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Destinations

DIEN BIEN

Dien Bien is a mountainous border province in the North-West of Vietnam. It is adjacent to the new Lai Chau province in the North, Son La province in the East and North-East, Yunnan province of the People’s Republic of China in the North-West with the 38.5km long border, Luang Phrabang and Phong Sa Ly provinces of the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos in the South-west with the 360km long border.
Thus the province owns its important position in terms of Security-Defence, traffic link between North-West region, other regions of Vietnam and Northern provinces of Laos and Yunnan Province of China.
 
The provincial city Dien Bien, 502km east of Hanoi, is connected with Red river delta and neighbouring provinces through National Roads No6, No12 and waterways as Da river, as well as air-route Hanoi – Dien Bien.
 
 
 
 
Area: 9,562.9sq.km
 
Population: 512,300 people composed of 21 ethnic groups, among which major people are Thai (38%), Hmong (30%) and Viet (20%), other ethnics include Yaos, Dzay, Tay, Ha Nhi, Lao, Cong, Si La, Kho Mu, La Hu...
 
Topography: Dien bien has a complex topography due to the effects of tectonic activity:
 
+ Mountains running northwest – southeast with elevation ranging 200-1,800m above sea level and with terrain lowering from North to South and from West to East;
+ Between high mountains are valleys, small rivers and streams, narrow and steep, scattered all over the province, in which the most important  is Muong Thanh valley with 150sq.km wide, the largest and most famous field throughout  the North-West region.
 
In general terrain is rugged and quite difficult  of access in Dien Bien. Only in Dien Bien basin and some of the plateau in Muong Nhe , Tua Chua ... the terrain is relatively flat , the remaining part  is  steep and mountainous, causing lots of difficulties in the development of production, infrastructure , especially transport and residential organizations.
 
Rivers: Dien Bien is located in the originating area of three major rivers of the province: Da river, Ma River and Mekong River, among  which the Da River basin stretching over Muong Nhe, Muong Cha, Tua Chua, Tuan Giao districts and Muong Lay town occupy an area of approximately 5,300sq.km, equivalent to 55% of the natural area of the province. Therefore the forests of Dien Bien have  a very important role in watershed protection, protection of large hydropower projects on Da River and regulate the flow to downstream areas.
 
Administrative organization: 10 units composed of 1 city (Dien Bien), 1 town (Muong Lay) and 8 districts.
 
Climate: The province climate is monsoon tropical in altitude with low temperature and few rain in winter, hot and heavy rain in summer. Average annual temperature is 21-230C, lowest temperatures occur from December to February of the following year (14-180C), from April to September average temperature is 250C. Dry season lasts from October to April of the following year.
 
Sights of interest
 
With favorable natural conditions like diversified topography, rivers, mountains, beautiful sceneries, Dien Bien province has great potential in developing its tourism. Many natural places surely attract tourists: Pa Khoang Reservoir, virgin forest in Muong Nhe, Muong Toong, Muong Phang Forest, Pa Thom Cave, Tham Pua Cave, hot spring in Hua Pe, U Va ( Dien Bien District), Sang village, Son La Dam. Especially, Dien Bien province owns many historic monuments and sites linked to Dien Bien Phu victory.
 
Pha Din pass, 32 kilometers from  Dien Bien province, is the longest pass in Vietnam. In local language, Pha Din means “Heaven and Earth.” According to a legend, to decide the border between Lai Chau and Son La provinces, locals decided to organise a horse-racing. Two horses started from each side of the pass and the border was determined at the point where they met each other. The horse of Son La province ran slower than the one of Lai Chau province so the pass on Son La side is shorter than that of Lai Chau.
 
 
 
Pha Din Pass holds an important and heroic part in history, so passing Pha Din Pass to Dien Bien would remind every Vietnamese the courage of Vietnamese soldiers at Dien Bien Phu in the past.
 
Above 1,000m high, the pass is full of twists and turns, one side is an upright cliff and the other is a deep gulf. So, climbing and descending the slopes with their many bends and deep gorges, amidst such magnificent scenery, is one of the most unforgettable tours in Vietnam to most foreign tourists.
 
The Command post of the Dien Bien Phu campaign at Muong Phang
 
Muong Phang, 40km from Dien Bien, was the command post of Late General Vo Nguyen Giap and his headquarters in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign. It is at 1,000m above sea level, completely hidden in a primeval forest with century old trees. Moving up to Pu Ca Mount, visitors can see the whole Dien Bien Phu town, Muong Thanh valley and all entrenched fortifications of French groups such as Him Lam hill, Doc Lap hill, D1 hill, C1 hill, A1 hill, Muong Thanh Bridge...
 
Together with the natural landscapes, the whole relic site of Dien Bien Phu Campaign Headquarters has been well-preserved and restored to attract both local and international tourists and also war veterans coming to see the vestiges of the former battlefield.
 
 
 
Pa Khoang Lake, at Muong Phang commune, nearly 20km from Dien Bien, is easily reached by Provincial Road 279. Pa Khoang lake lies in the centre of ranges of mountains, in a place of beautiful natural sceneries. In spring, mist covers ranges of 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 both domestic and international tourists coming here. 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.
 
 
 
Complex of relics of Dien Bien Phu Battlefield
 
Dien Bien battlefield is a historical site reflected the contribution of Vietnamese soldiers and people in the struggle against French colonists. Dien Bien valley is surrounded by mountains and hills in the East and  Muong Thanh field with 20km long, 6km wide throwing through by Nam Ron river. The most famous sites of Dien Bien battlefield are the hills A1, C1, C2, D1, entrenched fortifications Hong Cum, Him Lam, Doc Lap hill, Muong Thanh Bridge and Airport, the command post of French General De Castries.
 
 
 
Dien Bien Phu Museum, built in 1984, at the 30th celebration of Dien Bien Phu victory, is opposite the Hill A1 cemetery. It was upgraded in 2003 with five exhibition sections and covers the full nine – year struggle against the French, with 274 artefacts and 122 pictures arranged in different themes.
 
 
 
 
Martyrs’ Cemetery on Hill A1, located in Muong Thanh ward, Dien Bien city, was built in 1958, at some hundreds of meters south of the hill and is upgraded in 1994. This is the resting - place of 644 graves, among which 640 unknown soldiers. At the front gate two large walls bearing bronze soldiers’names arranged into provinces.
 
 
 
The Command bunker of French General De Castries: Lying in the heart of the entrenched camp of Dien Bien Phu, Command bunker of General De Castries is kept intact in the original shape, dimension, structure and arrangement of the bunker. In Dien Bien Phu entrenched camp, the command bunker was the place where Vietnamese troops fought bravely during fifty four days and nights to get inside. With twenty meters in length and eight meters in width, the bunker consists of 4 compartments, which served as both working offices and resident places. Iron vaults and sandbags still are on the top of the bunker.
 
 
 
Muong Thanh Airfield used to be served as the stronghold 206 and the central airport of the entrenched camp of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Presently, the name “Muong Thanh” has been changed into Dien Bien Airfield. This is one of the destinations in the flight system of the Vietnam Civil Aviation. Tourists traveling to Dien Bien by air will land at this airport.
 
The statue of Dien Bien Phu Victory is situated atop Hill D1, Dien Bien Phu City. It is inaugurated in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dien Bien Phu Victory (May 7th, 1954 - May 7th, 2004).
 
The statue of Dien Bien Phu Victory represents the images of three Dien Bien soldiers, standing atop De Castries’s bunker, looking at three directions. One of them holds a rifle, one a flag and one holding a child with a bunch of flowers. The words “Resolutely fight to win” are put in the flag under the suggestion of General Vo Nguyen Giap.
 
The casting process of the 12 parts of the statue lasted 153 days until February 19th, 2004. the statue weighs 360 tons.
 
In the afternoon of April 12th, 2004, the staff of the Central Fine Arts Company finished the installation of the statue after 45 days of hard working.
 
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