Dien Bien Phu is mostly known for having been the place of the decisive battle against the French in 1954. Nowadays, it is a growing city with beautiful surroundings. The ruins of the French defensive installations were rebuilt and are now opened to visitors.
Ban Phu relics & the temple of Hoang Cong Chat
- Him Lam Hill: Him Lam Hill was the location of one of the camps that was vanquished at the start of the military campaign, on March 13th 1954.
- A1 hill: this name was given to the hill by the Vietnamese army. Today, this name is immortal and is linked to the victory. A1 was the most important settlement of the French Army in Dien Bien Phu, where both the French and the Vietnamese battled vehemently. After 56 days of battle, the camp was retaken by the Vietnamese on May 06th 1954.
- The bunker of General De Castries: it’s the bunker from which General De Castries gave instructions. It was the bastion of the French General Staff.
- Muong Thanh airport: this airport played a crucial part in fueling the stronghold of Dien Bien Phu and came under control of the Vietnamese army early in the offensive. The airport has been modernized and is today served by Vietnamese civil aviation lines.
- C1, D1 and E1 hills: those were French strongholds that protected the central area where fierce battles took place. They have been arranged in order to allow visitors.
- The Museum of Dien Bien Phu: it contains many objects dating from the Dien Bien Phu military campaign.
- A1 cemetery: it’s the place where the heroes who battled in Dien Bien Phu are laid to rest. Among the notable people buried there: Phan Dinh Giot, To Vinh Dien and Be Van Dan, Tran Can.
- The command bunker during the Dien Bien Phu military campaign – at Muong Phang: it is located in the forest of the Muong Phang commune, in Dien Bien district, about 25 km on the east of the battle site. You can find a lot of historical relics, such as the command bunker of General Commander-in-Chief Vo Nguyen Giap and of Hoang Van Thai, or the house that the General used as his office.
The Ban Phu Citadel is found in Nong Het village, at approximately 9km in the west from Dien Bien Phu. It is an architectural wonder of the Hoang Dynasty, occupying around 80ha of surface and at the back of Nam Rom River. Its base is made in a bamboo from Thai Binh province. In the past, elephants and horses were allowed to enter. The citadel is surrounded by a deep trench of 4 to 5 meters in width and has 4 gates, one in each direction, with high guard towers. The Hoang Cong Chat temple was built in the middle of the Citadel and devoted to the descendants of Hoang and 6 leaders of his army. Hoang Cong Chat, a great general native of Thai Binh province, led a resistance war in order to protect Muong Thanh from the invasion of the enemy Phe. Behind the temple, you can place of worship used during full moons, the festival of the New Year and especially during the traditional festival of the 24th
days of the 2nd
lunar month.Pa Khoang Lake
At approximately 25km of Dien Bien Phu is the commune of Muong Phang. The two notable sites there are the headquarters of General Vo Nguyen Giap, a huge hero in Vietnam, and the Pa Khoang Lake. It’s an ideal destination for ecotourism lovers, where you can walk freely and take part in various sports and outdoor activities. You can also take a rowing boat to go on the lake. The lake is surrounded by forests with a wide variety of orchids. The Thai and the Kho Mu minorities peacefully live there, in their beautiful stilt houses. Pha Din Pass
The Pha Din Pass goes through amazing landscapes: this 32-km road snakes among the mountains up to an altitude of 1000m. In local language, Pha Din means “Heaven and Earth”, as according to a legend, it’s the meeting point between the sky and the land. On one side, you can find the cliffs, on the other, there is a ravine. The legend says that a territorial dispute between the provinces of Lai Chau and Son La was settled by a horse race, the boundary currently separating the two provinces being the place where both horses crossed paths during the race.Tham Pua cave
This cave is broad and deep. Inside, you can find beautiful stalactites and stalagmites and also numerous limestone formations. This place served as a command base during the offensive on the French fortified camp in Dien Bien Phu. The old tower of Muong Luan
This tower was erected in the 16th
century. During the invasion of Laos by the Birmans, a group of refugees followed a pig that led them along a way bringing to a safer place. The stupa was built by Buddhists in remembrance of what happened.