Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Cambodia to the southwest, China to the north, Laos to the northwest and the South China Sea to the east. Vietnam as a destination has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty, culture, history and city life.

Population estimate (2019): 97,225,241

Capital City: Hanoi

Currency used: Vietnam Dong

Gross National Income per capita (2013) (PPP international $): 5,030

Time zone: GMT – 7

Population growth rate (2019): 0.97%

Total fertility rate per woman: 1.81

Languages: Vietnamese is the official language. English is often the second language learnt. Amongst the older generations French is also common. 

Key ethnic groups: There are 54 officially recognised ethnic groups in Vietnam, some of the main ones being Kinh (Viet) at 85.7%, 1.9% Tay, 1.8% Thai and 1.5% Khmer.

Religion: 7.9% Buddhist, 6.6% Catholic, Hoa Hao 1.7%, Cao Dai 0.9%, Protestant 0.9%, 0.1% Muslim and 81.8% with no preferred religion.

Literacy: 94.5%

Climate: The climate in Vietnam can be divided into a temperate and a monsoon-influenced tropical zone. The northern and mountainous regions are generally cooler than the south, especially in winter and have more distinct seasons. In the south there are no significant temperature differences, and annual average temperatures range from 22 to 27ºc. The slightly cooler season in the south is from November April, and the hot and humid season from May to October.

Health statistics:

Life expectancy at birth (2016): 72/81 (male/female)

Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years: 182/66 (per 1000 population, 2016)

Total expenditure on health per capita (2014): $390

Number of doctors per 1000 population (2013): 1.19

Nursing and midwifery personnel density (per 1000 population, 2013): 1.236

Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2013): 13 [9-18]

Maternal mortality ratio (per 100.000 live births, 2013): 49 [29-84]

Births attended by skilled health personnel (2014): 93.8%

Top 10 causes of death:

Stroke: 98,253 people / 19.46% of total

Coronary heart disease: 58,452 / 11.58%

Liver cancer: 27,249 / 5.40%

Road traffic accidents: 22,468 / 4.45%

Lung disease: 22,015 / 4.36%

Lung cancers: 21,667 / 4.29%

Diabetes mellitus: 20,462 / 4.05%

Influenza & pneumonia: 20,007 / 3.96%

Alzheimers/dementia: 16,844 / 3.34%

Liver disease: 16,269 / 3.22%

Healthcare system

The healthcare system in Vietnam comprises public and private sectors. The system also combines aspects of traditional Eastern and Western medicine. The government is working on developing a universal healthcare system to provide citizens with free basic medical care. Currently, citizens have to pay for both public and private services. Public healthcare facilities are often underfunded, with limited resources and equipment, and waiting times can be very long. Facilities in the larger cities are of a higher standard than in rural areas, where facilities are often very limited in availability or sometimes even non-existent.

Those who can afford it usually opt for private healthcare. The private sector is Vietnam offers excellent care, especially in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, and have highly skilled specialist physicians. Many physicians in these hospitals undertook their training in the US, France, Japan or Korea. It is more probable to find English speaking doctors in these private hospitals than in public hospitals. The cost of private specialist treatment can vary significantly, but many Vietnamese citizens are unable to afford private healthcare.