Water Puppets, Thang Long Theatre - review by Rusty Compass
Hanoi | see and do guide

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Water Puppets, Thang Long Theatre

| 16 Nov 2011
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Water Puppets, Thang Long Theatre
57b Dinh Tien Hoang St., Hanoi - opposite Hoan Kiem Lake near Ngoc Son Temple
+84 4 39364335
Many performances each day. Check times at theatre. Book early.
80,000VND - extra for cameras.

Our rating
16 Nov 2011

Water Puppetry is a lively and fun Vietnamese story telling form that dates back centuries. It originates from northern Vietnam’s Red River Delta around Hanoi. There are lots of performances each day and they’re right by Hoan Kiem Lake.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

A visit to Hanoi’s Water Puppets has been an essential inclusion on every group tour itinerary to the city since it first opened up its doors two decades ago. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid it. This is a light and enjoyable experience of Vietnamese folklore accompanied by traditional live music.

Water puppetry evolved around the small ponds in Red River villages over many centuries. The water is the stage and the simple theatre complex includes its own manmade pond. The live music, featuring a full traditional orchestra and singers, is as interesting as the puppets.

Performances consist of short lively folk tales of rural life with plenty of good humour. They’re especially popular with young kids.

As the crowds flocking to see the water puppets grow, the duration of the performances has been shortened. That’s not such a bad thing. 30 minutes is about right. The one hour shows of the past were a tad long.   

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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