Vietnam shares its land borders with Cambodia and Laos to the west and China to the north. Vietnam's eastern border is the 3,000 kilometers of coastline facing the East Sea. The country covers an area of 329,600 square kilometers and its two main cultivated areas are the Red River Delta in the north and the Mekong Delta in the south.
The country's topography varies from coastal plains to mountain ranges.
Vietnam Climate & Seasons
Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate with wet and dry seasons. These seasons vary from north to south and with elevation changes. In general, the dry season lasts from November to April in the north, south and central highland regions. The coolest, driest times to visit are from October to January (north), from February to April (Central Highlands) and from late December to March (south).
Vietnam has a population of 86 million, 85% of which are ethnic Vietnamese or ‘Kinh’. The remaining 15% is comprised of ethnic-Chinese, Khmers, Chams or members of more than 60 ethnic minority peoples living in the mountainous regions of central and northern Vietnam. The largest ethnic minority groups are the Tay, the White Thai, the Black Thai and the H'mong. These groups display similar rural and agricultural lifestyles, but have different languages, dress, cultures and physical features.
Vietnamese is native language. Today, English has replaced French and Russian as the most studied and spoken foreign language, and is widely spoken in major cities.
Buddhism is the most common religion in Vietnam with about 60% of the population practicing some form of Buddhism. About 8% of the population is Catholic. Other religions include Protestantism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism and Caodaism.
Vietnam Festival & Holiday
Tet, the Lunar New Year, is undoubtedly the most important holiday for the Vietnamese. It usually takes place in February and is celebrated for five days. Visitors should be aware that virtually all businesses are closed during this period and international and domestic flights are fully booked as overseas Vietnamese return to visit their families and friends. Other significant public holidays include:
- January 1st: New Year's Day (one day holiday)
- April 30th: Saigon Liberation Day (one day holiday)
- May 1st: International Labor Day (one day holiday)
- September 2nd: National Day of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (one day holiday)
Vietnam Handicraft & Souvenirs
Vietnam is renowned for its various forms of lacquer ware (mother of pearl inlay, duck shell etc.) and for its silk industry. An array of other handicrafts is also available, including quality hand embroidery, woodcarvings, brass or marble figurines and ivory or tortoiseshell accessories. Paintings, silk screens, and hand-painted ceramics can be found in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. War paraphernalia, such as army helmets, are popular souvenirs, as are the old cameras, watches, stamps and coins sold on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.
GMT plus 7 hours
Government offices are open from 8.00. to 17.00 (with a one-hour lunch break) from Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday are holidays. In local regions, offices are open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 and 13:00 to 17:00.
Banks are open from 7:30 a.m. or 8:00 a.m. to 16:30. Banks are closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays.
Private shops are open from 8:00 or 8:30 a.m. to 21:00. or 22:00.
Asia Travel Expert working hours:
Monday to Friday: from 8:00 to 17:00 (with a one-hour lunch break from 12:00 p.m. to 13:00)
Saturday: from 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m.
On Sundays and Public Holidays, we have residual staff and management on duty to monitor our services and operations. In addition, senior members of staff are on call 24-hours a day, seven days a week to resolve any problem or emergency that may arise.