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Dien Bien Province 

Capital: Dien Bien Phu City
Ethnic groups: Thai, H'Mong, Viet (Klnh), Dao, Glay
Highlights: Dien Bien Phu, Tham Pua Cave,Pa Khoang Resetvoir
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Tourist Attractions

Dien Bien Phu Vestiges

Dien Bien Phu, over 474 km Northwest of Ha Noi, is situated in the Muong Thanh plains and surrounded by high mountains. Dien Bien Phu was once the location of the battlefield where historical combats between the Vietnamese People's Army and the French Colonialists expeditionary Corps took place.
The valley of Dien Bien Phu was 18 km long and 6-8 km wide when the Dien Bien Phu campaign began. To date, the valley spreads over 20km long. On 20 November 1953, French paratroopers occupied the valley and built 49 strongholds in three sub-sections. After the victorious battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, almost all historical sites of this battle lying to the east of the Muong Thanh field, have been preserved in tact. Among these sites include artillery emplacements, remains of airplanes, the Muong Thanh Bridge, the command bunker of De Castries, Hill A1, and the cemetery. 
Following are a list of recommended places relating Dien Bien Phu campaign: 
The cemeteries in Hill A1 (644 tombs) and Doc Lap Hill (2432 tombs): This is the resting - place of Vietnamese soldiers who sacrificed heroically in the Dien Bien campaign. In Hill A1 lie the tombs of heroic martyrs such as To Vinh Dien, Be Van Dan, Phan Dinh Giot, and Tran Can. 
Hill A1: This height stands block the way to the northeast sub-section. It has a significant role, controlling the whole battle of Dien Bien Phu. During 36 nights and days, the fierce battle claimed the lives of 2516 Vietnamese soldiers. Only until the night of 6 May 1954 did Vietnamese soldiers win this decisive battle. Muong Thanh Airfield: This was the stronghold 206 and the central airport of the entrenched camp of Dien Bien Phu. Currently, this airport is renamed Dien Bien and becomes one of the destinations in the flight system of the Vietnam Civil Aviation. 
The Command bunker of the Dien Bien Phu entrenched camp: De Castries worked inside the bunker. The original shape and size, structure and arrangement of the bunker are kept intact. 
Him Lam Hill: On 13 March 1954, Vietnamese troops fought the first battle in Him Lam hill, which is situated to the northwest of the valley.
Doc Lap Hill: Vietnamese troops liberated the hill on 15 March 1954.
Hills C, D and E are well preserved. From afar, one can easily recognize the name of these hills. Atop Hill D1 stands the Dien Bien Phu Victory Monument. The Command post of the Vietnamese soldiers from January 21 to May 8, 1954: It is situated in a primitive forest in Muong Phang Commune. Here one will find the hut where General Vo Nguyen Giap worked and other huts for information and military operation discussion. These are the historical sites of the 56-day and night fierce battle of Vietnamese troops and people, which results in our glorious victory of Dien Bien Phu.

Museum of Dien Bien Phu Victory

The museum of Dien Bien Phu victory lies opposite the cemetery of Vietnamese martyrs in Hill A1, which is now in the centre of Dien Bien Phu City. The museum was built in 1984 in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Dien Bien Phu victory. By the end of 2003, the museum was upgraded and its exhibition sections reorganized. To date, the museum has five exhibition sections, featuring 274 items and 122 pictures, many of which are newly added, about the 8-year resistance against the French colonialists. The five sections have the following contents:
- The strategic location of Dien Bien Phu.
- The enemy's scheme at Dien Bien Phu.
- The Party's guideline regarding preparations for the Dien Bien Phu campaign.
- Impacts of Dien Bien Phu domestically and internationally.
- Present-day Dien Bien Phu.
Open time: 7am - 11am/ 1.30pm - 5pm. 
Ticket: VND5,000.

Dien Bien Phu Victory Monument

Located in the city centre, Hill D1 (Dominique) features the largest bronze monument ever cast in Vietnam, Dien Bien Phu Victory Monument with 12.6m high, and 120 ton weight is placed in the pedestal which is 3.6m high, 8m wide and 10m long. The monument is erected in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of this important battle in 2004. The monument features three Vietnamese soldiers standing atop the French garrison, one hoisting a flag, one holding a gun and another carrying a child holding flowers. On the flag is written the motto "Quyet chien, Quyet thang" (Determined to fight, determined to win).

Ban Phu Citadel-Hoang Cong Chat Temple

In the 18th century, Phe invaders from China occupied Muong Thanh region and garrisoned their troops in the Tam Van Citadel (or Sam Mun Citadel) of Lu people's lords (belongs to the present Noong Het Commune, Dien Bien District): Hoang Cong Chat - the leader of a peasant's movement in the 18lh century - cooperated with local troops to drive away the aggressors and liberate Muong Thanh. He had the Ban Phu Citadel built in the foundation of Tam Van Citadel to stand guard the national border. Ban Phu Citadel was built from 1758 to 1762 and covered an area of 12ha. In front of the citadel were deep ditch, and two systems of defence works, which were 3km long and approximately 2m high. The foot of the citadel was covered with clusters of bamboo. At present, a part of the wall of Ban Phu Citadel is restored so that visitors can picture the citadel of the past. After he died in 1769, Dien Bien residents erected a temple named Hoang Cong Chat Temple in the Ban Phu Citadel to commemorate his merit. The temple is now about 12km from the centre of Dien Bien Phu City.

Pha Din Pass

In the local language, Pha Din means heaven and earth, and according to local legend, Pha Din was the frontier between Heaven and Earth.
Pha Din Pass is located 1,000m above sea level. Climbing and descending the slopes with their many bends and deep gorges, amid such magnificent scenery, is an unforgettable trip.

Pa Khoang Reservoir

Pa Khoang Reservoir is located in Muong Phang Commune, Dien Bien District, 20km from the Dien Bien Phu City. Initially, Pa Khoang was just a stream. However, when irrigation works were built, the stream became a lovely lake with a system of drainage and watertight gates used to regulate the water running onto the thousands of hoctaraa of rice fields.
With a large surface area of 400 to 600ha, Pa Khoang charming scenery of pretty stilt-house mirrored in thetransparent water upon which some small boats slowly glide across. Pa Khoang Reservoir offers favourable conditions for a combination of eco-tourism and outdoor activities.

Tham Pua Cave

Located in Bung Lao Commune, Tuan Giao District, Tham Pua Cave is an untouched natural site. 
It is extremely large and deep, with a height of 10m, and it is comprised of many small crevices and tunnels. A big, even, flat rock stands in the middle of the cave like a large table. Stalactites in various figures such as dragons, lions, phoenixes, elephants and beautiful orchids hang down from the walls of the cave. Tham Pua is not only a cave of natural beauty, but also a place where stone axes, pestles, and animal fossils have been found. It was listed among the National Historical Sites and it is becoming an attractive place for tourism. 
Tham Pua was also the first Command Post of Dien Bien Phu Campaign (at the end of 1953 to the 18 January 1954). On the 14 January 1954, an important meeting of the Vietnam Army to carry out the plan "quickly attack and quickly advance" took place in this cave.

Festivals

Celebrating the Dien Bien Phu Victory

Every year, on 7 May, Dien Bien people hold a festival to celebrate the Dien Bien Phu victory (Every five or ten years, the State organizes a bigger festival with the participation of numerous guests inside and outside the country). 
Early in the morning, thousands of people in their traditional colourful costumes flock to the festival. The anniversary begins with a solemn meeting, reminding the victory of the Vietnamese people and army in 1954. After the meeting are traditional games that make the festival become jubilant and tumultuous.

Han Khuong Festival

The Han Khuong Festival is full of joy and creativity (in story telling and song content). The Thai people, and some other ethnic groups in the North-West, usually hold the Han Khuong Festival after harvesting their crops in the middle of the autumn and winter period. Cheerful games are often held in a spacious courtyard in the village. 
Young boys and girls build a stage that is 1.5m high and surrounded by wide-meshed bamboo lattice with only one entrance. The celebration games take place in the evening on the stage and in the fire kitchen beside the stage. Young boys and girls come here to sing, make friends and take part in competitions. They do not say goodbye to one another until the next morning. 
On the following evening, they continue singing and talking. Han Khuong Festival is held by the girls, and is, in fact, an opportunity for them to search for their future partners.

Hoang Cong Chat Temple Festival

24th- 25th days of the 2nd lunar month 
The two-day Hoang Cong Chat Temple Festival takes place annually in Ban Phu Citadel to educate people with regard to patriotism, national pride, and close cooperation between the lowland and the highland.
The festival opens with a palanquin procession and incense offerings, headed by a dragon or unicorn dancing troupe. 
Many sports competitions and artistic activities take place during the festival. Fascinating extras include such folk games as picking up the fairy peaches, catching the pig for taking the prize, con (ball) throwing, co pha (a kind of board games) playing, crossbow contest, pole pushing, and tug-of-war. Artistic activities, xoe dance and can alcohol drinking happen at night.

Tourist Information

IDD code: 84 - 230

Transport

Dien Bien Phu City is 93km from Muong Lay Town, 180km from Lai Chau Town, 150km from Son La, 474km from Ha Noi and only 34km from Tay Trang Border Gate (Lao Border). 

Air

Dien Bien Phu Airport is 4km from the Dien Bien Phu city-centre, along the road to Lai Chau Town, in Street 2, 
Thanh Binh Ward, 
Tel: 3824 692
Daily flights connect Dien Bien Phu with Ha Noi. 

Vietnam Airlines Booking Offices:

Nguyen Huu Tho St., 
Dien Bien Phu City
Tel: 3824 948, Fax: 3825 536

Bus

There are direct buses between Ha Noi (Southern Bus Station) and Dien Bien Phu, leaving at 6am and 8am.

Tourism Division (DCST)

Group 4, Muong Thanh Ward, Dien Bien Phu City. 
Tel: 3828 016, Fax: 3825 391

Tour Operator 

Dien Bien Trade Union Tourism Co., Ltd.

7A, 7/5 Road, Dien Bien Phu City 
Tel: 3824 841, Fax: 3824 319

Hotels

Hotels in Dien Bien
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Restaurant

Huong Rung - Vi bien Restaurant

285 Street 4, Dien Bien Phu City 
Tel: 3811 199

Lien Tuoi Restaurant

64 Street 22, Dien Bien Phu City 
Tel: 3824 919

Nga Luan Restaurant

145 Muong Thanh 1 St., Dien Bien Phu City 
Tel: 3827 117

Entertainment

Museum of Dien Bien Phu Victory

Muong Thanh Ward, Dien Bien Phu City 
Tel: 3824 971.

Him Lam Tourist Site

Him Lam Ward, Dien Bien Phu City 
Tel: 3811 999, Fax: 3811 369

Hue Pe Hot Spring

Thanh Luong Commune, Dien Bien Dist.

U Va Tourist Site

Noong Luong Commune, Dien Bien Dist.

Shopping

Ban Phu Market, Noong Het Commune
Centre Market 1, Street 13, Tan Thanh Ward

Post Office

Street 3, Muong Thanh Ward. 
Tel: 3826 479

Medical Services

General Hospital

Street 3, Muong Thanh Ward. 
Tel: 3852 217

Traditional Medicine Hospital

Street 3, Muong Thanh Ward.
Tel: 3810 120

Banks

Agribank

Muong Thanh Ward, Dien Bien Phu City 
Tel: 3825 784, Fax: 3825 745

 



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