Dien Bien Phu highlights and travel guide

Updated November 2023

Dien Bien at a glimpse

Where is Dien Bien:

Hanoi is almost 500 kilometers from the province of Dien Bien. Located on the border of three countries, it lies north of Lai Chau province, northeast of Son La province, northeast of Yunnan province of China and southwest of Laos.

Going to Dien Bien from Hanoi:

There are two ways to get to Dien Bien:

By road

Take a sleeper bus from Hanoi to Dien Bien, depart daily from the bus stations of Hanoi, My Dinh, Yen Nghia and Giap Bat. It takes about 11 to 13 hours to travel, this means of transport can sometimes also load your motorcycle if needed.
The price varies between 300,000 and 550,000 VND depending on the type of bus

By air

VietnamAirlines is currently the only Vietnamese airline that operates the Hanoi - Dien Bien route.
+ There are 2 return flights per day with 1h10 flight.
+ The flight price Hanoi - Dien Bien and Dien Bien- Hanoi varies between 1200,000 and 1700,000 VND for one way.
Dien Bien Airport is just 4 km from the town of Dien Bien, the journey to the city center is easy by taxi.

The best time to visit Dien Bien:

Ideally, we will go there in the dry season, that is to say between December and March, but beware of night temperatures in winter can drop to 12°C.
If your stay in Dien Bien falls in May, it will be an opportunity to share with the inhabitants of Dien Bien the anniversary of the historic victory of May 7, 1954.
It is not recommended to go to Dien Bien between June and August, because the period coicncide with the rainy season, which spoils, even stinks, any visit or hike.

What to see:

the Dien Bien Phu Victory Museum, the Motherland Martyrs Cemetery, Muong Thanh Bridge, Pa Khoang Lake, Tham Pua Cave, Ban Phu Village.

What to taste:

sticky rice with chicken, grilled fish with banana leaf, pork with bamboo, rice cake with sesame, rice wine from Muong Thanh...

Where to stay:

you can choose from a variety of hotels, guesthouses and homestays, depending on your budget and preferences. Here are some options: Ha Linh Hotel, Happy Hotel, Nha nghi Xuan Long, Nha ngh Thanh Bình, Homestay Phuong Duc.

Muong Thanh valley

A 60 year old French tank in Muong Thanh Valley.

Dien Bien is a mountainous province in northwestern Vietnam, famous for its historic victory over the French settlers in 1954. It is an ideal destination for lovers of history, culture and nature.

The 57-day Battle of Dien Bien Phu fought between the French and the Viet Minh, began in March 1954 and ended almost two months later in May. French troops were stationed in Dien Bien Phu with the intention of cutting off the Viet Minh's path into Laos. This, however, did not succeed as the Viet Minh, led by General Vo Nguyen Giap, retaliated with a tenacity and brute force that the French were not expecting. The Viet Minh forces eventually conquered all of the French posts in Dien Bien Phu, and the decisive battle was the prelude to the Geneva Conference which saw the country divided into North and South Vietnam and eventually, France's retreat from Vietnam.
Muong Thanh valley nowaday
Verdant green Muong Thanh Valley.
Today, the majority of the scars and relics of the war have been camouflaged by agriculture or built over in expanding developments. There are however still some iconic spots where historians can discover the areas remarkable history.

There are relics left from both the French and Vietnamese troops, General Vo Nguyen Giap's headquarters is made up of a series of underground rooms, and it was from here that he masterminded the pivotal attacks against the French.

The bunker of Colonel de Castries is another noteworthy bunker, this time French. Colonel de Castries was in charge of the seven French posts at Dien Bien Phu and was captured at this bunker on 7th May 1954.
Hill A1, also known as Elaine by the French was the last of the French posts to succumb to the forces of the Viet Minh. The defeat of the French in the decisive battle at Dien Bien Phu not only ended France's involvement in Vietnam but set a precedent for future revolutions.
A1 Hill
A tunnel on famous A1 Hill, part of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
Victory monument is a striking bronze sculpture which weighs in at an enormous 120 tonnes. The imposing sculpture honours the battles that took place in Dien Bien Phu and those who fought and lost their lives. It sits at the top grand stone staircase looking out over Dien Bien Phu.
Battle of Dien Bien Phu
A crater left over from the battle.
There are also sobering graveyards and memorials to the many who lost their lives from both the French and Vietnamese forces. The Dien Bien Phu Cemetary is home to row upon row of pristine graves each dedicated to the Vietnamese soldiers who died in the fierce battles.

The French monument is a stark white obelisk which commemorates the soldiers who lost their lives and were buried in the surrounding rice paddies. The monument gathers more plaques each year as people come to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers.
Dien Bien Phu Cemetery
Dien Bien Cemetery, the soldiers’ final resting place.
This deeply historical place reminds its visitors of the immense pain and suffering of war but also the importance of looking to the future. The rolling countryside with its majestic mountains, dramatic skies and Thai ethnic minority villages also makes Dien Bien Phu a perfect place to experience the rugged, unspoilt countryside.

In addition to its rich cultural and historical heritage, Dien Bien also offers beautiful natural landscapes, such as the terraced rice fields of Tua Chua, Tua Thang and Pa Thom, the Valley of Muong Thanh Roses, the Pha Din Pass and the Muong Nhe National Park.
And finally, know that Dien Bien is also home to many minority ethnic groups, such as Thai, Hmong, Khmu and Dao, who have preserved their traditions and colorful costumes. You can discover their lifestyle, gastronomy and festivals, such as the banana blossom festival, the sticky rice cake festival and the lunar new year festival. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

We highly recommend some of the best tours below:
Vietnam Northern loop 7 days 6 nights

Escape the bustle of the big city and set out on an adventure through the stunning countryside of the northern loop from Pu Luong to Ninh Binh, Cuc Phuong National Park and Cat Ba island. This 7-day adventure takes you off the beaten path on a tour through deep valleys and tropical forest to remote jungle on the sea.

Theme: Off The Beaten Track Tours
: Daily
Duration: 7 days 6 nights
Destination: Hanoi - Lan Ha Bay - Mai Chau - Ninh Binh Province
Trip from Hanoi Dien Bien Phu 7 days 6 nights

This Cycling Tour in the Northwest of Vietnam invites to discover the most stunning scenery in the country, While certainly posessing a positively stunning scenery, Sapa is also home to a great variety of ethnic minorities and cultures. Among these are the H’Mong and Dzao peoples, who were most likely Sapas earliest inhabitants, and others who arrived to the area later, namely the Tay, Zay and a small number Xa Pho.

Theme: Cycling Tours
: Daily
Duration: 7 days 6 nights
Destination: Dien Bien Phu - Hanoi - Lai Chau - Sapa
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