Vietnam is a diverse country in Southeast Asia with a complex melting pot of cultures, religions, topology, and dialects. Northern Vietnam, with many cultural influences from the Chinese is in many ways quite different from Southern Vietnam, which neighbors Cambodia and Laos.
Here are 11 fun facts about Vietnam to get you excited about traveling to this fascinating destination:
Fact #1 | Vietnam hosts a total of 54 unique ethnic groups. The Viet (Kinh) people account for 87% of the country’s population and mainly inhabit the Red River delta, the central coastal delta, the Mekong delta and Vietnam’s major cities.
Fact #2 | Vietnam is ranked 16th worldwide in biological diversity. Ha Long Bay and its 1,969 islands are home to over 200 species of fish and 450 types of mollusks.
Fact #3 | Ha Long Bay is full of limestone karsts, a limestone-based land form shaped through erosion and created over a period of 20 million years. Human presence in Ha Long Bay dates back tens of thousands of years ago. The area boasts a high concentration of coral reefs, underground lakes, and underwater caves.
Fact #4 | Vietnam has incredible street food. The most famous Vietnamese dish, pho, a soup with rice noodles and meat is regularly heralded as one of the best street foods in the world.
Fact #5 | Vietnam’s Bai Tu Long Bay may not be as famous as Ha Long Bay, but it is also less-traveled and more pristine, located in a protected section north of Ha Long Bay. In fact, it is considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world. According to ancient legends, a giant dragon descended into the Bay millions of years ago, dropping numerous eggs. These eggs hatched, forming thousands of rocks and islands.
Fact #6 | Water puppetry in Vietnam dates back as far as the 11th Century. This cultural tradition is closely connected to Vietnamese communal faiths and folkloric festivals.
Fact #7 | Vietnam’s coastline stretches 3,260 kilometers in an ‘S’ shape, extending from just north of Ha Long Bay in the South China Sea round to the Gulf of Thailand, where Phu Quoc island sits. With that much coastline, it’s understandable that Vietnam is world famous for its beautiful scenery.
Fact #8 | Southern Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in the country by population, home to over ten million people. Ho Chi Minh City was formerly known as, and still unofficially referred to, as Saigon. The city was named after revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh.
Fact #9 | Spreading across 15,000 square miles of southern Vietnam and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, The Mekong Delta is a mind-boggling network of waterways and islands and a world away from urban culture. Every fertile acre is farmed here, from horizon-to-horizon rice paddies, to fields of sugar cane and orchards overflowing with mangoes, bananas, longan, dragon fruit, and citrus and the Mekong is also famous for it’s many fish farms.
Fact #10 | Vietnam is the number one country in the world in terms of rice exports and ranks second in coffee after Brazil. Vietnam’s top export are cashews.
Fact #11 | Vietnam has roughly 1.6 million cars, but the country’s main method of transportation is the motorbike. As many as 37 million can be found in the country.
Discover Vietnam with us from North to South on our February 2019 adventure and get to intimately know the country, creating your own fun facts about it!