2017 has been a year of records for Vietnam in many ways.
In November, the country hosted its biggest event, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Da Nang, attended by world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Just a week before APEC, Damrey, one of the biggest typhoons to hit Vietnam in 30 years, wreaked havoc in central Vietnam affecting Da Nang as well. In total, natural disasters have left 389 people dead or missing, causing damage totalling around VND60 trillion ($2.64 billion), according to the General Statistics Office.
The economy boomed, hitting a 10-year high growth of 6.81 percent and so did tourism, welcoming a record high 12.9 million visitors.
Even the corruption crackdown hit an all-time high, according to Communist Party Chief Nguyen Phu Trong, under whose watch scores of high profile officials have been nabbed.
Besides headline grabbing events, in 2017 photographers also captured subtler everyday moments of Vietnam that reflect the society we live in today.
These photos, selected by VnExpress International, present the key events that define Vietnam in 2017.
Thousands of people raise their phones to celebrate the 2017 New Year on Nguyen Hue Street, HCMC. Vietnam currently boasts around 50 million internet users, or more than half of the population, with as many social media accounts.
Chaos breaks out at a Lunar New Year festival in northern Phu Tho Province as Vietnamese men compete against each other for lucky charms which they believe would give them blessings for the whole year.
Local authorities remove a structure that encroaches the sidewalk on Nguyen Cong Tru street, HCMC, during the sidewalk cleanup campaign. Spearheaded by vice chairman of HCMC's District 1 Doan Ngoc Hai, the campaign drew critical headlines nationwide. Hai has pledged to turn the district into a “Little Singapore” but since he was asked to step aside in October, chaos has returned to the city’s sidewalks.
Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong (L), 28, being escorted with a heavy police presence after a court appearance at the magistrates' court in Sepang on March 1, 2017, for an alleged role in the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at a Malaysian airport in February.
Over a thousand female students from Trung Vuong High School in Saigon wearing the traditional Vietnamese ao dai gather for a parade on Nguyen Hue Street to form a shape of Vietnam's national flag on March 5, 2017. The event, Toi yeu Viet Nam (I Love Vietnam), aimed at promoting the ao dai and attracted crowds of local and foreign tourists. 2017 has been a record breaking year for Vietnam's tourism as it boasted more than 13 million foreign arrivals,
More than 10,000 Buddhists gather at the annual Tay Thien Buddhist festival in Tam Dao, Vinh Phuc Province on March 16, 2017. Tay Thien is considered the birthplace of Vietnamese Buddhism.
A police officer thanks villagers after the hostages, who were originally held by disgruntled villagers in a high-profile land dispute, were released in Dong Tam, outside Hanoi, on April 22, 2017. Land grievances remain the main source of concern and protests in Vietnam. In 2012, they accounted for 70 percent of all complaints lodged against the government, according to a parliamentary report.
Miss Vietnam 2016 Do My Linh during a trip visiting a family with members suffering from Agent Orange. Between 2.1 to 4.8 million Vietnamese citizens were directly exposed to Agent Orange and other chemicals during the Vietnam War, according to the Vietnam Red Cross. The Vietnamese Association of Victims of Agent Orange believes there are tens of thousands of third-generation victims of dioxin in Vietnam, but none of them have been officially recognized, and thus are not entitled to support.
Thousands of Vietnamese flock to Hanoi's Zoological Gardens on May 1, 2017, International Labor Day.
Truong Ho Phuong Nga, a former beauty queen, leaving a courthouse in Ho Chi Minh City. She was accused of swindling VND16.5 billion ($725,000) from a Vietnamese businessman in an alleged housing scam. The courtroom story made national headlines which involve fraud, adultery, post-break up betrayal and coerced confessions. Nga was eventually released after two years behind bars as the court ordered a fresh investigation into the case following new developments.
Workers cut down 27 trees along Le Loi Street in Saigon's District 1 to make way for the city's first metro line. Since 2014, the city has removed 150 trees in downtown areas to make way for the project, which will run around 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in District 9.
Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang watches honor guards passing by as he takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall in Moscow, Russia on June 29, 2017. Quang made his first state visit to Russia as the President of Vietnam in June, since coming into office in April last year.
Children playing football in the rain in the Thu Thiem new urban area in Saigon. Thu Thiem in the middle of its rural-urban transition shows the stark contrast between what Saigon used to be and what it wants to become.
Hoa Binh Hydropower Dam in the namesake northern province discharges water for the first time in three years on July 19, 2017 following heavy downpours that left water levels nearly 5 meters (16ft) above the limit. The event drew many thrill-seekers who risked their life to catch breathtaking shots of Southeast Asia’s largest dam.
In this once-feared slum in the middle of Saigon's District 1 - Ma Lang, live some of the city’s poorest families, 1,424 of them in total, according to official data, who have been living in limbo over the past 17 years as the city's plan to transform it into a high-end complex remains on hold.
A woman sorts out recyclable plastic soft drink bottles at Xa Cau Village, outside Hanoi, Vietnam on August 15, 2017. Vietnam is among five Asian countries that account for 60 percent of plastic waste in oceans.
Over 80,500 people contracted dengue fever across Vietnam this year, as Saigon recorded the highest number of dengue patients at 16,500, followed by Hanoi with 14,000. Hospitals in both cities were overloaded with patients as more than 70,000 had been admitted during a short period of time. Pictured here is a patient in Hanoi.
Former PetroVietnam (PVN) chairman Nguyen Xuan Son (C) is escorted by police to the court for the verdict session in Hanoi, Vietnam September 29, 2017. Son became the first casualty of the sweeping corruption crackdown this year, spearheaded by Communist Party Chief Nguyen Phu Trong. Scores of people have been ensnared, including runaway energy bigwig Trinh Xuan Thanh and fallen political star Dinh La Thang.
Pupils at Trung Son Secondary School in the rural area of the northern province of Phu Tho celebrate their first day at school on September 5, 2017.
Vietnamese police flaunt hardcore military strength ahead of APEC Summit in November as securities tighten before the major event.
A woman wades through a submerged street in the UNESCO heritage town of Hoi An. 106 people were known to have died because of the year’s 12th major storm, Typhoon Damrey, with hundreds of others injured. Flooding and storms already left 389 people dead or missing in Vietnam, causing damages totaling around VND60 trillion ($2.64 billion), according to the General Statistics Office.
Jack Ma, the chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, leaves Hanoi on November 7, 2017 after addressing the Vietnam E-Payment Forum 2017 the previous day. Jack Ma said he would consider establishing a store for Vietnam on Alibaba’s e-commerce app.
35 Members of a Vietnamese honor guard march during the arrivals of leaders at the international airport ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang on November 10, 2017. World leaders and senior business figures are gathering in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang in early November for the annual 21-member APEC summit.
(Front L-R) China's President Xi Jinping, Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, (back L-R) Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Donald Trump gather for a group photo at the end of the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Da Nang on November 11, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump departs from Hanoi, Vietnam following a state visit on November 11, 2017. In a meeting with Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang, Trump said he was prepared to mediate between claimants to the East Sea, the Vietnamese reference for the South China Sea, and repeated his APEC speech themes of free Indo-Pacific trade relations, saying the U.S. is looking forward to “fair and reciprocal” bilateral trade with Vietnam.
Drivers cheer as Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered to close Cai Lay toll station for a month or two on December 4, 2017. The incident made national headlines as drivers started using small change to pay for the tolls in protest against Cai Lay station’s raison d’être, which resulted in heavy traffic jams for days.