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Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of Vietnam

Geography

Vietnamese Geography - Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay

Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia that has a long coastline along the South China Sea, which makes up its entire eastern and southern borders. Vietnam has land borders with China in the north, Laos in the west, and Cambodia in the southwest.

Vietnam is fairly mountainous with these mountains forming the bulk of the border with Cambodia and Laos. Most of the rivers from these mountains flow either southeast or northeast, making the most livable and fertile parts of the country the far north and south, although all along the coast there are numerous settlements.

Weather

Vietnamese Geography - Rice terraces
Rice terraces

Vietnam's weather varies by elevation, season, and a number of other factors. Having a long coastline and a long mountain chain, area to are in Vietnam can vary drastically in any given day or week. From a seasonal perspective, there are some general observations though; the dry season lasts from about November to April, but this is a relative dry as the winds come from the northeast and can bring in much rain in the south, while the north gets winds from China and hence not as much rain. The dry season is divided further into the cold season of November to February and the hot season of March to April. The rainy season, which lasts from about May to October brings in more water and moisture from the east and tends to bring rain to all parts of the country, but again the southern part of Vietnam tends to get more than the north. From a temperature standpoint, the north is fairly consistent with temperatures in the 70-82° F (21-28° C) range year round. In the south though the hot season regularly has daily highs of nearly 100° F (38° C) and lows of 80° F (27° C), while in these same areas the cold season has nightly lows of only about 40° F (5° C) and daily highs of 88° F (31° C).

Wildlife

Vietnamese Geography - Datanla Waterfall
Datanla Waterfall

Vietnam's wildlife was greatly depleted during the Vietnam War, however things are slowly improving and they still have great diversity. The country is home to few large mammals, but among those are counted the Java rhinoceros, the elephant, the bear, and the tiger. There are many more small mammals, including numerous rodent species and monkeys. The sea life is also abundant, more particularly in the waters off the coast in the South China Sea. These waters are filled with thousands of fish and shellfish, including tuna, mackerel, squid, shrimp, lobster, oysters, and crab.

There are also numerous birds in Vietnam, many of which migrate with the seasons. Among the birds that can be found at some point during the year are kingfishers, herons, pigeons, peacocks, pheasants, doves, and eagles. There are also various reptiles like snakes, turtles, and lizards, as well as a number of amphibian species.

This page was last updated: November, 2013