The Muong Thanh Valley
The Muong Thanh Valley

Dien Bien Travel Guide, Dien Bien Phu

Dien Bien is a mountainous province in the North-West of Vietnam, 470km from Hanoi. Dien Bien Province shares the border with Laos to the West, with China to the North-West, with Lai Chau Province and Son La Province to the East. Dien Bien is famed for the historic Battle of Dien Bien Phu and for wild mountains inhabited by Black Thai communities. Dien Bien Phu nowadays is the name of the capital city of Dien Bien Province.

Adventure Travel & Ecotourism, Things To Do and Tourist Attractions in Dien Bien

1/Dien Bien Phu
Dien Bien Province is home to the Muong Thanh Valley, the biggest valley in the North West of Vietnam, where the famous battle of Dien Bien Phu took place for 57 days in 1954. The Muong Thanh Valley nowadays is the territory of the provincial capital of Dien Bien Province – Dien Bien Phu City. Visiting Dien Bien Phu, you’ll be on the ground of the famed battle which once shook the whole World. Lots of history lessons to be learned. A thorough tour of Dien Bien Phu takes 2 full days.

Dien Bien Phu from D1 Hill
Dien Bien Phu City from D1 Hill

 

French Commander Post, Dien Bien Phu Vietnam
French Commander Post, Dien Bien Phu Vietnam

2/Muong Phang
Muong Phang is a secret valley 25km northeast of Dien Bien Phu. The valley secretly housed the Headquarters of the Viet Minh during the Dien Bien Phu Campaign. Visiting Muong Phang, one can visit different function huts where decisions were made during the course of the battle.

The Operation Hut at Muong Phang Headquarters
The Operation Hut of the Viet Minh at Muong Phang Headquarters

3/Pu Huot and Pu To Coo Mountain Peaks
These two mountain peaks are next to each other but they require separate trekking paths. The top of these peaks were where General Giap of the Viet Minh observed the Battle of Dien Bien Phu with his binoculars. Climbing these mountains take at least half a day (4-6 hours).

The view heading south-west from Pu To Coong to Dien Bien Phu
The view heading south-west from Pu To Coong to Dien Bien Phu

4/Pa Khoang Lake
The serene lake is 6km from the center of the Muong Phang Valley with untouched forests all around. Having a boat trip on the lake at sunset provides some relaxing time.

The Pa Khoang Lake at Muong Phang
The Pa Khoang Lake at Muong Phang

5/The Tham Pua Cave
The Cave was where the Headquarters of the Viet Minh was located. The cave offers very scenic landscape in the front. The cave is in Bung Lao, Muong Ang District, 60km northeast of Dien Bien Phu.

Landscape near the Tham Pua Cave, Tuan Giao
Landscape near the Tham Pua Cave, Tuan Giao

 

Muong Ang Town
Muong Ang Town

6/The rice terraces at Tuan Giao
You won’t miss these rice terraces should you come to Dien Bien from Son La. They are right in the front of you once you have descended the Pha Din Pass.

Tuan Giao, Dien Bien
Rice fields at Tuan Giao

7/ The Pha Din Pass
The 32-km mountain pass between Son La and Dien Bien provides sublime mountain views from the elevation of 1,000m above sea level.

The new road and the old route on the Pha Din Pass
The new road and the old route on the Pha Din Pass between Son La and Dien Bien

How to get to Dien Bien Phu and how to travel around Dien Bien Province

1/From Son La via the Pha Din Pass (Route 6) or From Mu Cang Chai through Quynh Nhai (Son La) to Tuan Giao (via Route 279)
The Route via the Pha Din Pass is the route most travelers often take. The most beautiful landscape is found on the Pha Din Pass.

From Quynh Nhai (Son La) to Tuan Giao via Route 279 is less taken by most travelers, but the landscape around the Da River is quite scenic.

A long and steep incline on the Pha Din Pass
A long and steep incline on the Pha Din Pass

2/From Lai Chau to Muong Lay, Muong Cha and to Dien Bien Phu via Route 4D and Route 12
This route is often taken by adventure travelers who take the full Northwest Loop of Vietnam on a trip. The mountains and natural landscapes on the journey are splendid. The most beautiful parts are found from Lai Chau to Phong Tho and from Muong Lay to Dien Bien Phu.

Muong Cha Town
Muong Cha Town

Muong Lay
Muong Lay

 

A Black Thai village by the Nam Rom River in Dien Bien
A Black Thai village by the Nam Rom River in Dien Bien

 

Black Thai People in Dien Bien
Black Thai People in Dien Bien

AdventureGreen arranges adventure tours by car, mountain biking tours and motorbike tours which visit Dien Bien Phu and the former battlefields of Dien Bien Phu Battle. Those of you who would like to trek to the top of the Pu Huot Mountain at Muong Phang would need a full day extra.