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    Indonesia: Lombok. Go Now!

    Indonesia
    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

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    Nepal: Phewa Lake. Go Now!

    Nepal
    This landlocked country mixes the cultures of the Indian sub-continent with the high Himalayas. Explore Nepal!

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    Mongolia: Desert. Go Now!

    Mongolia
    This vast country has a culture that spans past and present... a nomadic life shifting to a modern & sedentary society. Begin Your Journey!

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    Qatar
    Although little more than a deserted peninsula, Qatar has a thriving culture based on technology and immigration, with Doha (pictured) taking the lead. Explore Qatar!

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    Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Mountains. Go Now!

    Kyrgyzstan
    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Vietnam

Ethnicity

Most of the people of Vietnam are ethnically Viet or Kinh. These people are most closely related to the people of southern China and have a large number of genetic similarities to the Chinese, however also have significant traces from the Mon-Khmer ethnic family, meaning they are also related to the Cambodian Khmers to some degree. There are dozens of other ethnic groups in Vietnam, but no single group makes up more than 2% of the population.

Language

Vietnamese is the only official language of Vietnam. It is a member of the Austroasiatic language family and is natively spoken by nearly all ethnic Kinh as well as many ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Vietnamese is written with the Vietnamese alphabet, which is essentially the Latin alphabet, but with slight variations. Vietnamese's closest relative is Khmer, which is spoken in Cambodia.

The ethnic minorities in Vietnam that don't natively speak Vietnamese speak a large number of languages natively, but most of these people also learn Vietnamese, making it the primarily language of communication across ethnic groups. Along the borders, Chinese and Khmer are also commonly spoken native languages. In the past French was a common foreign language learned in the country, but this is slowly shifting to English and many workers in the tourist industries speak one or both of these languages.

Religion

Vietnam is one of the most atheist countries in the world as over 80% of the people claim to be atheists. Among the last 20% of the population, about half are Buddhist and the last half consist of various groups, with Roman Catholicism being the largest of these.

Buddhism is a religion or philosophy that encourages people to strive for enlightenment. Adherents believe that each being is reborn until enlightenment is reached, at which time they escape the cycle of birth and death. To accomplish this, every being must speak, act, and live in a positive manner; this is magnified with the force of karma, which dictates an individual's later life and/or their rebirth.

This page was last updated: May, 2014