Excessive mountains, flat plains and most other landforms in between

Vietnam is principally hills and densely forested mountains. Most of its inhabitants live on the 20% that is stage ground: 40% of its 331,688 sq. kilometres is mountainous, and the remaining 40% is hills. Approximately 25% of land is below cultivation.


Once, forests covered 75% of our nation, however deforestation by the US Army throughout the conflict lowered that determine to 23% in 1980. A programme to switch 5m hectares was launched in 1998 – so far, about 0.6m ha has been reforested.


Topographically, Vietnam has 5 essential land regions. The North consists of the Northern Highlands and the Red River Delta, and the South is made up of the Annamite Mountain Vary, the Coastal Lowlands, and the Mekong Delta.


The North 


The Northern Highlands


The towering peaks of the northwest mountains are, geologically talking, very recent. A Japanese extension of the Himalayas, the Hoang Lien Son range was created a few hundred million years ago.


Three peaks dominate Sapa, a small town perched high within the mountains – Lung Cung (2,918m), Pu Luong (2,985m) and Vietnam’s highest mountain, Mt. Fansipan (3,143m). Amateurs can scale all three, nevertheless it’s a grueling three-day trek to Fansipan’s summit, requiring high levels of fitness and loads of stamina.


The northwest area is rocky, mountainous terrain. Much of it’s inaccessible, however that which could be reached is usually spectacularly beautiful. There are lots of rivers, including the intermediate ranges of the Purple River and its major tributary, the Black River: lakes, each natural and reservoirs, waterfalls and caves are abundant. These features, and the presence of many different ethnic minority groups, make it fascinating space to visit.


The north-Japanese mountains are decrease and primarily composed of limestone. At its western extremity, it borders on the Crimson River Delta and with China to the north and east. It’s extra distant and less visited that the northwest. Consequently, the ethnic teams dwelling within the mountains along the border are unaccustomed to assembly tourists.


The Red River Delta


The wide fertile plain of the Red River Delta has been the favored entry point for invaders from the North over the centuries. To the south, separated by a narrow coastal plain and an archipelago of rocky ‘karst’ limestone islands, lies the Gulf of Tonkin and the Vietnam East Sea. The shoreline is mostly muddy within the delta area and rocky around Ha Lengthy, but there are a couple of reasonable beaches, equivalent to those on Cat Ba Island, near Hai Phong, and at Tra Co, close to Mong CAI and the Chinese border.


There are a number of other areas of karst limestone in the north central space of Vietnam, notably in Tam Coc and Hoa Lu, and the area further south inland from Dong Hoi that comprises the exceptional Phong Nha Caves. Not but totally explored, Phong Nha extends over at the least 35km of underground passages: throughout June, 2003, the caves and the realm around them grew to become Vietnam’s fifth World Heritage Area.


The South 


The Coastal Lowlands


The northern extremity of the coastal lowland space is marked by Granite Mountains carrying the Hai Van Move that descends to Danang. Also within the Danang area are the famous Marble Mountains, an extra example of karst limestone formations. South of Danang, the usable area is a strip of flat land of varying width working the size of the coast, broken solely by a mountainous space around Nha Trang and ending on the northern fringe of the Mekong Delta.


Most of central Vietnam’s population lives on the coastal lowlands in cities and villages linked by the railway and Highway 1.


The Annamite Range


Additional inland, the Annamite Cordilleras is a ridge of mountains running from north to south rising to heights of round 1,500m in places. Behind the peaks is Giai Truong Son, a series of plateaux at elevations between 500 and 750m with purple, highly fertile volcanic soil.


The plateaux extend from Dak Lak Lake 400km northwards to Dak To. The highland space is lengthy, skinny and much diversified in its climate, topography, history and ethnicity. It shares a border with Laos and, further south, with Cambodia. The largest centre of population is the mountain city of Dalat.


The Mekong Delta


The intense south of Vietnam is a plain stretching south-east to the vast Mekong Delta. Almost the whole area is near sea-stage; however there are outcrops of limestone karst formations in and round Ha Tien, close to the border with Cambodia, and limestone islands close to the coast. Additional away in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc is a big granite island with a mountainous forested space to the north.


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