Photo: The Dien Bien Phu valley.

Things to see and do

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7-5 Rd
T: (0230) 383 1344

Those on a group tour will probably be happy to have a guide around that speaks their language and can explain what they are looking at, as although everything has English and French captions, it's lacking a story to guide you through. Also, curatorial rigour may be lacking — a careful eye might detect some errors, such as the American military outfits passed off as French in one of the ... Read more about Dien Bien Phu Museum .

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Opposite the Museum
T: (0230) 382 6298

It was the last hill taken by the Viet Minh, marking the end of the battle, and was the scene of some of the most intense fighting, and loss of life. The hill was eventually blown up from underneath by the Vietnamese, so what's on display here is mostly a reconstruction, making it, by our reckoning, the world's largest, open-air, diorama in situ. Nevertheless, it does provide a vivid and ... Read more about A1 hill and Cemetery .

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Just before crossing the bridge, on the right, there is a stone plaque in front of what is now just a weedy hole in the ground, but used to be the bunker of Chief Artillery Commander Pirot. As the story goes, the moment he heard the first shot from Vietnamese artillery in the nearby hills, he knew defeat was inevitable and committed suicide. Whether this was out of despair at the inevitable lose ... Read more about Muong Thang Bridge and the bunker of De Casties and Pirot .

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Unfortunately, despite the rewards of the scenery and the friendly and inviting villages, without a map (which we couldn't find in town) or any guidance from the hotels or anyone else we asked, it's difficult to get the most out of this trip. Still worth it though if you're happy just to drive around without really knowing where you are or what you're ... Read more about Countryside around Dien Bien Phu .

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At the junction of Thanh Binh and 7-5 Roads stands a large statue high up on a hill overlooking the town and an impressive concrete freeze lines a wall at the base. No information is available as to the precise nature of this new monument — although one can assume — but it's an impressive sight and worth the walk up the 300+ steps for the views ... Read more about Monument .

Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Dien Bien Phu? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.

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