Geography in Vietnam
Vietnam is located on the eastern margin of the Indochinese peninsula and occupies about 331,688 square kilometers. It borders China, Laos, and Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea. The country has a north-to-south distance of 1,650 kilometers and is about 50 kilometers wide at the narrowest point. With a coastline of 3,260 kilometers, excluding islands.
The boundary with Laos with China, Laos, and Cambodia, settled on an ethnic basis, between the rulers of Vietnam and Laos in the mid-seventeenth century was formally ratified in 1986.
Vietnam is a country of tropical lowlands, hills, and densely forested highlands, with level land covering no more than 20% of the area. The country is divided into the highlands and the Red River delta in the north; and the Giai Truong Son (Central mountains, or the Chaîne Annamitique, sometimes referred to simply as "the Chaine."), the coastal lowlands, and the Mekong River Delta in the south.
The delta of the Red River is a flat, triangular region of 15,000 square kilometers, is smaller but more intensely developed and more densely populated than the Mekong River Delta.
The Red River, rising in China's Yunnan province, is about 1,200 kilometers long. Its two main tributaries, the Sông Lô (also called the Lo River, the Riviere Claire, or the Clear River) and the Sông Da. The entire delta region, backed by the steep rises of the forested highlands, is no more than three meters above sea level, and much of it is one meter or less. The area is subject to frequent flooding.
The highlands and mountain plateaus in the north and northwest are the Giai Truong Son (Annamite Range) originates in the Tibetan and Yunnan regions of southwest China and forms Vietnam's border with Laos and Cambodia.
These central mountains, which have several high plateaus, are irregular in elevation and form. The northern section is narrow and very rugged; the country's highest peak, Fan Si Pan, rises to 3,142 meters in the extreme northwest. The southern portion has numerous spurs that divide the narrow coastal strip into a series of compartments.
Within the southern portion of Vietnam is a plateau known as the Central Highlands (Tay Nguyen), approximately 51,800 square kilometers of rugged mountain peaks, extensive forests, and rich soil.
The narrow, flat coastal lowlands extend from south of the Red River Delta to the Mekong River basin. On the landward side, the Giai Truong Son rises precipitously above the coast, its spurs jutting into the sea at several places.
The Mekong delta, covering about 40,000 square kilometers, is a low-level plain not more than three meters above sea level at any point and criss-crossed by a maze of canals and rivers. So much sediment is carried by the Mekong's various branches and tributaries that the delta advances sixty to eighty meters into the sea every year. The southern tip, known as the Cà Mau Peninsula, or Mui Bai Bung, is covered by dense jungle and mangrove swamps.
The Mekong, which is 4,220 kilometers long, is one of the 12 great rivers of the world. From its source in the Tibetan plateau, it flows through the Tibetan and Yunnan regions of China, forms the boundary between Laos and Myanmar as well as between Laos and Thailand.
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