How to travel from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu

Dien Bien Phu is the capital city of Dien Bien Province. Dien Bien Phu is 430km from Hanoi via Route 32, Route 37, Route 6 and Route 279, and 480km via Route 6. The latter way has much better road conditions.

 Dien Bien Phu was the site of a decisive battle between the Viet Minh and the French colonialists which helped to change to course of the world history. Nowadays Dien Bien Phu is a popular destination for French tourists, war veterans and adventure travelers. Let’s find out how to travel from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu.

Muong Thanh Valley, Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam
Muong Thanh Valley, Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam

By private car: The trip to Dien Bien Phu from Hanoi by car can take you a whole day. Alternatively you can spend a night either at Mai Chau, Moc Chau or Son La City. The more popular but longer route is via Route 6 which travels through Hoa Binh City, Mai Chau (Hoa Binh Province), Moc Chau (Son La Province), Son La City.
The shorter route with not so good road conditions is via Phu Tho, Thu Cuc (Tan Son, Phu Tho), Phu Yen and Bac Yen (Son La), Son La City.

By local bus: There are several local buses departing Hanoi for Dien Bien Phu from the bus stations: My Dinh, Giap Bat and Yen Nghia. The bus trip takes 9-13 hours. All buses travel to Dien Bien Phu via Route 6. The one-way tickets cost from 250.000VND to 500.000VND.

By motorbike: Route 6 from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu is in good conditions. The road is flat from Hanoi to Hoa Binh City, then it goes up mostly. The road descends briefly at Mai Chau District (Hoa Binh Province) and goes up all the way to Moc Chau Town; this leg offers the most beautiful natural landscape by the roadside.

From Moc Chau, the road goes down for an hour, then it turns to be on a flat terrain till Son La City. From Son La City, the road goes up all the way to the Pha Din Pass, then it travels downhill and uphill... till Dien Bien Phu City which is in the Muong Thanh Valley.

It is more likely that the bikers will have (and which is recommended) to spend a night either at Mai Chau, Moc Chau or Son La before continuing further.

Alternatively you can take the less-traveled route from Hanoi to Phu Tho, then turn into Route 37 to pass through Phu Yen and Bac Yen (Son La) and join Route 6 at Co Noi T-Junction, then continue to Dien Bien Phu via Son La City as the former route above. This way is shorter than the former one but the road is not always in good conditions. The traffic is quieter though. It is necessary to spend a night at Son La City taking this way.

By bicycle: There 2 routes that you can travel from Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu City by mountain bike as mentioned above. The trip is arduous with a lot of steep uphill gradients that you’ll have to get off your bike and continue on foot. Along Route 6, there are quite a few downhill gradients that you’ll have to get off your bike too, as it is too dangerous riding downhill with unexpected blind curves along the way.