CON SON & DEN KIEP BAC
These places are perhaps of moreinterest to domestic travellers than foreigners, but make good stops for a couple of hours en route to Haiphong or Halong City.
Con Son was home to Nguyen Trai (1380-1442), the fames Vietnamese assisted Emperor Le Loi in his successful battle against. Con Son pagoda complex (admission 3000d per person & 5000d per vehicle) has a temple honoring Nguyen Trai atop a nearby mountain. Its 600-step climb to reach it, so you’ll get some exercise if you visit. Alternatively, heading up through pine woods, and return down the steps. It’s a lovely walk if you keep your eyes above the litter on the ground.
Several kilometers away, Den Kiep Bac (Kiep Bac Temple; admission 2000d per person & 5000d per vehicle) is delicated to Tran Hung Dao (1228-1300). He was an outstanding general of renowned bravery, whose armies defeated 300,000 Mongol invades in the mid-1280s. perhaps second only to Ho Chi Minh, he is a revered Vietnamese folk hero.
This beautiful temple was founded in 1300 and built the site where Tran Hung Dao is said to have died. The temple was built not only for the general, but also to honor other notable members of his daughter, Quyen Thanh, who married Tran Nhat Ton, the person credited with founding the Vietnamese sect of Buddhism called Truc Lam.
Within the temple complex there’s a small exhibition on Tran Hung Dao’s exploits, but you’ll need someone who speaks Vietnamese to translate the information. The Tran Hung Dao Festival is held at Den Kiep Bac very year from the 18th to the 20th day of the eight lunar month.
Den Kiep Bac and Con Son are in Hai Duong province, about 80km from Hanoi. Id you have your own transport, you can easily visit on the way to Haiphong of Halong Bay. There are several hotels and huesthouses in the immediate area.