Another highly recommended day trip from HCMC is to the Great Divine Temple of the Cao Dai religion at Long Hoa village, 59 miles (96km) northwest of the city. Founded in 1926, Cao Dai is an amalgam of Taoism, Confucism, Christianity and Islam and its holiest place of worship reflects this diverse mix of influences. Around 3 million worshippers come here annually, dressed in white or coloured robes, to participate in the ceremony held at noon each day. Visitors are welcome to watch from the balcony, which yields a jaw-dropping view of the elaborately decorated Prayer Hall, with its polychrome pillars and dramatic ‘Altar of the All-Seeing Eye’.

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