Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With around 91 million inhabitants, it is the world's 14th-most-populous country, and the eighth-most-populous Asian country. The country is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and Malaysia across the South China Sea to the southeast. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1975.

Vietnam is located on the eastern Indochina Peninsula between the latitudes and 24°N, and the longitudes 102° and110°E. It covers a total area of approximately 331,210 km2 (127,881 sq mi), making it almost the size of Germany. The combined length of the country’s land boundaries is 4,639 km (2,883 mi), and its coastline is 3,444 km (2,140 mi) long. At its narrowest point in the central Quảng Bình Province, the country is as little as 50 kilometres (31 mi) across, though it widens to around 600 kilometres (370 mi) in the north. 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%.

The northern part of the country consists mostly of highlands and the Red River Delta. Phan Xi Păng, located in Lào Cai Province, is the highest mountain in Vietnam, standing 3,143 m (10,312 ft) high. Southern Vietnam is divided into coastal lowlands, the mountains of the Annamite Range, and extensive forests. Comprising five relatively flat plateaus of basalt soil, the highlands account for 16% of the country’s arable land and 22% of its total forested land. The soil in much of southern Vietnam is relatively poor in nutrients.

The Red River Delta, a flat, roughly triangular region covering 15,000 km2 (5,792 sq mi), is smaller but more intensely developed and more densely populated than the Mekong River Delta. Once an inlet of the Gulf of Tonkin, it has been filled in over the millennia by riverine alluvial deposits. The delta, covering about 40,000 km2 (15,444 sq mi), is a low-level plain no more than 3 meters (9.8 ft) above at any point. It is criss-crossed by a maze of rivers and canals, which carry so much sediment that the delta advances 60 to 80 meters (196.9 to 262.5 ft) into the sea every year.


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Irrawaddy with APT and a Luke Nguyen

Luxury cruise operator APT has unveiled artist impressions of the interiors of its new boutique rivership, the RV Samatha (pronounced Sa-ma-ta), in its latest Burma River Cruising 2016/17 brochure. As well as offering a range of sizes all suites are positioned on the outside of the ship to ensure all guests enjoy either a panoramic or twin balcony. Glossy dark …

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Heritage re-name Irrawaddy New Build

One of my most anticipate new builds for 2015, cruising the Irrawaddy (Ayerarwady), has been re-named out of respect for religious connotations. Now Heritage Line’s new luxury paddle-wheeled vessel, scheduled to commence sailing on the Ayeyarwady River in October of 2015 will be named the ‘Anawrahta’. As advised by the Government of Myanmar, formally Burma, to respect any ethnic minorities …

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Pandaw opens up Laos Mekong cruises

Directly from Pandaw : Luxury river expedition company Pandaw River Expeditions has announced a ten-night Laos Mekong sailing on its newest ship the RV Laos Pandaw. The journey will commence on November 1, 2015, and offer guests the chance to travel deep into the Laos mountain, traverse rapids and gorges and visit local tribal villages and Buddhist temples along the …

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Sanctuary Ananda delivered

Luxury cruise and safari operator Sanctuary Retreats has taken delivery of its new boutique river cruise ship Sanctuary Ananda ahead of schedule. Such is the strength of demand for Sanctuary Ananda from both trade and consumers that Sanctuary Retreats has also announced that the 2016 programme for the Sanctuary Ananda will go on sale earlier than originally planned, and will …

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South-east Asian cruises: Traveller’s Guide

Drifting along the Irrawaddy or the Mekong, or further out at sea, is an adventurous way to see this region’s most exotic corners, says Caroline Hendrie. Cruising in South-east Asia has traditionally meant a trip along the Mekong River. But today’s adventurous boat traveller is increasingly spoilt for choice with sea and expedition cruises, plus river trips along blossoming Burma’s …

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