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Dien Bien Phu Travel Guide

All things need to know before travelling to Dien Bien

Dien Bien not only possesses the beauty of wild nature, but is also the battlefield associated with the victory of Dien Bien Phu “famous in five continents, shaking the earth” of the Vietnamese people. Perhaps so, when coming to Dien Bien, visitors always have the feeling of reliving those heroic historical moments.

1. Where is Dien Bien Phu?

Dien Bien is a mountainous border province in the Northwest region of Vietnam, nearly 500 km northwest of Hanoi capital. The North borders Lai Chau province, the East and Northeast borders Son La province, the Northwest borders Yunnan province – China; The West and Southwest border the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

2. How is Dien Bien Phu unique?

Dien Bien is a province rich in tourism potential, especially in the field of culture and history. When talking about Dien Bien, people often remember a heroic land with glorious victories, a beloved land with the proud aerial victory of Dien Bien Phu.

The most prominent is the system of historical relics of the Dien Bien Phu victory, including: Dien Bien Phu – Muong Phang campaign headquarters; Him Lam, Ban Keo, and Doc Lap strongholds; Hills A1, C1, D1, E1 and the central area of the French stronghold group (Docat tunnel area). This relic complex is an extremely valuable resource for tourism development not only in Dien Bien province, the Northwest but also the whole country.

In addition to the golden pages of history, this place also impresses visitors with the magnificence of the mountains and forests, the danger of the legendary Pha Din pass, or the Muong Thanh fields with beautiful colors every year.

Dien Bien also possesses surprisingly beautiful roads, bearing the typical characteristics of the Northwest region. The beautiful nature and heroic past are probably the reasons why this land has become an ideal destination for “travelers” throughout Vietnam.

History

By the sixth and seventh centuries in Yunnan (China), Nanzhao was born. The disputes between Nanzhao and other ethnic groups often followed, resulting in unstable South China and North Indochina. During this period, Muong Thanh land experienced many changes. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the Black Tai follow Muong Om, Muong Ai and Muong Lo occupy Muong Lo (Nghia Lo) and from Muong Lo. Later, these people follow their leader, Pu Lang Khong Than Uyen, Van Ban… And finally own a whole area from Muong Lo (Nghia Lo) through Muong La (Son La) to Muong Thanh (Dien Bien).

In the 15th century. The Hung Hoa town was established (including three area: Quy Hoa, Gia Hung and An Tay). However, the basic Lu commanders still own Muong Thanh. From 1466 onwards, Le Thanh Tong ordered 12 legacies, of which Hung Hoa consisted of three divisions, four districts and 17 continents. In 1831, Minh Mang changed to Hung Hoa province. The province was located in Hung Hoa town, Tam Nong district (now in Phu Tho province).

The French colonial period

In the French colonial period, Hung Hoa was divided into Hoa Binh, Son La, Lai Chau, Lao Cai and Yen Bai provinces and separated some districts into Phu Tho. The name Dien Bien was set in 1841 by Thieu Tri from Bien Bien. Dien mean power and Bien mean border. Dien Bien is the frontier region of the country, Dien Bien Phu (ie Dien Bien Phu) Thieu Tri period consists of three continents: Ninh Bien (by the government, ie, tri-cum management), Tuan Giao and Lai Chau. The name of Dien Bien or Dien Bien Phu appears from there.

In 1858, the French colonialists began invading our country with the attack on the Son Tra Peninsula, Da Nang, but it was not until 1890 French colonialists managed to rule in Lai Chau (including Dien Bien and Lai Chau nowadays). Lai Chau except Phong Tho of the Fourth Army, directly located in the Van Bich military zone. During the long time Lai Chau dominated the French colonialists put Dien Bien under military administration, the head of Dien Bien is a martial arts. On May 7, 1954, with the victory of Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam officially gained independence from the French colonialists.

3. When is the best time to travel to Dien Bien Phu?

Travel to Dien Bien Phu on the occasion of Dien Bien Phu Victory day 7/5 to enjoy themselves and enjoy the Dien Bien people in this special occasion. However, this holiday Dien Bien especially crowded by the delegation in large numbers. On this occasion you should book a hotel in Dien Bien Phu before 1-2 months.

  • Around the third month of the calendar is the season of flowers blossoming northwest northwest.
  • In December, the National Highway No.6 to Dien Bien Phuoc flower bloomed on two sides of the road.
  • Going around August ans September to combine rice harvesting season in other areas such as Mu Cang Chai, Sa Pa.
  • If travelling on November to combine to see the flowers in Moc Chau.

4. How to go to Dien Bien Phu?

Dien Bien is quite far from Hanoi (about 500km to Dien Bien Phu City) so the time to go to Dien Bien is quite long. There are currently only two ways to get to Dien Bien by road or air.

Travel by road trip

Dien Bien bus runs daily at My Dinh Bus Station, the car runs about 12-13 hours. Traveling by bed is another advantage that can send a motorbike. If you do not like to go by car you can also schedule a motorcycle trip straight from Hanoi to Dien Bien, with a distance of 500km you will take a whole day to move straight.

Travel by air plane

Currently, Vietnam Airlines Vasco is the only airline to operate the Hanoi – Dien Bien flight. The aircraft used for this flight is ATR 72 with a frequency of 2 flights a day. Time to fly to Dien Bien is only about 1 hour so it will save much more than going by car.

Transportation in Dien Bien

Dien Bien is a popular destination for tourists to visit Dien Bien Phu relics. Mainly visitor come here are old so mainly transfer by taxi. There are a number of units started to rent motorbike services in Dien Bien but not much

5. Sightseeing & things to do in Dien Bien

5.1. Dien Bien Phu victory relic site

Dien Bien Phu Victory Monument is located on D1 hill, located in the center of Dien Bien Phu city – Dien Bien province. The statue is 16.6m high, made of brass, inside a reinforced concrete structure, and weighs 220 tons. This is considered an object marking the glorious victory of our nation, carrying many historical meanings.

Some outstanding tourist attractions include: Dien Bien Victory Monument, A1 Hill, French General Christian de Castries’ bunker, Dien Bien Phu Victory Museum, which you can visit.

5.2. Pha Din Pass

Known as one of the Four Great Passes of the Northwest, this is truly an experience that everyone wants. When you come here, you need to prepare yourself mentally to enjoy the excitement of conquering the winding roads.

Legend has it that this place was designated as the separation point between Dien Bien Phu and Son La. At that time, people and horses from both provinces started together in the race. The two sides are evenly matched, making it difficult to determine victory or defeat. At the last minute, Lai Chau’s horse was faster, so the Pha Din pass in Dien Bien was a little longer.

5.3. Kho Chua La Cave

The cave has an amazing natural landscape that is extremely beautiful and majestic. The deep gray of the rocky mountains blends with the green of the forest and the yellow of upland rice during the growing season.

The cave is 700m long, including 5 different large and small chambers. Each compartment has its own mysterious beauty. If you have the opportunity, you should visit the cave.

5.4. Phieng Loi village

It is the residence of 220 Thai ethnic people. Phieng Loi villagers build stilt houses facing rivers, streams, and fields. From a distance, Phieng Loi village looks like a watercolor painting with traditional stilt houses.

Here, people still keep cultural values such as: folk arts, culinary culture, festivals, crafts,…

5.5. U Va Hot Springs

Located about 15 km from Dien Bien city, U Va hot spring has a total area of up to 73,000 m2. Legend has it that this hot spring is a cradle on which a fairy lies. You will be extremely surprised by the charming scenery here.

Not stopping at exploiting tourism, Dien Bien province has taken advantage of this huge hot mineral spring source and brought it to high hill areas to serve the daily lives of people.

5.6. Muong Phang Cherry Garden

On an island in the middle of Pa Khoang lake, Muong Phang commune, there is a cherry blossom garden that is blooming now. This is considered a breakthrough for Vietnamese people when they can grow Japanese cherries.

5.7. A Pa Chai market

On the 3rd, 13th and 23rd of each month is the market day. The market has the cultural beauty of the border region. Currently, the size of the market is constantly growing, the stalls are closely displayed and the goods are very diverse. The booths are also very rich with a variety of products in terms of types and designs.

5.8. Pa Khoang Lake

It’s located in Dien Bien Dong district, Dien Bien province, Vietnam. Pa Khoang Lake has become an attractive destination for those who love nature and want to find unique experiences during their travels. With an area of up to 1,200 hectares and an average depth of about 20m, Pa Khoang lake is one of the largest lakes in the Northwest region.

However, the special thing about the lake is that the water surface is clear and calm, but has a strange jade green watercolor. This special feature creates a unique landscape, giving visitors wonderful experiences when viewing the surrounding landscape.

In addition to sightseeing, Pa Khoang Lake is also an ideal place to relax and participate in recreational activities. Visitors can participate in activities such as kayaking, fishing, and camping.

5.8. Him Lam ecotourism area

Him Lam Resort is a beautiful resort located in Muong Lay town, Dien Bien province, Vietnam. With views overlooking the Da River, this resort has a green and quiet space, an ideal place to relax and escape the noise of the city.

Him Lam eco-tourism area is named after the local Thai name “Hin Dam”, which means precious black stone. Him Lam eco-tourism area brings the most unique and wonderful things for customers to enjoy, from landscape to architecture and services, worthy of being a treasure in the Northwest.

5.9. Hua Pe Hot Springs

Hua Pe hot spring is located in Hua Pe commune, Muong Nhe district, Dien Bien province, Vietnam. This is one of the famous tourist destinations in Dien Bien with hot mineral water with a temperature of over 50 degrees Celsius, containing many minerals that are good for health.

Hua Pe hot springs are highly appreciated for their ability to help treat many diseases such as joint pain, back pain, osteoarthritis, arthritis, sinusitis, digestive disorders, stress and fatigue. In particular, Hua Pe hot mineral water is said to have good effects on varicose veins, neurological diseases, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

In addition to enjoying the hot mineral springs, tourists can participate in recreational activities such as fishing, bathing in the springs, planting trees, cooking, sightseeing, and visiting botanical gardens. Hua Pe Hot Mineral Springs is an ideal destination for those who want to enjoy a peaceful, fresh space and enjoy the health benefits of hot mineral water.

5.10. Pa A Chai

For young people who are passionate about adventurous backpacking and mountain climbing, Pa A Chai is a tourist destination in Dien Bien that cannot be missed. Pa A Chai is located in Sin Thau commune, Muong Nhe district, Dien Bien. It is also the place connecting our country’s boundaries with Laos and Cambodia.

Walking along the mountain range, you will discover the wild beauty surrounded by majestic high mountains, or terraced fields with fragrant golden rice.

In order to have the best moments when coming to this city, you should come here in mid-January and February to see the images of farmers next to the green rice fields. Or visit from September to December, when Pa A Chai is immersed in the bright yellow color of ripe rice fields, which is also the season when wild sunflowers begin to bloom.

Besides, the experience of climbing mountains and conquering milestone number 0 is probably attractive to most tourists coming here. The place with the most beautiful sunset view when coming to Dien Bien. However, you need to note that A Pa Chai belongs to the border area of our country, so if you want to conquer this mountain range, you need to bring all kinds of identification documents to register at border station 317.

5.11. Muong Nhe – The only nature reserve in Dien Bien

Unlike the A Pa Chai range, the road to Muong Nhe is not too difficult. From Muong Cha town, you just need to follow the road up to the border – Muong Cha – Si Pha Phin to reach this reserve.

Up to now, the reserve has a total area of nearly 310,262 hectares, about 118,000 hectares of primeval forest land. Covered with many rare forest trees.

When you come here, looking down from above, you feel this Dien Bien tourist destination is like a beautiful ink painting. You will see brilliant green colors mixed with the brilliant yellow of wild sunflowers. On the way to the top of the mountain, you will admire different species of trees with extremely diverse sizes, large, small, and large.

According to research, the reserve has about 37 types of rare animals. Such as sun bears, tigers, red wolves, and pangolins. Muong Nhe Nature Reserve also owns more than 308 plant species of high scientific value. Among them are more than 68 rare species of traditional medicines.

5.12. Tua Chua Stone Plateau

Tua Chua Stone Plateau is located about 130 km from Dien Bien city center. Located in Tua Chua district, 1400 m above sea level. This is the first limestone plateau, the highlight that creates the unique beauty of this locality.

Intermixed with the plateau are fields, houses and villages of the residents, creating a unique feature only found in mountainous tourist destinations.

Therefore, when you set foot at this attraction, you not only have the opportunity to take unique photos. But also have the opportunity to learn and experience more about the culture, lifestyle and typical cuisine of the people. people.

5.13. Dien Bien Phu Victory Museum

This place has an extremely impressive design with a truncated cone symbol. The inside is decorated with a diamond shape. The diamond shape represents the camouflage net of Uncle Ho’s hat in ancient times.

When you come here, you will discover and understand more about the culture and the difficult fighting process of our ancestors in ancient times. This is a Dien Bien tourist destination that you cannot miss.

5.14. Ban Phu Citadel

Dien Bien tourist destination is ranked by the state as a national monument – Ban Phu Citadel. This location was built more than 200 years ago. This place marks many outstanding activities for the hero Hoang Cong Chat. Because he is the symbol of the nation’s spirit of great solidarity when fighting against foreign invaders.

Ban Phu Citadel has a width of up to 80 acres. The surrounding wall was built because our people in the past built up soil and planted bamboo and thorns around it. Thanks to that, the Citadel wall can be firmly protected until now.

5.14. Muong Thanh Bridge

The bridge is a military facility located in the central division of the Dien Bien Phu fortress cluster. Muong Thanh iron bridge is a ready-made bridge and transported from France to Dien Bien. The entire bridge is 40m long, 5m wide.

5.15. Community tourist spots in Dien Bien

Community tourism is increasingly chosen by many domestic and international visitors as the preferred type of tourism. Coming to Dien Bien, you can experience community tourism in cultural tourism. Here, you will be immersed in the living space of ethnic minority people, learn the traditional cultural values, rich indigenous nuances of the Northwest highlands, enjoy folk songs, unique people and explore culinary culture with delicious dishes prepared by the people in the village.

6. Specialties when traveling to Dien Bien

Not too rich in variety, but the dishes in Dien Bien are extremely unique and one of a kind, making visitors from everywhere satisfied. We can name a few delicious dishes and specialties of Dien Bien such as:

6.1. Mac Khen grilled chicken

This dish is also considered a specialty of Dien Bien. The charcoal must not be allowed to cool or the fire will burn too loudly. Do not add fat to the chicken like normal grilling. This chicken must be grilled for a long time without rushing. While grilling, let the chicken fat drain naturally so that the skin and meat are close to each other, then pour the mac khen sauce over it.

6.2. Dien Bien upland sticky rice

The way to prepare sticky rice in upland fields is more elaborate than that of rice fields. The sticky rice must be prepared in a special wooden basket of the Thai people. It’s steam-cooked, soft, flexible but not sticky to the hands. The sticky rice must be soaked for many hours so that the sticky rice won’t be soggy.

6.3. Muong Thanh bird sticky rice

Bird sticky rice is especially fragrant thanks to the sticky rice seeds cooked twice on a wooden tray and sweet and fatty thanks to the more delicious and well-rounded taste of pigeon meat. In the past, this dish often used tile bird meat, but because tile bird meat is increasingly rare, it was replaced with pigeon meat, but pigeon meat is not inferior.

6.4 Khau Sen Cake

Khau Xen is a cake like shrimp crackers but firmer and chewier. The cake can be made from many types of ingredients such as black black sticky rice, white upland sticky rice or mixed with gac to make it yellow, adding the color of the sticky rice plant to make it purple.

6.5. Ground pork steamed in banana leaves

Minced pork mixed with spices wrapped in banana leaves is also really interesting. Pork is an ingredient available in every region and it is the main dish in the daily life of Vietnamese people. However, through the skillful hands of a Thai woman, the minced meat dish wrapped in banana leaves gives the eater a strange feeling that is rarely found anywhere else. This dish is also steamed for more than 1 hour so the meat is soft and sticks tightly together, the aroma of the meat mixed with the aroma of banana leaves and pepper makes the flavor even more special.

7. Accommodation when traveling to Dien Bien

7.1. Hotels

With a large and long area, the districts are very far apart, but the accommodation system in Dien Bien is quite complete. All districts have hotels and motels to serve tourists on the way to explore Dien Bien. In Dien Bien Phu City alone, there are nearly 100 accommodation establishments with all types of hotels, motels, and homestays that can welcome thousands of tourists at the same time.

  • Muong Thanh Hotel. Address: 514 Vo Nguyen Giap, Him Lam Ward, Dien Bien Phu City, Dien Bien.
  • Ruby Hotel. Address: 43 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Muong Thanh, Dien Bien Phu City, Dien Bien.
  • Pha Din Hotel. Address: No. 63, Group 3, Thanh Binh, Dien Bien Phu City, Dien Bien.
  • Dien Bien Rose Villa. Address: 80 Group 18, Tan Thanh, Dien Bien Phu City, Dien Bien.
  • Phuong Nam Hotel. Address: House number 211, Group 3, Tan Thanh Ward, Dien Bien Phu City, Dien Bien.
  • A1 Hotel. Address: No. 3 Hoang Cong Chat, Muong Thanh, Dien Bien Phu City, Dien Bien.

Please note, if you intend to travel to Dien Bien on May 7 every year, always remember to book a hotel room 1-2 months in advance. On this occasion every year, there is often a celebration of the victory of Dien Bien Phu. Delegations from all over come and often rent large numbers of rooms, so rooms are always sold out.

7.2. Homestays.

As a Northwest highland province with many unique cultural tourism products, visitors to Dien Bien can choose to rest in villages for tourism purposes, usually there are many homestays of local people. The area is combined with tourism and turned into a place to stay for tourists in need.

8. Some important notes when traveling to Dien Bien

Dien Bien is a border area and is still quite wild. Therefore, when traveling to Dien Bien, you need to pay attention to the following things to have the most complete trip:

  • Avoid going in July, because this time it rains a lot and can cause dangerous landslides.
  • Rent a motorbike instead of a taxi to move more easily and proactively.
  • Prepare a medical box containing basic medicines such as fever, cold, stomach ache, digestive enzymes, etc.
  • This is an area with high mountain terrain and sudden weather changes, often cold at night and early morning even in summer, you should bring warm and easy clothes when moving.
  • For those traveling by motorbike, you need to carefully prepare your means of transportation, prepare plenty of fuel in mountainous areas, ensure safe steering and ensure full safety equipment.
  • Must bring identification documents when needed to use in case of need because this is a mountainous border area.
  • You should bring cash because online payment methods will be affected by unstable phone signals.

Dien Bien possesses extremely wild and majestic natural scenery, along with many attractive tourist destinations and delicious, irresistible specialties. Open nature, unique culture, glorious history – Dien Bien will always be an attractive land for souls passionate about travel and exploration.

If you are planning your tour to Dien Bien, immediately contact Origin Vietnam – a professional Vietnam tour operator. With a team of consultants, tour operators and local guides who are experienced, dedicated and understand this land well, we will take you on a journey to discover Dien Bien with many interesting and memorable experiences.

Private Dien Bien Phu Tour Package

This tour is one of the most exciting and spectacular adventure journey in Vietnam. Because the northwest is still unspoiled and is a captivating blend of dramatic landscapes and colorful hill tribes. This adventure takes you through a stunning and isolated area, which has changed little over the centuries. Also through the trip you will understand more about Vietnamese history during French war time in Vietnam.
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