Dien Bien Phu - is 474km from Hanoi. It is surrounded by mountains and is located in the Muong Thanh Valley. This valley is 20 km long and 6 km wide and has the shape of a heart. The Nam Rom River runs across the valley which is why the Muong Thanh Valley is so fertile.
The city is best known for the battle during the First Indochina War against the French settlers. The region was then the granary for the Viet Minh. The battle is known as the "Battle of Dien Bien Phu". It was the last battle in the Vietnamese war for independence. There are still many
sights reminiscent of this war, both inside and outside the city.
The city used to be called Thaeng. The capital of the province of the same name is a short distance from the border with Laos.
The city of Dien Bien Phu is also known for its high proportion of ethnic minorities; only a third of the inhabitants are real Vietnamese. It is normal to see immigrant women in traditional clothes, especially at the bus station. The night buses depart from here to, for example, Hanoi. These buses leave at around 5.30 pm, as the journey will take approximately 12 hours. There is also a bus to Muang Khua in Laos.
Dien Bien Phu is a colorful city, just like all its inhabitants: Vietnamese, Thai and H'Mongs. They walk through the city in their colorful clothes. They do their daily business. Carry their merchandise around town, shop at the crowded market, and they love xoe dance parties in their stilt houses. These people, with so many diverse cultures, are as different as their clothes. Yet they share the same warmth and hospitality with the tourists. Dien Bien Phu is a historical province and the nature is beautiful. The center of Dien Bien Phu is quite small and you can easily see everything on foot. There are also people who offer you a motorcycle ride, if necessary.
Dien Bien Phu is a useful stop if you are heading to other destinations in the province.
The mountain pass at the Border