Dien Bien Travel Guide

Dien Bien Phu is far about 35km from the Laos border and one of the remotest spots in Vietnam and sit in the heart-shaped Muong Thanh Valley, surrounded by heavily forested hills. The scenery to or from Dien Bien Phu is stunning, with approach roads scything through thick forests and steep terrain.

The name Dien Bien was given by King Thieu Tri – The 3rd king of Nguyen Dynasty in the year 1841. “Dien” means solid while “Bien” means frontiers, so the name means solid defensive frontiers

Dien Bien Phu was the site of a major French defeat (1954) in the First Indochina War, and was of tremendous historical significance. The French defeat here led to their complete withdrawal from their colonies in Indochina, and the division of Vietnam into North and South. The battle of Dien Bien Phu is described by historians as: the first time that a non-European colonial independence movement had evolved through all the stages from guerrilla bands to a conventionally organized and equipped army able to defeat a modern Western occupier in pitched battle

The best time to visit

In terms of weather, Dien Bien Province is in the high-mountain tropical monsoon with favorable average temperature (21-23oC) and rainfall (1.700-2.500 mm). The highest rainfall drops on June, July and August. The driest months are December, January, and February

Because this province is a mountainous region, so if you want to visit Dien Bien Phu, you should travel in a dry season( From December to Febuary)

How to get there

By Air - travelers would arrive at Dien Bien in only 1 hour by Vietnam Airlines airplanes (see Dien Bien Phu Airport).

By Bus - the journey takes about 14-16 hours and costs VND 375,000- 400,000. Travelers can take a bus directly in bus stations: Giap Bat, My Dinh, Gia Lam or Luong Yen offer you high -quality coaches with beds

Things to do and top attractions

De Castries Bunker

De Castries Bunker is located in the center of the Dien Bien Phu Garrison in Muong Thanh, Dien Bien

The bunker is 20m in length and 8m in width, including four rooms for both boarding and working. In the past, the French used logs and bags of sand to build a trench connecting the bunker with a blockhouse on A1 Hill. The trench is no longer there today, but we can still easily see the steel arches and bags of sand on the roof of the bunker.

Dien Bien Phu Victory Historical Site

This historical site is located in and around the 20km-long valley of Dien Bien Phu. The triumph of Dien Bien Phu Campain on 7/5/1954 made this rural area phenomenal all over the five continents of the world which ended 80 years dominated by the colonial-half-feudal system of Vietnam. On 26/9/2003, Vietnamese Government signed the official document giving birth to Dien Bien City.

The most well-known remnants of the Dien Bien Phu Historical Site are A1, C1, C2, D1 Hills, Beatrice, Isabelle, Independent Hill, Muong Thanh Bridge, Muong Thanh Airport and De Castries Bunker. Nearly 30km away from the center of Dien Bien Phu City, the whole complex (including the shelters of Vietnamese army) situates in Muong Phang village. A 96m underground tunnel connects the working places of General Vo Nguyen Giap and Councillor Hoang Van Thai. As time marches by, the stairs leading to the place of General Giap are now covered with moss, giving the scenery a nostalgic look. (Source: Minmax Travel)

Pa Thom Cave

Pa Thom Cave is not only a natural wonder but also a holy place in the belief of Dien Bien people. Located up high on the side of a mountain, the cave has a 12m high, 17m wide, arch-shaped mouth. At the middle of this special entrance stands a giant stone resembling the head of an elephant. Along the 350m length of the cave, there are 9 arches of different sizes. Impressive stones, stalactites, and stalagmites are ubiquitous

Local specialty

Nep Nuong Rice: is the most popular dish and also a special type of rice in this mountainous region thanks to its climate together with a logical canal system

If you want to visit and discover the beauty of Dien Bien and enjoy the best traditional foods, why don't you prepare and make a plan for your trip to Vietnam. Remember to prepare needed documents like passport and  visa Vietnam  before taking your trip.

Have a nice day!

Further readings