Vietnam officially referred to as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is located on the eastern part of the Indochina Peninsula. As of 2016, the population of this S-shaped country was around 94.6 million inhabitants. Despite experiencing numerous wars in the past, Vietnam, although not yet recognized as one of a world must-visit destination, delivers a full package of adventures.
From magnificent beaches, a spectacular landscape, architecture which incorporates both colonial and indigenous designs, ever smiling people, a delicious cuisine, to the culture that is never going away, Vietnam has a lot to offer. Before you take up a Vietnam travel, you need to know more about its history, people, the culture, layout, and its economic status. Here is;
A brief history of Vietnam
The history of Vietnam dates back to the 111BC when the Chinese took over the country, renamed it Annam and colonized it for close to 1000 years.
- In 40 AD, the Chinese killed one of Vietnam’s traditional rulers. Their actions made his wife and sister (the Truong Sisters) mobilize people to drive out the Chinese, they succeeded, but after three years the Chinese took over Vietnam once more, the Trung Sisters could not watch that happen, and instead of giving up their territory, they threw themselves into the river.
- In 150AD, Trieu Au led her army against the Chinese, but unfortunately, they overpowered her army and was defeated. She remains one of the country’s heroine.
- 939AD Vietnam gained its independence from China.
- In 1802 to 1804, Nguyen Phuc Anh made himself the emperor and started building his palace in Hue on the banks of the Perfume River.
- Peace prevailed until 1859 when the French decided to occupy Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), and by 1875 they colonized Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
- In 1940, the French got defeated by Germany, and Japan (Germany’s ally) took over.
- 1945 Ho Chi Minh led his troops to drive out the Japanese but now faced by another challenge, the return of the French who took over for another eight years but later got sent packing. Vietnam became separated into the north and south, but the people wanted it to become one country.
- In 1965, the bloody Vietnam War broke out which went on until 1975 when peace got declared, and Vietnam became free.
People and Culture
The people of Vietnam, also known as the ‘Kinh people’ to distinguish themselves from the other ethnic groups, originated from the northern part of Vietnam and formed 90% of the country’s population. They also have mongoloid, Indian, and Chinese influence. Vietnam experienced its fair share of instability, but that did not make the people abandon their culture. The culture gets portrayed in architecture, the cuisine, the traditional costumes, festivals, and in beliefs and religion.
Some of the things you need to know about Vietnam’s culture
- The Vietnamese get offended when a foreigner criticizes their country. Be careful when talking about the problems they face in the country.
- They respect food so much and if they invite you over for meals, serve what you can finish avoiding wastage.
- People in Vietnam believe strongly in ghosts and don’t believe in resting in peace for the dead. They think that the dead wander about in the form of spirits.
- To them happiness is vital, and they discourage violence, public confrontation, or rudeness.
- Before you can become business partners, they have to fully trust you because they believe that trust is the key to everything.
Vietnam is an S-shaped country with a north-south distance, 1653 kilometers and about 15 kilometers wide. It gets located on the eastern peninsula bordering China to the north, and Laos and Cambodia to the west. The land comprises of territorial waters, islands, an entire economic zone, a customs, and security zone, while 25% of the nation gets used for agriculture.
An ideal travel destination should have a thriving economy, and Vietnam has experienced rapid growth since the 21st century. The economy relies mostly on foreign investments with massive input in the luxury hotels and resorts which in turn promotes the tourism industry. Vietnam is also among the world’s leading agricultural exporter of rice, textiles, coffee, and cashew nuts, however, it has recently emerged as a paramount electronics and electrical exporter.
Vietnam is a beautiful country with an educative, yet sad history, a well-preserved culture, a fantastic landscape, and, hardworking and friendly people who contribute primarily to its thriving economy. Well, all the above factors make it a must-visit destination. Include Vietnam travel in your to-do list, and you won’t regret.