Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, country located on the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula. Vietnam is bordered on the north by China, on the west by Laos and Cambodia, and on the south and east by the South China Sea. Hanoi is the capital, and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is the largest city.
Vietnam is relatively long and narrow, with a varied terrain. The far north and much of central Vietnam are hilly to mountainous. In the north, the highlands slope gradually toward the eastern coast, forming broad plains intersected by numerous streams. The plains are intensely cultivated, and over centuries the Vietnamese have built manIn central Vietnam, the narrowest part of the country, the mountains and highlands extend nearer to the coast, in a few places jutting into the sea and elsewhere dropping sharply to a narrow coastal plain. Southern Vietnam is very low lying, containing the broad, fertile delta of the Mekong River. Like the northern plains, much of the Mekong Delta is cultivated, and there are vast tracts of rice paddies © "Vietnam" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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