Country Information Vietnam
Vietnam meanders in an S-shape bordering Laos and Cambodia on the west and on the east the Gulf of Thailand with over 3000 km of coastline. From the north to the southernmost point you cross 1650 km, in contrast, the narrowest part is only 50 km wide.
The tropical climate has many facets, among them are monsoon rains with sunny days in between. Humidity just always seems to stick around and becomes extremely oppressive just before the rain. In the north, you find there are changing seasons with mild winters while the south remains at stable southern-tropical temperatures. Across the country you find average temperatures between 70-80 F. Hanoi has an average of 72 F, in Ho Chi Minh 80 F and 25 F in Hue.
The climate in Vietnam is divided into two seasons: A cooler season from November to April and a hotter season from May to October.
The Tam Giao, the largest faith in Vietnam, has been shaped by influences from Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, and also some similarities to Catholicism and Islam can be seen.
Buddhism, introduced in India in the 2nd century BC, has more than 10 million followers throughout Vietnam. During feudal times, Buddhism was even the state religion. Currently, there are 20,000 pagodas to honor Buddha.
Vietnamese is the official language. The younger generations learn English at school, and the level of English is quite high, especially in the larger cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang and Hue. But often you will find a mix of Vietnamese and English is spoken.
Vietnam began an extensive economic transformation in 1986. The centrally planned economy was replaced by a socialist market economy in some parts. The Vietnamese economy opened in terms of industrialization, modernization and diversification of its markets. Vietnam has since been running an "Open Door Policy" in order to achieve integration into the world economy.
Vietnam has established and maintains diplomatic relations with 169 countries, has bilateral and multilateral agreements with a further 80 countries and is in commercial exchanges with 70 economically developed countries.
Vietnam is one of the last remaining communist systems with only one political party. The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) includes 175 permanent members of congress and 25 substitute members who are elected every five years. The Central Committee acts as the supreme decision-making body and comes together every two years for fundamental decisions.
The three magistrate bodies are the President, the Prime Minister and the Secretary General. In addition, the National Assembly is increasingly gaining influence. In recent years, the National Assembly has been increasingly critical toward the national policies and their priorities, posing many questions and providing new views of the government.