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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
headquarters of general Vo Nguyen Giap in Muong Phang
Muong Hum market (a small ethnic market)
Memorial in Muong Hum
riding a motorcycle in the province
Dien Bien Phu – tourist map:
Frequently asked questions about Dien Bien Phu:
How to book flights from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu?
It is possible to book direct flights from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu online onBaolau or 12go.asia.
How to search and book a tour to Dien Bien?
You can search and book a tour to Dien Bien province online at Tourradar. There are various tours and trips in northern and central and southern Vietnam.
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.
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.
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.
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.