DIEN BIEN PHU – town of a rich war history

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Dien Bien Phu Military Cemetary.


Dien Bien Phu town is of special interest for fans of military history.


Dien Bien Phu (Điện Biên Phủ) lies to the west of northern Vietnam, approximately 10 km from the border with Laos. It is located in the Muong Thanh valley in a heart shape, a 20 km long and 6 km wide valley. Muong Thanh Valley is the largest rice field in northwestern Vietnam. The second largest rice field you will find around the Nghia Lo town in Yen Bai province. The scenery around the town is wonderful, the town is situated on a dry plain. There is also an airport with regular flights to Hanoi and back. Flights are operated by Vietnam Airlines, 2 times per a day. Even so, it is still a place not too much visited by foreign tourists.

A good place to visit is also Pa Khoang lake and reservation.


Pa Khoang lake and reservation is located about 20 km east of Dien Bien. If you want a break from the war monuments, it is the perfect place to relax. This lake was formerly a creek, but when irrigation systems for rice fields were built, the creek became a lake. You can rent a boat and take a cruise on the lake. If you do, visit some villages of the ethnic residents around the lake.

Accommodation in Dien Bien Phu – AGODA.com

 

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The Memorial of Vietnamese soldiers in Dien Bien.


French troops suffered a big defeat here in the Indochina war in 1954.


Dien Bien Phu is a city where, in 1954, the communist oriented Vietminh with Ho Chi Minh fought againts the French colonial army. It was a decisive battle of the Indochina War.
Trench warfare lasted 56 days and the city suffered. 8,000 French troops was captured by Vietnamese and on both sides losses were around 3,000 dead soldiers. This was a key moment of the cold war, in which the French tried to win the war of their colonies, it was between 1946-1954. Some remnants of the war can be seen around the town of Dien Bien.

You can see several historical sites of the Indochina War in Dien Bien Phu.


The most famous historical sites are The Town Museum, the Cemetery of Vietminh Troops, Hill A1, D1 War Memorial, Bunker of Colonel de Castries. The Vietminh defeated the French army and the war in Indochina and colonial rule was ended. It was one of the greatest defeats of the French army. The Geneva conference in 1954 divided Vietnam by the 17th parallel in to the two separate states. The unification of North and South Vietnam occurred in 1976.

Another important historical site is the headquarters of general Vo Nguyen Giap in the village of Phang – Muong Phang. This place was the headquarters of Vietnamese troops and general Vo Nguyen Giap. He defeated the french troops in 1954 in Dien Bien Phu town.

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The Memorial military equipment from the war in Dien Bien Phu (photo: Che Trung Hieu)


You can visit Laos – the border crossing at Tay Trung is open for tourists.


Approximately 40 km from the city is Trung Tay border crossing to Laos. It can be passed, but you can not to use a new 30-days e-visa, your visa must be affixed to the passport (approval letter or visa from the embassy…). A big attraction is the ride on a motorcycle surrounding the city of Dien Bien. You can see amazing scenery of rice fields, mountains and hills or visit the Noong Chun and other ethnic villages. In this village you can meet a lot of people of the White Thai ethnic minority group. See their way of life or watch their cultural performances.

In this area and also in Dien Bien Phu province live a lot people from the Hmong ethnic minority group. The ideal climate in the Dien Bien Phu area is good for growing a variety of specialties, such as Nep Nuong rice. You can try various rice dishes, for example the well known Xoi Nep Nuong, Com Lam (rice in bamboo) and Banh den.


🌞 Weather in Dien Bien Phu:


The best time to visit Dien Bien
is between November and April, when the days are dry and warm. But pack warm clothes- nights up in the mountains can be cold. Avoid July and August, the height of the rainy season.
Current weather in Dien Bien Phu


🚍Example of bus at 2x  How to get to Dien Bien Phu town:


From Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu –
It is possible to use a flight of Vietnam Airlines from Hanoi (use the transportation search engine Baolau). The flight takes 1 hour, the price of one-way flight is about 30 USD. You can travel with a local bus from the cities of Lai Chau, Muong Lay, Son La or Sapa. There is no train connection in Dien Bien province. It is also possible to use a direct bus from Hanoi, but I think, around 13 hours traveling by a bus it is too much. This place is a good for visit when you will be traveling in northwestern Vietnam by a motorbike.

From Sapa to Dien Bien Phu – Yes, there are also some buses of tourist agencies from Sapa to Dien Bien Phu. It is about 9 hour from Sapa to Dien Bien Phu by bus. You can book and buy e-tickets online on 12go.asia.


🏡  Accommodation in Dien Bien Phu:


There is not such a wide selection of hotels, but you can find several good hotels on Agoda. Prices start from about 15 Usd/2 persons/per night. Several cheap guesthouses (Nha Nghi) or hotels you can find in the center of the city.
Accommodation in Dien Bien Phu – AGODA.com


📷Example of bus at 2x  Places of Interest in Dien Bien Phu:


• Victory museum
• Memorial and cemetary of Vietnamese soldiers
• Hill A1
• D1 War Memorial
• Bunker of Colonel de Castries
• Noong Chun and other ethnic villages nearby
• Pa Thom cave (near the border with Laos)
• Pa Khoang lake and reserve
• headquarters of general Vo Nguyen Giap in Muong Phang
• riding a motorcycle in the province

 Dien Bien Phu – map:

 

 Where to go from Dien Bien Phu:


You can continue to Lai Chau, Son La or Sapa.

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