Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the world's 13th-most-populous country. Hanoi has served as its capital since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is the major city in the south. In 1986, Vietnam initiated a series of political and economic reforms and increasingly opened itself up to the East and West. Since 2000, Vietnam has been among the world's growing and globally integrated economies. It is increasingly a sought-after travel destination for its natural beauty, its world-class cuisine, and for its history.

The long lean geographic area is home to more than 50 distinct, officially recognized ethnic groups. An indigenous Dong Sun culture of the Bronze Age, and elements of Confucianism and Taoism (the Chinese ruled from 111 BC to 939 AD) along with Buddhism are among the country's cultural foundations. In recent centuries, Western cultures, most notably of France and the United States, have also impacted Vietnamese arts and life.

For Asia Society's profile on Vietnam, click here. For National Geographic's photographic profile of Vietnam, click here.


Several English-language dailies or translated Vietnamese newspapers have extensive culture coverage online:

For more about traditions, family celebrations, and important holidays, click here.

For the English Section of the Vietnamese Government site, click here.

For helpful links to articles and information about Vietnamese politics, this Country Study is an excellent place to start.