Geography

Location:

Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, as well as China, Laos, and Cambodia

Map references:

Southeast Asia

Area:

  • total: 331,210 sq km
  • land: 310,070 sq km
  • water: 21,140 sq km
  • country comparison to the world: 66

Area – comparative:

About three times the size of Tennesee; slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries:

total: 4,616 km, border countries (3): Cambodia 1,158 km, China 1,297 km, Laos 2,161 km

Coastline:

3,444 km (excludes islands)

Climate:

tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (May to September) and warm, dry season (October to March)

Terrain:

low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest

Elevation:

  • mean elevation: 398 m
  • elevation extremes: lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
  • highest point: Fan Si Pan 3,144 m

Natural resources:

phosphates, coal, manganese, rare earth elements, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, timber, hydropower, arable land

Land use:

  • agricultural land: 34.8%
  • arable land 20.6%; permanent crops 12.1%; permanent pasture 2.1%
  • forest: 45%
  • other: 20.2% (2011 est.)

Natural hazards:

occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta

Environment – current issues:

logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices contribute to deforestation and soil degradation; water pollution and overfishing threaten marine life populations; groundwater contamination limits potable water supply; growing urban industrialization and population migration are rapidly degrading environment in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City

Environment – international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

Source: CIA, World Bank