Vietnam: useful information


Useful information about Vietnam, with all the things to know to organize a trip or a holiday in this state, what are the best times to go, how to get there and what to see in Hanoi.

Vietnam in short

  • Capital: Hanoi
  • Area in sq km: 331,689
  • Population: 88.O68.900 (2009)
  • Religion: Mostly Buddhism followed by Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity.

Where is it

Vietnam flag Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia on the Indochinese peninsula. It borders China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, to the east and south it is washed by the South China Sea, and to the south west it briefly overlooks the Gulf of Siam.

The narrow and elongated territory, largely occupied by hills and mountains covered with thick vegetation, includes two large plains, the Tonchino plain, open on the homonymous gulf and crossed by the Red River to the north, and the Cocincina plain, occupied largely by the Mekong River to the south.

To the north, the border with China is marked by the Yunnan mountains, with peaks over 3000 meters above sea level.

This mountain range to the east reaches the Gulf of Tonkin, dropping to a thousand meters, then continues into the sea forming numerous islets, while to the west it continues until the formation of the Annamitica chain, which descends in a north-south direction, marking the border with Laos.

The reliefs continue, widen with a series of discontinuous massifs, then slope down to the Moi plateaus and end in the vast plain of the Cocincina.


The territory of Vietnam can be divided into two parts, the northern part, characterized by highlands, which includes the delta mouth of the Red River, and the southern part, which includes various depressions near the coastal strip with the Day Trung mountain range. Son and the delta of the Mekong river.

In the southern part there is a lush rainforest, where ginko, pine, azalea, camellia, laurel, magnolias and bamboo find their ideal environment.

In the northern regions the forests of oak, ash, elm, maple, lime, birch and taiga prevail.

In the eastern area there are steppes, characterized by shrubs that are not afraid of drought and grasses, while in the higher altitude areas of the Tibetan plateau the tundra prevails.


The main rivers of Vietnam are the Red River and the Mekong River.

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The Red River originates in the Chinese plateau of Yunnan, flows into Chinese territory before entering Vietnam where it crosses the Tonkin region, passes through the capital Hanoi and flows into the Gulf of Tonkin.

Its main tributaries are the Clear River and the Black River.

The Mekong River is one of the largest in Asia, it originates from the Tibetan plateau and before crossing the territory of Vietnam and flowing into the South China Sea, it flows in the Chinese province of Yunnan, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and in the Cambodia.


The climate of Vietnam is influenced by the monsoon regime, and due to the extension in latitude of the country it is characterized by a climatic difference in its various parts, also considering the presence of the reliefs.

In the north there are two seasons, the summer-autumn period, hot and humid, which runs from May to October, and the winter-spring season, from November to April, characterized by a dry and temperate climate, with the exception of the Tonkin region, where limited cyclonic zones are formed which cause weak precipitation, but long lasting.

Continuing south the temperatures rise and it is hot all year round.

In the southern part of the country the dry season, from December to April, alternates with the wet season, from May to November.

Typhoons can occur on the coasts during the summer months, starting from June-July on the northern coasts, then on the central coasts around August, and in the period from September to November on the southern coasts.


The majority of the population is made up of Vietnamese divided into various ethnic groups. The remainder is made up of a small minority of Chinese, Khmer and Cham, as well as other ethno-linguistic groups called the montagnard, French mountain dwellers.

Time zone

The time difference is 6 hours ahead of Italy, 5 hours ahead when daylight saving time is in effect in Italy.

Spoken language

The official language is Vietnamese (Kinh).

Form of state

The state system is that of a constitutional republic


In the recent past, Vietnam's economic structure has undergone significant transformations.

The government and the population have made significant efforts to improve the country's economic and social conditions, favoring the industry and services sector by setting up new small businesses and encouraging foreign investment.

However the country remains essentially agricultural, it is at the top of the ranking of world rice producers and exporters.

Land management is entirely entrusted to the state, which can "decide its use, can transfer it, put it into use and revoke it, modify its purpose, establish its value, decide on the limitations to its transfer, and or establish the time of its use" .

When to go

From a climatic point of view, the best months to visit North Vietnam are November and April. the beginning and end of the winter season.

To visit the south of the country, the period from December to April is preferable, the months September, October and November are to be avoided, as typhoons can occur.

Between the end of January and the beginning of February, New Year's Eve is celebrated, during this period many shops are closed for holidays, there is a lot of crowding in the hotels and it is more difficult to move around.

Necessary documents

To enter Vietnam, Italian citizens need a passport with a residual validity of at least 6 months, in addition to the entry visa to be requested before departure, which allows a maximum stay of 1 month.

Note that in Vietnam, it is possible to extend the visa for an additional 20 days.

If you plan to leave Vietnam and then return to Vietnam, you must obtain a multiple entry visa in Italy, or, before leaving Vietnam, you must request a new single entry visa from a travel agency.


- The international code for calling from Italy to Vietnam is: 0084

- The international prefix for calling from Vietnam to Italy is: 0039

The coverage for GSM 900 mhz mobile phones is good in the coastal area and in the main cities of the country, although the roaming service of the main Italian operators is not always reliable.

Refillable cards with the Vietnamese number can be purchased.

The Internet is widespread across the country.


The electric current in Vietnam is 220 V 50 Hz with sockets of type A, C, G, therefore an adapter is required.


The official currency in Vietnam is the dong, which is not convertible outside the country.

The most easily convertible currency is the US dollar, which can also be used for payments, but in the most remote areas of the country you have to pay in local currency.

In large cities it is possible to make cash withdrawals by credit card, at the ATMs of banks, which are becoming increasingly popular.

The main credit cards are accepted only in the major hotels and restaurants.

How to get

To reach Vietnam, there are no direct flights from Italy.

It is possible to arrive in Vietnam by stopping, with various airlines, including Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways, Korean Air, Air France and Lufthansa.


No mandatory vaccinations are required to enter Vietnam.

Vaccination against yellow fever is required only from those who come from infected areas.

Antimalarial prophylaxis is recommended only if places other than urban centers, coastal plains of central Vietnam and the delta of the Red River are visited.

In addition, vaccination against typhoid, hepatitis A and B is recommended.

It is appropriate to follow some hygienic measures, drink only bottled water without adding ice, eat only cooked meats and vegetables, fruit only if peeled personally.

Before departure, the stipulation of a health insurance is recommended, which provides for the coverage of any medical expenses and repatriation.

What to see in Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, stands on the right bank of the Red River, about 130 km from the mouth located in the Gulf of Tonkin.

The main places to visit in Hanoi are the Returned Sword lake, the single-pillar pagoda, the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, where the embalmed body of the president is located, the Ba Da Pagoda and the Van Mieu temple of literature.

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Tags: Vietnam