Vietnam - Topography
Vietnam has been described as a carrying pole with a rice basket hanging from each end. The description is a fitting one, for a single mountain chain, the Annam Cordillera (in Vietnamese, Truong Son), extends along Vietnam's western border from north to south, connecting two "rice baskets," which are formed by the densely populated Red River Delta of the Tonkin region in the north and the rich Mekong River Delta in the south. Over twothirds of the entire population of the country lives in the two low-lying delta regions, both of which are composed of rich alluvial soils brought down from the mountainous regions of southern China and mainland Southeast Asia. The remainder of the population lives along the narrow central coast, in the hilly regions of the Central Highlands north of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), or in the mountains north and west of the Red River Delta. The highest mountain peak is Fan Si Pan (3,143 m/10,312 ft), near the northern border.