Water Puppet Show, Hanoi

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  • zuyao's Profile Photo

    Water Puppet Performance

    by zuyao Written Dec 4, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    When in Hanoi, you must not miss the enchanting water puppet performance. Held nightly, the most convenient theater to visit would be the one just north of Ho Hoan Kiem. The performance starts at 5pm but make sure you make your ticket bookings earlier as some tour agents book the entire theater at times. The show is entirely in Vietnamese though.

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    Thang Long Puppet Theatre

    by cafank Written Nov 17, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Puppets in action on the water

    I loved this show and have now seen it twice and it was just as lovely the second time around.

    It is a short show (about an hour) and stories are told via the puppets on/in water.

    Well worth a visit. Do book as the theatre is only small and it fills up quickly. Don't worry about getting a front row seat though as you can lose some of the magic being too close to the stage - looking down is better than trying to look up.

    I especially loved watching the musicians on my second trip.

    You may have to pay to take photos so be aware if someone approaches you to tell you not to take photo's without permission.

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  • AKtravelers's Profile Photo

    Check Out the Water Puppets: Awesome!

    by AKtravelers Updated Oct 7, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Water puppet show in Hanoi
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    Today started out, as I mentioned yesterday, with water puppets!! Apparently, this is a traditional northern Vietnamese art form that's been around for centuries, highlighting peasant themes (which is probabaly why it survived communism) and some local legends (like the turtle and the sword). The puppeteers stand behind a decoratd curtain and use murky water to hide their submerged controls, moving the puppets with great skill accompanied by traditional music. The show is put on in the world's mustiest theater air conditioned by one small unit close to the stage. Luckily, we got fourth row seats so we got some relief from the heat -- the poor people in the top row must have swealtered. As it was, I could feel rivers of sweat run down my belly throughout much of the performance, especially given that I was seated between the two most overweight guys in the theater! In fact, Mike is over 300 pounds, and the little Vietnamese girl assigned the seat next to him looked less than pleased!
    That being said, the performance was masterful. These guys are good, which shouldn't be surprising as they've performed around the world in venues like Lincoln Center in NYC. The jumping fish, the rice harvesting, the turtle legend were all done with great imagination. In one scene, two brightly decorated long-necked water birds, danced and rubbed and kissed and intertwined necks until, voila!, out popped an egg. Yes, there was a sex scene!! Avian waterpuppet porn! Eventually the egg hatched to become a small brightly colored bird, evoking applause from the crowd. It was very cool, in a puppet sort of way!
    Beware: the water puppets are popular! The night before, we tried to buy tickets to a water puppet performance, but the theater was sold out so we left disappointed with tickets for Sunday morning (there's a sentence I never thought I'd write!).

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    Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

    by fachd Updated Oct 6, 2008

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    In Hanoi we went to see the Mua Roi Nuoc or Water Puppet Theatre. The show started with the musicians playing a Vietnamese folk song with traditional instrument.

    Through out the show I did not understand a word as it was in Vietnamese, therefore I couldn’t follow the story line.

    From visual perspective I think it’s fantastic. The puppets are very colourful. I found the puppeteers very skilful and clever of how they are able to move the puppets in different and accurate way.

    I think water puppet is a lot harder to operate compare to land puppet. In the Water Puppet Show there are many complex moves. Imagine trying to control and manipulate the puppets of using a long pole against resistance of the water. Also the movements have to be in harmony with the music. The complex movements from Water Puppet show, the scene of the frog, boy fishing, King Le Loi Legend of the Restored Sword. These are my favourite scenes

    Even though we didn’t understand a word we enjoyed the show because it was different and I respect the puppeteer’s skill. Where else can you see puppets show performs on water. They say if you haven’t seen Water Puppet Theatre you haven’t come to Vietnam.

    Watch my Thang Long Water Puppets Theatre video

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    Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

    by Rodan44 Updated Jun 6, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Water Puppet Performance

    The traditional art of water puppetry is unique to Vietnam, and the Thang Long troupe in Hanoi stages excellent performances nightly. Water Puppetry in Vietnam dates back at least a millenium, and performances depict typical scenes of life for rural Vietnamese. Traditional Vietnamese music is played to accompany the performance. The puppeteers manipulate the water puppets from behind a screen, and the puppets move around atop a pool of water (hence the name water puppets). Despite all the dialogue being in Vietnamese, an English program helps you to follow the many short storylines.

    Truly fascinating!

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  • Water Puppet Show

    by oerkenbo Written Dec 15, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Will definitely float your boat
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    You must experience this most interesting and charming cultural event. Tickets go like hotcakes and go there early! They were sold out 4-5 days in advance back in November.

    It's not just something to do while in Vietnam, the performers are superb by any measure. "Splurge" for the more expensive tickets at 40,000 dong -- or just $2.50.

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    The Water Puppet Show

    by Etoile2B Written Nov 12, 2007

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    One of the water puppets.
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    One of the major tourists attractions in Hanoi, as in other major cities around Vietnam, is the Water Puppet show. The theatre in Hanoi is conveniently located in the Old Quarter near the Hoan Kiem Lake. The cheap seats sell out fast, but the expensive seats are completely affordable at a mere 40 VND. If you have your heart set on the cheap seats buy your tickets in advance (think early the day of). There isn’t a bad seat in the house, but you may get splashed slightly if you’re sitting in the front. Seeing the water puppets is a delight and the music is live. The puppeteers manipulate their puppets while standing in knee-high water complete with pyrotechnics. You don’t need to be a kid to enjoy this show and it’s a great insight into Vietnamese arts and culture.

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    puppet show

    by izar Written Oct 3, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You only see tourists in the theater. Anyhow it is so nice , beautiful music and nice story. Kids also love it. You can take pictures, never mind to pay, hide the camera, they will not notice you are taking it inside.
    Take a jacket or sweater, it is very cold inside.

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  • pfsmalo's Profile Photo

    Hanoi III - water puppet theatre.

    by pfsmalo Updated Aug 3, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The scene is set...
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    An interesting evening watching the water puppets. These are worked by people actually in the water themselves, from behind a backdrop. The plays are based on different themes such as village life, birth of the nation, etc. and include some surprising fireworks. Cost is 40.000 dong (about 3$). Enjoyable for kids and adults.

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  • A must see!

    by emmanue113 Written Jul 4, 2007

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    The theatre
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    It was a pretty entertaining show. You can take photos (no one cares).

    Daily performances: 1600, 1715, 1830, 2000 and 2115

    Duration: 1 hour

    Price: 1st class (VND 40,000), 2nd class (VND 20,000). There's hardly any difference between the 2 classes because the theatre is actually very small.

    Location: Directly opposite Hoen Kiem Lake. (It is much easier to locate it if you go to the Lake and ask for directions from there).

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  • Mantus's Profile Photo

    Water Puppets!

    by Mantus Written May 30, 2007

    Water puppet shows are a traditional Vietnamese attraction. Even though I'd probably never attend a puppet show at home I enjoyed watching the water puppets. The show is actually entertaining and a unique Vietnamese experience. You can buy water puppets in any souvenir shop or the airport.

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  • pinoygypsy's Profile Photo

    water puppetry at the Water Puppet Theatre

    by pinoygypsy Written May 26, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    water puppets

    This type of puppetry can only be found in Vietnam. It's said that the skill (creation of water puppets and puppetry) is being passed on from one generation to another and only a few are adept at this. It amazed me to see such a unique version of puppetry and the intricacies of the show. Price for the show is VDN40,000 for front row seats and VDN20,000 for backrow seats. If you want to take photos during the show, you'll have to pay VDN15,000. I suggest you buy theatre tickets early during the day for the evening show as some people had to come back the following day coz the tickets were sold out.

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    Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

    by bumpychick Updated Apr 30, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We didn't really know what to expect from the Water Puppet Show! Basically it's like a standard puppet show but the puppets hover over a big tank/trough of water, and the puppeteers get wet feet! It was entertaining, the dragons breathe fire and rice sprouts from the water! However, it became a bit monotenous after a while. Far too many tourists as well.
    Shows at 8pm. Book early!

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  • Mr.Sparkle's Profile Photo

    Water puppets

    by Mr.Sparkle Written Feb 13, 2007

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    The water puppets in action
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    Certainly, it’s something different to do, but a lot of fun. Basically, its puppets and they are in the water. There is a live band accompanying the show with traditional music, so that's an added plus. The show is about an hour long, so its not huge time commitment. Spring for the good seats, it’s worth the extra dollar, but save your money on the extra ticket that allows you take pictures. It's really hard to get a good shot from most of the seats. You'll just we wasting your film, time and money. My pictures are pretty good, but I ran up to the front of the stage and snapped a bunch.

    FYI, the show starter is the most exciting part.

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  • KookieDough's Profile Photo

    Surprisingly Entertaining!

    by KookieDough Written Jan 27, 2007

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    At first, I wasn't really enthusiastic about seeing the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. Just went here out of curiosity because all the travel guide books and websites recommend this as a must see. And to my surprise, I enjoyed the show a lot!

    As soon as the music started playing, excitement filled the packed theater. The colorful puppets showed different scenarios of traditions, livelihood and customs of Vietnam. The whole program was presented in Vietnamese. I didn't understand a single word and, most probably, so did majority of the audience which were made up by Americans and Europeans. But what's amazing is that everyone was laughing and left the theater satisfied and smiling.

    I do recommend anyone travelling to Hanoi to see this show. It would also be good to get your tickets early as they sell out easily. They had two ticket prices - one for the upper levels of seats and the other for the lower levels. Even if the venue is just small, I still suggest that you get the seats nearest the stage. We got our tickets for 40VND and that's for the lower levels already. It is really affordable.

    It would be best to call the theater to check on the updated ticket rates and presentation time.

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