Trying to map where you want to go in Vietnam to plan your holiday to this fantastic destination?
Before you go, it is important to get your head around some key country information. You should know where the capital is, what the main cities are and what climate and weather you can expect as you’re travelling around.
Understanding more about the country and its geography can help you get the most out of your Asian adventure. Not only will you be able to explore the places that most interest you but you can ensure that you pack the right things!
If you are planning an extended trip to other places on the continent, you also might want to get a feel for which are the border countries and how long it takes to travel to them from your starting point. A map of Vietnam is an essential item for your suitcase.
What Is the Capital of Vietnam?
Hanoi is the capital and its origins can be traced all the way back to the Neolithic period. Over the centuries, it has been known by many other names, including Dong Kinh (Eastern Capital).
Hanoi, the ‘city of lakes’, is located in the north of the country on the bank of the Red River. This river, also known as the Hong River, owes its colour to the iron oxide in the silt it carries. You can take a cruise along the delta at sunset, it is quite a sight to behold!
The capital has a population of over 8 million and is characterised by its multicultural influence and beautiful architecture. It is one of the most popular destinations for travellers and is home to the country’s largest airport, Nội Bài International. It has something for everyone whether you are a history buff, a foodie, a nature lover, or all three.
Where Is Vietnam Located?
For those of you who are unclear in what part of the world Vietnam is in, it is located on the Indochinese Peninsula. This is the continental portion of Southeast Asia and occupies about 127,888.9 square miles, which is roughly the size of Italy!
The Indochinese Peninsula incorporates 5 other countries which are Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand. These are also worthy destinations to consider when planning a Southeast Asian adventure!
Many travellers who have not journeyed to this part of the world ask ‘is Vietnam in Asia?’. Well, as we mentioned before, it can be found in Southeastern Asia. It is at a latitude of 14.058324 and a longitude of 108.277199. As well as being part of Asia, it also belongs to the northern hemisphere.
What Are the Vietnam Border Countries?
It is bordered by China to the north, the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea to the east, and Cambodia and Laos to the west.
As well as bordering Cambodia, China, and Laos by land, it also shares maritime borders with 4 more nations.
These countries are:
If you are planning to cross the border to any of these countries, make sure to be clear on visa requirements. Our visa checker tool can help you for both Vietnam and these other destinations.
There are some interesting tourist sites located near the borders that you might want to visit. The beautiful Ban Gioc waterfall that straddles the China Vietnam border is the widest waterfall in the country and is well worth a visit!
How Big Is Vietnam?
Speaking of big, how does Vietnam compare size-wise to its neighbours? Well, this all depends on which country you compare it to.
In terms of its physical size, Vietnam occupies 331,212 km². By comparison, bordering countries Laos takes up 236,800 km², Thailand is 513,120 km², while Cambodia is 181,035 km² in size.
Vietnam’s population is over 97 million people, so it is much bigger in this sense than neighbouring Laos and Cambodia. However, it is much smaller than China which has a population of a whopping 1.4 billion. It is actually the third most populous country in Southeast Asia and the fifteenth in the world. Impressive stuff!
Many travellers rate it as their top Southeast Asian tourist destination as there is plenty to delight tourists whilst also leaving you many things to come back to.
Where Is the Population in Vietnam Concentrated?
Most of the population is concentrated in the north in the Red River Delta which has one of the highest population densities in the world. More than 22.5 million people call this area their home.
It is the second most important rice-producing area in the country, so you have these people to thank for the delicious rice dumplings and rice noodles that you can sample in the world-famous markets.
The lowest population density is in the Central Highlands, with approximately 5.8 million inhabitants. This area, which is home to a number of small ethnic minority communities is a bit of a mystery to most tourists. However, if you’re looking for undisturbed wilderness in all its rugged glory, it is worth including in your itinerary.
Largest Cities in Vietnam
The county’s urban centres are growing at lightning speed and statistics show that Hanoi is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. It also has more cultural and historical sites to offer tourists than anywhere else in the country. From The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long to the Ba Vi National Park.
Although Hanoi is the capital, it isn’t actually the biggest city in the country. Ho Chi Minh City is the largest, with a population of around 8,244,400 people.
The 5 most populous cities in Vietnam are:
- Ho Chi Minh City (8.9 million)
- Ha Noi (8.05 million)
- Hai Phong (2.02 million)
- Can Tho (1.2 million)
- Bien Hoa (1.2 million)
If you want to explore outside the main cities on your travels, you can rent a scooter and head out for the day to go off the beaten track.
What Are the Biggest Regions of Vietnam?
Vietnam is made up of 63 provinces and 5 centrally-governed cities.
The national government often groups the provinces into 8 regions, these are:
- Red River Delta
- North Central Coast
- South Central Coast
- Central Highlands
- Mekong River Delta
The country’s climate varies from region to region due to the diverse landscapes. Vietnam is not only diverse in terms of landscape but in terms of its people. It is the most multicultural nation in Southeast Asia and more than 50 different ethnic groups form the rich tapestry of its culture.
If you look at Vietnam on a map you can see it is a long and narrow country, similar to Chile in South America. It is an S-shape peninsula with an extremely varied climate.
40% of the country is covered in mountains and around 20% is flatland, which yields the rice crop that is vital to this agricultural nation.
It is a great all year round destination for tourists as during most times of the year you will experience both sunshine and rain. The country has more than 2000 miles of coastline and 3 different weather systems to boot. Pack both your sunscreen and your raincoat and you’re in for the trip of a lifetime!