Vietnam is a long thin country in South East Asia, extending 1,650km from north to south, but only 50 kms across at its narrowest point. South Vietnam is tropical. North Vietnam is monsoonal. The capital city is Hanoi. Vietnamese is the offical language and English is increasingly common as a second language. The currency is the Dong.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994, Halong Bay (Bay of the Descending Dragon) comprises 1,969 limestone islands topped with jungle vegetation. The two biggest islands in the Bay - Tuan Chau and Cat Ba - are permanetly inhabited.
Vietnam has nearly 500 endemic plants.