6 things Vietnam did better than any Southeast Asian country in 2016

By VnExpress   January 2, 2017 | 07:20 pm GMT+7

Vietnam beat out its neighbors for safety, investment inflows and ... ivory consumption. 

Happiest country

Vietnam came in fifth in the Happy Planet Index 2016 ranking compiled by the UK-based New Economics Foundation, which dubbed it the happiest country in Asia.

The country is also well-known for its safe, terrorism-free political environment.

Hanoi: most affordable city to visit

Considering a low-cost vacation? Welcome to Hanoi.

A three-day break to the capitol costs just under $500, according to TripAdvisor, while tourists have to pay at least $600 to spend the same time in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Bangkok (Thailand) and Bali (Indonesia).

Top 10 least expensive cities worldwide rated by TripAdvisor

Top 10 least expensive cities worldwide rated by TripAdvisor

Students in the U.S.

As of November, Vietnam had sent over 30,000 students to the U.S., ranking first in Southeast Asia and sixth among countries with the most students at American educational institutions, according to the latest U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program report.

The current number of Vietnamese students in the U.S. has almost doubled that in 2009, when the country first made it to the top ten with some 16,000 students.

An investment magnet

Vietnam has become an attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI); many international corporations establish new facilities in the country, known as greenfield investment.

The country surpassed 13 othersincluding nearby Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailandto top the Financial Times' FDI greenfield index.

World’s leading Robusta production

Vietnam continues to distance itself from Southeast Asian Robusta producers as the world's top supplier.

Coffee remains Vietnam’s key export. This year, amid the adverse weather, the country cashed in $3.4 billion from coffee exports, up 26 percent compared to last year.

The hollow of wildlife animals and parts

Vietnam and China have become the world's most notorious market for ivory, rhino horns, pangolin parts and protected animal parts.

Pangolin, tiger and rare bird trafficking are particularly rampant in Vietnam.

In November, customs officials seized more than four tons of ivory from five shipments. Meanwhile, in December, two cases of animal smuggling were foiled.

Police seized a ton of ivory hidden inside a container in Ho Chi Minh City last month. Photo by VnExpress/Q.T.

Police seized a ton of ivory hidden from a container in Ho Chi Minh City last November. Photo by VnExpress/Q.T.

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