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Travel GuideFriday, 05/15/2009, 10:05

Discovering Dien Bien

Dien Bien is a province located about 480 kilometers northwest of Hanoi. Like Sa Pa in neighboring Lao Cai Province, it is also a well-known tourist destination in Vietnam’s northwestern region.<br>
Discovering Dien Bien

Discovering Dien Bien

Dien Bien is a province located about 480 kilometers northwest of Hanoi. Like Sa Pa in neighboring Lao Cai Province, it is also a well-known tourist destination in Vietnam�s northwestern region.

The province is also the home of the famous battlefield, Dien Bien Phu, where in 1954 Vietnam was liberated from French colonialists.

Today, minority ethnic communities are one of Dien Bien�s most popular attractions. Visitors can see typical highland stilt houses and observe the daily activities of the H�Mong and Thai people.

Dien Bien is most appealing during the second month of the lunar year (around March and April). At this time, Ban (Bauhinia variegata) flowers color the forests in a bed of white and locals begin to pick mac khen (a type of wild fruit). The fruit is also called �forest pepper� and its seeds are used to make a spicy sauce.

The seventh and eighth month of the lunar calendar (around September and October) is a time when mang lay (a type of bamboo shoot) comes into season. Locals eat the boiled bamboo shoots with cham cheo (a type of hot, sweet and salty sauce).

At Dien Bien Market in Dien Bien Phu Town, visitors can even try chit � otherwise known as �worm wine.� Local residents catch the milk-white worms on chit (a species of tree) and soak them in alcohol to make the wine. The special brew is said to increase one�s strength.

Other food specialties not to miss are the local pears and honey.

A trip to Dien Bien by car will take nearly two days from Hanoi and travelers can stay overnight in the town of Son La. The journey can be rather perilous in some places with steep slopes and bends in the road. In particular, the 32 km Pha Din Pass is quite treacherous consisting of several cliffs and precarious curves, so caution should be exercised when traveling through this area

(Thanh nien online)

 


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