10 great places to watching best water puppet show in Vietnam
The “water puppet” is a traditional art form that typifies Vietnam’s old rice civilization. Puppetry activities are popular in many nations, however, this sort of water puppet display is exclusively seen in Vietnam. Water puppetry is a traditional feature of indigenous Vietnamese that has evolved in most of the villages surrounding Thang Long citadel and most of the wards in the northern delta provinces. Let us now explore water puppet culture and water puppet shows in Vietnam.
What is a water puppet?
The water puppet performance (puppet show, water play) is regarded an intangible cultural identity of Vietnamese, a traditional folk art form in the Red River Delta area that generally takes place on festivals, festivities, joyful days, and Tet holidays.
Water puppetry differs from traditional puppetry in that the puppeteer uses a water surface (also known as a puppet house or a water house) as a stage that is constructed in the center of ponds or lakes with balanced design resembling the common roof in Vietnam’s rural. There are backdrops at the rear, as well as a decorated flag, fan, elephant, parasol, and port…
The puppets are constructed of wood and are controlled by the people behind the font using a system of poles, cable, and so forth. It is backed by a drum set and a flute.
Each puppet is a folk artwork in its own right. Wooden puppets are carved with their own unique lines, then cut, polished, and colored to highlight the characteristics of each figure. Teu is the most noticeable figure; he has a round physique and an enthusiastic smile.
Teu emerges as the story’s narrator in a lighthearted manner. The puppet body is the portion that floats on the surface of the water to depict the figure, whereas the base is the submerged section of the water that supports the puppet above the water and is also where the puppet movement is controlled.
The ability to manipulate the puppet is essential in the art of water puppetry. The controller is buried in the water, utilizing water power to create the remote control, providing audiences with numerous weird and surprising moments.
In the cubicle, the water puppeteer manipulates puppets. They operate each pole or control puppets using a wire system set up outdoors or beneath water. The effectiveness of water puppetry is mostly determined by the movement of the body and the manner in which it performs the performance.
Water puppetry will be unappealing if it is not accompanied by music. Music regulates the speed by keeping time, directing the action, and creating an environment rich in ancient rhythms. Traditional folk or folk songs from the Northern Delta are commonly used as background music for a water puppet theater.
When did water puppetry come from?
Water puppetry, according to tales and historical belief, first arose during the construction of the Co Loa fortress during the reign of King An Duong Vuong in 255 BC. According to history texts, the water puppet play began in 1121 (during the rule of Ly’s Dynasty).
In the Vietnamese water puppet treasures, there are 30 traditional shows and hundreds of modern puppet shows reflecting the folklore and everyday life of the Vietnamese. The art of water puppetry is an indigenous cultural characteristic of Vietnamese, developed in most of the villages around Thang Long citadel and most of the wards in the northern delta provinces.
Currently, in Vietnam there are about 7 professional puppet art troupes in central Hanoi, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, Dak Lak, Quang Tri and Hoi An. In addition, there are also dozens of water puppet shows in many localities of the Red River Delta.
Here are the wonderful places to watching best water puppet show in Vietnam:
1. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, Hanoi
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre was established in 1969 and is one of the most famous water puppet theatres in Vietnam. This unique puppet art originates around the 11th century on the Red River.
Today, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is one of the traditional puppet theatres that is still opened until now, the wooden puppets of the theatre have become worldwide known. Since 1990, the theatre regularly organizes international tours and has participated in many art festivals around the world.
Puppets were performed on a lake that made the stage and the puppeteer dips themselves in water to manipulate puppets from behind the screen. The puppets are controlled by the underwater rods or very special wire systems.
The seats in the middle of the stage, in the front row seats are the best places to see all the performances and look at the puppets, but remember you may easily get wet there. Drop yourself in the ancient tales, the ancient legends and the shouting of crowds as the dragon or characters suddenly appear from under the water.
The show has a live band performing and be prepared to have a good laugh at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, which is well-known for its comedic repertoire. And after the show, linger in the romantic Hoan Kiem lake with a glass of coffee at the theater’s cafe.
Each show takes less than an hour long. It is advisable to book in advance as the theater is always crowded.
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is located in the Old Quarter area. The theater is open all day of the week and up to a maximum of 6 performances per day. Some shows also feature English subtitles on screen for international audiences. What is more, Thang Long Puppet Theatre serves performances on request as well.
Address: 57b Dinh Tien Hoang – Hoan Kiem District – Hanoi – Vietnam.
Schedule of performances:
Summer: 16h10 | 17h20 | 18h30 | 20h
Winter: 15h | 16h10 | 17h20 | 18h30 | 20h | 21h15
Sunday morning: 9h30
Each Thang Long water puppetry lasts about 45 minutes
Adult: 100,000 VND / person
Children under 1.2m: 60,000 VND / person
If using the camera, the surcharge is 20,000 VND / camera and is 60,000 VND / camcorder
Booking details: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Vietnam Puppet Theatre, Hanoi
Located in the area of Thanh Xuan District, the puppet theater on 361 Truong Chinh Street has long become familiar to Hanoiese, even is a hot spot that can not be missed for visitors whenever visiting or working in Vietnam.
With an area of over 7,000 square meters, the Theater has built a very distinct campus with its own unique art form. The general Theater is designed in Asian architecture that creates a space filled with pure Vietnamese culture. The arrangement, layout of reliefs displaying the images of living, working, of the ancient Vietnamese (Quoted in Henri Ojer’s “Encyclopaedia”) are very fun and refresh.
The theater has three stages: Outdoor Water Temple(nearly 400 seats) is a traditional water puppet stage. Water Temple is built on the lake in the middle of a vast space with wind, trees and the sound of nature. Adjacent to Water Temple is a green lake that is highlighted by the colorful flowers and leaves. The area is peaceful and stunning under the bending roof in shimmering light.
The new theater is built with modern equipment from sound, light to the surrounding area. In the theater, there are two stages: one performs puppet (2nd floor with 300 seats), stage 1 (nearly 300 seats) ) that perform all other forms of art (traditional water puppets, water puppets combined with contemporary art, variety …).
Next to this place is a museum showing the origins of Vietnamese Puppetry (especially Water Puppetry) and some puppet objects in different regions of Vietnam. There are also souvenir shops, entertainment area …that are very convenient for you.
The number of artists and civil servants is increasing, both in terms of quantity and quality, and professionally trained in Vietnam and abroad to meet all the requirements of art such as research, teach, creative …
Some typical performances such as: catching duck, pedophiles, fishing, quadruple dancing, flaming fire dragon, fairy dance, buffalo-fighting , yacht, phoenix …
Address: 361 Truong Chinh Street, Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Please contact to book and buy tickets:
Telephone of Ticketing Office: (84-4) 3853 4545
Performing time: 17h00 – 18h30 daily
Ticket price: Type 1: 50,000VND / ticket; Type 2: 40,000 VND / ticket
3. Royal International Park (Hoang Gia International Park), Quang Ninh:
There are two spots In Quang Ninh that visitors can come to see water puppet show. One is in Royal International Park (Bai Chay Tourist Area, Ha Long City) and the other is Yen Duc Village (Dong Trieu District).
The Royal Water Park’s water puppet show has the advantage of being located right in the Bai Chay tourist center, can attract many tourists. Facilities and tourist services here are invested quite synchronously, from performance stage to seat system, sound,… Besides, the orchestra performers are also extremely professional.
The Royal Dance Theatre has a capacity of up to nearly 300 visitors. Currently, the water puppet show serves 3 shows a day, at 17:30, 18:30 and 19:30 every day, each show lasts around 30-35 minutes.
4. Yen Duc tourist village, Quang Ninh
The water puppet show in the tourist town of Yen Duc is unique in its own right. Once you arrive, you will have the opportunity to appreciate this art form in the large and airy setting of a peaceful village. The stage is set outside, surrounded by orchards, rice fields, and other greenery.
The “artists” that perform the water puppet performance here are mostly village residents. Water puppet shows are now mostly done for tour groups, thus there is no set time for performances; all you need to do is call the administration center of the tourist town of Yen Duc to schedule your own.
5. Hoi An Theatre
The Hoi art form An extended water puppet show developed by skilled and experienced artists with a meticulous investment in the content of water, puppets, Light…, would enable you really enter into the creative space of Vietnam and Quang culture.
Address: Hoi An Theater, 548 Hai Ba Trung – Hoi An.
Adult: 80,000 VND.
Children: 40,000 VND.
Performance time: 18h30 on Tuesdays, Friday & Saturday every week.
6. Theatre, Hue City
The theatre has a permanent performing stage, and with its natural, spacious atmosphere and comfortable 162-seat stage, it is a perfect place to experience the art. The position is in the heart of the city, making it easy to travel about. There is also secure parking available.
In addition to regular performances, the theater offers water puppetry presentations from 7:00 a.m. to 22:00 p.m. The minimum number of visitors is one and the maximum number of guests is twenty. There will be a complimentary shuttle service for schools with more than 100 guests.
Performance time: The theater is open all afternoon and evening (including Sundays and public holidays). There are 03 performances (water puppet show):
Summer schedule: Show 1: From 15h30 to 16h30 / Show 2: From 19h30 to 20h30 / Show 3: From 21h00 to 22h20
Winter schedule: Show 1: From 15h30 to 16h30 / Show 2: From 18h30 to 19h30 / Show 3: From 20h30 to 21h30
Duration: 50 minutes
Address: 08 Le Loi, Hue city, Vietnam
Tel: 054.3834779 / 0913.475.562
Fax: (84-54) 827124
Foreigner: Adult: 50,000 VND / Child: 30,000 VND
Vietnamese: Adults: 40,000 VND / Children: 20,000 VND
7. Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre, HCM City
There are numerous water puppetry locations in Ho Chi Minh City, including the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre (District 1), the Vietnam History Museum (District 1), and the Thao Dien Village (District 2) Homemade tofu rice vermicelli restaurant.
Every night, the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre feeds 500 to 600 people from all around the world. Each performance is only 50 minutes long. The stage is the water’s surface, the primary players are puppets, and the craftsmen operate each puppet from behind a screen.
Address: 55 B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (Located in Ho Chi Minh City Labor Culture Palace, next to Tao Dan Park)
Phone: 08 3930 2196 / (08) 38.272 653
Performance time: From 6.30pm – 8.30pm. three times 17h00 – 18h30 – 19h45. If you go in a big group, you can book in advance to set daytime performance. Each show lasts about 50 minutes.
Ticket: 160,000 VND per show.
8. Vietnam History Museum, Ho Chi Minh City
Inside the museum is the Southern Art Theatre. Following your sightseeing, you may purchase tickets for the water puppet performance, which costs around 50,000 VND / 15 minutes / adult.
Address: 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (next to the Zoo).
Phone number: 08 38 234 528/08 38 594 520/0938500545
Opening hour: From Monday to Saturday: 8am – 11am/ Afternoon: 1h30-4h
Sundays and public holidays: 8.30am – 4pm. Only served when the viewers > 5 people (or you can join with other tourists).
In addition to these amazing theaters, some Vietnamese-style restaurants have invested more water puppetry stage to attract families, foreign guests on special occasions or weekend such as: Thao Dien tourist village, homemade tofu rice vermicelli restaurant.
9. Thao Dien tourist village, Ho Chi Minh City
On Saturday from 19h30 to 20h at Ngon restaurant (serving Vietnamese food) on the grounds of Thao Dien Village also held water puppet show.
Address: 195 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City
Phone: +84 8 37446457
Fax: +84 8 37446458
10. Homemade tofu rice vermicelli restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City
Homemade tofu rice vermicelli is more than simply a restaurant serving tofu rice vermicelli (noodles) with shrimp paste; on Saturday evenings, homemade beers host performances, and on Sunday nights, children are given balloons. To fulfill the demand for non-profit services, the restaurant includes a separate floor for a free water puppet performance that is presented twice a day.
There are current presentations that are exciting and easy to comprehend, such as racing and traffic safety.
Aside from the water puppetry stage, there is a restaurant section that is used to adorn and present works by prominent artists like as Bui Xuan Phai, Tran Van Can, and To Ngoc Van. While waiting for your dinner, you may read a variety of interesting novels on Hanoi by well-known authors such as: To Hoai, Vu Bang…
Address: 1 Nguyen Van Trang Street, District 1, HCM City.
Phone: 0938 088 284
Opening hour: 10:00 – 22:30