Dien Bien - The heroic historical place
In Northwest, we can easily catch the mighty mountainous beauty in almost provinces. Among that places, there is a place with the heroic historical stamp, of the places of historical interest, of the glorious feat of arms. That is Dien Bien - The heroic historical place!
With this Dien Bien trip, first is about exploring those historical places, the cultural identities of Dien Bien, there is another think of my father, the person who also has memories about Dien Bien.
To have the best experiences for this trip, we even bring our motorbikes from Ha Noi to Dien Bien, pass a long way to be in Dien Bien Phu city at the morning. I have some friends in Dien Bien Phu then the order of places in schedule is not the problem.
Pho is one of the best course I preferred, over to over province because it is easy to eat and also have a specified fever. After filling our stomach, now it's time to go.
We arrive to those Dien Bien Phu historical monuments as cemetery of city and historical hills. Standing in front of the cemetery, a places saved those belong to heroic martyrs, who lay down for Battle of Dien Bien Phu, I'm very appreciated. There are a lot of gravestones along the way to the monument, for many people show fought for nation, sacrificed and lay down. Burn an incense, a minute's silence in memory!
Standing in A1 battlefield, the place as Dien Bien Phu local people said that from the past 60 years, there consisted a violent struggle between French and Viet Minh. The place where below in my foot, there are thousands of Vietnamese soldiers who laid down, hole atop A1 hill, which resulted from the pressure of an explosion in Dien Bien Phu Battle.
That day, a lot of young soldiers 17 or 18 years old without fighting experience, rushed into the battlefield and laid down, what a losses and pyrrhic victory!
A cooked rice into the pawn before the general offensive, not sure to see later.
A victory of resistance against French, save in my heart!
We have a turn round to visit Dien Bien Phu Museum of heroic monuments, based on the A3 battlefield, one again to see what happened on those heroic places. Then we move to De Castries tunnel.
De Castries tunnel is not too far from the Museum, about 3-4km. There is a solid tunnel under the ground, splitting to many small rooms with specified functions. Many fences and blockhouses outside. As the tour guide says that De Castries is one of the genius from French in that time, took the mission for Indochina War but was defeated by Viet Minh. After Liberation day, he wanted to visit Vietnam, visit Dien Bien Phu again but couldn't, no longer see again his past, a past in Vietnam.
From Dien Bien Phu, we start going to our next place of trip: A Pa Chai, to the Westernmost in Vietnam. We have to cross about 240km over Muong Cha territory, Muong Lay and Muong Nhe to come to Sin Thau village, such a long journey! We have lunch in Muong Cha after crossing the pass about 1:00PM, almost of us still have high energy for our first trip day.
From Sin Thau village, keep going about 18km to reach A Pa Chai frontier post. There is no people around here because of the frontier territory, 3D signal is also week because I'm using Vinaphone while most areas in Northern are supplied by Viettel. Following the local village's guide, we are in A Pa Chai frontier post at 8:00PM, contact to border soldiers to arrange dinner and sleeping place. Note that in peak season, you need to contact and book the rest place before coming.
On the next morning, we wake up early and finish our breakfast before 7:00AM, ready to start our A Pa Chai submitting, the zero border checkpoint. We cannot come here by ourselves unless the guide of leading by border soldier. Luckily we regroup with another group to reach 10 members group for a best group, the price for guiding is 600k/group. Now, let's start!
Near the frontier area, we turn left to a small way to forest, passing a small path in forest before riding on a cement lane along the mountain, about 6-7km to the motorbike park.
The Zero border checkpoint is the beginning border checkpoint of Vietnam, locating on La Khoang San mountain with 1864m in height, Sin Thau village, Muong Nhe town, Dien Bien province. This is not only the Westernmost of Vietnam but also the cross border of 3 nations Viet - Laos - China.
The weather becomes hotter and more sloping, a challenge for our stamina. Following the border soldier, passing the high level forest to reach the checkpoint, what a feeling am I! In my opinion, A Pa Chai is easier than Pha Luong, the way is smoother. It took me about 2 hours and 30 minutes to submit the A Pa Chai peak, there is a neat border checkpoint.
From Vietnam side, there is a small way to go. From China side, there is a big stair way to go. And from Laos, I don't see anything. Talking to the border soldier to know more about this place, taking pictures with my group. And say goodbye to A Pa Chai!
There, that I finish A Pa Chai, the most difficult place in Vietnam and I also finish both crossing border points of three nations.
The next trip, return and Ta Xua journey, let's wait for it!