Vietnam (Việt Nam ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam), is the easternmost country on the Indochina. With an estimated million inhabitants , it is the 15th most populous country in the world. Vietnam shares its land borders with China to the north, and Laos and Cambodia to the west. It shares its maritime borders with Thailand through the Gulf of Thailand, and the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia through the South China Sea. Its capital city is Hanoi, while its most populous city is Ho Chi Minh City.
Archaeological excavations indicate that Vietnam was inhabited as early as the Paleolithic age. Ancient Vietnamese nation was annexed by Imperial China in the 2nd century BC, which subsequently made Vietnam a division of China for over a millennium. The first independent monarchy emerged in the 10th century AD, paving the way for successive imperial dynasties as the nation expanded geographically southward until the Indochina Peninsula was French Indochina in the mid-19th century. Modern Vietnam's age was marked upon the declaration of independence from France in 1945. Following Vietnamese victory against the French in the First Indochina War, which ended in 1954, the nation was divided into two rival states: communist North Vietnam and anti-communist South Vietnam. Conflicts intensified in the Vietnam War, which saw extensive US intervention in support of South Vietnam and ended with North Vietnamese victory in 1975.
After North and South Vietnam were reunified under a unitary state socialist state government in 1976, the country became economically and politically isolated until 1986, when the Communist Party initiated a series of economic and political reforms that facilitated Vietnamese integration into the world politics and economy. As a result of the successful reforms, Vietnam has enjoyed a high GDP growth rate, consistently ranked among the fastest-growing countries in the world, although it faces challenges of issues including poverty, corruption and inadequate social welfare. By 2010, Vietnam had established diplomatic relations with 178 countries. It is a member of the United Nations, ASEAN, APEC, WTO and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).
In AD 938, the Vietnamese lord Ngô Quyền defeated the forces of the Chinese Southern Han state at Bạch Đằng River and achieved full independence for Vietnam after a millennium of Chinese domination. Renamed as Đại Việt ( Great Viet), the nation enjoyed a golden era under the Lý and Trần dynasties. During the rule of the Trần Dynasty, Đại Việt repelled three Mongol invasions. Meanwhile, Buddhism of Mahāyāna tradition flourished and became the state religion. Following the 1406–7 Ming–Hồ War which overthrew the Hồ dynasty, Vietnamese independence was briefly interrupted by the Chinese Ming dynasty, but was restored by Lê Lợi, the founder of the Lê dynasty. The Vietnamese dynasties reached their zenith in the Lê dynasty of the 15th century, especially during the reign of Emperor Lê Thánh Tông (1460–1497). Between the 11th and 18th centuries, Vietnam expanded southward in a process known as nam tiến ("southward expansion"), eventually conquering the kingdom of Champa and part of the Khmer Empire.
From the 16th century onward, civil strife and frequent political infighting engulfed much of Vietnam. First, the Chinese-supported Mạc dynasty challenged the Lê dynasty's power. After the Mạc dynasty was defeated, the Lê dynasty was nominally reinstalled, but actual power was divided between the northern Trịnh lords and the southern Nguyễn lords, who engaged in a civil war for more than four decades before a truce was called in the 1670s. During this time, the Nguyễn expanded southern Vietnam into the Mekong Delta, annexing the Central Highlands and the Khmer lands in the Mekong Delta. The division of the country ended a century later when the Tây Sơn brothers established a new dynasty. However, their rule did not last long, and they were defeated by the remnants of the Nguyễn lords, led by Gia Long and aided by the French. Nguyễn Ánh unified Vietnam, and established the Nguyễn dynasty, ruling under the name Gia Long.
Between 1615–1753, French traders also engaged in trade in the area around Đàng Trong and actively dispersed missionaries. Following the detention of several missionaries as the Vietnamese kingdom began to feel threatened by continuous Christianisation activities, the French Navy received approval from their government to intervene in Vietnam in 1834, with the aim of freeing imprisoned Catholic missionaries from a kingdom that was perceived as xenophobic against foreign influence. Vietnam's sovereignty was gradually eroded by France which was aided by the Spanish Empire and large Catholic militias in a series of military conquests between 1859 and 1885.
In 1862, the southern third of the country became the French colony of Cochinchina. By 1884, the entire country had come under French rule, with the central and northern parts of Vietnam separated in the two protectorates of Annam and Tonkin. The three Vietnamese entities were formally integrated into the union of French Indochina in 1887. The French administration imposed significant political and cultural changes on Vietnamese society. A Western-style system of modern education was developed and Catholicism was propagated widely. Most French settlers in Indochina were concentrated in Cochinchina, particularly in Saigon, and in Hanoi, the capital of the colony.
Guerrillas of the royalist Cần Vương movement massacred around a third of Vietnam's Christian population during the colonial period as part of their rebellion against French rule, but were defeated in the 1890s after a decade of resistance by the Catholics as a reprisal of their earlier massacres. Another large-scale rebellion, the Thái Nguyên uprising was also suppressed heavily. The French developed a plantation economy to promote the export of tobacco, indigo dye, tea and coffee, however, they largely ignored the increasing demands for civil rights and self-government. A nationalist political movement soon emerged, with leaders such as Phan Bội Châu, Phan Châu Trinh, Phan Đình Phùng, Emperor Hàm Nghi, and Hồ Chí Minh fighting or calling for independence. This resulted in the 1930 Yên Bái mutiny by the Vietnamese Nationalist Party (VNQDĐ) which was suppressed heavily by the French. The mutiny caused an irreparable split that resulted in many leading members of the organisation becoming communism converts.
The French maintained full control over their colonies until World War II, when the Pacific War led to the Japanese invasion of French Indochina in 1940. Afterwards, the Japanese Empire was allowed to station its troops in Vietnam while permitting the pro-Vichy France colonial administration to continue. Japan exploited Vietnam's natural resources to support its military campaigns, culminating in a full-scale takeover of the country in March 1945 and the Vietnamese Famine of 1945, which caused up to two million deaths.
In 1941, the Việt Minh, a nationalist liberation movement based on a Communist ideology, emerged under the Vietnamese revolutionary leader Hồ Chí Minh. The Việt Minh sought independence for Vietnam from France and the end of the Japanese occupation. Following the military defeat of Japan and the fall of its puppet Empire of Vietnam in August 1945, anarchy, rioting and murder were widespread since Saigon's administrative services collapsed. The Việt Minh occupied Hanoi and proclaimed a provisional government, which asserted national independence on 2 September.
Earlier, in July 1945, the Allies had decided to divide Indochina at the 16th parallel to allow Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China to receive Japanese surrender in the north while Lord Louis Mountbatten of the British would receive the surrender in the south, with the Allies agreeing that Indochina belonged to France.
However, as the French were weakened as a result of German occupation, the British-British Raj forces together with the remaining Japanese Southern Expeditionary Army Group were used to maintain order and to help France re-establish control through the 1945–1946 War in Vietnam. Hồ Chí Minh at the time chose a moderate stance to avoid military conflict with France by which he asked the French to withdraw their colonial administrators, and asked for aid from French professors and engineers to help build a modern independent Vietnam. These requests, including the idea for independence, however, could not be accepted by the Provisional Government of the French Republic, which dispatched the French Far East Expeditionary Corps instead to restore colonial rule, causing the Việt Minh to launch a guerrilla campaign against the French in late 1946. Matters also turned worse when the Republic of China gradually fell to the communists in the Chinese Communist Revolution. The resulting First Indochina War lasted until July 1954. The defeat of French and Vietnamese loyalists in the 1954 battle of Điện Biên Phủ allowed Hồ Chí Minh to negotiate a ceasefire from a favourable position at the subsequent Geneva Conference.
The colonial administration was ended and French Indochina was dissolved under the Geneva Accords of 1954 into three countries: Vietnam and the kingdoms of Cambodia and Laos. Vietnam was further divided into North and South administrative regions at the Demilitarised Zone, approximately along the 17th parallel north, pending elections scheduled for July 1956. A 300-day period of free movement was permitted, during which almost a million northerners, mainly Catholics, moved south, fearing persecution by the communists. The partition of Vietnam was not intended to be permanent by the Geneva Accords, which stipulated that Vietnam would be reunited after elections in 1956. However, in 1955, the State of Vietnam's Prime Minister, Ngô Đình Diệm toppled Bảo Đại in a fraudulent referendum organised by his brother Ngô Đình Nhu, and proclaimed himself president of the Republic of Vietnam. At that point the internationally recognised State of Vietnam effectively ceased to exist and was replaced by the Republic of Vietnam in the south and Hồ Chí Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the north.
In 1963, Buddhist discontent with Diệm's regime erupted into Buddhist crisis, leading to a violent government crackdown. This led to the collapse of Diệm's relationship with the United States, and ultimately to the 1963 coup in which Diệm and Nhu were assassinated. The Diệm era was followed by more than a dozen successive military governments, before the pairing of Air Marshal Nguyễn Cao Kỳ and General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu took control in mid-1965. Thiệu gradually outmaneuvered Kỳ and cemented his grip on power in fraudulent elections in 1967 and 1971. Under this political instability, the communists began to gain ground. To support South Vietnam's struggle against the communist insurgency, the United States began increasing its contribution of military advisers, using the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident as a pretext for such intervention. US forces became involved in ground combat operations in 1965, and at their peak they numbered more than 500,000. The US also engaged in a sustained aerial bombing campaign. Meanwhile, China and the Soviet Union provided North Vietnam with significant material aid and 15,000 combat advisers. Communist forces supplying the Việt Cộng carried supplies along the Hồ Chí Minh trail, which passed through the Kingdom of Laos.
The communists attacked South Vietnamese targets during the 1968 Tết Offensive. Although the campaign failed militarily, it shocked the American establishment, and turned US public opinion against the war. During the offensive, communist troops massacred over 3,000 civilians at Huế. Facing an increasing casualty count, rising domestic opposition to the war, and growing international condemnation, the US began Nixon Doctrine in the early 1970s. This process also entailed an unsuccessful effort to Vietnamisation. Following the Paris Peace Accords of 27 January 1973, all American combat troops were withdrawn by 29 March 1973. In December 1974, North Vietnam captured the province of Phước Long and started a full-scale offensive, culminating in the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. South Vietnam was briefly ruled by a provisional government for almost eight years while under military occupation by North Vietnam.
At the Sixth National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) in December 1986, reformist politicians replaced the "old guard" government with new leadership. The reformers were led by 71-year-old Nguyễn Văn Linh, who became the party's new general secretary. Linh and the reformers implemented a series of free-market reforms known as Đổi Mới ("Renovation") which carefully managed the transition from a planned economy to a "socialist-oriented market economy". Though the authority of the state remained unchallenged under Đổi Mới, the government encouraged private ownership of farms and factories, economic deregulation and foreign investment, while maintaining control over strategic industries. The Vietnamese economy subsequently achieved strong growth in agricultural and industrial production, construction, exports and foreign investment although these reforms have also caused a rise in income inequality and gender disparities.
Southern Vietnam is divided into coastal lowlands, the mountains of the Annamite Range, and extensive forests. Comprising five relatively flat plateaus of basalt soil, the highlands account for 16% of the country's arable land and 22% of its total forested land. The soil in much of the southern part of Vietnam is relatively low in nutrients as a result of intense cultivation. Several minor have been recorded in the past with most occurred near the northern Vietnamese border in the provinces of Điện Biên, Lào Cai and Sơn La while some are recorded in the offshore of the central part of the country. The northern part of the country consists mostly of highlands and the Red River Delta. Fansipan (also called as Phan Xi Păng) which is located in Lào Cai Province is the highest mountain in Vietnam, standing high. From north to south Vietnam, the country also has numerous islands with Phú Quốc being the largest. The Hang Sơn Đoòng Cave is considered as the current largest cave passage in the world since its discovery in 2009 while both the Ba Bể Lake and Mekong being the largest lake and longest river in the country respectively.
Vietnam is furthermore home to 1,438 species of freshwater microalgae, constituting 9.6% of all microalgae species, as well as 794 aquatic and 2,458 species of sea fish. In recent years, 13 genera, 222 species, and 30 taxa of flora have been newly described in Vietnam. Six new mammal species, including the saola, giant muntjac and Tonkin snub-nosed monkey have also been discovered, along with one new bird species, the endangered Edwards's pheasant. In the late 1980s, a small population of Javan rhinoceros was found in Cát Tiên National Park. However, the last individual of the species in Vietnam was reportedly shot in 2010. In agricultural genetic diversity, Vietnam is one of the world's twelve original cultivar centres. The Vietnam National Cultivar Gene Bank preserves 12,300 cultivars of 115 species. The Vietnamese government spent US$49.07 million on the preservation of biodiversity in 2004 alone, and has established 126 conservation areas, including 30 national parks.
The main environmental concern that persists in Vietnam until present is the chemical herbicide legacy of Agent Orange that causing and many health problems towards Vietnamese residents especially in the southern and central areas that was affected most by the chemicals with nearly 4.8 million Vietnamese have been exposed. In 2012, approximately 50 years after the war, the United States began to start a US$43 million joint clean up project in the former chemical storage areas in Vietnam that was heavily affected with each clearance will be done through several phases. Following the completion of the first phase in Đà Nẵng in late 2017, the United States announced its further commitment to clean other sites especially in another heavily impact site of Biên Hòa which is four times larger than the previous site with an additional estimate cost of $390 million.
The Vietnamese government spends over VNĐ10 trillion each year ($431.1 million) for monthly allowance and physical rehabilitation of the Vietnamese victims caused by the chemicals. In 2018, Japanese Engineering Group, Shimizu Corporation also working with Vietnamese military to build a plant in Vietnam for the treatment of Agent Orange polluted soils with the plant construction costs to be funded by the company itself. One of the long-term plans to restore southern Vietnam damaged is through reforestation efforts which the Vietnamese government has done since the end of the war, starting with the replantation of in the Mekong Delta regions and in Cần Giờ outside of the main city where mangroves are important to prevent more serious flooding during the monsoon seasons.
Apart from herbicide problems, arsenic exposure to ground water in the Mekong Delta and Red River Delta has also become a major concern, along with unexploded ordnances (UXO) that pose dangers towards human and habitat life as another bitter legacy from the long wars. As part of the continuous campaign for demining/removal of UXOs, various international bomb removal agencies including those from the United Kingdom, Denmark, South Korea as well the United States itself have been providing help. The Vietnam government spends over VNĐ1 trillion ($44 million) annually on demining operations and additional hundreds billions of đồng for treatment, assistance, rehabilitation, vocational training and resettlement for the victims of UXOs. Apart from the removal of explosives from the legacy of civil war, the neighbouring Chinese government also has removed 53,000 land mines and explosives from the legacy of war between the two countries in an area of 18.4 square kilometres in the Chinese province of Yunnan bordering the China–Vietnam border in 2017.
The General Secretary of the CPV performs numerous key administrative functions, controlling the party's national organisation. The Prime Minister is the head of government, presiding over a council of ministers composed of five deputy prime ministers and the heads of 26 ministries and commissions. Only political organisations affiliated with or endorsed by the CPV are permitted to contest elections in Vietnam. These include the Vietnamese Fatherland Front and worker and parties.
The National Assembly of Vietnam is the unicameral legislature of the state, composed of 498 members. The legislature is open to all parties. Headed by a Chairman, it is superior to both the executive and judicial branches, with all government ministers being appointed from members of the National Assembly. The Supreme People's Court of Vietnam, headed by a Chief Justice, is the country's highest court of appeal, though it is also answerable to the National Assembly. Beneath the Supreme People's Court stand the provincial municipal courts and numerous local courts. Military courts possess special jurisdiction in matters of national security. Vietnam maintains the death penalty for numerous offences.
Vietnam current foreign policy is to implement consistently the policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, co-operation and development as well the openness and diversification/multilateralism of international relations, with the country further declares itself as a friend and partner of all countries in the international community regardless of their political affiliation by actively taking part in international and regional co-operation especially in country development. Since the 1990s, several key steps had been taken by Vietnam to restore diplomatic ties with Western countries. Relations with the United States began to improve in August 1995 with both nations upgraded their liaison offices to an embassy status. As diplomatic ties between the two nations grew, the United States opened a consulate general in Ho Chi Minh City while Vietnam opened its consulate in San Francisco. Full diplomatic relations were also restored with New Zealand who opened its embassy in Hanoi in 1995, while Vietnam established an embassy in Wellington in 2003. Pakistan also reopened its embassy in Hanoi in October 2000 with Vietnam reopened their embassy in Islamabad in December 2005 and trade office in Karachi in November 2005. In May 2016, US President Barack Obama further normalised relations with Vietnam after he announced the lifting of an arms embargo on sales of lethal arms to Vietnam.
Red River Delta
Hai Phong (municipality)| style="padding-right:1em; vertical-align:top;"
Yên Bái| style="padding-right:1em; vertical-align:top;"
Sơn La| style="padding-right:1em; vertical-align:top;"
North Central Coast
Lâm Đồng| style="padding-right:1em; vertical-align:top;"
South Central Coast
Da Nang (municipality)| style="padding-right:1em; vertical-align:top;"
Hồ Chí Minh City (municipality)| style="padding-right:1em; vertical-align:top;"
Cần Thơ (municipality)
The provinces are subdivided into provincial municipalities ( thành phố trực thuộc tỉnh), ( thị xã) and county ( huyện), which are in turn subdivided into towns ( thị trấn) or communes ( xã). The centrally controlled municipalities are subdivided into ( quận) and counties, which are further subdivided into wards ( phường).
Throughout the history of Vietnam, its economy has been largely on agriculture based on wet rice cultivation. There is also an industry for bauxite mining in central Vietnam, an important material for the production of aluminium. Since reunification, the country economy is shaped primarily by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) through the Five Year Plans which are being decided from the plenary sessions of the Central Committee and national congresses. The collectivisation of farms, factories, and capital goods was carried out as components in establishing central planning, with millions of people working in state enterprises. Despite strict state control, Vietnam's economy continued to be plagued with inefficiency and corruption in state-owned enterprises, poor quality and underproduction. With the decrease of Soviet economic aid as the main trading partners for Vietnam following the erosion of the Eastern bloc in the late 1980s and subsequent Soviet Union collapse in addition to the negative impacts from the post-war trade embargo imposed by the United States, Vietnam began to liberalise its trade by devaluation its exchange rate to increase exports and embark on a policy of economic development.
In 1986, the Sixth National Congress of the CPV introduced socialist-oriented market economic reforms as part of the Đổi Mới reform program with private ownership began to be encouraged in industries, commerce and agriculture and state enterprises were Corporatisation to operate under market constraints, resulting the old-fashioned five-year economic plans are being replaced with socialist market mechanism. As a result of these reforms, Vietnam achieved around 8% annual Gross domestic product (GDP) growth between 1990 and 1997, with the United States also ended its economic embargo against Vietnam in early 1994. Despite the 1997 Asian financial crisis affecting Vietnam and causing economic slow down to 4-5% growth per annum, its economy began to recover in 1999, with growth at an annual rate of around 7% from 2000 to 2005 and making the country as one of the world's fastest growing economies.; this article refers to the so-called "Vent for surplus" theory of international trade. According to General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO), growth remained strong even in the face of the late-2000s global recession, holding at 6.8% in 2010, although Vietnam's year-on-year inflation rate hit 11.8% in December 2010 with the country currency, the Vietnamese đồng are being devalued three times.
Deep poverty which defined as the percentage of the population living on less than $1 per day has declined significantly in Vietnam and the relative poverty rate is now less than that of China, India and the Philippines. This decline in the poverty rate can be attributed to equitable economic policies aimed at improving living standards and preventing the rise of inequality; these policies have included egalitarian land distribution during the initial stages of the Đổi Mới program, investment in poorer remote areas, and subsidising of education and healthcare. Since the early 2000s, Vietnam has applied sequenced trade liberalisation, a two-track approach opening some sectors of the economy to international markets. Manufacturing, information technology and high-tech industries now form a large and fast-growing part of the national economy. Though Vietnam is a relative newcomer to the oil industry, it is currently the third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia with a total 2011 output of . In 2010, Vietnam was ranked as the 8th largest crude petroleum producers in the Asia and Pacific region. The United States was the country that purchased the highest amount of Vietnam's exports, while goods from China were the most popular Vietnamese import.
According to a December 2005 forecast by Goldman Sachs, the Vietnamese economy will become the world's 21st-largest by 2025, with an estimated nominal GDP of $436 billion and a nominal GDP per capita of $4,357. Based on a findings by International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2012, the unemployment rate in Vietnam stood at 4.46%. Along the same year, Vietnam's nominal GDP reached US$138 billion, with a nominal GDP per capita of $1,527. The HSBC also predicted that Vietnam's total GDP would surpass those of Norway, Singapore and Portugal by 2050. Another forecast by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2008 stating that Vietnam may be the fastest-growing of the world's emerging economies by 2025, with a potential growth rate of almost 10% per annum in real dollar terms. Apart from the primary sector economy, tourism has contributed significantly to Vietnam's economic growth with 7.94 million foreign visitors are recorded in 2015.
According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Vietnam devoted 0.19% of its GDP for science research and development in 2011. Between 2005 and 2014, the number of scientific publications recorded in Thomson Reuters' Web of Science increased at a rate well above the average for Southeast Asia, albeit from a modest starting point. Publications focus mainly on (22%), physics (13%) and engineering (13%), which is consistent with recent advances in the production of diagnostic equipment and shipbuilding. Almost 77% of all papers published between 2008 and 2014 had at least one international co-author. The autonomy which Vietnamese research centres have enjoyed since the mid-1990s has enabled many of them to operate as quasi-private organisations, providing services such as consulting and technology development. Some have 'spun off' from the larger institutions to form their own semi-private enterprises, fostering the transfer of public sector science and technology personnel to these semi-private establishments. One comparatively new university, the Tôn Đức Thắng University which built in 1997 has already set up 13 centres for technology transfer and services that together produce 15% of university revenue. Many of these research centres serve as valuable intermediaries bridging public research institutions, universities, and firms.
, and remain the most popular forms of road transport in the country as one of the legacy of French through transportation although the number of privately owned have been rising in recent years. Public buses operated by private companies are the main mode of long-distance travel for much of the population. Road accidents remain the major safety issue in Vietnamese transportation with an average of 30 people lost their lives daily, while traffic congestion is a growing problem in both major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City especially with the growing of individual car ownership. Vietnam's primary cross-country rail service is the Reunification Express from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi with a distance of nearly . From Hanoi, railway lines branch out to the northeast, north, and west; the eastbound line runs from Hanoi to Hạ Long Bay, the northbound line from Hanoi to Thái Nguyên, and the northeast line from Hanoi to Lào Cai. In 2009, Vietnam and Japan signed a deal to build a high-speed railway by using the technology of Japanese Shinkansen; numerous Vietnamese engineers were later sent to Japan to receive training in the operation and maintenance of high-speed trains. The planned railway will be a long express route serving a total of 23 stations including in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with 70% of its route will running on bridges and through underground tunnels, while the trains will travelling at a maximum speed of per hour. The plan for the country first high-speed rail, however, are being postponed with the Vietnamese government made a decision to putting the main priority on the development of both Hanoi Metro and Ho Chi Minh City Metro as well the expansion of road networks instead.
Vietnam operates 20 major civil airports, including three international gateways: Noi Bai in Hanoi, Da Nang International Airport in Đà Nẵng and Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City. Tan Son Nhat is the nation's largest airport by which it handling the majority of international passenger traffic. According to a state-approved plan, Vietnam will have another seven international airports by 2015, these include Vinh International Airport, Phu Bai International Airport, Cam Ranh International Airport, Phu Quoc International Airport, Cat Bi International Airport, Can Tho International Airport and Long Thanh International Airport. The planned Long Thanh International Airport will have an annual service capacity of 100 million passengers once it becomes fully operational in 2025. Vietnam Airlines, the state-owned national airline maintains a fleet of 86 passenger aircraft and aims to operate 170 by 2020. Several private airlines are also in operation in Vietnam, including Air Mekong, Bamboo Airways, Jetstar Pacific Airlines, VASCO and VietJet Air. As a coastal country, Vietnam has many major sea ports, including Cam Ranh, Đà Nẵng, Haiphong, Ho Chi Minh City, Hạ Long, Qui Nhơn, Vũng Tàu, Cửa Lò and Nha Trang. Further inland, the country's extensive network of rivers play a key role in rural transportation with over of navigable carrying ferries, barges and .
In recent years, there have been some efforts and collaboration between local and foreign universities to developing access to safe water in the country by introducing water filter with the growing concern from local population about the serious public health issues associated with water contamination caused by pollution as well the high levels of arsenic in their groundwater sources. The government of Netherlands also have been providing aid by focusing its entirety investments in the country mainly on water-related sectors including in water treatment projects. Regarding sanitation, 78% of the population in Vietnam had access to "improved" sanitation or 94% of the urban population and 70% of the rural population despite there are still about 21 million people in the country lacked accessed to "improved" sanitation according to a survey conducted in 2015. In 2018, the construction ministry said that the country water supply and drainage industry had been applying hi-tech methods and information technology (IT) but facing problems such as limited funding, climate change, and pollution. The health ministry also have announced that water inspection units will be established in the country nationwide from June 2019 with inspections to be conducted without notice since there have been many cases involving health caused by poor and polluted water supply as well hygiene conditions are reported every year.
Since the early 2000s, Vietnam has made significant progress in combating malaria, with the malaria mortality rate falling to about 5% of its 1990s equivalent by 2005 after the country introduced improved antimalarial drugs and treatment. Tuberculosis (TB) cases however are on the rise which become the second most infectious diseases in the country after respiratory-related illness. With an intensified vaccination program, better hygiene and foreign assistance, Vietnam hopes to reduce sharply the number of TB cases and annual new TB infections. In 2004, government subsidies covering about 15% of health care expenses. Along the same year, the United States announced that Vietnam would be one of 15 nations to receive funding as part of its global AIDS relief plan. By the following year, Vietnam had diagnosed 101,291 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases, of which 16,528 progressed to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) with 9,554 have died. The actual number of HIV-positive individuals is estimated to be much higher as on average as between 40–50 new infections are reported daily in the country. In 2007, 0.4% of the population is estimated to be infected with HIV and the figure has remained stable since 2005. More global aid are being delivered through The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to fight the spread of the diseases in the country. In September 2018, the Hanoi People's Committee urged the citizens of the country to stop eating dog meat and cat meat as it can cause other diseases like rabies and leptospirosis as more than 1,000 stores in the capital city of Hanoi are found to be selling both meats. The decision received positive comments among Vietnamese society on social media despite many still disagreed as it has been a habit that couldn't be resisted.
Other uplanders in the north migrated from southern China between the 1300s and 1800s. Since the partition of Vietnam, the population of the Central Highlands was almost exclusively Degar (including over 40 tribal groups); however, the South Vietnamese government at the time enacted a program of resettling Kinh in indigenous areas. The Hoa people (ethnic Overseas Chinese) and Khmer Krom people are mainly lowlanders. Throughout Vietnam history, many Chinese people mainly from South China migrated to the country as administrators, merchants and even refugees. Since the reunification in 1976 with the increase of communist policies nationwide that resulting the nationalisation of property and subsequently causing many rich people property in the city especially among the Hoa in the south are being confiscated by the government, this has led many of them to leave Vietnam. Furthermore, with the deteriorating Sino-Vietnamese relations as a result of border invasion by Chinese government in 1979 which added by doubtful among Vietnamese society on the Chinese government intention had indirectly causing more Hoa people in the north to leave the country.
A study also shows that rural-to-urban area migrants have a higher standard of living than both non-migrants in rural areas and non-migrants in urban areas which also leads to changes in economic structures. In 1985, agriculture took up 37.2% of Vietnam's GDP; nevertheless, in 2008, that number went down to 18.5%, a decreasing of 18.7%. In 1985, the industry took only a small fraction of Vietnam GDP, around 26.2%. But in 2008, that number has increased up to 43.2%. Urbanisation also helps to improve basic services which increase people's standards of living. Access to electricity has increased tremendously from 14% of total households having electricity in 1993 to above 96% in 2009. In terms of accessing to fresh water, data from 65 utility companies show that only 12% of households in the area covered by the companies had access to the water network in 2002. By 2007, more than 70% of the population in the area was connected. Though urbanisation has many benefits, it has some drawbacks since it creates more traffic, air, and water pollution.
Since Vietnam has a big consumption of in their transportation due to the relatively cheap and easy to commute, large numbers of mopeds have been known for causing traffic and air pollution in Vietnam. In the capital city alone, the consumption of mopeds has increased from 0.5 million in 2001 to 4.7 million in 2013. With the rapid development, factories have sprung up rapidly which indirectly polluting air and water as been exampled from the 2016 Vietnam marine life disaster caused by the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Company which killing many fish and marine habitats in Vietnamese waters and directly causing major losses to the country economy. There are some government's interventions and solutions trying to decrease air pollution by decreasing the number of motorcycles while increasing public transportation and having more regulations for factories to handle their . Although the authorities also have a time schedules for collecting different types of waste, waste disposal has become another problem of urbanisation since the amount of solid waste generated in urban areas has increased unimaginably by more than 200% from 2003 to 2008. Industrial solid waste alone took up 181% of that 200%. One of the government's efforts is trying to promote campaigns to encourage the locals to sort household waste since waste sorting are still not been practised entirely by most Vietnamese society.
Mahāyāna is the dominant branch of Buddhism among the Kinh majority who follows the religion, while Theravāda are practised in almost entirely by the Khmer minority. About 7% of the population are Christians, totalling around six million Roman Catholics and one million Protestants. Catholicism has been introduced to Vietnam by nearby Portuguese missionaries ( Jesuits) from Portuguese Macau and Malacca towards Annam and from remnants of the persecuted Japanese Catholic between the 16th and 17th centuries before being massively propagated by French missionaries aided by Spanish Empire missionaries ( Dominican Order) from neighbouring Spanish East Indies towards Tonkin in the 19th and 20th centuries. A significant number of Vietnamese people are also adherents of Caodaism, an indigenous folk religion which has structured itself on the model of the Catholic Church together with another Buddhist section of Hoahaoism. Protestantism was only recently spread by American and Canadian missionaries throughout the modern civil war, where it was largely accepted among the highland Montagnards of South Vietnam. The largest Protestant churches are the Southern Evangelical Church of Vietnam (SECV) and the Evangelical Church of Vietnam North (ECVN) with around 770,000 of the country Protestants come from members of ethnic minorities. Although it is one of the country minority religion and has a shorter history than Catholicism, Protestantism is found to be the country's fastest-growing religion, expanding at a rate of 600% in recent decades. Several other minority faiths exist in Vietnam, these includes Bani, Sunni Islam and non-denominational section of Islam which is primarily practised among the ethnic Cham people minority, though there were also a few Kinh adherents of Islam along with other minority adherents of Baha'is as well Hindus among the Cham's.
The French language, a legacy of colonial rule, is spoken by many educated Vietnamese as a second language, especially among the older generation and those educated in the former South Vietnam, where it was a principal language in administration, education, and commerce. Vietnam remains a full member of the International Organisation of the Francophonie (La Francophonie) and education has revived some interest in the language. Russian language and to a much lesser extent German language, Czech language and Polish language are known among some northern Vietnamese whose families had ties with the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. With improved relations with Western countries and recent reforms in Vietnamese administration, English language has been increasingly used as a second language and the study of English is now obligatory in most schools either alongside or in place of French. The popularity of Japanese and Korean language have also grown as the country's ties with other East Asian nations have strengthened.
The traditional focuses of Vietnamese culture are based on humanity ( nhân nghĩa) and harmony ( hòa); in which family and community values are highly regarded. Vietnam reveres a number of key cultural symbols, such as the Vietnamese dragon which is derived from crocodile and snake imagery; Vietnam's national father, Lạc Long Quân is depicted as a holy dragon. The lạc is a holy bird representing Vietnamese national mother of Âu Cơ is another prominent symbol, while turtle, water buffalo and horse images are also revered. Many Vietnamese also believes in supernatural and spiritualism where illness could be brought on by a curse or witchcraft or caused by non-observance of a religious ethic where it needs to be treated through traditional medical practitioners, and other forms of spiritual protection where religious practices may be employed to treating the ill person. In the modern era, the cultural life of Vietnam has been deeply influenced by government-controlled media and cultural programs. For many decades, foreign cultural influences especially those of Western origin were shunned. But since the recent reformation, Vietnam has seen a greater exposure to neighbouring Southeast Asian, East Asian as well to Western culture and media.
The main Vietnamese formal dress, the áo dài is worn for special occasions such as in weddings and religious festivals. White áo dài is the required uniform for girls in many high schools across the country. Other examples of traditional Vietnamese clothing include the áo tứ thân, a four-piece woman's dress; the áo ngũ, a form of the thân in 5-piece form, mostly worn in the north of the country; the yếm, a woman's undergarment; the áo bà ba, rural working "pyjamas" for men and women; the áo gấm, a formal brocade tunic for government receptions; and the áo the, a variant of the áo gấm worn by grooms at weddings. Traditional headwear includes the standard conical nón lá and the "lampshade-like" nón quai thao. In tourism, a number of popular cultural tourist destinations include the former imperial capital of Hué, the World Heritage Sites of Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, Hội An and Mỹ Sơn, coastal regions such as Nha Trang, the caves of Hạ Long Bay and the Marble Mountains.
Bolero music has gained its position in the country since the 1930s, albeit with a different style from a combination between traditional Vietnamese music with Western elements. However, the modern Vietnamese music industry, known as V-pop, is currently making its mark in the entertainment field. Many Vietnamese artists have started to collaborate with foreign artists and producers, especially South Korean, to facilitate the entrance of K-pop into the Vietnamese market while also promoting V-pop overseas. For example, in 2014, the South Korean seven-member boy band BTS (방탄소년단) collaborated with Vietnamese singer Thanh Bùi on the single called "Danger". In 2018, South Korean artist and idol Park Ji-yeon (박지연) collaborated with Soobin Hoàng Sơn in two versions of the title track called "Between Us" (Đẹp Nhất Là Em; 우리사이) to promote the two countries’ partnership in terms of the music industry. V Live, which is a South Korean live video streaming service also collaborated with RBW Entertainment Vietnam (a subsidiary of the Korean entertainment company) to produce Vietnamese-based shows. V Live also launched special monthly mini-concerts called "V Heartbeat Live" to connect V-pop and K-pop idols. Furthermore, South Korean entertainment company SM Entertainment signed an agreement with IPP Group to advance into the country's market and promote joint business. The company held its 2018 Global Audition in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in search for new talents among the Vietnamese youth.
Media and censorship