Forming the eastern edge of the Indochina Peninsula, Vietnam is a long and narrow country, sandwiched between China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west and the South China Sea to the east. Formerly a province of China, Vietnam had been independent for around a thousand years. It was colonised by the French in the mid 19th century and this period of foreign occupation lasted until the mid 20th century. Divided politically into North Vietnam and South Vietnam, the country then endured the Vietnam War, which ended with a Communist victory in 1975. Vietnam's economic development and its ongoing international integration have proceeded very smoothly in the last 30 years. In the north of the country, the mountainous terrain, culminating at the summit of Fansipan (3143m / 10,312ft), provides excellent opportunities for trekking and for mountain biking. The north is also where relics of the recent war, such as the Ho Chi Minh Trail, can be seen. Not to be missed is the coastal highlight and World Heritage Site of island-studded Halong Bay.

Destination Country Profile