Thang Long Water Puppet

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57B Dinh Tien Hoang, Hanoi, Vietnam - 844 38249494/844 38255450

Thang Long Water Puppet Hanoi Reviews

christl3 christl3
171 reviews
Interesting Experience Oct 31, 2012
We enjoyed the water puppet show.

We thought it would be unique and different to go see a show. Something you would not see in Dublin or Europe.

The prices are 60,000 Dong for second class seats and 100,000 Dong for first class seats. We were happy with our second class ones!

It also costs an extra 15,000 Dong to take photos which is madness! It was also very off-putting when all the flashes of people's cameras are going off during the show.

The structure of the performance consisted of a woman telling various tales of Vietnamese culture of old throughout the show. She would explain how the fan is used by women in Vietnamese culture to show their love for their romantic interests. Then a series of colourful puppets would come out onto the pool of water stage and dance to music.

It was fascinating to see a different art form. Apparently water-puppetry was invented by the Vietnamese farmers in the 10th century when they would be out in the fields. The show has won many awards and is a beautiful experience where you get to learn about Vietnamese ancient cultures that still exist today.
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coffeefairy coffeefa…
30 reviews
Interesting animation of Vietnamese arts Mar 08, 2010
One of the must-do's when going to Hanoi, Vietnam is to watch a water puppet show.

They only have one theatre in Hanoi for this, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.

Usually the hostels/hotels you stay at can get you tickets for this show (about 4 USD / 60,000 Vietnamese Dong per person). Our hotel said they ran out of tickets but apparently when my husband and I just walked in the theatre at late afternoon we got us tickets for the 9:15PM show and with very good seats (second row front the front!). I would then recommend that you get the tickets straight from the theatre itself, it's just quite accessible and easy, just go to the ticket window along the road.

The shows are all in the afternoon and evening. I think the first show starts around 2:30pm then every hour there'll be another. I believe the last show is at 9:15pm.

The show duration is about 45 minutes and is conducted in the Vietnamese language only. Everything is live, the music and song from the Vietnamese orchestra and the narration and dialogues from the puppets. The programme starts with a music prelude and then followed by 12 different acts. They give out free programme brochure at the theatre and it would be advisable that you get one (they have English, French and Japanese versions) so you can kind of understand and follow the scenes.

They indicate there that you need to pay extra 1 USD to use your camera for photography and 5 USD for video but I didn't really see anyone checking during the show so I am not sure if these fees are still applicable.

I like the ingenuity and artistic quality of the water puppets although it is becoming more obvious that they need to do some maintenance on their puppets because their paint are starting to wear off. I admire the skills of the puppeteers because I am sure it is not easy to do it.

The show is entertaining but there are times that it can challenge your ability to not fall asleep because well, unless you can understand Vietnamese language, everything sounds like a lullaby, hehehe :P My favorite part is the Fairy Dance and the end of the show where the water puppeteers show themselves :)
water puppet theatre
Fairy Dance - my favorite part
the water puppeteers take a bow
applause to the great puppeteers
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
ariwardani ariwarda…
83 reviews
A Nice traditional show Mar 25, 2009
Thang Long water puppet is a show that becomes a tradition for thousand years in North Vietnam. Because the show performed on the surface of ponds and rice-fields thousand years ago, it is also performed on the same way in the theatre nowadays.

The stage contains a small ponds with greenery water and bamboo curtains at the back to hide the figure of the player.

Tickets are sold in 2 classes:

1. First class, costs VND 60,000 (1 USD = VND 17,500)

2. Second class, costs VND 40,000

Performances take place all days of the week


15:30 PM - 17:00 PM - 18:30 PM - 20:00 PM - 21:15 PM

Sunday morning: 9:30 AM ( especially discount 50% ticket price for youngsters)

In the brochure it is stated that you have to pay VND 15,000 for taking pictures with camera and VND 60,000 for capturing a movie/video. Inside the theatre, everybody ignore this note and just take pictures and movies freely.

As I told you, you must be a tradition and culture lover if you want to see this show. Otherwise, it will be very boring for you and you will feel like wasting your precious and limited time in Hanoi/Vietnam.

For little ones, I am pretty sure that they will love the show because it is interesting to see the puppets appear and dissapear from the water, dancing and perform on the surface of the water, and so on.

Tips from me:

A. Buy the front row seats (A, B, C, D). At the back seats you will see nothing except people's heads in front of you.

B. Be at the place at least half an hour to make your chance bigger in getting the front row seats. The best is to book it online or through someone you know in Hanoi previously like I did.

C. Don't try to relate one scene to another because it does not have any relationship at all. The whole show takes about 45 minutes, covering 17 scenes:

1. Raising the Festival Flag

2. Chu Teu or the narrator

3. Dragon Dance: Four Dragons dancing on the surface of water

4. On a buffalo with a flute

5. Agriculture (planting the rice field)

6. Catching frogs

7. Rearing ducks and catching a fox

8. Fishing

9. Harvest festival. Returning to the native land after college graduation. A triumphant return of a new graduate to his native village aim at expressing his gratitude to the anchestors.

10.Lion dance

11. Phoenix dance (ended with having a big white egg, interesting)

12. Legend of the Restored Sword; King Le Loi after triumphing over Ming invaders, gave the magic sword back to a giant golden turtle who lived in the Lake. This legend is associated with Hoan Kiem Lake or Lake of the Restored Sword which is located in front of the Thang Long Theatre.

13. Children playing in the water

14. Boat racing

15. Unicorns play with a ball

16. Fairy dance

17. Dance of four holy animals

Enjoy the show!
The programme, cover.
The programme.
The first class ticket, only VND 6…
The "stage"
7 / 7 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
ariwardani says:
Thanks Kora!
Posted on: Apr 29, 2009
Koralifix says:
Nice review!
Posted on: Apr 29, 2009

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