Visit Muong Phang relic site in Dien Bien

Nga Do
Muong Phang historical relic site, in Muong Phang commune, Dien Bien district, used to be the command post of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign, where General Vo Nguyen Giap commanded the campaign. Muong Phang commune in Dien Bien district was the headquarters of the Command Committee of the Dien Bien Phu campaign 60 years ago. Every square meter of Muong Phang contains memories between local villagers and General Vo Nguyen Giap, the Commander in Chief of the historic campaign.

Muong Phang is 30 km east of Dien Bien city. But getting there takes two hours by car because the road is winding and hilly, although the landscapes are picturesque. Time passes quickly when the guide begins to tell tourists about the insurrection of peasant Hoang Cong Chat in the 18th century against the Le and Trinh royal troops. Two centuries later, Muong Phang was the headquarters of the Command Committee of the Dien Bien Phu campaign and General Vo Nguyen Giap. Located at 1,000 meters above sea level, the HQ in the jungle still remains intact. For locals, it is a sacred forest that they must preserve. They call the forest "the General’s Forest" and nickname General Vo Nguyen Giap the "patriarch" of their village and his shelter "the House of the Patriarch." Behind the shelter is Pu Ca hill, whose top is the best place to see the panorama of Dien Bien city, Muong Thanh valley and former bases of the French army including the hills called Him Lam, Doc Lap, D1, C1, and A1 and the famous Muong Thanh bridge. General Vo Nguyen Giap and his Chief of Staff Hoang Van Thai lived in a house next to a 320-meter long tunnel which is hidden inside a hill to avoid enemy shelling.

Relics of the Command Committee of the Dien Bien Phu campaign include watchtower No 1, an information and communications tunnel, a monitoring station, the work place of Vo Nguyen Giap and Hoang Van Thai, a meeting hall, and the Politburo tunnel. Phan Thi Hong Ha is a visitor from Da Nang: "The revolutionary poet To Huu wrote: The forest protects soldiers, the forest also encircles the enemy. The General chose this place where his soldiers were protected by the forest and its inhabitants. We admire and are very proud of what our ancestors did. It is incredible that a simple HQ allowed us to defeat a powerful army. "

60 years have passed but the remnant of the Dien Bien Phu campaign’s HQ and surrounding landscape have been well preserved by the people of Muong Phang. It is now a tourist mecca and a place for veterans to recall their memories of the battlefield.

If you're lucky, you may have an opportunity to meet Ms. Lo Thi Doi and listen to her stories about the campaign and General Vo Nguyen Giap. 60 years ago, Ms Doi mobilized the villagers to support the campaign: "I was aware of the victory of Dien Bien Phu through an official named Hac. We did not have the opportunity to say goodbye to General Giap after this victory. We met him 10 years ago on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the victory of Dien Bien Phu. This is my picture that I took with the General".

Ms. Doi still regrets not being able to go to the General’s house October 4th last year to pay a last tribute to him because of her old age. But all the other villagers visited his house in the forest to pay tribute to him. Ms. Doi says that without General Giap defeating the enemy, Muong Phang people couldn’t live happily as they do now. Lo Thi Chung is a Muong Phang local: “We love General Giap as our father and even more than a father because our father only raised us while General Giap had a great love for all people in Muong Phang. His contribution was great, greater than our father’s because he protected and liberated Muong Phang and Dien Bien. Without him, we don’t know how life in Muong Phang and Dien Bien would be now”.

Muong Phang people are very proud of having accompanied General Vo Nguyen Giap in the Dien Bien Phu campaign. Muong Phang has become the second hometown of the General. For Muong Phang people, the image of legendary general Vo Nguyen Giap, the great hero of national independence and the Dien Bien Phu campaign, remains etched forever in their hearts.

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