During your Hanoi travel journey, besides enjoying Vietnamese delectable dishes and visiting some well-known tourist attractions, enjoying Hanoi water puppet shows should also be on the top of your bucket list. This fascinating activity allows tourists to gain greater insight into Vietnamese culture through numerous traditional legends and historical tales.
1. What are the outstanding features of Hanoi water puppet shows?
- History of Hanoi water puppet shows
Around 1,000 years ago, during the time of peace and prosperity when people could freely organize and enjoy their cultural celebrations and traditions, Hanoi water puppet shows were first introduced to the public. Reflecting the rice cultivation civilization, a typical water puppet show in the past used to be performed at rice paddy fields, with performers standing in knee-deep water and controlling puppets on the water's surface. This unique form of traditional art was gradually spread throughout the S-shaped country and became an indispensable part of Vietnamese traditional festivals.
- Prominent features of Hanoi water puppet shows
The colorful puppets can be considered the essence of Hanoi water puppet shows. Most puppets are made from fig wood, which is light and floats better on water. Each puppet will take craftsmen a week to carve and paint. The body of the puppet keeps it afloat.
The typical themes of Hanoi water puppet shows are about the daily life of Vietnamese farmers (cultivating and catching fish), communal entertainment (swimming contest, dragon dancing), and historical legends.
2. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater: Offering the best water puppet shows in Hanoi
- Address: No. 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
- Show times: 3.00 pm; 4.10 pm; 5.20 pm; 6.30 pm; and 8.00 pm daily
- Ticket fee: 100,000 - 200,000 VND/person
Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, located near Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi, is the most famous place to enjoy water puppet shows in Vietnam. It was established in 1969, originally named Hanoi Kim Dong Art Troupe. The theater was honored by Asia Record Center to be "the only theater in Asia performing water puppetry continuously 365 days a year". Thang Long puppetry troupe not only serves domestic audiences but also takes part in numerous international art festivals held in Paris, New York, Barcelona, Helsinki, Sydney, Seoul, Bangkok, etc. Water puppet shows performed at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater will impress every audience with a typical artistic quality that harmoniously combines tradition and modernity.
3. Other recommended places to enjoy Hanoi water puppet shows
Besides Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, there are several places in Hanoi offering high-quality water puppet performances:
3.1. Vietnam National Puppetry Theatre
- Address: No. 361, Truong Chinh Street, Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi
- Show times: no fixed schedules
- Ticket fee: 120,000 - 200,000 VND/person
Vietnam National Puppet Theater is the largest puppetry art center in the country, with the aim of preserving and developing this traditional theatrical art. With over 60 years of development, Vietnam National Puppet Theater has always provided Vietnamese and international tourists with outstanding puppet and water puppet shows. Some famous shows at this theater are “Ugly Duck”, “Children's Moon”, “Rhythm of the Homeland”, “Spirit of Thang Long”, and “Wimpy Witch”.
3.2. Canh Dieu Water Puppet Theater
- Address: No. 19B, Ngoc Ha Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
- Show times: 9.00 am; 10.10 am; 11.15 am; 3.30 pm; 4.45 pm, 6.00 pm; 7.30 pm
- Ticket fee: 70,000 VND for children and 100,000 VND for adults
Canh Dieu Water Puppet Theater attracts a large number of audiences, since it is considered as one of the most impressive water puppet theaters imbued with Northern folklore. Each performance lasts 50 minutes, which is enough for international tourists to experience the water puppetry culture of Vietnam.
3.3. Lotus Water Puppet Theater
- Address: No. 79, Hang Trong Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
- Show times: 2.45 pm; 4.00 pm; 5.15 pm; 6.30 pm
- Ticket fee: 70,000 - 150,000 VND/person
Lotus Water Puppet Theater is an ancient building with French architecture, located in the center of Hanoi Old Quarter. Here, you will have an opportunity to enjoy numerous performances by many experienced artists and musicians from many traditional craft villages in the country.
Besides the above-mentioned theaters, you should also visit other tourist attractions in Hanoi such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi Old Quarter, Hanoi Opera House, Presidential Palace, Tran Quoc Pagoda, etc.
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At Vinpearl Aquarium, you can immerse yourself in a colorful world of the mysterious ocean. This place has set numerous records and is now home to almost 30,000 sea creatures. Meanwhile, VinKE is an ideal place for children to try their dream jobs while having fun with their parents.
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Hanoi water puppet show is a distinctive type of Vietnamese traditional art that tourists should not miss out on when traveling to the thousand-years-old capital city of Vietnam. Through a variety of traditional legends and historical tales, Hanoi water puppet shows will bring you a deeper understanding of Vietnamese culture.
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