Winter 17/18 From Điện Biên Phủ over Sơn La to Phố Ràng

Our ride today: From Điện Biên Phủ to Sơn La. It was a nice warm day with lots of clouds but no rain. Lots of green on both sides of the road. To bad most of it was agriculture.

Monument
Another monument on a hill along the QL 12
Mountains
On the QL 279 in Tinh Lai Chau
Farm
And on the other side of the street – a farm
Tằng Quái Park
Tằng Quái Park – just another Theme Park in the mountains
Vietnamese Mountains
Mountains and a lake from the QL6
Mountains
Small fires everywhere – farming cuts into the mountains
Mountains
It does look a bit better on the other side but not really if you look at the mountains in the back!
Mountain Village
Another small village in the mountains from the QL6
Mountain Road
Quite some traffic here. Some poor animals on the bike in front of me

Nhà Nghỉ Đại Thắng in Sơn La

Nhà Nghỉ Đại Thắng
Nhà Nghỉ Đại Thắng in Sơn La – Our hotel for the night
Hotel Room
Nice and clean – a good room once again!
Hotel Room
The room at the Nhà Nghỉ Đại Thắng
Hotel Room
Things nobody needs – a TV and Closet
Bathroom
Everything you need!
Bia hơi
Fresh Bia hơi from an aluminium bottle to celebrate the last night together

Today’s drive:
We drove 159 kilometers in 4 hours, 51 minutes with gas and food stops.

From Sơn La to Phố Ràng

Mitsos took of to the south to get back to Ninh Binh. I continued the trip up North again

War Memorial
The fatherland remembers – hmmmm
DT 106
For the next hour the DT 106 was only dust. Construction everywhere.
New settlement
A new settlement along the road
Rice fields
If you look at the mountains in the back you can see lots of mud slides. Guess if you cut to much trees that is what is happening.
Rice fields
Must be magic when the fields are green and the sky blue
Rice fields
Fresh green
Rice farms
The next big slide and the house is gone
Rice fields
Blue sky please 🙁
Dam
Looking down the dam
Behind the dam
Not a lot of water in the river. What are the ppl doing that depended on that water?
Mountains
Looking down the valley
Low Water
You can imagine when there will be the next overflow. This is the end of the rainy season!
Road construction
Looks like this road will be wider next time
River
Guess the farmers are used to the low water. The plant all the way down to the water so they know there will be no high water for a while.
Mountains
Scars
Prepared Rice Fields
Baby Ducks searching for food
New Settlement
A new settlement with traditional houses. Strange – never saw something like that in Vietnam
Small Street
A small street leading to the QL 32
Rice Mountain
Rice eats forrest
Agriculture Mountain
Should look better when green
New Resort
And in all them fields somebody has to build a resort? OMG!
Rice files in the Mountains
Imagine green rice fields
Woman working on a steep field
Working on a steep field
Rice fields
Rice and more rice
Mountains
Rice everywhere
Agriculture Mountains
Only a few more trees left
Fields and Mountains
This is the green I was talking about
Sunset over the rice fields
Sunset over the rice fields
Mountain RoadThe long way home
Down the hills for a while
Pigs on a motorbike
Two pigs on a motorbike
Small village
This looks like a nice place to chill
Rice Field
I call it the Rice Field Road
Fields
Of course there is more – corn for example

The Nhà Nghỉ 27-7 in Phố Ràng

It was dark and raining when I got into town. Drove into it from a small side road and in the night a lot of those streets in little town look the same. So I went looking for a room and choose this one. I was tired and the room was OK for a night. Had a nice hot shower and some fresh cloths. Got some beer and crackers and called it a early night.

Nha Nhi 27-7
The hotel for the night: 27-7
Bed
Enough space for me
Hotel room
AC, TV, fan and a hot shower. Not the best place in town but OK for a night.
Bathroom
Look at the fitting combination. One for the sink and shower – saves a lot of pipes and $$ to mount. And it works!
Bedcover
Another one of those bedcovers. What does it mean? No clue 🙁
Olives with cracker
Olives with cracker – thanks Mitsos!

Today’s drive:
I drove 267 kilometers in 9 hours, 21 minutes with gas and food stops.

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A Day in Điện Biên Phủ

Điện Biên Phủ is famous for the important battle that was fought here between the Việt Minh and the French colonial troops. The victory of the Việt Minh ended major French involvement in Indochina and led to the partition of Vietnam into North and South.

Happy Greek
A very happy Greek after a good nights sleep

Vietnam Military History Museum

Vietnam Military History Museum
The Vietnam Military History Museum

The museum is housed in this interesting looking building. The entrance reminds one on the trenches of the Hill A1 opposite of the museum.
If you ever visit the place it is good to read up on the battle and why the French even put a base here. All the information in the museum is in Vietnamese only so you will not really know more after you visit it.

The masterminds of the batte
The masterminds of the Operation Casto with Uncle Ho (second from the left)
Việt Minh Soldiers
Việt Minh soldiers firering a machine gun at planes – I guess…

Indochina was a French colony until the beginning of the Second World War. With the defeat of 1940 and the strengthening of the Axis powers, the colony came under Japan’s sphere of influence. This influence weakened the French position of power so much that the Việt Minh could form as a political and military mass movement with the goal of national independence as the strongest political force.

The French colonial power tried to draw the communist Vietnamese state into a military conflict and thereby restore the colonial order by means of military superiority. Politically, the French attempted to establish the Republic of Cochinchina as a partially sovereign clientele state in order to create a non-Communist Vietnamese state and deprive the North of its legitimacy. The Việt Minh responded with a guerrilla campaign in the south. The Indochina War began on 23 November 1946 with the French bombing of the North Vietnamese port city of Haiphong.

Since mid 1950, the Việt Minh where able to bring their own armed forces close to the equipment and firepower of a regular army through Chinese support. The Việt Minh fought in large units with supporting artillery.

Operation Castor

The French military leadership wanted to give the war a decisive turnaround by destroying the Việt-Minh troops. To achieve this, the guerrilla units were to be lured into an open battle. To this end, an air-supplied outpost was to be set up in northwestern Tonking to attract the attacks of the Việt Minh. They decided on Điện Biên Phủ because they wanted to stop the Chinese supply going to the Việt Minh.

The French were sure that the Việt Minh was not able to get heavy artillery over the mountains and if so only a few canons and not enough ammunition. This proved to be very wrong and let to losing the later battle.

37 mm anti-aircraft gun
All transport was done by hand or bike – hundreds of man where used to haul only one of the Chinese supplied artillery such as 105mm howitzer or anti-aircraft artillery like this one.
Hauling a 37 mm canon
At last this form of transport is envoirement friendly
Explanation in the Museum
This is as good as it gets. Everything is in Vietnamese only. Makes it kind of “Up to You” what you take from your visit.
Road Builders
To get all the firepower into the valley you first had to carve out the roads in the mountains
Road Construction
Road construction like this I saw last in the far North of India
The famous transport bike
The famous transport bike used by the Việt Minh
Vietnamese Hill Tribe
Hmmm… Could be some guys with bikes transporting goods to the battlefield that got overtaken by some locals? Could be something else too
French Soldiers
The siege of the French garrison lasted fifty-seven days – red wine only 43 – go figure!!
Digging trenches under fire
Digging trenches under fire – the bast mat as a bullet protector. Interesting!
French field hospital
French field hospital: For 15.000 soldiers they had only two doctors and one nurse!
Vietnamese field hospital
Vietnamese field hospital: For about 50.000 soldiers they had only one doctor and 6 assistants
Việt Minh Fighters
The Việt Minh fighters are in good mood. Looks like the last guy on the left in the back is doing a line!
Vicory at Điện Biên Phủ
Why does this look so familiar?? The end of the battle on May 5th 1954 (only the southern outpost of Camp Isabelle fought till 1:00 of May 6th)

Eliane 2 or the A1 Hill

Up the A1 hill
Up the A1 hill
Barb wire at A1 Hill
Barbwire at A1 Hill
Some bunker
Some bunker
More bunker
More bunker
In the comand bunker
I guess this guy had some form of communication equipment and a chair before
In the bunker
Looks like another communication guy
Trenches and a bomb crater
Trenches and a mine crater

War cementry

War cemetery
War cemetery in Điện Biên Phủ
War memorial
War memorial
War Memorial
Everlasting thanks to the heroes of martyrs
War cememtry
The entrance gate
Dragon-fly dance
Dragon-fly dance
A bridge
A bridge – to close this day!

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Winter 17/18 From Sìn Hồ⁩ to Điện Biên Phủ

Today we started to drive South again. Starting on the DT 128 over the mountains with lots of mountains to see. Quite easy once you on the QL 12 which is a bigger road. It was hazy but dry with blue sky over us. A nice day riding towards Điện Biên Phủ.

Vietnamese Mountains
Lots of agriculture happening in those mountains
Mountains with a village
Many small farming villages in the mountains
Mountain Village
More rice fields from now on since we drive South again
Mountains
Not a lot of forrest left
Mountains
Agriculture everywhere
Mountain Rice Fields
Hard work to build rice terraces here
Green Mountains
Lots of original forrest left? Not really
More Mountains
Not that much if you look closer
Mountains
Almost all of nature gone
Monument
Another monument: Forever grateful to martyrs
Fisher
Looks like snail catching day. Note the helmet that the guy in the middle is wearing
Clear cut Mountains
Sad view

Điện Biên Phủ

Điện Biên Phủ
Điện Biên Phủ at sunset
Mitsos
To many stairs for the Greek
Monument
Still a few more to the top and the Monument of Victory
Monument
Happy family with a flag
Monument of Victory
The kid looks super happy
Monument of Victory
And a guy with a gun to protect them

Nhà Nghỉ Nhật Linh

That worked like clockwork again. Riding into town – took a right into that street and stopped at this place. Guess I liked the paint job? And we found a super place – as usually.

Nhà Nghỉ Nhật Linh
Nhà Nghỉ Nhật Linh
Hotel Room Nhà Nghỉ Nhật Linh
Our room at the Nhà Nghỉ Nhật Linh
Hotel Room
AC, Fan, TV, Fridge, Hot Shower – everything you need
Bathroom Nhà Nghỉ Nhật Linh
The bathroom
Pillow
Interesting
Bed
Walkway
Lets do something for the blind!
Vietnamese Restaurant
Lots of green at this place!
Vegetarian Food
Loooook – together with a cold brew – I love it!

Today’s drive:
We drove 160 kilometers in 4 hours, 40 minutes with gas and food stops.

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Book your room here please. No difference for you but I get a little bit of Coffee money 🙂 Thank you!

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