The one minute summary on Vietnam
This is it: one minute to the best info on Vietnam. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Vietnam, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.
The conquest of Vietnam by France began in 1858 and was completed by 1884. It became part of French Indochina in 1887. Vietnam declared independence after World War II, but France continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by communist forces under Ho Chi MINH. Under the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the communist North and anti-communist South. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later, North Vietnamese forces overran the South reuniting the country under communist rule.
Despite the return of peace, for over a decade the country experienced little economic growth because of conservative leadership policies, the persecution and mass exodus of individuals – many of them successful South Vietnamese merchants – and growing international isolation. However, since the enactment of Vietnam’s “doi moi” (renovation) policy in 1986, Vietnamese authorities have committed to increased economic liberalization and enacted structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries.
The communist leaders, however, maintain control on political expression and have resisted outside calls to improve human rights. The country continues to experience small-scale protests from various groups – the vast majority connected to land-use issues, calls for increased political space, and the lack of equitable mechanisms for resolving disputes. Various ethnic minorities, such as the Montagnards of the Central Highlands and the Khmer Krom in the southern delta region, have also held protests.
That was it. I promised one minute.
For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.
- Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in Vietnam
- Does my current phone work in Vietnam ? Tips to cell phone usage in Vietnam
- Local food you should try in Vietnam and No miss drinks in Vietnam
Now, cheers to the most Vietnam aware person at the cocktail party.
What are the key history moments for Vietnam?
Vietnam’s history is one of war, colonisation and rebellion. Occupied by China no fewer than four times, the Vietnamese managed to fight off the invaders just as often. At various points during these thousand years of imperial dynasties, Vietnam was ravaged and divided by civil wars and repeatedly attacked by the Songs, Mongols, Yuans, Chams, Mings, Dutch, Qings, French and the Americans. The victories mostly belonged to the Vietnamese but, even during the periods in history when Vietnam was independent, it was mostly a tributary state to China until the French colonisation. Vietnam’s last emperors were the Nguy?n Dynasty, who ruled from their capital at Hue from 1802 to 1945, although France exploited the succession crisis after the fall of T? ??c to de facto colonise Vietnam after 1884.
Both the Chinese occupation and French colonisation have left a lasting impact on Vietnamese culture, with Confucianism forming the basis of Vietnamese social etiquette, and the French leaving a lasting imprint on Vietnamese cuisine. After a brief Japanese occupation in World War II, the Communist Viet Minh under the leadership of H? Chí Minh continued the insurgency against the French, with the last Emperor Bao Dai abdicating in 1945 and a proclamation of independence following soon after. The majority of French had left by 1945, but in 1946 they returned to continue the fight until their decisive defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.
The Geneva Conference partitioned the country into two at 17th parallel, with a Communist-led North and Ngo Dinh Diem declaring himself President of the Republic of Vietnam in the South. The tank that ended the war, Ho Chi Minh City Fighting between South Vietnam and the North Vietnamese backed Viet Cong escalated into what became known as the Vietnam War – although the Vietnamese officially refer to it as the American War. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the Southern Vietnam government, escalating into the dispatch of 500,000 American troops in 1966. What was supposed to be a quick and decisive action soon degenerated into a quagmire and US armed forces were only withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973.
Two years later, on 30 April 1975, a North Vietnamese tank drove into the South’s Presidential Palace in Ho Chi Minh City and the war ended witht eh conquest of South Vietnam. An estimated 800,000 to 3 million Vietnamese and over 55 thousand Americans had been killed. The Vietnam war was only one of many that the Vietnamese have fought, but it was the most brutal in its history. Over two thirds of the current population was born after 1975. American tourists will receive a particularly friendly welcome in Vietnam, as many young Vietnamese ape American mores and venerate their pop culture.
Politics Vietnam is a one party authoritarian state, with the President as the Head of State, and the Prime Minister as the Head of Government. The Vietnamese legislature is the unicameral National Assembly, from which the Prime Minister is selected. In practice, the President’s position is only ceremonial, with the Prime Minister wielding the most authority in government. Economy Bustling central Hanoi Economic reconstruction of the reunited country has proven difficult. After the failures of the state-run economy started to become apparent, the country launched a program of ??i m?i (renovation), introducing elements of capitalism.
The policy has proved highly successful, with Vietnam recording near 10% growth yearly (except for a brief interruption during the Asian economic crisis of 1997). The economy is much stronger than those of Cambodia, Laos, and other neighbouring developing countries. Like most Communist countries around the world, there is a fine balance between allowing foreign investors and opening up the market. In practical terms, you’ll find rampant capitalism at the “retail” level, with shopkeepers and sellers from carts exercising great flexibility in pricing and how they do business. As those business people go up levels of permissions to operate (e.g., where they do business), government controls quickly take over.
There are extreme restrictions on foreigners owning property or attempting to sell. It is very difficult for them to trade without negotiating ‘fees’. Business can be done via local partnerships with all the attendant risks. Power and services is another issue. There are often ‘rolling blackouts’ when there is not enough electricity at times. For this reason, many shops have portable generators. According to government estimates Vietnam sees 3.3m tourist arrivals each year. Vietnam has a return rate of just 5% compared to Thailands whopping 50%. People Most people in Vietnam are ethnic Vietnamese (Kinh), though there is a sizeable ethnic Chinese community in Ho Chi Minh City, most who are descended from migrants from Guangdong province and are hence bilingual in Cantonese or other Chinese dialects and Vietnamese.
There are also numerous other ethnic groups who occupy the mountainous parts of the country, such as the Hmong, Muong and Dao people. There is also a minority ethnic group in the lowlands near the border with Cambodia known as the Khmer Krom. Buddhism, mostly of the Mahayana school, is the single largest religion in Vietnam, with over 85% of Vietnamese people identifying themselves as Buddhist. Catholicism is the second largest religion, followed by the local Cao Dai religion. Other Christian denominations, Islam, and local religions also share small followings throughout the southern and central areas.
The one minute summary for Vietnam geography
Best places to see in Vietnam
Simply walking to the nearest intersection and merely watching the driving antics is amazing. Keep watching and you may see TV’s and Fridges and other unlikely objects impossibly balanced and secured with string on the back of a motorcycle. Watch how other people and local cross the road. You will need to observe the traffic etiquette, if you want to cross the road. Some suggest avoid crossing when trucks and lorry’s are close by, as they are less agile than motorbikes.
If your timing coincides with the to/from school hours, this is the best time to observe a glimpse of pushbikes, traditional clothing and ao dai mixing it with ‘normal’ traffic, even in the heaviest of torrential downpours. Such motivated schoolchildren! As you travel about, you will find there are clusters of shops all selling like goods – like 20 sewing machine shops together, then 30 hardware shops all together, 200 motorcycle repair shops in the same block. Prices are competitive! Be wary of watch shops selling original authentic fakes.
Other fake watches are available but not as cheap as other surrounding countries. Pirated software is oddly very hard to find and not sold openly. However Movie DVD’s of indifferent quality are widely available from US$1, although not all may have English on them. The local post office will strictly not allow them to be posted abroad. Vietnam claims Health tourism is on the rise. Hygiene, infection control and proper sterilization is very important, as drug resistant ‘bugs’ are always a concern, anywhere.