Vietnam Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Vietnam?

Overview:

Like a dragon floating in the sea, Vietnam winds its way some 1,030 miles up from the South China Sea to the Gulf of Tonkin, with its head caressing the border of China to the north and its back resting snuggly against her Southeast Asian neighbors, Laos and Cambodia, to the west. The total land area of Vietnam covers about 128,000 square miles. Vietnam’s main cities, for population and importance, are Hanoi, Haiphong, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).

Vietnam’s northern terrain is mostly mountainous or hilly, with some highland areas covered by a thick green blanket of jungle (about half the total land area). The Red River Delta and coastal plains in the lowland part of the North are heavily populated and intensively cultivated (almost entirely by rice fields). Although much of this Delta Region is seasonally flooded, a complex network of dikes and levees helps to prevent serious flood damage.

The southern part of Vietnam is dominated by the estuary of the Mekong River system and is low, flat, and frequently marshy. The rich soil in the Mekong Delta is the most fertile in the country. Areas immediately north and east of Ho Chi Minh City in the Mekong Delta are much more varied with low-lying tropical rain forest, upland forest, and the rugged Annamite Mountain chain.

Geography - note:

extending 1,650 km north to south, the country is only 50 km across at its narrowest point

Climate:

Vietnam is largely a tropical monsoon country. In the north, a hot rainy season prevails from May to September. The average temperature in Hanoi is about 86°F during this period, with very high humidity. During the cooler, dry season in the north from December to March, the average temperature is 68°F, with overnight minimums sometimes around 40°–42°F.

In the south, Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta experience a year-round tropical climate with daily temperatures normally exceeding 88°F. The rainy season in Danang and Hue in the center of the country lasts from October to March.

Vietnam Use of Natural Resources

Vietnam Environment

Climate:

Vietnam is largely a tropical monsoon country. In the north, a hot rainy season prevails from May to September. The average temperature in Hanoi is about 86°F during this period, with very high humidity. During the cooler, dry season in the north from December to March, the average temperature is 68°F, with overnight minimums sometimes around 40°–42°F.

In the south, Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta experience a year-round tropical climate with daily temperatures normally exceeding 88°F. The rainy season in Danang and Hue in the center of the country lasts from October to March.

Terrain:

low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest

Natural Resources:

phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, forests, hydropower

Natural Hazards:

occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta

Irrigated Land:

17,703 Square Miles
45,850 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices contribute to deforestation and soil degradation; water pollution and overfishing threaten marine life populations; groundwater contamination limits potable water supply; growing urban industrialization and population migration are rapidly degrading environment in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Vietnam Geography

Geographic Location Southeast Asia
Total Area 127,880 Square Miles
331,210 Square Kilometers
Land Area 119,718 Square Miles
310,070 Square Kilometers
Water Area 8,162 Square Miles
21,140 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 2,883 Miles
4,639 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 17,703 Square Miles
45,850 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Cambodia 1,228 km, China 1,281 km, Laos 2,130 km
Coastline 2,140 Miles
3,444 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 16 10 N, 107 50 E
Terrain low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest
Highest Point 3,144 Meters
Highest Point Location Fan Si Pan 3,144 m
Lowest Point Location South China Sea 0 m
Natural Resources phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, forests, hydropower
Time Zone UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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