Hanoi Water Puppetry

Short Menu




History of Hanoi water puppetry


free walking tours hanoi

After the bamboo curtain, a group of no less than 5 people are controlling the puppets to present one of the most unique performance to the audiences. The viewers, accordingly, is watching the show with deep interest and attention. Hanoi water puppetry, according to some documents, has its origins from the Red River Delta in the north of Vietnam in the 11th century. Through history, the puppetry show has proved its to be one of the Vietnam unique folk arts that both domestic and foreign tourists cannot miss out in their Hanoi discovery trip.
Normally, a Hanoi water puppetry performance takes place in a small water pool which focuses on the daily life of people in the countryside with agriculture and the farm work. Moreover, sometimes, the content centres on historical legends about, for example, Hoan Kiem Lake or communal recreation like dragon dancing. For those living in urban areas and foreigners, watching the puppet show is an exciting opportunity to discover rural life, refresh and gain recreation for productive weekdays.


How to make puppets 


free walking tours hanoi

It is mysterious to many people about how the puppets are made. Hai Duong province located in northern Vietnam is well-known as the cradle that nurtures this kind of special folk art. Actually, it takes skilled artisans lots of time and efforts to create puppet character. Those craftsmen use fig wood soaked in water for quite a long time to create the puppets. First, they whittle and polish the wood to shape the character and then paint them by lacquers with different colours. The next thing to do is to drill a small hole on puppet’s hands to connect them to its body by a nail. Finally, after a puppet is formed, people attach it to a small pole or string for controlling. There are two sizes of water puppet namely the big and small one. The small puppet serves the performance in the theatre meanwhile the rest functions as souvenirs for tourists to mark their meaningful memory with Hanoi water puppetry. Due to the complexity of the work, patience and tactful hands are highly required to those puppet-makers. On a puppet show, puppeteers stand behind a bamboo curtain moving their puppet too and fro to feature them lively and vividly. Certainly, they have to put on a special kind of outfit to avoid the coldness and blood coagulation when they are deep into the water. 


Water puppet shows 


free walking tours hanoi

Established since 1969, the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater has gained its great reputation from many interesting puppet shows. It is the top choice for both domestic and international tourists who want to find out more about Vietnam traditional art. The theatre is in close proximity to tourists attractions such as Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter and many luxurious accommodations like Hanoi Sofitel Metropole or Hanoi Hilton Opera. Annually, the theatre serves approximately 500 Hanoi water puppetry shows and has a tourist arrival of around 150,000 people. In addition, the puppet show can be found the Lotus Theatre on Hang Trong Street or the Central Water Puppet Theatre on Trường Chinh Street. Thang Long Water Puppetry Theater is the only Asian theatre that performs water puppet shows daily. Hence, if you grasp a chance to visit Hanoi, let’s not forget to book a seat at this world-famous theatre to immerse yourselves in the must-see show of Hanoi water puppetry. The ticket is sold with a reasonable price fluctuating between $3 and $5 per seat and available for booking in advance or directly at the ticket room. However, tourists have to pay a small amount of money if they wish to take photographs or shoot the film of this thousand-year-old traditional art.


The cultural meaning of Hanoi water puppetry


Hold a slight difference from shadow puppetry in Japanese, Indonesia or the US, Hanoi water puppetry is shown at waist-deep small ponds with the aid of lights and music. It is considered as the cultural heritage of Vietnam depicting the rural society and shows people’s desire for a happy and peaceful life. Therefore, this long-established art form is carefully preserved and developed by the artists and. Along with other countries’ puppetry, Hanoi water one plays a certain role in popularising this special kind of folk art to the world. It is worth spending your weekend for an attractive Hanoi water puppetry show.