Dien Bien Phu

Dien Bien Phu (Điện Biên Phủ) is a small town in northwestern Vietnam.

Understand

Dien Bien Phu was the site of a major French defeat in the War of Independence in 1954. The defeat signaled the beginning of the end of French rule; see Indochina Wars.

Get in

See

Although of great historical interest to military buffs, there are few, if any, sights as such. It is a useful stop and transport connection on the way to other destinations.

There has been recent refurbishment of the remains of the French defenses as more tourists are showing interest:

Eat

Sleep

Go next

Laos

The bus from Dien Bien Phu to Mheung Khua in Laos leaves daily at 05:30 and costs 100,000 dong. Be sure to get there even earlier and claim a seat although you will likely be sharing your seat with a local, or sitting on a pile of goods piled in the aisle. As a rule, the "bus is never full." Bring water and snacks. It takes about 2 hours to reach the Tay Trang Vietnam exit point, which is fairly straightforward. From the Vietnamese border station it is another 6 km to the Laos border checkpoint. Visa-on-arrival is available and costs US$30-40 depending on nationality. You can pay in dong, kip, or US dollars. One passport photo is required, but if you don't have one they'll take a picture for you for 2,000 kip. Everyone pays 3,000 kip to cross the border, plus a 2,000 kip 'H1N1' test (they take your temperature). So 5,000 kip, plus your visa charge.

From there you continue along the unpaved road to Muang Khua. Total journey time, including border crossings, was about 8 hours. You will have to pay 2,000 kip for a boat ride across the river (get some kip in change at the border station), but once across there are guesthouses and a place to exchange money at the top of the road leading from the boat ramp. You can take a tuk-tuk to the bus station (5,000 kip) and then connect to Odoumxai for 35,000 kip, 2.5 hours. You should consider taking the boat ride down the fairly narrow and very scenic Nam Ou River towards Luang Prabang, stopping overnight at Nong Khiaw where road travel is possible. Departures depend on whether there are enough people interested in going. Ask at the boat ramp.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 04, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.