Dien Bien is a northwestern mountainous province, located about 530km from Hanoi to the west. Dien Bien terrain is complex composed of mountains stretching along the Vietnam - Lao border with 100km long. Interspersed with high mountains are valleys, small, steep rivers and streams allocated across the province. In particular, Muong Thanh valley with flat surface formed a vast paddy field.
Dien Bien borders Son La province to the east and northeast, Lai Chau province to the north, Yunnan province, China to the northwest and Laos to the west and southwest. Its capital is Dien Bien Phu city.
Dien Bien is a province rich in tourism potential, especially historical cultural aspect. The most highlight is the historical relics in the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Historical relics of Dien Bien Phu victory is the invaluable tourism resource, the gold mine of Dien Bien tourism. Historical sites of Dien Bien Phu consist of headquarters of Dien Bien Phu - Muong Phang, Him Lam hill, Ban Keo hill, Doc Lap hill and hills of A1, C1, D1, E1 and command bunker of General De Castries. All are gathered into a continuous relic cluster evoking a vivid picture of the glorious historical campaign of the nation.
In addition, there are many other relics imbued with glorious historical stamp in the past and beautiful scenic spots that can satisfy the most discerning tourists such as Ban Phu citadel, Tham Khuong cave, Than Bua cave, Uva hot mineral spring, Pe Luong, Sang village, Pa Thom cave, Pa Khoang lake, Muong Luan tower, Chieng So, Huoi Pha, Hong Khenh or primitive forest in Muong Nhe...
Dien Bien Phu is city of Dien Bien province, located in Muong Thanh Valley which is approximately 20km long and 6km wide. This city is 35km from the Laos border and 500 km to Hanoi. This was a battlefield between the Viet Minh Army and French Army in 1954. The result was the French in Indochina was cut and Viet Nam was divided into two parts: North and South. Nowadays, Dien Bien Phu became one of the tourist attraction sites for many local and international tourists.
The battle development in summary
At 17:00, March 13, 1954, the Viet Minh Army opened fire, starting the Dien Bien Phu campaign. The fight took place fiercely right at the beginning and it was divided into three stages. The first stage (from March 13 to March 17, 1954): the Viet Minh Army held the Him Lam, Doc Lap, Ban Keo strongholds. the French Army was strong defense obstructing the access from Tuan Giao and Lai Chau into Dien Bien Phu. The second stage (from March 30 to April 30, 1954): the Viet Minh Army attacked the strongholds in the east of the central quarter. The fight took place vigorously. The Viet Minh Army had to fight for a single piece of land. The third stage (from May 1 to May 7, 1954): The Viet Minh Army won the rest positions in the east and wiped out the whole Dien Bien Phu stronghold. At 5 p.m, May 7, 1954, the French General de Castries and his staffs of officers at this stronghold were captured alive and it was the time when the flag "Quyet chien quyet thang" (determined to fight and win) was flown from the top of the commanding bunker of the enemy. At the end of the campaign, The Viet Minh Army killed and captured 16,200 enemies, shot at 62 planes and confiscated all weapons of the enemy. The Dien Bien Phu historical victory contributed to the success of the resistance war against the French colonists and the liberty of Northern Vietnam.
1. The complex of the Dien Bien Phu victory relics
- Him Lam Hill - One of three camps that was defeated right at the beginning of Dien Bien Phu campaign on March 13, 1954.
- A1 Hill - The most important camp of the French colonists in Dien Bien Phu. Here, our soldiers and the French colonists fought for a single piece of land. After fighting fiercely for 56 days and nights, we seized the camp in the evening of May 6, 1954.
- Bunker of the French General De Castries - The commanding bunker of the French General De Castries and the staff at Dien Bien Phu stronghold. The original shape and size, structure and arrangement of the bunker are kept intact.
- C1, D1, E1 Hills - Strongholds to protect the central region of the enemy where many fierce fights took place. Atop Hill D1 stands the Dien Bien Phu Victory Monument.
- Dien Bien Phu Museum – Built in1984 during the year 30th year after Dien Bien Phu Victory. In the end of 2003, it was upgraded and divided by 5 displayed areas. Now there are 274 objects and 122 photos due to each subject to describe about the Dien Bien Phu campaign and Dien Bien Phu of the present.
- The Command of Dien Bien Phu Campaign (Muong Phang) – Located in a primitive forest in Muong Phang commune of Dien Bien district. It is about 25 km from Dien Bien Phu city towards the east. There are many historical relics here such as the commanding bunker of General Commander-in-chief Vo Nguyen Giap and Hoang Van Thai, the working house of the command, etc...
2. Muong Thanh Bridge
Called "Prenley" by France, it is a bridge over the Nam Rom River, about 300 m away from the current junction of 279 road. The bridge is a military construction located in the central section of the Dien Bien Phu stronghold. Muong Thanh iron bridge is a battle bridge made and transported from France to assemble in Dien Bien. The entire bridge is 40m long and 5m wide. The two sides of the bridge are simple support bars without a middle shaft, wooden deck, and underneath are iron beams, which are strongly interconnected.
3. MuongThanh field
MuongThanh field (also known as Dien Bien basin) is a place in Thai language with a natural area of over 33,902ha (a length of about 23km), is the largest granary of Dien Bien Province with abundant rice fields next to the Nam Rom river.
4. Pha Din Pass
Located 1,000m above sea level. Pha Din means the earth and the sky in the language of the Thai ethnic group. The pass is full of twists and turns, one side is a upright cliff and the other is a deep gulf. Therefore, visitors will have a chance to enjoy the natural landscape in the north-west area.
5. Tham Pua Cave
Located in Bung Lao commune, Tuan Giao district. It is an ancient cave, deep and wide, about 1,000 meters high with many narrow paths. Coming here, visitors have chance to see in their own eyes a number of stalactites in various shapes which look like such animals as dragons, phoenix, lions, elephants, and beautiful orchids. The local people have found out many historical remains such as axe, stone pestle, and fossil bones. Tham Pua Cave is also the first Commanding Unit of The Dien Bien Phu campaign. It is the place where the decisive meeting for the Dien Bien Phu campaign was held on January 14, 1954.
6. Pa Khoang Lake
Locates in Muong Phang commune, Dien Bien district. Its position is very convenient, near the road 279, about 20 km from Dien Bien Phu city, linking Dien Bien Phu city with Muong Phang historical and cultural forest where the relics of the Command of Dien Bien Phu campaign remains. The lake is lying in the centre of ranges of mountains, in a place of beautiful natural sceneries.
In spring, mist covers the mountains and small houses which create a mysterious picture. In summer, the weather is quite nice with blows of cool wind. Visitors can enjoy the natural beauty in the distance or row a boat for sight-seeing. All makes a peaceful and romantic picture that is attractive to visitors and tourists. In the lake region, there are the villages of Thai and Kho Mu ethnic groups who still follow traditional customs and habits of ethnic groups in the North West of Vietnam.
7. Hoang Cong Chat Temple
Built in the centre of the Ban Phu Citadel (Chieng Le Citedal) to worship Hoang descent line and 6 leaders of the insurgent army. It is an important cultural and historical relic in the local to worship the great devotion of Hoang Cong Chat general, a farmer hero, who was born in Thai Binh province, in the resistance war to protect Muong Thanh (Muong Then) from the occupation of Phe enemy. Besides, the temple is also a worshipping place of the local people on the full-moon day, the New Year festival, especially in the traditional festival on the 24 - 25 of the second month of every lunar year.
8. Muong Phang Cherry Blossom Garden
In the middle of Pá Khoang lake, on a small, beautiful island is the Cherry Blossom paradise with thousands of colorful cherry trees blooming among the thousands of greenery of the mountains of Dien Bien, creating an extremely mesmerizing and captivating picture.
9. Hua Pe Hot Spring
Hua Pe hot mineral spring is located in Thanh Luong commune, Dien Bien district, 5 km northwest of Dien Bien Phu city. There is a large mineral water with a regular temperature of about 60°C, next to this, it is Pe Luong artificial lake which is year-round windswept, forming Dien Bien ecological hot mineral spa, one of the most attractive ecotourism destination with services such as convalescence and medical treatment that increasingly attract visitors near and far.
10. A Pa Chai border mark
As one of the most remote mountainous areas in the northwestern part of the country, A Pa Chai has border demarcation line of Vietnam, Laos and China, where one rooster crows and three countries can hear.
A Pa Chai junction has long been considered to be one of the most difficult and interesting destinations by those who love exploring because the road to the border mark on the top is still wild, difficult and dangerous. Coming here, visitors will be surprised and intrigued by the beauty of the adventures of the high mountains covered by the clouds all year round.
11. Xa Nhe Cave
Considered as one of the most beautiful caves in Dien Bien, Xa Nhe Cave has mysterious beauty, visitors coming here are as being lost in an interesting pristine place. With a length of 700 meters, the cave consists of five large and small compartments, on the domes are dazzling blocks with glittering lines which are sometimes soft and sometimes as flexible as the waterfalls. Each stalactite block is flowing with countless glittering particles. On the ground of the cave, there are “forests” of stalactites of strange shapes that attract visitors.
12. Pa Thom cave
Located about 30 km from the center of Dien Bien Phu city, Pa Thom cave is located in the middle of the mountain, famous as a beautiful cave, and is known locally as "the cave of flower fairies", with legends, myths about true love.
Crossing the small road, visitors will see that in the middle of the entrance to the cave, there is a huge rock like the head of the elephant hanging down. The cave has nine large arches with a lot of stalactites bearing lively shapes and fanciful colors. The walls are the emulsion as large iridescent waterfalls flowing. From the gate, zooming out, visitors will admire the landscape of wild nature, enjoy the fresh air and quiet space. The cave was recognized as a national monument in 2009.
In addition to the above highlights, Dien Bien also has many other beautiful landscapes and historical sites such as Men Village, Ten Village, Co My Village, Phieng Loi village, U Va Hot Spring, Tay Trang border gate, Ban Phu citadel, Hang Tom cave, Chieng So tower, and upland markets (Tả Sìn Thàng, Xá Nhè and A Pa Chải...)
Specialities Dien Bien
1. Dien Bien rice "Gạo Điện Biên"
Dien Bien rice is grown in fertile Muong Thanh field, irrigated with Nam Rom river carrying heavy silt, where the soil climate is very suitable so rice. As a result, Dien Bien rice has become a specialty of the Northwest mountainous region that is nowhere to be found.
Muong Thanh rice can cook lam rice, making a plug (something like sticky rice with broccoli leaves - an aromatic plant, which gives a sticky, fragrant, very interesting sticky taste), groin password (grain to bring to dry, when who wants to eat, rub the cooked skin again) and papa (like making sticky rice cake down) ... use it as a wedding ceremony.
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