Country Facts:


Type of Government

  • Single party socialist republic/ communist

  • Have president 2nd, prime Minister 3rd and General Secretary 1st

  • General Secretary is Nguyen Phu Trong since 2011

  • The Communist party does not allow challenges to its leadership.


  • 8% Buddhist

  • 12% Christian

  • Most people are not religious but follow traditions


  • Exchange rate while we were there 
    23,000 Vietnamese Dong =$1.00 USD

  • 8.4 % lives under the poverty line (was 58% in 1993).  Poverty line is about $150 / month household average income

  • The unemployment rate is 1.89%. 

  • Ranked as 34th in GDP

  • GDP per capita $2,300 US dollars in 2018 (was $100 in 1980)

  • The largest industries are 

    • ​Service industry/tourism

    • Fishing

    • Textiles

    • Agriculture

Freedom of Speech

Rights activists are watched and intimidated
 Religious freedom is allowed
HIghly censored
Independent work unions not allowed

Internet Freedom
0=best 100=worst
Overall - 76/100
Obstacles to Access - 14/25
Limits on Content - 28/35
Violation of User Rights - 34/40


  • Generally accepted

Adult Literacy: 96%


  • Secondary/hs graduation rate 94% however those living on the water in Ha Long Bay do not get any education

  • Post Secondary 28%


  • Plastic bottles everywhere, including floating in Ha Long Bay

  • The country discharges 19,000 tonnes of rubbish, of which 16 per cent were plastic waste, every day. (

  • Vietnam is one of 5 countries that discharges more waste into the ocean than the rest of the world combined. 

  • Building construction and destruction projects are left unfinished

  • Garbage is buried or burned

  • Lack of infrastructure for waste management 

Our Year Off

Thanks for joining us on our travels!


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