web content is subject to government approval and sites deemed unacceptable are blocked.


Postal services can be slow. Airmail to Europe can take up to three weeks.

Post office hours: Daily 0700-2100.


• Daily and weekly newspapers in Vietnam include Lao Dong, Nhan Dan (The People) and Quan Doi Nhan Dan.

• The Vietnam Economic Times, Vietnam Investment Review, Saigon Times and Vietnam News are published in English.

• Le Courrier du Vietnam is published in French.


• Voice of Vietnam (VoV) is state operated.

• VoV 5 broadcasts programs in English, French and Russian.

Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2012-December 2013 period.


1 Jan New Year's Day.

23-27 Jan* Têt, Lunar New Year.

31 March Gio to Hung Vuong Day.

30 Apr Liberation of Saigon.

1 May May Day.

2 Sep National Day.


1 Jan New Year's Day.

10-12 Feb* Têt, Lunar New Year.

19 Apr Gio to Hung Vuong Day.

30 Apr Liberation of Saigon.

1 May May Day.

2 Sep National Day.


*Check with the embassy for the exact date. Visitors may experience difficulties during this period as shops, restaurants and public services close and prices tend to go up in the few shops that remain open.

Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2014-December 2014 period.

1 Jan New Year's Day.

31 Jan *Têt, Lunar New Year.

09 Apr Gio to Hung Vuong Day.

30 Apr Liberation of Saigon.

1 May May Day.

2 Sep National Day.

Contact Information:

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism

80 Quan Su, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: (+84-4) 3942 3998.


Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the UK

12 Victoria Road, London W8 5RD, UK

Tel: (020) 7937 1912.


Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0930-1230 (visa section).

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the USA

1233 20th Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036, USA

Tel: (202) 861 0737 or 2293 (consular section).


Vietnam Introduction

Vietnam Overview

Regions in Vietnam

Main Cities in Vietnam

Other Cities in Vietnam

Getting to Vietnam

Getting Around Vietnam

Language in Vietnam

Vietnam Activities