PART 3. Dien Bien Phu
When we were planning our trip to Sapa and Mt. Fanxipan we hit upon the idea of extending our tour by taking in Dien Bien, scene of the decisive defeat of French forces by the Vietnamese in 1954. This epic battle brought about the end of France’s colonization of Vietnam and triggered America’s involvement in the region, which culminated in the Vietnam War.
Dien Bien is located very close to the border with Laos and although it looked close to Sapa on the map, the journey by car took 11 hours through stunningly beautiful rural landscapes.
Dien Bien seemed a quiet town. Dogs lay scratching themselves in the middle of the road, untroubled by the occasional motorbike or commercial vehicle.
The architecture was rather odd. Narrow three or four storey houses with lots of fancy embellishments.
The hotel was comfortable enough.
A number of the battlefield positions have been preserved.
Apart from the historic battle relics there is little to attract the foreign tourist but I did manage to pick up a couple of T-shirts at bargain prices.
Time to return to Hanoi.