40 Interesting Facts About Vietnam

  1. Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is a country located on the eastern side of mainland Southeast Asia.
  2. Vietnam is one of only five countries in the world that still practice communism. Other communist countries are China, North Korea, Laos, and Cuba. 
  3. Vietnam is the 8th most populous country in Asia and the 3rd most populous in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and the Philippines. Its population is more than 97 million.
  4. Son Doong (Mountain River Cave) in Vietnam is the largest cave in the world. It is connected with another cave “Hang Thung” via an underwater tunnel. The volume of this combined cave is over 40 million cubic meters. (Source)
  5. A prominent feature of the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, is tube houses. These narrow but deep houses were initially constructed during the French colonial period to accommodate a growing population in a limited space in the capital. This design is popular in Hanoi, and also in some other Vietnamese cities. (Source)
  6. The ancestors of Vietnamese people initially settled in modern-day northern Vietnam around the 1st millennium BC.
  7. The Chinese Han dynasty annexed Vietnam in 111 BC after almost 100 years of military and diplomatic efforts.
  8. Vietnamese rebelled several times against Chinese rule after 40 CE. They were able to achieve independence in 939 AD. Various Vietnamese dynasties successfully defended their country against Chinese aggression several times in later centuries.
  9. Western nations, initially Portuguese and then French, started trade and missionary activities in Vietnam during the 16th Century.
  10. France and Spain invaded Vietnam in 1857 when the Vietnamese persecuted French and local missionaries. The country became a colony of France in 1862.
  11. The Vietnamese started nationalist (and later communist) revolts against the French during the colonial period. The Communist Party gained independence in 1945 after the end of WW2
  12. The First Indochina War started in 1946 between France and the Vietnamese Communist Party (Viet Minh). It ended with victory for Viet Minh and the division of the country into DR Vietnam (northern Vietnam) and the State of Vietnam (southern Vietnam).
  13. The Vietnam War was one of the most famous conflicts during the Cold War. USSR, China, and their allies aided North Vietnam, while the USA and its supporters were behind South Vietnam. More than 1.3 million people died during the war that continued for more than 19 years (1955-1975). It resulted in victory for North Vietnam and the reunification of Vietnam.
  14. Communist guerillas dug thousands of miles of tunnels in the Cu Chi district, south of Saigon (the South Vietnamese capital). They used these tunnels for guerilla activities against South Vietnam and the US military during the Vietnam War. These tunnels are now a popular tourist attraction. (Source)
  15. Around 20% of Vietnam’s land area is flat. The remaining is mountainous or forested. The two main rivers are Red River in the north and Mekong River in the south of the country.
  16. The USA extensively used Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. This herbicide contains a toxic element that produced birth defects in local Vietnamese and veterans of this war. (Source)
    A U.S. military helicopter spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam
    Use of Agent Orange in Vietnam War caused birth defects

  17. Vietnam also fought a bloody war against its neighbor Cambodia from December 1978 to September 1989. This war also ended with a victory for Vietnam and a change of the regime in Cambodia.
  18. After the Vietnam War, diplomatic relations between the USA and Vietnam resumed in 1995. In 2013, both countries signed the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership to improve bilateral relationship.
  19. Vietnam is one of the few countries with the death penalty. Criminals can receive capital punishment for 22 offenses, including fraud, corruption, and illegal trade of food. (Source) 
  20. Vietnam is the world’s biggest exporter of cinnamon, cement, metal-clad products, and fuelwood. The country is the biggest importer of light rubberized knitted fabric, plastic-coated textile fabric, and soybean meal. (Source)
  21. Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of cashew nuts and black peppers. It produces nearly 45% of cashews in the world. (Source) (Source)
  22. The agricultural land in Vietnam is suitable for the growth of rice. Therefore, it is among the top producers and exporters of this cereal grain in the world.
  23. Vietnam is a tropical country, but you can experience snow at the top of the Fansipan Mountains in winter. Hiking tours and cable car service is available in this area for tourists.
  24. In 1986, Vietnam moderately moved away from strict state ownership and allowed private enterprise in a few sectors. This reform improved the economy, especially during the 21st Century.
  25. More than 85% of people in Vietnam are ethnic Vietnamese. Their official language is also Vietnamese. It has several similarities to the Chinese language.
  26. More than 81% population follows atheism. Buddhism and Roman Catholic Christianity are the two main religions in Vietnam.
  27. Vietnam has the highest crude oil reserves among countries located entirely in Southeast Asia. Its oil reserves in 2021 were 4.4 billion barrels. (Source)
  28. Vietnamese commemorate the death anniversary of the Hung Kings every year. This festival of their founders takes place from the 8th to the 12th of the third lunar month.
  29. There are several cultural symbols in Vietnam. These include the Vietnamese long dress (Ao dai), Vietnamese hat (non la), rice, lotus, dragon, buffalo, tortoise, unicorn, etc.
  30. Vietnam preserved the corpse of its founder, Ho Chi Minh, after his death in 1969. It happened despite his will for cremation. (Source)
  31. Ban Gioc waterfall is a popular tourist destination due to its multiple falls by trees and rocks. This majestic waterfall is situated near the Chinese border.
  32. The Long Bien Bridge (1899 to 1902) in Hanoi was designed by the designer of the Eiffel Tower. Trains, bikes, and pedestrians use this bridge. (Source)
    The Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi, Vietnam
    The Long Bien Bridge was designed by the designer of Eiffel Tower

  33. Vietnam has the highest number of motorcycles per population. There are 358 motorcycles in Vietnam per 1,000 people. (Source)
  34. Ha Long Bay – Cat Ba Archipelago is the largest limestone island ecosystem in Asia. It comprises 755 islands and covers an area of 434 km2. It contains nearly 3,900 terrestrial and marine species. (Source)
  35. There are 8 UNESCO world heritage sites in Vietnam. These include five cultural, two natural, and one mixed site. (Source)
  36. The Love Market Festival is held in Vietnam annually on the 26th of the third lunar month. This festival is based on a sad love story where ex-lovers, who could not marry, participate.
  37. According to estimates, Vietnamese eat around 5 million dogs annually. Dog meat is more expensive than pork because there are 10 million dogs in the country. Due to this reason, a large number of dogs are smuggled into Vietnam from Thailand every year. (Source)
  38. A unique food in Vietnam is fertilized duck egg, locally known as Hot Vit Lon. The embryos in these eggs are 14 or more days old with legs, beaks, and feathers. Vietnamese hard-boil these eggs for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  39. A few common gifts are not well received in Vietnam due to superstitions. These include white flowers, umbrellas, watches, sharp objects, etc.
  40. The geography of Vietnam makes it a good location for movies. Some famous Hollywood films shot in Vietnam include Kong: Skull Island (2017), Pan (2015), and The Quiet American (2002).

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