A fabulous show staged with exciting, live music and astonishing virtuosity of the puppeteers makes the Water Puppet Show very entertaining.
Take the first-class ticket at 40,000d (second-class goes for 20,000d) for seats closer to the water stage. Good opportunity for photography!
1. Raising the Festival Flag
2. Chu Teu (the narrator)
3. Dragon Dance: 4 Dragons dancing on the surface of water audiences
4. On a buffalo with a flute
6. Catching frogs
7. Rearing ducks and catching foxes
9. Harvest festival. Returning to the native land after college graduation. Triumphant return of a new graduate to his native village aim at expressing his gratitude to the ancestors
10. Lion dance
11. Phoenix dance
12. King Le Loi on boat/Legend of the Restored Sword lake (King Le Loi after truimphing over invaders Ming, gave the magic sword back to a giant turtle
13. Children playing in water
14. Boat racing
15. Unicorns playing with ball
16. Fairy dance
17. Dance of 4 Holy Animals
I, like many people had read of the Water Puppet Theatre before arriving in Hanoi. It was one of those things which you just had to go and experience for yourself.
There are three shows daily; one in the morning, one in the afternoon and of coarse a show in the evening. I decided on the one in the afternoon. Time of the show was at 2-45pm and the cost varied on where you wanted to sit. 40,000 VND for seats at the front of the theatre; 20,000VND for seats towards the rear. You also had to pay 15,000 VND if you wanted to take photographs during the performance.
The whole performance lasts around an hour or so and consists of a set number of scenes, (17 total). Out of these my personal favourites where; 3. Dragon dance; which as you may have guessed are dragon head puppets (with long tails and all) dancing on the water, each one shooting water at the other. 5. Agriculture; with animals farming and so on. 9. Harvest festival; this recalls the story of a boy returning home to his native village after college graduation. 12; this one features King Le Loi in a boat on Hoan Kiem Lake recalling the legend about the "Restored Sword". This is really great fun to watch as the sword is returned to the turtle.
I must also mention the musicians' to the left of the main area, they do a fantastic job of not only playing musical instruments but also of singing and creating an ambience that fits snugly with the puppets and their actions on the water. Not to mention the people who control the puppets by standing waist-deep in water the entire time of the performance!
The water puppet show is one of the must see in Hanoi, and tickets esp on night shows are sold out fast... For night show if you prefer on the front rows, it cost 40,000 dong and mid / back rows it cost 20,000 dong. They also have a show in the morning, @ 9:30am which is the one I buy, it cost 20,000 dong only on all rows, thus it depends if you are the one that book first , you can snag the front row.
The show last for one hour, theather is air conditioned, w/ fans as well. Previously when you purchase a ticket to the show, there is a free cassette tape, but now, they give away paper fans.
I like it, as the show depicts rural Vietnam scenes and a lot of folk tales. I was amazed by the skills of the people on the back scene manuevering the puppets, to dance, jump and make all those various scenes. The whole hour they are also standing in waist deep green water.
The following scenes done by the puppet are my favorites, out of the 17 scenes done:
1. Harvest festival. Returning to the native land after college graduation
2. Lion Dance
3. King Le Loi on boat four or the legend about "Restored Sword" lake
4. Boat racing
5. Fairy Dance
Basically, although it was necessary to pay more, we decided to just bring the camera in without paying - by just putting it in our bags.
So when everyone starts to take pictures of the performance, we tried doing so as well.
Turns out that, there's no one checking if the you've paid extra to bring in the equipment - so we could take photos without paying extra!
Perhaps most people paid extra already... so they didn't notice that we didn't. So we took quite a few photos in the theatre itself!
A unique Vietnam performance and definitely worth taking time out for. The troupe has performed all over the world. There's not much difference between the 1st and 2nd class tickets except for the distance from the stage, so might as well buy the cheaper ticket.
Official showtimes: 4pm, 5.30pm, 6.30pm, 8pm, 9.15pm
When I was there in Oct 2006, it was written at the ticket counter that the only show would be at 2.30pm but later, back at the hostel, I spoke to another tourist who told me he caught the evening show. Also, he was 'forced' to buy a 1st class ticket (he was told the 2nd class tickets were sold out) but when he entered, the theatre was only half-full. So it's something to look out for.
1st Class: VND 40,000
2nd Class: VND 20,000
Water Puppet show is recommended once you are in Hanoi.
40.000vnd / first class ticket ( mean your row is near the stage )
Presents of the Theatre used to be a CD of traditional music used in the show ( only for 1st class row ). But now change and I'm not sure what is that. :(
Show starts at 16.00, 17.15, 16.30, 20.00 & 21.15 and takes 45 min.
Sunday addtional performance at 9.00
This is the best water puppet shows in Vietnam. I agree as I show the other one at the History Museum in HCMC (Saigon).
The seats are not well designed - if someone large sits in front of you, you will have to stretch your neck. Of course, you can choose to stand at the aisle like me to get your photos and miss most of the show.
It is a series of short stories covering Vietnamese farming life and folk tales.
A must see. There are several shows a day and there is a first class and second class seating depending on your budget.
It is a unique puppet show that used wooden puppet to depict the daily countryside life and the legend of Hoan Kiem Lake using water as a stage. It tells a history and yet it is entertaining. You will be given a fan to cool yourself in case the sight of the water could not do the job :P. It cost about 20000VND(2nd class) and 40000VND(1st class). As it is considered cheap in the eyes of most tourists, sometimes you cant even get the 1st class seats. You have to book early.
Yup, this is a bit of a cheesy tourist attraction but I thought it was quite fun.
The art of water puppetry appeared in the Ly dynasty (1010-1225).
It was developed in lake and pond-rich areas in the Red River Delta. The surface of water serves as the stage while spectators sit at the edge of water.
The puppeteers both male and female stand waist-deep in the water to manipulate the puppets making them move about and even dance on the surface of the water.
The water serves not only to hide the puppeteers and strings of the puppets but also to create a trembling stage full of reflection, while providing natural amplification for singing puppeteers accompanied by percussion music and fire crackers.
Every puppet is a piece of real folk sculpture. It is made of wood, painted with water-proof lacquer. The prominent character is buffoon Teu with a plump body and a humorous smile. When the curtain is raised, the merry, arch Teu enters onto the stage and introduces the play.
A considerable repertoire of traditional water puppet plays still get a big hand from the audience. They include the Teu Dance, Buffalo Fighting, Duck Tender Chasing Fox and Chess Playing.
It may be cheesy but I thoroughly enjoyed it!
This was a really fantastic thing to go to! I loved it (although my friend fell asleep so you will have to make up your own mind!). The performers are extremely talented. The people that control the puppets from under the water are amazingly talented and the whole show is wonderfully choreographed. It would be incredibly hard to make everything run so smoothly from below the surface so full credit to them. The singers have mesmerising voices and i remember one Japanese tourist quickly fell in love with one of the female singers! The music that accompanies the show is quite beautiful and an audio tape is available for anyone interested in re-living their time there. Highly recommended!
If you want to gain only one piece of cultural background in Vietnam, go see the water puppets. Water puppetry developed over a thousand years ago in the Red River Delta. Puppeteers use bamboo poles to extend their puppets from behind the proscenium and up through the surface of a small pond that forms the stage. The stories are about daily life in the countryside and ancient tales such as the legend of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Shows are at 5:15, 6:30, and 8pm daily. First class seats cost 40,000d which allows you to sit within the first five rows and gets you a free CD of the music. The other seats are 20,000d.Get there early though as tours often make this a stop and they already have tickets. The water takes a toll on the dolls so after a few performances you can buy one both at the theatre or at a nearby shop.
One of the "must see" experiences in Hanoi is a visit to the Water Puppet Show. The action takes place in a pool with the puppets being operated by performers hidden behind screens operating the pupputs on long poles which are under the water. It has to be said that although he show is fascinating it is not totally mezmerising. However, I though that the music accompanying the show was great.
The puppets act out traditional stories often depicting lives of the peasants with mythical themes, which involve people, fish, birds and dragons.
If you pay for the VIP seats (40,000 dong - USD2.66) then you get a tape of music from the show and a souvenir paper fan.
When in Hanoi, my husband and I visited the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. This is a wonderful show to go to whether you are 3 years old or 33 years old. The performance is done in Vietnamese, but despite that its easy to understand what is going on. The puppets are brilliant and to think that people stand in knee deep water to operate these things makes you appreciate the show even more. The Vietnamese orchestra that accompanies the theater performance are wonderful. Also how could you not love a puppet show whose emcee has pigtails, a pot belly, and wears a loin cloth.
It´s an attraction included in all the tours. We were not shure about going to see the show, because we were thinking this could be a tourist trap, but it was Great. Great traditional music. This kind of show is original from the North Vietnam area. I really recommend it.
Seeing a Water puppet show in Hanoi is a must!. A live traditional Vietnamese orchestra provides background music during the show.. The songs are very touching of this unique traditional art of Vietnam.. You can find a theater along the river. I was too lucky to find a ticket just before the show starts (maybe it was because of the low season). So it is better to reserve a ticket in advance.. There are two shows every day and taking pictures allowed during the show.