Vietnam stretches 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) north to south, but is only about 40 kilometers (25 miles) wide at its narrowest point near the country’s center. The Red River delta lowlands in the north are separated from the huge Mekong Delta in the south by long, narrow coastal plains backed by the forested Annam highlands. Hanoi, the capital, is the main city on the Red River an Saigon is the main city on the Mekong.
About 74% of Vietnamese citizens currently live in rural areas, and although many are being influenced by the process of a growing economy, rural tradition and customs still play a vital role in shaping the national culture.
Fast Facts about Vietnam
Population: 84 million
GDP per Capita: U.S. $2,300
Number of motorbikes: 10 million and counting
Adult literacy rate: 94%
Infant mortality: 30 per 1000 births
Litres of Litres of nuoc mam (fish sauce) produced per year: 200 million
Annual rice production: 32.3 million tons
Life expectancy: 68 for men, 73 for women
Tonnage of bombs dropped on Vietnam during the war: 15 million
Industry: food processing, garments, shoes, machine-building.
Agriculture: paddy rice, corn, potatoes, rubber; poultry; fish.
Exports: crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee, rubber.
Source: The Lonely Planet