Vietnam Embassy in Stockholm

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GEOGRAPHY

Inland area: 331,688 sq km
Continental shelf area: 700,000 sq km
Population: Over 70 million
Inland co-ordinates:
  Latitude 102,10 - 109,30 East Longitude 8,30 - 22,30 North

Vietnam is located in the centre of the Southeast Asian region. It lies in the eastern part of the Indochina peninsular bordering China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west and the east Sea and Pacific to the east and south.

Viet Nam's coastline is 3260 kilometres long and its inland borderline measures is 3730 kilometres. The country's total length as the bird flies is 1650 kilometres from the northernmost point to the southernmost. Its width, stretching from the eastern coast to the western border, continental shelf area is not included, is 600 kilometres at the widest point in the north, and 50 kilometres at the narrowest part in the Quang Binh province on the central coast.

Climate:

Vietnam is located in the tropical and temperate zone. It is characterised by a strong moon soon influence, a considerable amount of sunny days, and with a high rate of rainfall and humidity. Some places located near the tropics or in mountainous regions are endowed with a temperate climate.

Average temperatures for the year range from 22 to 27 oC. In Hanoi the average is 23oC, in Ho Chi Minh City, 26oC, and in the ancient capital city of Hue, 25oC.

The climate in Vietnam is divided into two distinguished seasons: the cold season (from November to April) and the hot season (from May to October). The most noticeable seasonal changes in temperature are found in the northern provinces, where a difference of 12 degrees Celsius is possible. The difference in temperature, estimated at 3 degrees Celsius, between the two seasons in southern Vietnam is almost unnoticeable.

Four distinct seasons are most evident in the northern provinces.

Topography:

Three quarters of Viet Nam's territory id made up of mountainous and hilly regions. Except for several deltas and narrow plains you can see from on a map that Vietnam is endowed with vast expanses of mountains and forests. Vietnam has four distinctive mountain zones each having its own unique features. The first zone is the Northeastern zone or Viet Bac - a former revolutionary base between 1945 and 1954. It stretches from the Red River valley to the Gulf of Tokin. Apart from having the topical characteristic features of a tropical forest area, the mountainous area of Viet Bac is crowned with nationally famous sights such as Dong Nhat (First-Rate Grotto), Dong Nhi (Second-Rate Grotto) and Tam Thanh in Lang Son province; Pac Bo Grotto and Ba Be Lake in Cao Bang province; Yen Tu mountain, and Tay Con Linh, a mountain peak 2314 metres above sea level, and Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province.

The second zone is the Northwestern mountain range running from the northern area on the Sino-Vietnamese border to the western region in Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces on the central coast. This magnificent high mountain range is famous nation-wide for its Sapa resort town in Lao Cai province. Sapa is perched on a high mountain slope, 1,500 metres above sea level, and is endowed with a temperate climate all year round and with snow flakes during winter time. The North-western zone is also famous for the historical site of Dien Bien Phu and for its Fanxipang mountain peak, 3,143 metres above sea level, which is considered the roof top to Vietnam.

The third mountain zone is the North Truong Son Range, a long low mountain range running from the western part of Thanh Hoa province to the Hai Van Pass. The zone is reputed regionally for its picturesque Phong Nha Grotto and fantastic looking passes such as the Ngang Pass and the Hai Van (Sea Cloud) Pass. It is also known nationwide for being the location of the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The four and last mountain zone is the South Truong Son, a mountain range located in the western side of provinces situated on the southern end of the central coast. Behind these huge mountains is located a vast expanse of red soil known locally as Tay Nguyen (the Central Highlands). The legendary Central Highlands contains numerous mystic accounts of flora and fauna as well as the lives of the people of several different ethnic minority groups. The central highlands is proud of its idyllic mountain resort town of Da Lat, the most famous resort in Vietnam. Forests and forest land accounts for 50 per cent of Viet Nam's total land area. These forests are home to many kinds of plants and animals not found elsewhere in Southeast Asia or in many other parts of the world. The most valuable timber plants include lat hoa (chkrasia), dinh (markhamia), lim (ironwood), sen (madhuca pasquieri) and tau (tonkinensis), to cite just a few. Besides valuable timber Viet Nam's forests are also home to many other valuable forest products much sought after in overseas outlets. They include stick lac, cinnamon, pine resin, anise and tung oil.ect...

Vietnam has several famous national packs such as Cuc Phuong, Ba Vi, the Cat Ba, Cat Tien and Con Dao as well as the submerged forests in the southernmost province of Minh Hai. These national parks are regarded as the preservation of tropical wildlife and a natural genetic preserve. Beneath the forests and forest land are valuable mineral deposits most of which remain untapped. They include gold in province of Cao Bang, Hoa Binh, Quangnam - Danang; precious stones in the provinces of Nghe An and Lao Cai, zinc and silver in Tuyen Quang province antimony in the provinces of Quang Ninh and Bac Thai. Particularly Vietnam has large deposits of oil and gas in both the continental shelf and inland areas.

Vietnam has two major deltas. They are the Red River delta in the northern part and the Mekong River delta in the south.

The Red River delta, locally known as the northern delta is 15,000 square kilometres in area. It is comprised, from time immemorial, of deposits of alluvium carried in from two major rivers: the Red River and the Thai Binh River. The basin of the two rivers was the location for the settlement of the Viet people. Sine then the wet rice civilisation has been established.

The Mekong River delta more commonly known as the northern delta is 36,000 km2 in area. This is a fertile arable area endowed with favourable climatic conditions, hence it is the biggest rice growing area in Vietnam.

Vietnam is criss-crossed by thousands of large and small rivers. There is a river mouth on every 20 kilometres of coastline. However, the river that run through Vietnam are generally small and short. The major rivers like the Red River and the Mekong River has only their lower section running through Vietnam.

Viet Nam's coastline is 3,260 kilometres long. The country is washed up by the East sea to the east and by the Gulf of Thailand to the Southwest. Many foreign visitors have named Vietnam as the "balcony on the Pacific". If you have a chance to go along the coast of Vietnam you will be awarded a rare opportunity to enjoy such beautiful swimming beaches as Tra Co, Do Son, Sam Son, Cua Lo, Ly Hoa, Thuan An, Non Nuoc, My Khe, Nha Trang, Vung Tau and Ha Tien. Their pure white sand is famous. In some places you can see parts of mountains jutting out from the sea which make the local seascapes breathtaking. On such magnificent place is Ha Long Bay which has recently been listed as an item in the World Heritage by UNESCO.

Endowed with particular geographical features, Viet Nam's coast has been awarded by nature a series of big deep sea ports. They are located at Hon Gai, Hai Phong,Cua Lo, Da Nang, Qui Nhon, Cam Ranh, Vung Tau and Sai Gon (now Ho Chi Minh City). Cam Ranh sea ports is known world-wide as one of the world's most ideal sea port in terms of the size and location. Off shore on Viet Nam's continental shelf are thousands of islands and islets lying scattered from the northern to southern end. Among them are the Truong Sa (Spratlys) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos.