Explore the Vietnamese water puppet show in Thang Long theatre


Water puppetry is a special folk art created by the people living in Red River Delta in Northern Vietnam, dating back to the 11th century. During this time, the villages in Northern Vietnam usually had communal ponds, so that the villagers made impromptu performances by acting the puppets on the pond.

That’s why water puppetry raised a huge popularity at that time and became one of the most attractive forms of art among people in Northern Vietnam. Nowadays, water puppetry has been a treasure of Vietnamese culture and is showed at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi. This is an ideal destination for a Hanoi family package because children water puppet shows can draw the attention of both adults and children.

Vietnamese Water Puppetry

Vietnamese Water Puppetry

Puppets are made of wood and then lacquered to be waterproof and endurable. During the shows, puppets are controlled via a pole-and string hidden under the water surface by puppeteers standing in the waist-deep water behind the stage. The acting of the puppets on stage usually comes along with the singing of ‘Cheo’ singer who also tells the story of the play.

The puppet plays are usually about the daily life of rural people and folklore as well as the stories of legends and historical heroes. It shows a lot of things about Northern people’s culture, customs, and traditions. You can gain more understanding of local cultures by watching a water puppet show in your Hanoi culture tour.

In the past, water puppetry was a favorite entertaining art of rural residents. And through the water puppet characters, they want to express their desire for a better life of prosperity and happiness. Now, it becomes a valuable folk art that can reflect Vietnamese culture, traditions and history. It is an interesting way of entertainment for children and tourists.

Traditional puppet characters

Traditional puppet characters

In your Hanoi family package, you can watch the water puppet show in some places such as Thang Long water puppet theatre, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Vietnam puppet theatre, Bong Sen water puppet theatre. Among these addresses, Thang Long Water puppet theatre seems to be the only place that has the shows every day with different time.

Located on Dinh Tien Hoang Street in Hoan Kiem District which is very near Hoan Kiem Lake, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre has become a top destination for families in Hanoi. The theatre opens every day with about 5 shows per day. Annually, about 500 shows are performed to 150,000 audiences. The puppeteers in Thang Long are well-trained, highly qualified and very creative, bringing excellent and interesting performances in every single show.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Coming to Thang Long water puppet theatre, you can watch different shows and plays from the traditional ones to the modern styles. To understand the Vietnamese culture and history, you can watch the performances in the theme of daily rural life (cultivating, fishing, irrigation, etc.), communal entertainment (swimming, boat racing, dragon dancing, etc.) and historical legends and heroes such as legend of sword lake, fairy dance (about the tale of Lac Long Quan and Au Co). You can see a lot of typical characters in the plays with very typical clothes such as the kings, the queen, the farmers, the fishers, etc. Also, you can explore the traditional boats, flags, dresses, agricultural tools and even the horses, buffaloes which are presented in the water puppet shows.

Besides traditional plays, the creative artists in Thang Long theatre also come up with a lot of modern performances with music, light effects, and characters which can attract your children in your Hanoi family package. Sometimes, they even play the famous ‘Swan Lake’ from Russia or ‘Bullfighting’ from Spain with the water puppet style. You can find them very interesting and unique when it is played by the puppets on water.  

With the unique water puppet plays and the great location, Thang Long Theatre is top “where to go in Hanoi” destinations, together with Hoan Kiem Lake, Temple and Literature, Hanoi Opera House or Old Quarter. Before going to the Thang Water puppet theatre, you can go to their official website to check the schedule, time of showcase and the name of the plays. This is an amazing place for your Hanoi family package tour.

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