Vietnam, formally the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 90.5 million inhabitants. The country is bordered by China, Laos, Cambodia, and the South China Sea. It covers a total area of approximately 331,210 km² (127,881 sq mi).
Vietnam’s land is mostly hilly and densely forested, with level land covering no more than 20%. Mountains account for 40% of the country’s land area, and tropical forests cover around 42%.
Because of differences in latitude and the marked variety in topographical relief, the Vietnamese climate tends to vary considerably from place to place. During the winter or dry season, extending roughly from November to April, the monsoon winds usually blow from the northeast along the China coast and across the Gulf of Tonkin, picking up considerable moisture. Consequently, the winter season in most parts of the country is dry only by comparison with the rainy or summer season. The average annual temperature is generally higher in the plains than in the mountains, and higher in the south than in the north.
Temperatures vary less in the southern plains around Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, ranging between 21 and 28 °C (69.8 and 82.4 °F) over the course of a year. Seasonal variations in the mountains and plateaus and in the north are much more dramatic, with temperatures varying from 5 °C (41 °F) in December and January to 37 °C (98.6 °F) in July and August.
Flora & Fauna:
Vietnam has two World Natural Heritage Sites – Ha Long Bay and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – and six biosphere reserves, including Can Gio Mangrove Forest, Cat Tien, Cat Ba, Kien Giang, Red River Delta, and Western Nghe An.
Vietnam is one of twenty-five countries considered to possess a uniquely high level of biodiversity : 15,986 species of flora have been identified in the country while Vietnam’s fauna include 307 nematode species, 200 oligochaeta, 145 acarina, 113 springtails, 7,750 insects, 260 reptiles, 120 amphibians, 840 birds and 310 mammals.
The characteristics of Vietnamese culture can be viewed as humanity and harmony. Vietnamese highly regard family value and community value.
The official spoken and written language of Vietnam is Vietnamese, currently written in the Latin alphabet.
In 1986, the government initiated market-based economic and political reforms which began a path towards integration into the world economy. Its economic growth has been among the highest in the world since 2000.
Vietnamese cuisine uses very little oil and many vegetables. The main dishes are often based on rice and soy sauce. Sugar, serrano peppers, lime and nuoc mam are among the most common flavorings, as are mint and basil.
Traditional Vietnamese music varies between the country’s three regions: Bắc or North, Trung or Central, and Nam or South. Northern classical music is Vietnam’s oldest musical form, and is traditionally more formal. Central classical music shows the influences of the Champa culture with its melancholic melodies.
The Vovinam and Bình Ðịnh martial arts are widespread in Vietnam, while soccer is the country’s most popular team sport. Other Western sports, such as badminton, tennis, volleyball, ping-pong and chess, are also widely popular.
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam