Phu My, Vietnam
Ba Ria: A Local Life Experience
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Approximately 3½ Hours
Located a short distance inland from Phu My Port is the untouched rural area of Ba Ria Province. This area has seen little in the way of urban development and many inhabitants continue to lead their lives the way they have for generations. You will visit a local pagoda and drive past the local market place for a glimpse of everyday local life. Next you’ll have the rare opportunity to enter the confines of a local home. As in nearly all Vietnamese homes, a series of altars stands proudly in memory of deceased family members. The owners welcome a visit from outsiders and are pleased to talk about their simple but traditionally rich lifestyle. For all Vietnamese, rice is the staple diet, but it can also be made into many different forms. Your next stop allows you to see the process of rice paper making and a distillery producing the local ‘moonshine’—a potent form of rice wine.
Finally, step inside a colorful Cao Dai temple. This religion was officially founded in 1926 and within a year the group had 26,000 followers. By the mid-1950s eight percent of South Vietnamese were Cao Daist. Founded in an attempt to create the ideal religion through fusion of secular and religious philosophies of east and west, Cao Daism is fascinating combination of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, native Vietnamese spirits, Christianity and Islam. Look out for the official Cao Dai symbol—the ‘divine’ eye—inset into the front of the temple above the altar.