Dien Bien Phu
Dien Bien Phu
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12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Monday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
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12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Wednesday
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Thursday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Friday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles37 reviews
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Bill E
Brisbane Region, Australia127 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2013 • Couples
We arrived in Dien Bien Phu (DBP) on 30th April 2013 after several days travelling by long boat up the Nam Ou in Laos from Luang Prabang to Muang Khua. We took a van from Muang Khua to the border at Tay Trang (about 40 km away) and were met by our guide and driver at the Vietnamese border post.

We had a guide (Ms Trang) and driver arranged through the Muong Thanh Hotel where we stayed, and they were excellent. They took us on an extended tour of the Dien Bien Phu battlefield areas, and other sights in the surrounding areas including General Giap’s headquarters and the Rice Terraces. Ms Trang's English was good and her knowledge of the history and culture of the DBP city and province was exceptional.

We visited the well maintained battlefield sites around the town including preserved French trenches, bunkers and tunnels, and were able to walk freely in them (the extremes of health and safety concerns have fortunately not reached DBP) which was great for recreating a sense of the battle.

Just outside the city and missed off many tour itineraries, you can see and climb around the artillery pieces that opened the shelling by the Vietminh forces in March 1954. Nearby there is a huge, recently sculpted monument that in giant form depicts the efforts of the peasant workforce who hauled the artillery pieces through the jungle and up the mountainsides so the Vietminh forces were able to dominate the French army positions in the valley below.

A much less promoted attraction in the DBP area is the terraced rice paddies that are built into the hillsides in several places within 15km of the city. These are spectacular feats of “peasant engineering” and were a surprise to us as we had originally thought to visit similar terraces in Southern China until time ruled it out for this trip. The rice terraces warrant a visit to DBP on their own !!

We were pleased that we stayed in this area for the two days and nights as there was plenty to fill our time - battlefields, markets and nearby country areas. In that time we were fortunate enough to meet people who had had first-hand experiences of the great 1954 battle between the French and the Vietminh. One was the widow of a French Paratrooper who had had been in DBP throughout the battle and whose health suffered badly in captivity afterwards, and in contrast a Vietnamese woman visiting her daughter from Hanoi who during the battle had carried rice on her back from near Hanoi to DBP to help in supplying the Vietminh troops. Those chance contacts made our visit to Dien Bien Phu very special.
Written May 29, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

neilmL1048XH
13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2015 • Friends
A visit to Dien Bien Phu and a tour of the battlefield is a must for anyone with an interest in the history of French Indochina. The defeat of the French there was not only a turning point for the Vietnamese but it inspired national liberation movements the world over.
I flew from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu with Vietnam Airlines. The Flight takes about a hour and is a lot more comfortable than an overnight Bus. Flying in also gives you a good orientation of the topography of the valley. This was a factor in why the French chose to fight a battle here and why they were defeated. It makes you realise too that Dien Bien Phu is a long way from anywhere.
I initially looked into a a 3 day tour with various Travel companies but thought the asking price exorbitant for what was offered. It's much more economical to do your own bookings and hire a local Guide.
Upon arrival I caught a Taxi to our Hotel which was close to the centre of Town. Very straight forward, the cost was 20,000 VD on the meter.We stayed at the Ruby Hotel which was more than adequate. Nothing fancy,but it was clean,the beds were comfortable and the shower and wi-fi worked.
We met our local Guide the next morning and negotiated a itinerary and price. I must say our Guide was excellent and extremely good value.Included in the 3 1/2 days was a car/driver. Lunch and Dinner was also included and was arranged by our Guide.Note, this was very convenient as Dien Bien Phu does not have many Restaurants and English is not widely spoken. In many ways Tourism is still in its infancy here.
We then spent a fascinating and at times sombre 3 1/2 day with our Guide visiting the various sites around Dien Bien Phu. Despite the fact I already knew a lot about the Battle,our Guide, who spoke excellent English, added greatly to the experience.One of the many poignant moments was the visit to the French Memorial.Our Guide informed us that some of the families of the French soldiers bring their ashes here to be scattered as fulfilment of a dying wish to be near their friends and comrades.
If you like History,then you'll find Dien Bien Phu an interesting place to spend some time.
Written September 30, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nick
Melbourne, Australia48 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2015 • Solo
Because of my interest in the French Indochina war and the historical importance of Dien Bien Phu, I decided to include it in my motorbike loop through the North West of Vietnam. Since I lived in Ho Chi Minh City for one and a half year and one of the most important streets in the city is named Dien Bien Phu, I decided to look into the meaning. It grasped my interest that this small, dusty town near the Laos border was were the climactic battle of the First Indochina War took place.

Let me start by saying: If you want to visit DBP on your own, it's important to have some kind of insight in the historical importance and the relevance of the place. Read up on names of important figures, names of the hills and other strategic places beforehand, to provide yourself with some context once confronted with the actual sights. It will give meaning to what you're actually encountering.
Attaining this prior knowledge is recommended, because of the lack of (English) information provided at the sights itself. So if you're not part of an organized tour, don't expect there to be one available in the town. Same goes for English speakers, let alone qualified tourguides, to take you around the important sights.
Google around and at least read the articles on DBP by Robert Seals (part of his book).

I stayed in Dien Bien Phu for 2 days. On the first day I walked around the center of the city and visited nearly all the sights within walking distance (Victory Monument (on D1 Hill/Dominique), A1 Hill (Eliane), War Cemetery and the brand new Dien Bien Phu Museum). The four sights are extremely close together and if you start early, you can definitely add some more.
On the second day I rented a motorbike and visited General Vo Nguyen Giap's Headquarters, about 30k outside of DBP, in Muong Phang. Google Maps will provide you with the worst possible road, but there's an extremely smooth road right next to it, that's definitely worth the extra four minutes it apparently takes. So be aware of that before you set off!
On the way back, you can enjoy the peaceful scenery and there are quite a few war monuments you can stop and have a look at. In the afternoon, I visited the bunker of Colonel De Castries, Muong Thanh bridge and the French War Memorial. I also tried to get up Him Lam Hill (Beatrice), but couldn't seem to figure out how to do that.

For getting around, the Rusty Compass segment on Dien Bien Phu was rather helpful, since not a lot of information and guidance is provided. It also provides you with the GPS coordinates to drive to General Giap's HQ.

The highlight of my visit to DBP was General Giap headquarters. Even though it's quite difficult and relatively expensive to rent a motorbike for a day, ask at your guest house if they can help you out. Maybe rent the motorbike of one of the staff members. It's definitely worth it! Once you arrive in the area that once was used by the Vietnamese strategists behind the battle of DBP, it will give you more insight into why it has been so difficult for a Western country such as France (or the USA for that matter) to 'beat' the Vietnamese on their own territory.
Besides that, A1 Hill and the Dien Bien Phu museum were other highlights.

In conclusion, do your research and read up beforehand, to make visiting Dien Bien Phu on your own worthwhile.
Written December 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RoryE
Wandong, Australia524 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2013 • Friends
Having spent the previous 9 hours on a bus from Sapa we arrived at the Dien Bien Phu bus terminal where we were quickly dispatched to nearby hotels for an early night as next morning....5.00am would be the next bus to get to the Laos border and onto Muang Xay. The bus was a 24 seater but eventually contained 36 people and 2 geese and a roof full of goods. Leaving the border post in Vietnam was a short task....stamped out easily and back on the bus. Some distance later we stop for the Laos border post where we all have our temperature taken by a guard, then fill in Visa on Arrival forms, supplying them with a photo. The fees we reasonable except for us being charged an 8000 kip ($1.00) for the temperature check.....must have been for beer money. So eventually on our way again our 3 hour trip ended up 6 hours later at Muong Xay for an overnight stay. From here you can catch the next bus on to Oudomxay or better still avoid this place and travel by slow boat down the Nam Ou river heading to Luang Prabang over 2 days. Good luck
Written May 8, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

powrotydmk
Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam2 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2017 • Couples
Beware that with e-visa you cannot exit Vietnam through the border crossing between Dien Bien Phu and Muang Khua. The only exception is when you are leaving the country on the last day of your e-visa validity period. Otherwise, they just don't let you exit. Rather will point you to some other border crossing that allows e-visa (check the list online). You can take your bags from the bus, of course loosing all money that you've paid for the ticket and wait for any transportation back to Dien Bien Phu (bus about 11-12 or some car passing).
The officers are really narrow minded. With 2 days before the expiration date they won't let you go even though traveling to any other border crossing would take about a day, not to mention money. Even an extra processing fee cannot do the magic...
You have been warned. Cheers!
Written October 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

M-ALICE-mm
Darwin, Australia10 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2013 • Solo
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Dien Bien Phu. I went there specifically to visit the war sites (which I add are amazing), It is nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains. The Laos border is not far away. The people were very warm and friendly and only met one guy I didn't like after he tried to rip me off.. Not many there speak English, I found. I loved the street market and the food was superb. But having said all that, I reckon anymore than 3 days there would leave you with nothing new to encounter.

Getting there - I flew in from Hanoi. When I left, I took a mini-bus to Sapa which was absolutely spectacular. Many warned me in Hanoi not to take the us to Sapa saying the road was dangerous and nothing to see. The road was far less precarious than the tracks I previously took from Sapa to the China border, and the landscape along the way was continuously breath taking. A word of warning though, that road is absolutely not for those prone to travel-sickness. I was joking with the Israeli lad next to me that their must have been vomiting roster. Almost everybody had a turn at random at different seating positions.

One piece of tragedy on the bus ride. We picked up an elderly local who was coughing quite violently non-stop. I would be guessing it was TB. As he breathed, his lungs crackeled and was coughing up so much blood. The driver eventually put him off, but only after a torrid of abuse at him from the driver. A VN lady told on the mini-bus told me the driver was telling him to stop coughing or he would kick him out. With my limited VN language, I heard the driver say a few to the old man after he put him out.
Written December 7, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Benilille
Lille, France14 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
People are very cold, close minded, an old freak local hit tourist men on the back, historical sites are not very interesting, museum is very small and teach nothing else than vietnam is the best of the world... Street food is bad. Just an easy cross border city...
Written March 31, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nev Tickner
Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam300 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2013 • Solo
the trip to Dien Bien Phu city from Hanoi takes only 55 minutes and when the plane circles the valley to land ..... you get a sense of what it was like for the french flying into and jumping from planes into what American historian Bernard Fall called "Hell in a very small place". Like most old battle-fields it has a smattering of old relics, 3 manicured garden cemeteries and, most rare, a memorial compound dedicated to civilian casualties at a small village of Noong Nhai 3k from the museum. Sadly it is rarely visited by the official tour guides, despite its significance and beauty. On April 25th 1954 a refugee compound full of old men and boys was bombed by the French, killing 444 according to the sign at the entrance ..... the statue of a Thai woman pitifully hold the body of a dead child in her outstretched arms is a poignant reminder of the price paid by the innocent in war. The obelisk dedicated to the French troops is also one of only two such memorials to foreign troops in Vietnam, the other is an Australian memorial at Long Tan in Vung Tau/Baria Province in the South. However the most rewarding experience of a visit to Dien Bien Phu is the warmth of the people .... their hospitality .... their honesty and endeavor ... and despite it being the poorest province in Vietnam ... above all else their happiness.
Written April 24, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert H
Washington DC, DC340 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
The mountain scenery on the way to Dien Bien Phu is very spectacular. The city itself is really quite pleasant. Plenty of trees, and not so much traffic. Nice weather. There is a very pleasant monument on a hill right in the center of the city. Great place to go read a book and enjoy the sunset. There is a museum, a hill with preserved fortifications and a cemetery and monument right downtown. These are pleasant but underwhelming. However, to me the trip here made me feel how remote this area must have been in 1954 -- extreme mountainous terrain, covered with jungle and with numerous rivers to cross. Truly folly on the part of the French to think they could defend their supply lines across such terrain against a determined enemy.
Written November 17, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jamestankee H
Singapore, Singapore160 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2013 • Family
we reached DBP from muang Khua in the early evening after a 5 hour bumpy road trip at certain parts where road works are in progress. . A short walk outside the bus terminal are many decent guesthouses. otherwise one can walk down the main road towards the town centre and one can locate a minor street off the main road with plenty of lodgings and karaoke joints and cafes.Moving on towards town , we reached the victory monument located up a very long flight of steps . the view at night of the town and its roads from this point is breathtaking. The sculptures are in bronze and are huge depicting the victory of the Vietcongs over the French. As the winds are chilly in the nights, many locals enjoyed hot cups of coffee by the road side stalls put up by many drinks vendors lining the main road. There are many food stalls, market selling fruits and supermarket along the road and their pricing are very reasonable although some bargaining is needed to get a better deal.
Written December 18, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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