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Vietnam is divided administratively into tinhs or provinces Tinhs change over time.[1]

Tinhs are further subdivided into smaller provinces, or districts, called than pho. Smaller divisions are municipalities and wards. The capital of a province (e.g., Can Tho Province) often has the same name as the province but with the suffix "city" (or sometimes "town") added (e.g., Can Tho City). Some of the larger cities (such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon and Hue) are themselves urban provinces.

Before the colonial period, Vietnam was divided into three provinces, for which both Vietnamese and Chinese names were used: Tonkin in the north; Dai Viet or the Empire of Annam was in the center; and Cochin China in the south. Tonkin included the Red River Delta while Cochin China contains the Mekong Delta.

Urban Provinces

  • Haiphong [r]: Vietnam's third largest city and second largest port, and largest transportation area for northern Vietnam; key military supply import point during the Vietnam War [e]
  • Hanoi [r]: Located on the Red River in northern Vietnam (i.e., Tonkin), it is the national capital, about 65 miles west of Haiphong, on the South China Sea [e]
  • Ho Chi Minh City [r]: The largest city, but not the capital, of Vietnam; formerly called Saigon before unification in 1975 [e]
  • Hue [r]: Third largest city of Vietnam, which was the capital of the classic Empire of Annam and is considered the cultural center of the country. [e]



Red River Valley

North Central Area

Mid Central

Central Highland

Northeast Southern

Mekong Delta


  1. Gwillam Law, Provinces of Vietnam, Administrative Divisions of Countries ("Statoids")