While we were on the ship, we booked a half day tour called ” Ba Ria: A Local Life Experience” of Phu My (pronounced Foo Me), Vietnam, on Monday, January 12, 2015.
Our visit included two temple stops – a local Buddhist temple and the colourful Cao Dai temple. We also visited two traditional Vietnamese homes to observe the rice making process, and the local moonshine process for making rice wine.
Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai is a mixture of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, with elements of other religions also represented in the design. The Cao Dai temple was founded in the hope of creating the ideal religion through fusion of secular and religious eastern and western philosophical principles.
Interesting symbolism was found throughout the temple.
Rice Paper Making
Making rice paper the traditional way is an incredible amount of work. The raw rice is ground into flour, mixed with water (and sometimes herbs are added for smell and flavour) and pushed through a metal sieve. The resulting batter is spread into large thin circles on a pot covered with fabric. It is then steamed for a short time, carefully rolled up and removed and placed onto bamboo screens to dry. After several days in the sun they are peeled off and placed into stacks.
Rice Wine Making
Rice is distilled into alcohol in large pots which are positioned on top of fires fed with wood and rice hulls. When the wine is finished, the pulp becomes food for the livestock and the ashes from the fire are used to fertilize the fields.
Of course we were able to taste (and purchase if we wanted) the rice wine. It was a lot like moonshine if you were wondering – very warming and boozy. 🙂 No, we didn’t buy any either LOL
I can’t remember if we were told the name of this temple, I just remember them calling it a Buddhist Temple. It was lovely, like all temples are, but this one was a bit unique in the outside garden areas. There were a few different sections where a stone path would lead to an opening with various statues and shines.
After all the sightseeing we were taken for a coffee/washroom stop at a grocery store/mall where there was time to shop if we wanted. Most tours provided more than enough time for shopping.