Binh Thuan Province, Southern Vietnam Central Coast
Region: South Central Coast
Capital: Phan Thiet
Area: 7,992 km² (3,086 sq mi)
Population: About 1.3 million
Density: 140/km² (370/sq mi)
Demographics: Vietnamese, Cham, Hoa, Co Ho, Ra Glai
Calling code: 62
Binh Thuan is a province of Vietnam. It is on the country’s South Central Coast, not far from Ho Chi Minh City. It is sometimes seen as part of the Southeast Region. The province is famous for its scenery and beaches. There are also a number of sites of archaeological significance.
Much of what is now Binh Thuan Province was part of the Cham principality of Panduranga, which had its political centre in neighbouring Ninh Thuan Province. It was the last independent principality after the fall of Vijaya in 1471. Binh Thuan was later incorporated into Vietnam, while Ninh Thuan remained independent longer, until 1832. Before 1976, Binh Thuan Province was much smaller because much of the west was in the separate Binh Tuy Province). Bình Tuy, Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan were merged in 1976 to form Thuan Hai Province. It was divided again into Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan in 1991, while Bình Tuy remained part of Binh Thuan Province.
Binh Thuan borders Lâm Đong Province in the north, Ninh Thuan Province in the north-east, and Dong Nai and Bà Ria – Vung Tàu provinces in the west. Much of the borders with Lam Đong and Ninh Thuan are mountainous, while much of the rest of the province is relatively flat. However, there are several hills with a height of at least 200m along the coast of the province. The highest peak in the province (1548m) is in northwestern Tánh Linh District, near Lâm Đong. Phu Quy Island is located around 120 km south-east of Phan Thiet. It is a separate district. There are several much smaller island off the coast of Binh Thuan, including Cau Island (cù lao Cau) in the east, Lao Island (hòn Lao) at Mui Ne, and Ba Island (hòn Bà) in the west.
Rivers and lakes
Binh Thuan has several rivers mostly originating in the province itself or in the highlands of neighbouring Lâm Đong Province. Most flow into the South China Sea (also known as the East Sea). Some of the major rivers are the Luy River (Sông Luy) in the east, the Cai River (Sông Cái) in the centre, and the Dinh River (Sông Dinh) in the west. La Nga River (Sông La Ngà) flows through four districts in the north-west of the province and is a major tributary of the Đồng Nai River. The largest lake is Song Quan Lake (ho Sông Quán) in the centre of the province around 30 km north of Phan Thiet. Another major lake is Bien Lac in the northwest region of the province.
As of 2007, 50% of the province (394,100ha) are covered with forests, which is high compared to most other provinces of the south-central coastal region. Forests are mostly located in the province’s mountainous regions in the northwest and north-east. Despite its large forested area, the province also has a lot of agricultural land. 284,200ha were used for agriculture in 2007, which is the largest figure among all provinces of the central coast regions (both north central and south central).
Binh Thuan is one of the most arid provinces in Vietnam. Much of the province receives less than 800mm of rain per year. The months from November to April are particularly dry, with less 200mm of rain. It has reserves of arsenic in the north-western mountains and titanium along its western coast.
Binh Thuan had a population of 1,170,700 people in 2007. The population grew by 1.35% per year on average between 2000 and 2007. Growth was particularly strong in the cities and towns at 4.42% per year on average. As a result, urbanisation increased from 30.4% in 2000 to 37.5% in 2007, making it one of the most urbanized provinces of the South Central Coast (after Khánh Hòa Province). Population density ranges from around 1000/km² in Phan Thiet to less than 100/km² in the districts of Bac Binh, Ham Tan, Ham Thuan Nam, and Tanh Linh.
Apart from the majority Kinh, there are several ethnic minorities in the province. Some Cham communities are in the coastal regions of eastern Binh Thuan. Other minorities mainly inhabit the mountainous regions along the border to Lam Dong Province. They include Co Ho and Ra Glai.
Politically, Binh Thuan has eight districts:
– Bac Bình
– Đuc Linh
– Hàm Thuan Bac
– Hàm Thuan Nam
– Ham Tân
– Phú Quý
– Tánh Linh
– Tuy Phong
The provincial capital, Phan Thiet, is a separate municipality – as well as the town of La Gi.
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