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Vietnam's history is one of war, colonisation and rebellion.
Occupied by China no fewer than four times, the Vietnamese managed to fight off the invaders just as often.
American tourists will receive a particularly friendly welcome in Vietnam, as many young Vietnamese imitate American customs and venerate US pop culture.
Vietnam is a one party unitary state, with the President as the Head of State, and the Prime Minister as the Head of Government.
The Vietnam war was only one of many that the Vietnamese have fought, but it was the most brutal in its history.
Over two thirds of the current population was born after 1975.
Once a lesser-known destination, Vietnam has become widely popular in recent years.
With Hanoi consistently ranked among the world's top 10 destinations by Trip Advisor, one can now find European tourists as far as in Ha Giang, one of the most remote mountainous provinces.
What was supposed to be a quick and decisive action soon degenerated into a quagmire and US armed forces were only withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973.
At various points during these thousand years of imperial dynasties, Vietnam was ravaged and divided by civil wars and repeatedly attacked by the Songs, Mongols, Yuans, Chams, Mings, Dutch, Qings, French and the Americans.
The victories mostly belonged to the Vietnamese but, even during the periods in history when Vietnam was independent, it was mostly a tributary state to China until the French colonisation.
Vietnam has a return rate of just 6% compared to Thailand’s whopping 50%.
Most people in Vietnam are ethnic Vietnamese (Kinh), though there is a sizeable ethnic Chinese community in Ho Chi Minh City, most who are descended from migrants from Guangdong province and are hence bilingual in Cantonese or other Chinese dialects and Vietnamese.
Two years later, on 30 April 1975, a North Vietnamese tank drove into the South's Presidential Palace in Ho Chi Minh City and the war ended with the conquest of South Vietnam.