Are you one of those people that only think of Vietnam in terms of that 20th Century war? With these 51 interesting facts about Vietnam, explore how fascinating the country has become over the years; with beautiful scenery, amazing cuisine, and an awesome kaleidoscope of cultures that you definitely need to experience for yourself!
Vietnam’s history and culture
1. Legend has it that the peoples of this land originated from a union between an immortal Chinese princess and “The Dragon Lord of the Seas.”
2. The country’s name was originally spelled as two words, Viet Nam.
4. In 938 AD, the Vietnamese developed a trade system to exchange animal skins, ivory and tropical goods for Chinese scrolls on administration, philosophy and literature.
5. The body of their first president Ho Chi Minh (Uncle Ho) was embalmed, and is on display in a mausoleum.
6. Their flag consists of a golden star with five points to represent farmers, workers, intellectuals, youth and soldiers. The red background pays tribute to the bloodshed during the wars.
7. Traditional Vietnamese culture revolves around the core values of humanity, community, harmony, and family.
8. Tet Nguyen Dan (or simply Tet) is the most important festival in Vietnam. It celebrates rebirth, and is an equivalent of the Lunar New Year.
9. They also have a “love market” festival that is observed to commemorate a tragic forbidden love story, and to give modern day ex-lovers a chance to meet on neutral territory.
10. Vietnamese traditional fashion is easily distinguished by the flowing robes (Ao Dai) and conical hats (Non La).
Vietnam’s art and architecture
11. Their famous Dong Son drums are a relic of the sophisticated Bronze Age culture between 500 BC and 300 AD.
12. Water puppetry is another popular art form that dates back as far as the 11th century.
13. Construction styles vary from traditional stilt houses and Chinese style pagodas to colonial French architecture and thin tube houses.
14. Hoi An ancient town was a trading port from the 15th century that has endured up to date.
15. The My Son Sanctuary is a structural display of Hindu tower temples developed over ten centuries.
16. Hue’s royal tombs are a vivid portrayal of ancient royal art, architecture and geomancy.
17. In religious construction, pagodas are for worship and offerings, while temples are built to honor historical figures.
18. Thu Phap calligraphy involves “blowing beauty into every single character.”
19. Quan Ho folk songs are love duets between male and female singers considered by UNESCO to be an intangible cultural heritage of humanity, Geography and Landscape.
20. Rice terraces are planted that way to enable the crop to grow along the steep mountainsides.
21. Fansipan, also known as The Roof of Indochina is the highest mountain peak in the region.
22. The Red River in the North and Mekong in the South are surrounded by extremely fertile plains on which most of the country’s crops are grown.
23. Vietnam is also home to the world’s largest cave, Son Doong.
24. The Bin Chau Hotsprings are hot enough to boil eggs.
25. The Perfume River is so named due to the scent of the tropical flowers that fall onto the water during autumn.
Vietnam’s food and cuisine
26. The Vietnamese believe in Three Kitchen Gods or Tao Quan, who live with and observe each family’s actions. They depart at the end of the Lunar Year to report their findings to Ngoc Hoan, The Jade Emperor.
27. Their cuisine is well known for its balance of the five Asian elements; spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet.
28. The principle of yin and yang is also applied in composing a meal, to provide contrasts in spiciness and temperature of the food.
29. Tiet Canh is a traditional Vietnamese dish made from fresh animal blood.
30. When cooking a pig, the entire animal is used including the innards.
31. Snake wine, which is made by steeping whole snakes in rice wine for their venom or essence, is commonly drunk for health, vitality and restorative purposes.
32. Vietnam’s street food culture is quite popular and considered by many to be one of the best in the world.
33. Noodles or “pho” are the second most popular food in Vietnam, after boiled rice.
Tourism in Vietnam
34. Lizard fishing is one of Vietnam’s most widespread hobbies.
35. Elephant rides are another very popular local activity often enjoyed by tourists.
36. The Dong Tam snake farm and living museum was established in 1979 and is responsible for conserving the species and finding antidotes to their venom.
37. The tunnels of Cu Chi are a network of underground pathways that were used as a military base for the Viet Cong soldiers in their resistance of American forces.
38. The Forbidden Purple City is a walled fortress and palace in Hue that was only accessible to the royal family and their eunuch servants.
39. The Nine Dynastic Urns symbolize sovereignty and are each named after an Emperor.
40. The Hoan Kien turtle is one in only four known living ones from its species.
Interesting facts about Vietnam’s current events and economy
41. Football is the most popular sport in Vietnam.
42. LGBT rights are getting more progressive, with a recent uplifting of the ban on same sex marriage.
43. Motorbikes are the most common form of transport, and riders are fined by the authorities if found without a helmet.
44. Foreigners have the option of applying for a Temporary Residence Card, which is cheaper and easier to process than a visa.
45. Did you know that Vietnam is one of the biggest producers of cashew nuts in the world?
46. The country has a literacy level of 94%.
47. Their rate of unemployment is one of the lowest of all developing countries in the world.
48. School children are summoned by traditional gongs instead of bells.
49. Nguyen is the most common name in the country.
50. Vietnam owns about 20% of the coffee market share, and is the second largest producer in the world.
51. To crown it all off, the Ha Long Bay is of such scenic beauty that it was included as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Interesting facts about Vietnam War
1. The Vietnam War or the Second War of Indochina was formerly America’s longest war until it was surpassed by the war in Afghanistan.
2. It had no clear cause and was started as a conflict.
3. It involved the communist government of North Vietnam in alliance with the Viet Cong against the government of South Vietnam with support from the Americans.
4. It lasted from 1954 to 1975.
5. It continued under the governance of five different American presidents.
6. It is broadly considered a mistake by the Americans, and a tragedy that could have been avoided.
7. It has been estimated to cost about 200 billion US dollars.
8. An estimated 2 million civilians and 1.3 million soldiers died during the war.
9. It is known as the American War in Vietnam.
10. The two countries just recently resumed formal diplomatic relations in 1995.
Some quick facts about Vietnam
|Independence||2 September 1945 (from France)|
|Largest City||Ho Chi Minh City
10.8231° N, 106.6297° E
|Area||331,210 sq km|
|Borders||Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, China, Laos, Cambodia and South China Sea.|
|Religion||(Mostly one of the least religious countries in the world.) Buddhist 7.9%, Catholic 6.6%, Hoa Hao 1.7%, Cao Dai 0.9%, Protestant 0.9%, Muslim 0.1%, none 81.8% (2009 est.)|
|Life expectancy||73.41 years (2016)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
|Land boundaries||total: 4,616 km
Cambodia 1,158 km, China 1,297 km, Laos 2,161 km
|Terrain||low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest|
|Natural resources||phosphates, coal, manganese, rare earth elements, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, timber, hydropower, arable land|
|Government type||communist state|
|Industries||food processing, garments, shoes, machine-building; mining, coal, steel; cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, mobile phones|
|Exports||$158.7 billion (2015 est.)
clothes, shoes, electronics, seafood, crude oil, rice, coffee, wooden products, machinery
|Imports||$150.4 billion (2015 est.)
machinery and equipment, petroleum products, steel products, raw materials for the clothing and shoe industries, electronics, plastics, automobiles
|GDP - per capita PPP (estimate 2015)||$6,000 (2015 est.)|
|Birth rate||15.96 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)|
|Death rate||5.93 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)|
|Sex ratio||1 male(s)/female (2015 est.)|
|Internet country code||.vn|
|Internet users||total: 49.741 million
52.7% of population (July 2015 est.)
|Time Zone||Indochina Time (UTC+07:00)|
|Drives on the||Right|