Location: In south-western Asia, on the coast of South China Sea; Vietnam has borders with China, Laos and Kampuchea
Area: 329,556 sq km
National composition: Vietnamese (88%), Chinese and many other minorities
Religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism
Official language: Vietnamese
Currency: Dong =100xu
Administrative divisions: 58 provinces ( in Vietnamese: tỉnh), and there are 5 centrally-controlled municipalities existing at the same level as provinces
Other major cities: Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Haiphong, Da Nang
Highest elevation: Phansipan
Chief rivers: Mekong, Hong (Red River)
Climate: Tropical monsoon type
Vietnam is a narrow, elongated country. The north and centre are mountainous, with fertile lowlands in the valleys of the main rivers. Seven-tenths of the people are farmers. The chief crop is rice, although cotton, maize, manioc, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, tea and tobacco are also important.
Buffaloes, pigs and poultry are reared and fishing is significant. Vietnam has deposits of coal, chrome ore and other minerals. Manufacturing includes textiles and food processing, but the industrial sector is small. However, heavy industry and engineering are now developing rapidly.