Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country on the South China Sea. It is known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and lively cities. Hanoi, the capital, pays homage to Ho Chi Minh, the nation’s iconic leader in the communist era, with a huge marble mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has sites of interest from the French colonial era, as well as history museums about the Vietnam War and the Chi Tunnels, used by Viet Cong soldiers .