Con Son was home to Nguyen Trai (1380-1442), the famed Vietnamese poet, writer and general. Nguyen Trai assisted Emperor Le Loi in his successful battle against the Chinese Ming dynasty in the 15th century. Con Son Pagoda (admission per person/ vehicle 5000/15.000d) has a temple honouring Nguyen Trai. It’s a strenuous 600-step climb. Alternatively, loop past a spring through pine forests, and return down the steps.
Nearby, Den Kiep Bac (Kiep Bac Temple; admission per person/vehicle 5000/15,000d) is dedicated to Tran Hung Dao (1228-1300). Founded in 1300, the temple sits where Tran Hung Dao is said to have died. Within the complex there’s an exhibition on his exploits, but you’ll need someone to translate. The annual Tran Hung Dao Festival is held from the 18th to the 29th day of the eighth lunar month, usually in October.
Den Kiep Bac and Con Son are in Hai Duong province, about 80km cast of Hanoi. With your own wheels, it’s easy to detour en route to Haiphong or Halong Bay.