The water puppet shows in Hanoi are enchanting, curious and charming and great entertainment for all ages on the Vietnam holiday. The musical stories portrayed at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre are the most revered and performed by talented actors and shows are accompanied by traditional folk music.
Water Puppet Show
The content of the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is intended to depict Vietnamese ancient legends, myths and folk tales with shows performed in a fun and humorous way. The shows rely on both animal and human puppets and include a show on topics like a fire breathing dragon dancing on water, a boy playing a flute whilst riding a buffalo, and the telling of the giant tortoise and Hoan Kiem Lake.
Over the years, the water puppet show in Hanoi has continued to change and update its topics. In the early days the shows concentrated on stories related the day-to-day life of villagers, such as children, romance, fishing and farming.
The tradition of the water puppet show was unique to regions of North Vietnam, but over time its popularity has spread and today it is witnessed on stages across the world. So, it can be a particular treat for travellers on the Vietnam family tour to see the puppet show performed in its original site, the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. Most of the shows are combined with a traditional Vietnamese pit orchestra playing cymbals, bamboo flutes, horns, single stringed guitar, wooden bells and drums. Plus, authentic operatic songs are played and tell the story being played out by the puppets.
The performances at the Thang Long Municipal theatre are acted out by puppeteers that stand in water up to their waist and concealed behind a screen. The actual puppets are operated using a large rod which helps to give the impression the characters are active and moving. Most of the shows are likely to include up 10 or 11 puppeteers. Also, the puppeteers train for up to three years to fully prepare for this type of show. Music is a major aspect of the performance with the instrumentalists in the orchestra pit shouting encouragement to the puppets.
The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre show is open to locals and tourists with several show times per day. A typical show schedule includes performances at 15:30, 17:00, 18:30, 20:00 and 21:15. Also, a Sunday show is held at 9:30. Tickets are relatively inexpensive at $3-$5 per show and purchased at the door or booked in advance. This is a very popular attraction which gets busy quickly. For this reason, it is practical to book seats in advance to help avoid the queues and making sure a 'first class' seat is available. Also, the front row can give a great view of the action, but there is a high change you may get wet. The very busy months are October to April which is when it is more advisable to book in advance.
Located in the centre of Hanoi by the Hoan Kiem Lake, the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is easily reached by taking a taxi from Hanoi's main station or the journey by foot is approx 25 minutes.
With such a fascinating experience for the entire family, make sure to see a Thang Long Water Puppet Theater show on the Vietnam private tour before leaving Hanoi.