Dien Bien travel information
Dien Bien Phu became famous the world over as the place the Vietnamese defeated the French army and ended colonial rule. 500km (310 miles) from Hanoi, it is a beautiful valley bisected by the Nam Youm River and surrounded by high mountain peaks. The area is 18km (11 miles) long and 4km (2.5 miles) wide.
Dien Bien Phu was chosen by French General Henri Navarre to confine movement of the "Viet Minh" guerillas. Yet after a siege of almost 2 months, it was the French who surrendered on May 6, 1954. Visitors can still find vestiges of the battlefields: trenches, bunkers, camps and bases on the hills. The old command post of General Christian de Castries was reconstructed to commemorate for the 40th anniversary of the victory in 1994.
The now peaceful and tranquil dish-shaped valley of Dien Bien Phu is home to about 60,000 people. The roads snake through the valley, bending around the forest-covered hills and creating many magnificent travel routes.
Dien Bien Phu is inhabited by Thai, Muong, Nung and several other ethnic groups who largely continue to maintain their traditional lifestyles. Traditional clothing is also usually worn, with women resplendent in their beautiful and colorful embroideries and the expensive jewelry. The area is good for trekking, and whole the region constitutes a paradise for sightseeing and photography.