DIEN BIEN PHU → Travel Guide + TIPS

Dien Bien Phu – Vietnam (Travel guide). Dien Bien Phu Military Cemetery in northern Vietnam.

ℹ️ Information about Dien Bien
🚍 How to get to Dien Bien Phu
☀️ Weather in Dien Bien Phu
🏡 Accommodation in Dien Bien
🔍 Interesting sites in Dien Bien
📍 Map of interesting places

Dien Bien Phu: Explore Vietnam’s Historic Landscapes and Cultural Treasures.

    • 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. The main attraction of Pa Khoang Reservation is the Pa Khoang Lake, which is a natural freshwater lake surrounded by a breathtaking mountainous landscape. The lake has a surface area of approximately 50 hectares and is fed by several streams that originate from the surrounding mountains. Pa Khoang Lake is known for its crystal-clear water, which is perfect for swimming, kayaking, and other water activities.
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.

Accommodation in Dien Bien Phu

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.
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 Tay Trang border crossing to Laos. It can be passed, and you can use already a new 30-days e-visa, from February 2019. 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.

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    • 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.
Rice fields in Dien Bien Phu.

Muong Thanh Valley is a beautiful valley at the town of Dien Bien Phu.

    • Muong Thanh Valley is a beautiful and picturesque valley located in Dien Bien Phu, in the northwestern region of Vietnam. The valley is surrounded by lush green mountains, crystal-clear streams, and scenic rice fields, making it a popular destination for tourists. And it is easily accessible from the town. The valley is home to the Thai ethnic minority group, who have lived in the area for centuries. Visitors can learn about the Thai culture and customs by visiting the nearby villages and interacting with the locals.
    • One of the main attractions of Muong Thanh Valley is the Muong Thanh Bridge, which spans the Nam Rom River. The bridge played a significant role in the Dien Bien Phu battle, which took place in 1954 during the First Indochina War. Today, the bridge is a symbol of peace and reconciliation between the former enemies. The valley is also known for its scenic trekking trails that lead to the nearby mountains and villages. Visitors can explore the valley on foot or by bike and enjoy the stunning natural scenery along the way.
Muong Thanh Valley is right at the town of Dien Bien Phu, you can visit this place.

✈️ How to get from Hanoi 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 12go.asia ➜ or Baolau ➜.
    • The flight takes 1 hour, the price of one-way flight is about 100 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, about 13 hours by bus – it is too much.
    • This place is a good for visit when you will be traveling in northwestern Vietnam by a motorbike.
    • read this article: How to travel to Dien Bien from Hanoi?

🚍 How to get from Sapa to Dien Bien Phu town:

    • 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 bus e-tickets on 12go.asia.

☀️ Weather in Dien Bien Phu + The Best Time to Visit:

    • The weather in Dien Bien Phu is characterized by two distinct seasons – the dry season and the rainy season. Before you go, check this weather forecast for Dien Bien Phu.
    • The dry season in Dien Bien Phu usually starts in October and ends in April, while the rainy season starts in May and lasts until September. During the dry season, the weather is generally mild and dry with plenty of sunshine, making it an ideal time to visit the city and nearby intersting places around the Dien Bien town. The temperature during this season ranges between 16°C to 28°C. The air is also relatively clearer and less humid, which provides an excellent opportunity for outdoor activities such as hiking, trekking, and sightseeing or motorbike driving in Dien Bien Province.
    • On the other hand, the rainy season in Dien Bien Phu is characterized by heavy downpours, and the humidity is higher than during the dry season. This season can make outdoor activities in Dien Bien more challenging, as the paths and trails may become slippery and muddy. However, the rainy season can also provide a unique experience of seeing the lush green landscape and the glistening rice fields. The temperature during the rainy season ranges from 20°C to 30°C.
    • The best time to visit Dien Bien Phu is during the dry season, which is from October to April. During this time, the weather is pleasant, and there is little chance of rain, so you can easily travel on motorbike. The months of October and November are particularly beautiful because the rice fields turn a golden color as they are ready for harvest. It’s also a good time to explore the nearby villages and learn about the culture of the ethnic minorities in the region.

🏡 Accommodation in Dien Bien Phu:

Dien Bien Phu offers a range of accommodation options that cater to different preferences and budgets. Dien Bien town has also various cheap guesthouses and modern hotels for tourists. Around the town you can also use local homestay by ethnic minority groups. Here are some of the popular options for this province:

    • Hotels: Dien Bien Phu has several hotels ranging from budget to luxury. Some popular options include Muong Thanh Luxury Dien Bien Hotel, Muong Thanh Dien Bien Hotel, and Him Lam Hotel.
    • Guesthouses: There are many guesthouses and homestays in the city, which offer a more affordable option than hotels. Some popular options include Thuan Loi Guesthouse, Thanh Nga Guesthouse, and A Long Homestay.
    • Resorts: If you prefer a more luxurious stay, Dien Bien Phu also has a few resorts, such as Muong Thanh Holiday Dien Bien Phu Resort and Muong Thanh Luxury Son La Hotel.
    • Hostels: Backpackers and budget travelers can find several hostels in Dien Bien Phu, such as Dien Bien Phu Homestay and Hostel, Zephyr Hostel, and H’mong Hostel.
    • Camping: For those who enjoy outdoor activities and prefer a more adventurous experience, camping is also an option. Pa Khoang Lake and Reservation offers a camping site, where visitors can camp by the lake and enjoy the beautiful natural scenery.

Accommodation in Dien Bien Phu (hotels) – Book Here

🔍 Places of Interest in Dien Bien Phu:

    • Victory Museum: The Victory Museum in Dien Bien Phu commemorates the historic Battle of Dien Bien Phu, a turning point in the First Indochina War, where the Viet Minh forces defeated the French colonial forces. The museum showcases artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that depict the events leading up to this significant victory and the struggle for independence.
    • Memorial and Cemetery of Vietnamese Soldiers: This solemn and serene memorial pays tribute to the Vietnamese soldiers who lost their lives during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. It features a cemetery with rows of gravestones and monuments dedicated to the fallen heroes.
    • Hill A1: Hill A1 is a historic battlefield where some of the fiercest fighting took place during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Visitors can explore the trenches, bunkers, and remnants of this critical site and gain insight into the wartime conditions.
    • D1 War Memorial: The D1 War Memorial is a testament to the resilience and sacrifice of the Vietnamese people during the battle. It is a significant landmark, and the surrounding area offers a peaceful setting for reflection and remembrance.
    • Muong Thanh Old Bridge (Historic Site): The Muong Thanh Old Bridge is a historic site associated with the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. It played a strategic role in the conflict and is now a symbol of the war’s legacy.
    • Bunker of Colonel de Castries: This bunker was the command post for French Colonel Christian de Castries during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. It’s a preserved site where visitors can see the conditions and strategies employed by the French military.
    • Noong Chun and Other Ethnic Villages Nearby: Dien Bien Province is home to numerous ethnic minority villages, including Noong Chun. These villages offer a chance to experience the traditional cultures, lifestyles, and crafts of the local ethnic communities.
    • Pa Thom Cave (Near the Border with Laos): Pa Thom Cave is a natural wonder near the border with Laos. It features intricate limestone formations and is a popular destination for spelunking and adventure enthusiasts.
    • Pa Khoang Lake and Reserve: Pa Khoang Lake and its surrounding reserve are a natural haven for wildlife and pristine landscapes. The lake offers opportunities for boating, and the reserve is perfect for hiking and bird-watching.
    • Headquarters of General Vo Nguyen Giap in Muong Phang: General Vo Nguyen Giap was a prominent figure in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. His headquarters in Muong Phang is a historic site where visitors can learn more about his role in the conflict.
    • Muong Hum Market (A Small Ethnic Market): Muong Hum Market is a charming and culturally rich local market where ethnic communities come together to trade their goods. It provides an authentic glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of the local people.
    • Memorial in Muong Hum: Muong Hum features a memorial to commemorate the sacrifices made by the local people during the war. It’s a place of reflection and respect for those who contributed to the country’s independence.
    • Riding a Motorcycle in Dien Bien Province: Exploring Dien Bien Province on a motorcycle is a thrilling way to discover its natural beauty and historical sites. The winding roads, scenic landscapes, and rich history make it an ideal destination for motorbike enthusiasts seeking adventure and cultural immersion.

📍 Dien Bien Phu – tourist map:

Frequently Asked Questions about Dien Bien Phu:

1. How to book flights from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu?

    • It is possible to book direct flights from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu online on Baolau or 12go.asia.

2. How to search and book a tour in Vietnam?

    • You can search and book a tour in Vietnam online at KLOOK. There are various tours and boat trips in northern and central and southern Vietnam, it is also possible to buy various tickets for tourist attractions.

3. How to move in Dien Bien Phu province?

    • The best way is to travel on your own, e.g. you can searcha and rent a motorbike. IDP is necessary if you want to rent and travel on motorbike in Vietnam. You can book your motorbike in Hanoi easily online with Bikesbooking. It is good to know, roads in this province are dangerous, drive carefully and slowly. There are also some local buses between Dien Bien Phu and Son La or Dien Bien and Lai Chau or Sapa.

4. What is the travel time from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu?

    • Direct flight from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
    • Travel by sleeper tourist bus from Hanoi to Dien Bien via Son La takes about 16 hours.

5. How much does it cost to get from Hanoi to Dien Bien?

    • Direct flight from Hanoi – Noi Bai Airport to Dien Bien Phu costs about $50-100/pp.

6. How far is Dien Bien from Hanoi?

    • Travel distance from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu is about 450 km by tourist bus via Son La.

7. What is the best time to visit Dien Bien Phu?

    • The best time to visit Dien Bien Phu is from November to April when the weather is dry and cool, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The temperature during this period ranges from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius. However, if you prefer to witness the lush green rice fields, May to October is the best time, but it can be hot and rainy.

8. How can I get to Dien Bien Phu?

    • Dien Bien Phu has a domestic airport that operates daily flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Alternatively, visitors can also take a bus from Hanoi, which takes approximately 12 hours. The bus journey offers beautiful views of the countryside and is an affordable option.

9. What are the must-visit attractions in Dien Bien Phu?

    • The must-visit attractions in Dien Bien Phu include the Dien Bien Phu Museum, A1 Hill, Muong Thanh Bridge, and Pa Khoang Lake and Reservation. These attractions offer visitors a glimpse into the local history, culture, and natural beauty of the region.

10. What are the popular outdoor activities to do in Dien Bien Phu?

    • Dien Bien Phu offers several outdoor activities such as trekking, hiking, kayaking, and camping. Visitors can explore the nearby mountains, rivers, and lakes and enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the region.

11. What are the traditional dishes I must try in Dien Bien Phu?

    • Some of the traditional dishes you must try in Dien Bien Phu include Thang Co (a soup made from horse meat), Banh Cuon (steamed rice rolls), grilled fish, and sticky rice. These dishes offer a unique blend of flavors and spices that are specific to the local cuisine.

12. What is the local language spoken in Dien Bien Phu?

    • The official language spoken in Vietnam is Vietnamese. However, many locals in Dien Bien Phu can also speak Thai and Hmong, which are the ethnic minority languages spoken in the region. Basic English is also spoken in some tourist areas.

13. What are the cultural etiquettes I should follow in Dien Bien Phu?

    • Visitors should dress modestly and cover their shoulders and knees when visiting temples or other religious sites. It is also important to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a temple. When interacting with locals, it is polite to greet them with a smile and say hello in Vietnamese.

14. How to travel solo in Vietnam?

    • Discover the wonders of solo travel in Vietnam as you explore ancient temples, cruise through scenic landscapes or karst sceneries, hike various national parks and ethnic villages and connect with the warm-hearted locals, creating a personalized journey of cultural immersion and breathtaking experiences.

15. What are the most interesting things or facts about Vietnam?

    • Vietnam, a country with a captivating allure, is celebrated for its breathtaking landscapes, including the mesmerizing limestone karsts of Halong Bay, the terraced rice fields of Sapa, and the bustling waterways of the Mekong Delta. Its rich history unfolds through ancient temples in Hanoi, the imperial city of Hue, and the Cu Chi Tunnels, providing a glimpse into Vietnam’s resilience during wartime. The country’s vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality further enhance the allure of this Southeast Asian gem. Read this: 15 Interesting Things of Vietnam.

16. What to expect from Vietnam Culture?

    • Expect a vibrant cultural tapestry in Vietnam, characterized by traditional values, a strong sense of community, and a deep-rooted respect for family. You’ll encounter a fusion of French, Chinese, and indigenous influences in art, architecture, and cuisine. Traditional water puppetry, folk music, and dance performances showcase the country’s artistic flair. The importance of rituals and festivals in daily life adds a colorful dimension, while the warmth and friendliness of the Vietnamese people make for a welcoming and enriching cultural experience.


Interesting Facts about Dien Bien Phu: Description
1. Historical Crossroads:

Dien Bien Phu, nestled amidst the mountainous landscapes of northwestern Vietnam, holds a pivotal place in history as the site of the decisive Battle of Dien Bien Phu. This remote town became the stage for a historic confrontation between the French Union forces and the Viet Minh during the First Indochina War. Today, the echoes of history resonate through Dien Bien Phu, and visitors can explore the remnants of military installations, trenches, and monuments that bear witness to the town’s significant role in shaping Vietnam’s path to independence.

2. Aza Koonh Suspension Bridge:

The Aza Koonh Suspension Bridge, spanning the Nam Rom River, stands as both a functional structure and a symbol of resilience. This bridge played a strategic role during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, serving as a crucial supply route for the French forces. Reconstructed in the post-war era, the bridge today invites visitors to cross its expanse, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. The Aza Koonh Suspension Bridge is a tangible link to the town’s wartime past, reflecting the spirit of rebuilding and connectivity in Dien Bien Phu.

3. Dien Bien Phu Museum:

The Dien Bien Phu Museum stands as a repository of historical artifacts and narratives, providing a comprehensive overview of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu and its significance. Exhibits within the museum showcase military equipment, photographs, and personal accounts, offering visitors a deep insight into the challenges, sacrifices, and victories that unfolded during the conflict. The museum serves as a somber yet informative space, guiding visitors through the complex historical events that unfolded on the hills and valleys surrounding Dien Bien Phu.

4. Hill A1 (Eliane 2):

Hill A1, also known as Eliane 2, witnessed some of the fiercest battles during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. The hill’s strategic importance made it a focal point of intense fighting, with both sides vying for control. Today, Hill A1 stands as a memorial site, marked by preserved bunkers, trenches, and monuments. Exploring this historic hill offers a profound experience, allowing visitors to walk in the footsteps of those who shaped the course of history on the rugged terrain of Dien Bien Phu.

5. Muong Thanh Valley:

The Muong Thanh Valley, cradling the town of Dien Bien Phu, was the epicenter of the historic battle. The valley’s lush landscapes and tranquil surroundings belie the tumultuous events that unfolded here decades ago. Today, the Muong Thanh Valley is a place of reflection and remembrance, with scattered remnants of war interspersed with serene rice fields. Exploring the valley allows visitors to appreciate the contrast between the town’s contemporary tranquility and its historical significance in the struggle for Vietnamese independence.

6. Victory Monument:

The Victory Monument, situated in Dien Bien Phu, stands tall as a symbol of triumph and resilience. Erected to commemorate the victory of the Viet Minh over the French forces in 1954, the monument is a focal point for ceremonies and gatherings. Its design incorporates elements representing the struggle for independence, and the surrounding park provides a space for reflection. The Victory Monument serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made and the ultimate triumph that shaped the course of modern Vietnamese history.

7. Dien Bien Phu Cemetery:

The Dien Bien Phu Cemetery, known as A1 Cemetery, is the final resting place for those who lost their lives during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. The meticulously maintained cemetery is a solemn tribute to the soldiers, from both sides, who made the ultimate sacrifice. Rows of white tombstones dot the landscape, each bearing witness to the human cost of war. Visiting the Dien Bien Phu Cemetery evokes a sense of reverence and serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact of historical events on individuals and communities.

8. Dien Bien Phu War Cemetery (A1 Martyrs‘ Cemetery):

The Dien Bien Phu War Cemetery, also known as A1 Martyrs‘ Cemetery, is a sacred site dedicated to those who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for independence. The cemetery’s serene setting, surrounded by hills and greenery, provides a peaceful resting place for the fallen soldiers. Visitors can pay their respects at this solemn site, where each grave represents a chapter in the narrative of Dien Bien Phu. The War Cemetery stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of those who fought for the ideals of freedom and self-determination.

9. Bunker of Colonel de Castries:

The Bunker of Colonel de Castries, the French commander during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, offers a glimpse into the wartime leadership and challenges faced by the French forces. Preserved as a historical site, the bunker allows visitors to explore its interior, where de Castries made critical decisions that would shape the course of the conflict. The bunker stands as a testament to the human dimensions of war, providing insights into the experiences and decisions of those who played key roles in the historic events of Dien Bien Phu.

10. Pa Khoang Lake:

Pa Khoang Lake, located near Dien Bien Phu, offers a serene contrast to the historical echoes of the town. Surrounded by hills and lush greenery, the lake is a tranquil retreat where visitors can unwind and appreciate the natural beauty of the region. Boat rides on Pa Khoang Lake provide a leisurely experience, allowing travelers to absorb the peaceful ambiance. The lake serves as a reminder that amidst the echoes of history, Dien Bien Phu also offers moments of tranquility and natural charm, inviting visitors to explore the diverse facets of this historic town.

BOOK your STAY in Dien Bien

➡️ Where to go from Dien Bien Phu:

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

Go back to places of interest

AccommodationTransportVisasVaccinationMoneyTrekkingNinh BinhSapaMai ChauYen BaiNha TrangCat BaVientianeHue

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