Geographical aspects of South East Asian countries – 4

Geography of Vietnam

Vietnam is located on the eastern margin of the Indochinese peninsula and occupies about 331,211.6 square kilometres. It borders the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and Pacific Sea, alongside China, Laos, and Cambodia. The S-shaped country has a north-to-south distance of 1,650 kilometres and is about 50 kilometres wide at the narrowest point. With a coastline of 3,260 kilometres, excluding islands, Vietnam claims 12 nautical miles as the limit of its territorial waters, an additional 12 nautical miles as a contiguous customs and security zone, and 200 nautical miles as an exclusive economic zone. Vietnam is a country of tropical lowlands, rolling green hills, and densely forested mountains. Low-level land covers about 20% of the country. The Red River delta is fronted by hills that rise gently into the high mountains of the northwest; the Annam Highlands cover much of the central landscape, and in the southern areas, the coastal lowlands and Mekong River Delta merge. A fertile and narrow coastal lowland extends south from the Red River Delta to the Mekong Delta.

The Mekong Delta is a low-level plain, one inundated by hundreds of small rivers and canals. Thick jungles and mangrove swamps cover the far-southern areas of land. The Red River (Song Hong), and the Mekong are the most significant rivers; both have numerous tributaries, and the latter is certainly among the great rivers of the world. Vietnam’s highest point is Fan Si Pan whose summit reaches 10,315 ft. (3,144 m); the lowest point is the South China Sea at 0m.