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Dien Bien (Vietnam) Travel Guide (P3)

Dien Bien Dong

This district in the southeast of Dien Bien province has many high peaks suitable for mountain trekking trips. Chop Ly Cloud Hunting Peak is located 35 km from Dien Bien Phu City, where visitors can see the beauty of the mountain scenery combined with the cloudy sky. April through  September is the best time of year to go cloud hunting in Chop Ly. Noong U Lake, a 4-hectare natural lake surrounded by verdant mountains, is another feature of Dien Bien Dong. Tourists are drawn to the lake to take in the breathtaking surroundings.

In addition, districts such as Muong Cha, Muong Ang, Nam Po, Tua Chua... all have eco-tourism areas and destinations suitable for experiential tourism, such as climbing mountains or learning about indigenous tribes' lives. 

U Va hot springs

The 73,000 m2 U Va hot spring is situated in the Dien Bien district, approximately 15 kilometres from Dien Bien Phu city. The colder months of November through April are the ideal times of year to visit. Hot mineral springs offer numerous services to assist guests in de-stressing and achieving flawless skin.

It is best to soak in the early morning or late afternoon to absorb hot minerals. You can play tennis, cycle, play badminton, and listen to music from the Dao and H'Mong ethnic groups after taking a bath or other leisure activity. Entrance ticket costs range from 20,000 to 120,000 VND per person, depending on the service. The cost of a stilt homeroom is between 120,000 and 220,000 VND.

Thanh Ban Phu

Ban Phu Citadel (also known as Chieng Le Citadel) in the Dien Bien district, 8 km south of Dien Bien Phu city centre, was built 200 years ago. This location commemorates many noteworthy actions for the national hero Hoang Cong Chat, who represents the nation's strong unity in the face of foreign invasion. Despite being demolished in the 18th century by the Trinh army, the castle is nevertheless valuable historically, culturally, and scientifically. The citadel received the designation of national historical and cultural treasure in 1981.


Grilled chicken with mac khen

Mac Khen is a typical spice in the northwest mountains used to make grilled chicken here, which differs from similar dishes in many other localities. The chicken is grilled over charcoal; the fire is quiet. Adding extra fat is unnecessary when grilling because the chicken fat will naturally melt. When the meat is firm, add seasoning to the outside of the skin. Remember to dip it with Cham Cheo for full flavour.

Pa pinh top

This Dien Bien specialty dish has a strange name but is grilled fish such as carp, drift fish, and carp. After being cleaned, the fish is dissected along the spine. Ginger, lemongrass, herbs, and particularly mac khen and bamboo shoots of the Amomum plant, coated outside with rice powder and galangal powder, are among the spices marinated immediately and inserted into the fish's belly. I grilled a pa pinh top over a charcoal fire. To enhance the flavour of the fish while grilling, you need to clamp it with a bamboo stick so that the spices can seep into every fibre and release their aroma. The inside of the fish meat is aromatic, sweet, and dry after it has been cooked.

This dish was once mentioned by a famous American chef in the culinary program "Discovering Vietnam".

Braised duck with banana flowers

This simple-to-prepare dish is braised duck with banana flowers. Following cleaning, the duck meat is marinated in spices including ginger, chilli, lemongrass, and macadamia, wrapped in wild banana leaves, and cooked over low fire for around three hours. Dien Bien people often utilize long corn and wild banana flowers because the latter is sweeter, less lately, and less astringent. Despite its unappealing appearance, the dish smells wonderful when the layer of banana leaves is opened.

Ground pork steamed in banana leaves 

As the name implies, the dish is simple: pureed pork marinated in spices, wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed for around an hour to cook and prepare to serve. Fresh and aromatic meat is one of the key ingredients that contribute to the overall flavour of a dish. The pork's aroma and banana leaves make the dish basic but easy to consume and memorable. The meat sticks together and is tender and greasy.

Cham Cheo

Cham cheo is a traditional spice of the Thai people in the Dien Bien region in particular and the northwest region in general. The main ingredients are Mac Khen fruit, anchovies, salt, guava seeds, garlic, basil, herbs, chilli powder, and lemongrass... After the Mac Khen is cleaned, it is roasted. Crispy, then crushed, mixed with dried chilli, lemongrass, salt, and coriander to blend flavours. Cham cheo is used to dip sticky rice, boiled, grilled, and raw vegetable dishes.

Read more: The famous raw food specialties throughout Vietnam that not everyone has the courage to try

Top 14 “unique” dishes only in Vietnam

Come to Dien Bien to eat sticky rice with cassava, rice lam sticky rice with upland rice


Avoid going to Dien Bien during the rainy season because the risk of landslides is very high.

Due to the comparatively high cost of taxis in Dien Bien, visitors may consider using a motorbike or motorbike taxi instead of paying the whole fare.

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