Hanoi is where many cultural and artistic features of the Vietnamese people are preserved. One of them is the art of water puppetry, which is a unique artistic activity of Vietnamese people. The unique feature of Hanoi water puppet show is that the puppets will be controlled by artisans with strings and performed on a stage that is a water surface combined with sound, light and intimate dialogues, making the performance lively, splendid and rich in emotions. Each water puppet performance shows its own story but mainly focuses on the formation and development of Vietnamese history, culture and human life.

The art of water puppet shows in Hanoi has been preserved and developed until now. Thanks to this traditional art, Hanoi has become a tourist destination attracting a large number of visitors to come and visit this “thousand years of civilization” land. Refer to the article below to not miss this exciting performance.

Ha Noi water puppet shows
Ha Noi water puppet shows

From Folklore to Stage – Exploring the Rich Heritage of Hanoi Water Puppets Show

1. Water Puppets Vietnam history

Water puppets Vietnam history  dates back a long time, about 1,000 years ago. History records that the art of water puppet began to be popular during the Ly Dynasty, one of the most prosperous dynasties in Vietnamese history. In the past, water puppet shows were often held around flooded rice fields because agriculture is a typical cultural feature of the Vietnamese people. Therefore, these performances are often held after the rice harvest, or during holidays.

Today, this culture is still preserved and promoted more strongly by many Vietnamese people in terms of form, place and time.Typically, water puppet shows in Hanoi are increasingly developing and are known by many domestic and foreign tourists

Historical Depictions
Water Puppets Vietnam history

2. The Art of Puppet Making

Hanoi Water puppet show is the most unique form in Vietnamese theater art. One of the factors that make a water puppet show successful is the puppet. The art of making puppets requires the craftsman to be meticulous and skillful to be able to create beautiful puppets and express the nuances of each character that the puppet needs to represent.

The material to make the puppet is from a type of wood called Sung. This wood is very light so it will help the puppet stand firmly on water. The process of making a puppet is quite complicated. Initially, from those primitive pieces of wood, puppet makers will meticulously carve lines to form the shape of a basic puppet. Next, they will treat any areas of excess or rough skin. To color the puppet, people will apply a layer of gloss paint and then use decorative paint to make the puppet more lively.

Depending on the character, the puppets will have different appearances to express different character nuances. The vast majority of puppets have a humorous and witty appearance, but there are also some puppets with gentle faces. During the performance, the puppet’s body will float above the water so the audience can see their movements, while the lower base will lie below the water’s surface, keeping the puppet steady and also where the control machine is placed so that the puppet can move.

thang long Water Puppets
Thang Long Water Puppets

The flexible movement of the puppet will contribute to the transmission of the messages that the play is directed to the audience.

3. Hanoi Water Puppet Show Themes

As time goes on, the theme of water puppet shows becomes more and more diverse.

3.1 Folktales and Legends

This is probably a not too strange genre in water puppet shows. Since puppetry became popular, folk tales and legends are often chosen for performances. Some of the typical performances are the plays “Thi Mau goes to the pagoda”, “The story of the axes”, “Thach Sanh”, “Tam Cam” will definitely bring you wonderful experiences that are hard to watch in other countries.

Folktales and Legends
Folktales and Legends

3.2 Historical Depictions

Similar to the theme of folk tales and traditions, historical depictions are also not uncommon themes in Hanoi water puppet shows. Performances on historical themes aim to praise and acknowledge the heroes who fought against foreign invaders to protect the country. If you are someone who wants to learn about the fighting history of ancient Vietnamese people, here are some suggested plays for you: Mrs. Trung, Mrs.Trieu, Le Loi,…

Hanoi Water Puppet Show
Hanoi Water Puppet Show

3.3 Celebratory Performances

One genre you should not ignore is celebratory performances. Traditional water puppet shows are often performed to celebrate good harvests or important holidays. With the bustling and cheerful atmosphere of this genre, it will bring you relaxing and satisfying moments. Some suggested performances include dragon dance, palanquin procession, wrestling, boat racing,…

Regardless of the genre, Hanoi water puppet shows bring beautiful performances and entertaining situations to viewers.

4. Where is Hanoi Water Puppet Theater?

Experiencing the art of water puppetry at Hanoi Water Puppet Theater will make your trip to Hanoi more meaningful. You can refer to the following three Hanoi water puppet theaters: Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, Vietnam Water Puppet Theater and Lotus Water Theater

  • Thang Long Puppet Theater is located at 57B Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi city
  • Vietnam Puppet Theater at 361 Truong Chinh, Thanh Xuan, Hanoi.
  • Lotus Water Puppet Theater is at 16 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

The Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi has very unique water puppet shows and promises to bring you an extremely unique and interesting water puppet show. However, Thang Long Water Puppet theatre is the most famous theater when coming to Hanoi. Besides, it is also the place that has  the best water puppet show in Hanoi.

Where is Hanoi Water Puppet Theater
Thang Long Puppet Theater

5. Water puppet Theater hanoi tickets

The water puppet theater Hanoi tickets vary depending on the location and quality of service it provides. You can refer to below to find the best theater for yourself.

Show NameShow TypePrice
Thang Long Water Puppet TheaterVIP Ticket200.000 vnđ
Regular ticket150.000 vnđ
General ticket100.000 vnđ
Children <1m260.000 vnđ
Vietnam Water Puppet TheaterVIP Ticket50.000 vnđ
Regular ticket40.000 vnđ
Lotus Water Puppet TheaterVIP Ticket100.000 vnđ
Regular ticket80.000 vnđ

Ticket prices at Hanoi water puppet theaters vary but they are generally quite reasonable. Depending on your needs and conditions, you can choose one of the three theaters above to enjoy water puppet shows in Hanoi.

Water puppet Theater hanoi tickets
Water puppet Theater hanoi tickets

6. Water Puppet Show Hanoi schedule

Scheduling a Hanoi water puppet show is essential to make your trip go more smoothly. The schedule below will help you understand water puppet show Hanoi times

Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
SummerShow 116:10 PM
Show 217:20 PM
Show 318:30 PM
Show 420:00 PM
WinterShow 115:10 PM
Show 216:10 PM
Show 317:20 PM
Show 418:30 PM
Show 520:00 PM
Show 621:15 PM
Vietnam Water Puppet Theater
Whole weekShow 117:00 PM
Show 218:30 PM
Lotus Water Puppet Theater
Whole weekShow 114:45 PM
Show 216:00 PM
Show 317:15 PM
Show 418:30 PM

Note: Each episode lasts about 45 minutes

Hanoi water puppet theatres have different locations, tickets and  performance times. You should plan your schedule in advance to have the best experience watching Hanoi water puppet show

7. What to expect in water puppet shows?

Coming to Hanoi water puppet shows in theaters, visitors can expect majestic and fun performances. The art of water puppet shows is a cultural feature of Hanoi, so this type of art is increasingly invested in quality.

  • Understand more about the simple life of the Vietnamese people in the past and the heroic historical traditions
  • Enjoy music arranged by traditional ethnic instruments such as drums, drums, martial arts, etc mixed with the voices, dialogues, choir of artisans, creating bustle and excitement of this art form.
  • Much different from before such as: sound, effects, and lighting are increasingly refined to bring a wonderful experience to visitors.
  • In addition, drama themes are also becoming more and more diverse, suitable for many ages.
  • The vast experience of the artisans ensures a satisfying water puppet show for visitors 
  • Even today, many water puppet theaters in Hanoi also create conditions for tourists to observe puppets at close range and even let tourists try water puppetry. These things have made Hanoi water puppet show a place to visit if you have the opportunity to come to the capital Hanoi.
The Art of Puppet Making
What to expect in water puppet shows

These things have made water puppet theaters in Hanoi a place to visit if you have the opportunity to come to the capital Hanoi.

8. Tips for visiting the Hanoi water puppet shows

To fully enjoy watching water puppet shows in Hanoi you can refer to the following tips:

  • The water puppet theater in Hanoi is located in many different locations, you can choose any place that is convenient for moving. You can consider joining a Hanoi City Tour to be introduced more specifically about it by a local guide and, moreover, to be able to tour the entire capital of Hanoi in 1 day.
  • The performance times of Hanoi water puppet show are not the same so you can refer to the performance schedule on the table mentioned above or you can refer directly to the performance on websites of each theater to choose a suitable time.
  • Ticket prices for performances at water puppet theaters in Hanoi vary but not too much. However, this is an extremely unique  art that you should try once when you have the opportunity to visit Hanoi and guarantee not to waste your money.
  • When watching a performance, you should arrive on time so as not to affect other people’s vision
  • The best position to watch the Hanoi water puppet show is the front rows right in the center
  • If you have time, you can stay and have the opportunity to perform water puppetry yourself and listen to the artists share their experiences.
  • The shows are not too long, only 45 minutes, so they will not take up too much of your time on the journey to conquer this dreamy land of Hanoi. What are you waiting for? Schedule a visit to have wonderful moments with your loved ones.
hanoi city tour
Join Hanoi city tour

The capital Hanoi is one of the places many domestic and foreign tourists choose to visit because it is home to many beautiful landscapes imbued with traditional Vietnamese features. In addition, it also preserves many folk cultural and artistic values that have great spiritual significance for the Vietnamese people. Watching a water puppet performance will bring you new experiences because you probably cannot find this type of art anywhere except this S-shaped country. Moreover, if you are someone who likes to discover about the history, culture and people of Vietnam, the Hanoi water puppet show will help you learn in a more interesting way.