Vietnam, formerly a part of French Indochina, declared its independence from France after World War II, but France continued to rule the country until 1954 when it was defeated by Communist forces under Ho Chi Minh.

Vietnam was divided into the Communist North and anti-Communist South. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces withdrew following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. In 1975, North Vietnamese forces reunited the country under Communist rule.

Vietnam has three international airports Hanoi/Noi Bai , Danang/ Danang and Ho Chi Minh/Tan Son Nhat that serves Vietnam Airlines and foreign airlines such as Air France, Cathay Pacific Airways, China southern Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Laos Aviation, Singapore Airlines, Swissair, Aeroflot, Thai Airways, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Lauda Air, Asiana Airlines, Royal Air Cambodge.

A valid passport and Vietnamese visa are required; visas can be obtained from a Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate before traveling to Vietnam; entry visas are not available upon arrival.

Vietnam’s weather is tropical in the south and monsoonal in the north with hot, rainy season from May to September and warm, dry the rest of the year.

Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam however English is the de-facto second language. Other languages spoken in Vietnam are French, Chinese, and Khmer including Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian.

The Vietnam Dong (VND) is the official currency with a current rate of VND 15,746 per US dollar.

Domestic transport is either by railway, bus, taxi, car rentals, motorbikes and bicycles.

International Direct Dial Country Code = 84
Fixed Lines = 11,000,000
Mobile Cellular = 5,000,000

Vietnam is modernizing the modernization and expansion of its telecommunication system; however, it is well behind its neighbors. All its telephone exchanges are now digitalized and inter-connected by fiber-optic cable or microwave radio relay networks; main lines have been substantially increased and mobile telephone service is growing rapidly.

There are two cellular service providers in Vietnam, Viettel the military run telecommunications company and the Vietnam Telecom Services Company, which provides mobile services under the brand name VinaPhone. VinaPhone has chosen Nokia to supply its GSM Mobile Switching Centers to increase VinaPhone’s network switching capacity in the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Several prepaid calling card and phone card companies are available to call both to and from Vietnam.

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