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Phong Nha, Haiphong & Dien Bien Phu

Phong Nha



 
The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Palaeozoic (some 400 million years ago) and is the oldest in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park's karst landscape is extremely complex with many features of geologic significance, and many cave formations such as stalactites and stalagmites. The vast area, extending to the border of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, contains spectacular formations including 65 km of caves and underground rivers.
 
The Phong Nha caves are reached through a pleasant river journey starting in the village of San Trach. The visits include one cave that is reached through an underwater river, and one cave that is reached after climbing many steps into one of the karstic hills. Besides being the largest and most beautiful cave in Vietnam, the area has been used as sanctuaries for centuries. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Haiphong

 
A bustling port city on the Gulf of Tonkin, Haiphong is Vietnam's third-largest city. Despite its heavy industrial economy, the city does have several points of interest, including temples and pagodas (the Du Hang pagoda is especially nice), the Hang Kenh Communal House (intricate wood sculptures and stone carvings) and a colorful flower market.

 

Dien Bien Phu

 

Situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, this town has historical significance: It's where the French fought the last, losing battle that marked the end of colonialism in Vietnam. At the battlefield, you can visit a small museum, a monument to Viet Minh casualties and a memorial to the French troops buried there.