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Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Total population (millions): 84.1
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 26.88%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 1.2%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km) : 331,690

Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Vietnamese87 %
Quibble3 %
Thai 1.9 %
Tai 1.4 %
Khmer 1.3 %
Muong 1.3 %
Other * 4.1 %

Main Cities Population
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh City 5 059 800
Hanoi 2 055 000
HaiPhong City 820 700
Danang City 670 000

Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Hanoi, Saigon (GMT+7 ).

Official language: Vietnamese
Spoken languages: Chinese, dialects of ethnic groups who live in the mountains
Until the XIIIth century the Vietnamese used Chinese characters ; then, they created their own writing system (nm). Alexandre de Rhode, briliant French Jesuit father, introduced the Romanised Phonetic alphabet in the XVIIth century (quoc ngu), still in application. There is a huge difficulty for Westerners: there are 6 tones.

Business language: English, which is rather well spoken by urban populations, but the Vietnamese accent can make it difficult to understand for western businessmen.

Free translation tools
English-Vietnamese-English Dictionary

Tu dien tieng Viet
English-Vietnamese-English Dictionary

Religious practises : Buddhists 65%
Catholics 7%
Others 28%.

Political context

Vietnam is a socialist republic single-party communist state. Vietnam (official name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam) has one of south-east Asia's fastest-growing economies in spite of being one of the most tightly controlled countries in the world.
President is the chief of the state and is elected by the parliament from among its members for a five-year term. President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and enjoys the executive powers; though the real power centre is the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).The Prime Minister is appointed by the President from among the members of the parliament as head of the government. The Cabinet is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and ratification of the parliament.
The legislature is unicameral in Vietnam. The parliament called National Assembly has 498 seats with its members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. According to the country's Constitution, National Assembly is the highest representative body of the people and the only organization with legislative powers. It has a broad mandate to oversee all government functions. However, the National Assembly itself follows the directions of the CPV. The people of Vietnam have very limited political rights.
The judiciary in Vietnam is not independent; it is completely subservient to the CPV which controls courts at all levels. In addition, the lawyers are reluctant to take cases related to human rights & other politically sensitive cases because of the harassment from the state authorities. The main source of the law is the constitution of April 1992. The country's legal system is based on communist legal theory and French civil law system. Vietnamese is the judicial language used in the country; however English is increasingly favoured as a second language.
Vietnam is poorly ruled by law. Suppression of political rights and civil liberties by the Vietnamese government is continuing. Foreign nationals cannot expect a fair trial from the country's judicial system. A considerable degree of corruption exists in the country, especially in the government authorities and public sector institutions.

Major political parties

Vietnam is a single-party state. Only CPV (Communist Party of Vietnam) is legally allowed to hold effective power.

Major political leaders

President: Nguyen Minh TRIET (since July 2007) CPV
Prime Minister: Nguyen Tan DUNG (since July 2007) CPV

Next political election dates

Presidential: Year 2012
National Assembly: Year 2012






Number of visitors in Vietnam 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 2,928 3,468 3,583
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005


Tourist sites
-In the North: Along's Bay
-In Hano: temples and pagodae
-In the Centre: Hu (imperial city and citadel) and the Marble Mountains
-In the South: Sagon (colonial city, museum, pagodae and markets) and the Delta of the Mekong.

For more information about tourism in Vietnam , check out the following web site(s) :
Vietnam National Administration of Tourism


Traditional dishes
Ch bp: Cream made of rice with corn and coconut milk. It is a simple dessert, served hot. In the South of the country, the rice is replaced by tapioca.
Canh ga bi dao: Chicken and Pumpkin Soup. The Vietnamese sometimes add slices of chicken for a more substantial or richer soup.

Food-related taboos
There are no culinary taboos in the Vietnamese cooking.

Last modified on December 2006

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