Vietnam: Overview and History

Today, Vietnam is home to over 98 million people, and the country welcomes over 18 million tourists each year. Vietnam offers stunning national parks, several impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and megacities that regularly rank as some of the best tourism destinations in Asia. Vietnam should be on every traveler’s bucket list – the country’s delicious cuisine, beautiful natural landscapes, and rich history will not disappoint.

Key points in Vietnam’s history

A key part of Vietnamese history is the country’s long period under French colonial rule. The French conquest of Vietnam began in 1858, and Vietnam officially became part of French Indochina in 1887. It was not until 1954 when local forces led by Ho Chi Minh defeated the French. Tourists will notice significant French influences on Vietnamese cuisine and architecture.

Many people consider modern Vietnamese history as beginning in 1973 when the United States withdrew from Vietnam and signed a cease-fire agreement. After the US ended the country’s Vietnam War, North Vietnam overtook South Vietnam and joined the country under Northern Vietnam’s communist leadership. Since widespread reforms in 1986, Vietnam has embraced economic liberalization and privatized business, and the government has worked to protect human rights.

In recent years, US heads of state have visited Vietnam, including President Bill Clinton’s visit in 2000 and President Barack Obama’s visit in 2016. Vietnam is now part of the ASEAN intergovernmental organization, and the country’s economy and tourism industry are growing rapidly. Vietnam is part of the “Next Eleven” states, a group of countries that will likely be the 21st century’s largest economies.

Highlights for Vietnam tourism

When traveling to Vietnam, we recommend that you plan your trip well in advance. There is plenty to see and experience during a trip to Vietnam, and a well thought out itinerary will help you make the most of your trip. Also, be sure to take a look at typical weather patterns during the dates of your trip, and know that Vietnam has a variety of different climate types. You can learn more about how weather patterns vary across Vietnam in our article on the best time to visit Vietnam by region. Another useful article is our Ultimate Guide to Vietnam Vacation Costs. In Vietnam, backpackers can have an excellent trip for around $40 to $50 per day, and travelers looking for luxury vacations have a variety of options.

Popular tourism destinations in Vietnam include the country’s beautiful beaches, particularly those in the Gulf of Thailand. If exploring Southeast Asia’s beaches is for you, check out our Ultimate Guide to Vietnam Beaches. Another popular tourist destination is Halong Bay. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and tourists can find the perfect photo opportunity while on a boat among the stunning limestone islets. Be sure to check out Vietnam’s bustling cities, including Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. You will feel energized by the city’s activity, and you can find a busy coffee shop for a delicious glass of Vietnamese iced coffee at almost every corner.

Of course, the above recommendations barely scratch the surface of what Vietnam has to offer. To learn more about popular travel locations in Vietnam, check out our collection of Vietnam travel guides. We also have an extensive travel tip library with articles on etiquette in Vietnam and on what to pack for your trip to Vietnam.

How to get a visa for Vietnam

To enter Vietnam, tourists from most countries will need to acquire a Vietnam visa. Vietnam does have a visa-on-arrival program. However, to obtain a visa on arrival, tourists should apply for a Vietnam visa online. Applying for a visa on arrival before traveling ensures that you can take care of any issues before your trip. Additionally, having all your paperwork in order before your trip speeds up the immigration process upon your arrival.

Applying for your visa on arrival is easy. The first step is to fill out our online application for a Vietnam visa. After you complete your application, we will process your form and send you an official approval letter. This process typically takes two business days, and visa fees vary depending on each traveler’s passport. Next, you will need to print out your approval letter and take it with you on your trip. Additionally, you will need to bring two passport photos (4cm x 6cm).

When you arrive in Vietnam, you will complete an entry form and present your approval letter and passport to the immigration officials. After paying an additional stamping fee, you will receive your visa stamp, and you will then be able to start your vacation in Vietnam! Know that you must fly into an airport that participates in Vietnam’s visa-on-arrival program. Participating airports include those in Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, and Nha Trang.

If you have any questions about applying for a Vietnam visa, do not hesitate to reach out to our team. You can reach us by phone at (+84) 832 320 320 or email us at We are happy to help, and our goal is to make the Vietnam visa application process as easy as possible.