Vietnam borders with China in the north, Laos and Cambodia in the West, and the South China Sea in the east. Its lies in the centre of South-East Asia (see map at the bottom of this page). Vietnam’s territory stretches from Lung Cu village (Ha Tuyen province) in the north to Rach Tau hamlet (Minh Hai province) in the south. It is a S-shaped peninsula, with thousands of off-shore islands and archipelagoes; the biggest of which are the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelagoes. Vietnam’s mainland covers 331,689 square kilometres.
According to archaeological discoveries made at Do Mountain, it is believed that life in Vietnam began as far back as 300,000 years ago. Officially, the history of Vietnam stretches back 4,000 years when it was founded by the Hung Kings. It was then named Van Lang.
When speaking upon the history of Vietnam, it is important to note the large role played by the French in Vietnam. It began in 1858, when the French took over Danang in southern Vietnam. Over time, more and more territory was won over by the French. It wasn’t until 1954, when the French surrendered to the Viet Minh, ending the French Indochina War, that the French colonial control in Vietnam ended.
The immediate image in the minds of most people at the mention of Vietnam is that of the war fought against the United States some twenty years ago. Most people think of the country only in terms of the American conflict in Indochina. The war ended nearly twenty years ago, and today, despite lingering signs of past American involvement, the situation in Vietnam is markedly different. People have finally begun to look at the country from another perspective, now that travelers and tourists from the West are being welcomed into what was once a forbidden country. It may take a bit more effort and tenacity to plan an excursion into Vietnam than it would for another Southeast Asian country, but Vietnam has much to offer in terms of culture and sights.
The North of Vietnam is generally cooler than other South East Asian regions in the same longitude. It experiences two main distinct seasons. In winter months, the weather gets colder and colder from November to March and considerably warmer in April (a leap into summer). This is also time to observe much cloud and frequent drizzle. The average winter temperature is 17.2°C (62.9°F). Particularly, the mountainous areas (Northwest) are often much colder, temperature may keep below 10°C (50°F) for long period. Ice and snow even cover Hoang Lien Son Mountains and nearby Sapa town for some times with the lowest record of -3°C (26.6°F) in Feb 2008.
In the summer (from May to October), the whole region is quite hot. Temperature may rise to 37°C (98.6 °F) in the peaks of June and July. Hanoi and coastal provinces around the Red River Delta generally enjoy equitable weather with high average humidity (80%) all year round though they may occasionally be subjected to typhoons and heavy rain in late summers (September to November). Vietnamese people even identify four seasons in the Northern provinces (from Hai Van Pass toward the north) with their distinct features: pleasant spring (typically March-April) and autumn (October-December), a chilly winter (December- February) and a hot summer (June – July).
The Central Vietnam with two sub-regions, coastal lowlands and central highlands, can be seen as an in-between climatic area of the North and the South. The coastal strip is usually dry and hotter than the rest in the summer, as the Truong Son Mountains do not allow it to enjoy most rainfall of south-western monsoon (from April to October). Unprotected coasts in their turn, however, make it wet and colder than the rest in winter-monsoon season (from November to March). Also, storms and typhoons strike this area more frequently than the northern coasts in summer months (from July to November). The Central Highlands in particular enjoys nearly double the average rainfall of the country. Two biggest towns in this plateau, Dalat and Pleiku, are ideally cool throughout the year. Near-the-south coastal cities, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang and Phan Thiet, on the contrary, experiences steamy hot weather (21°C-32°C / 70°F-90°F) all year round.
The South of Vietnam, merely 8 degrees north of the Equator, is typical of humid tropical climate which is excellent for growing rice. The region’s temperatures experience little variations in a year (around 27-32°C/80-90°F). There are two main seasons: the rainy and the dry. During the rainy/monsoon season (from May to November), downpours are expected to happen nearly every afternoon, resulting in occasional street flooding in and around Saigon. In the dry season, it is hot from late February to April then slightly cooler when first downpours come. Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon) enjoys rather equitable tropical climate with high humidity all year round. December to March is said to be the most pleasant time to hit this region’s center.
WHERE WE RIDE MOTORCYCLES IN VIETNAM
North Vietnam offers bikers chances to see Ha Giang, Ba Be National Park, Ba Be lake, Mai Chau valley and Sapa – they are the most beautiful destinations for Motorbike Tours in Vietnam.
This northern Vietnam motorbike tour is tough! We only recommend to experienced riders who have at least from 2 – year riding or have done similar riding on off-road before.
North Vietnam Motorbike Tours will provide you a thick album of incredible landscape of mountainous region and colorful hill tribes after Motorbike Ride Northern Vietnam. It is one of the most favourite in our Vietnam Motorbike Rides Collection.
Places we listed below are can not be missed to ride in Vietnam: Hanoi – Ba Be Lake – Meo Vac – Dong Van – Ha Giang – Sapa – Than Uyen – Mu Cang Chai – Phu Yen – Mai Chau – Moc Chau – Ho Chi Minh Trail. They are best places for Adventure Motorbike Tours In Vietnam.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
The vast majority of the population is Vietnamese with minute percentages of Chinese. The Viet culture originated on the delta of the Red River and the Ma River where the Viet people cultivated paddy fields. They led a simple farming life in small villages, usually living around a communal house. Today the people living in the countryside follow this lifestyle. The Viet people are influenced by Confucianism, in particular the principle of respect for their elders. In spite of the immense suffering of the Vietnamese and the somewhat ruined state of the country, they are generally warm and friendly, and surprisingly, the Vietnamese bear little if any resentment or bitterness toward Americans. Children in the streets will commonly greet visitors with the name Lien Xo, which means Russian, but they will easily be corrected if you respond, “Hello!” or “Good morning” and explain you are an American, European or Australian, etc.
The country is predominantly 85-90% Vietnamese, 3% Chinese, ethnic minorities include Muong, Thai, Meo, Khmer, Man, Cham, and other mountain tribes. They mostly live up in northern Vietnam.
Vietnamese is the official language; French, Chinese, English, Khmer and tribal dialects (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian) are also spoken.
Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist, Roman Catholic, indigenous beliefs, Islamic and Protestant.
THINGS YOU SHOULD TO KNOW
Population: About 78 Million People
Flag: The flag of Vietnam is red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center.
Shop Hours: Shops run from 7 or 8am to 11 or 11:30pm. Some are open from 1 or 2pm to 4 or 5pm.
Bank Hours: Most banks are opened from 7am or 8am to 11am or 11:30am Some are open from 1pm or 2pm to 4pm or 5pm.
Vietnam Road Map View Here!