Thai Nguyen province, Northern Vietnam
Capital: Thái Nguyên
Area: 3,534.45 km² (1,364.66 sq mi)
Population: About 1.2 million
Demographics: Vietnamese, Tày, Nùng, Sán Dìu, H’Mông, Sán Chay, Hoa, Dao
Calling code: 280
Thái Nguyên is a province in the Northeast region of Vietnam. It is a mountainous, midland province with a natural land area of 3534.45 square kilometres and a population of 1,149,100 as of 2008. Its multi-ethnic society comes from eight ethnic groups.
With its rich mineral resources and salubrious climate, Thai Nguyen province offers significant opportunities for industrial development for both domestic and foreign investors. Thái Nguyên is famous as an educational centre and ranks 3rd nationwide, having 21 universities and colleges. Thai Nguyen province is also the centre of tea industry in the country with an area of 16,000 ha. (second only to Lâm Đong) with a production of 100,000 tonnes/year. Its dried tea production is 25,000 tonnes/year. Thai Nguyen tea is of the finest quality throughout Vietnam.
The province’s name derives from Sino-Vietnamese.
Thai Nguyen province borders six other provinces: Bac Kan, Vinh Phúc, Tuyên Quang, Lang Son, Bac Giang and Hanoi. Thái Nguyên is the gateway for socio-economic exchange with the Red River delta. The exchange is via road, rail and waterways in the province. In addition, main waterways include the Cong River and Nui Coc Lake.
Nui Coc Lake
Thái Nguyên has many mountain ranges running from south to north. Their structure is made of strongly decayed rocks with many caves and valleys. In the southwest is the Tam Dao mountain range, located on the northern fringe of the Red River Delta. The range spans some 80 kilometres, with its highest peak of 1,529 metres (note other sources state 1590 or 1592 metres) and many cliffs running from northwest to southeast.
Tam Dao National Park, established in 1996, is one of the largest national parks in the country. There are over 20 peaks with the park area, others of note include Thien Thi at 1,375 m, Thach Ban at 1,388 m and Phu Nghia at 1,300 m. Sharp peaks with sloping sides and numerous, deep partitions are characteristic of the topology. The boundary of the national park is at an altitude of 100 m around the Tam Dao range. There is a larger buffer zone (which has an area of approximately 535 km²) which surrounds the national park which has an altitude below 100 m. Seventy per cent of the area of the park is either natural or artificial forest. The natural forest is about 220 km² and the artificial forest is about 30 km².
There are two other mountain ranges in the province, both running in a northwest-southeast direction; the Ngan Son range running from Bac Kan to Vo Nhai district and the Bac Son range. Many of the mountains of Thái Nguyên Province provide shelter for a considerable part of monsoon winds.
With terrain sloping from high mountains to the low zones and midlands, in terms temperature in winter, Thái Nguyên has three climatic sub-zones. A cold sub-zone in Vo Nhai district, a temperate subzone including Dinh Hoa, Phu Luong and southern Vo Nhai districts and a warm sub-zone which includes Dai Tu, Dong Hy, Phu Binh, Pho Yen districts, Thái Nguyên City and Song Cong town.
The average temperatures in the hottest and the coldest months are 28.9 °C in June and 15.2 °C in January. The lowest recorded is 13.7 °C. Total number of sunny hours in a year ranges between 1,300 and 1,750, which is equally distributed for months in a year. The climate of Thái Nguyên has two distinct seasons: the rainy season from May to October and the dry season from October to May. The average rainfall per annum lies in the range of 2,000 to 2,500 mm; it rains most in August and least in January. Generally speaking, Thái Nguyên’s climate is favourable for developing agriculture and forestry.
The total land area is 3,534.45 square kilometres (1,364.66 sq mi) and can be divided into three classes. Mountainous land accounts for 48.4% area and is formed from the decaying of magma, rocks and sedimentary rock.
Hilly land accounts for 31.4% area and is made of condensed sand, clay and ancient alluvial. Hill land in some places such as Dai Tu, Phu Luong is 120 to 200 metres high and more with a sloping gradient of 5° to 20° and is an ideal place for planting industrial crops and perennial fruit trees.
Field land accounts 12.4%, a part of which is scattered along streams and can be easily exposed to severe meteorological conditions (such as sudden floods and droughts) and is difficult to harvest. Of the total land area, 2,207.89 km² (65.22% of natural area) are used and 1,096.69 km² (30.78% of natural area) are unused.
Of unused land area, only 17.14 km² area is cultivable; bare land and deserted hills occupy 412.5 km². A major problem in Thai Nguyen province is to recover deserted areas.
Thái Nguyên has one city municipality (thành pho) (Thái Nguyên), one township (thi xã) (Sông Công) and 7 districts (huyen): Đai Tu District, Đinh Hóa District, Đong Hy District, Pho Yên District, Phú Bình District, Phú Luong District and Võ Nhai District. Thai Nguyen province has 180 communes, of which 125 are highland and in mountainous regions. The rest 55 communes are plains and midlands.
According to the General Statistics Office of the Government of Vietnam, the population of Thái Nguyên province as on 2008 was 1,149,100 with a density of 325 persons per km² over a total land area of 3,534.45 square kilometres (1,364.66 sq mi) of the province. The male population during this period was 562,900 with females accounting for 586,200. The rural population was 871300 against an urban population of 277800 (31.88% of the total population).
There are many ethnic groups in Thái Nguyên Province, of which 8 main ethnic groups are Kinh, Tày, Nùng, Sán Dìu, H’Mông, Sán Chay, Dao, and Hoa. Demographic distribution varies greatly: population density in the highlands and mountainous regions is low, while that of urban areas is very high. Vo Nhai District has lowest population density with 72 inhabitants/km² and Thái Nguyên city has the highest with 1,260 inhabitants/km².
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