Vietnam: Overview and History

Throughout the millennia of Vietnam’s storied past, the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people has built the remarkable culture and traditions that are so enticing to today’s visitors. Vietnam’s fast-growing tourism industry could survive on its beautiful landscapes and exotic flora and fauna alone, but your experience in Vietnam will be made far richer and more vibrant as you learn about the people, the customs, the food, and the way of life that native Vietnamese have forged through sometimes very difficult episodes in their country’s history.

The earliest Vietnamese considered themselves the descendants of a dragon and an angel. These rice farming settlers flowed into the area from China and established strong rice-growing communities. Even as borders and rulers waxed and waned over the centuries that followed, Vietnam’s busy seaports saw trade from China, India, and countries in the Mediterranean, including the Roman Empire. Traders and missionaries from as far away as Portugal and France visited Vietnam throughout the Middle Ages, influencing and being influenced by the people who lived there. This trade and influence helped shape the very building blocks of Vietnamese culture and tradition, but throughout any conflicts that arose, the Vietnamese people have proudly maintained their distinct way of life.

Most Westerners are familiar with the Vietnam War, which ravaged the country from May of 1955 to the fall of Saigon (modern-day Ho Chi Minh City) in November of 1975. Vietnam now celebrates 41 years of reunification, and with a growing economy, a burgeoning middle class, and a desire to invite the world to explore this beautiful country, there has never been a better time to come and explore. From the rice paddies in centuries-old farming villages to the newest French fashions in large modern cities, Vietnam is the perfect combination of exotic, progressive, and patriotic. Welcome to all that Vietnam has to offer.