Water Puppet Theaters originated in North Vietnam and is a traditional art form native to Vietnam. The villagers would entertain each other, while standing in the water, bringing to life legends and old tales. The puppeteers masterfully choreograph the water puppets with long bamboo rods and strings.
Nowadays Water Puppet Theaters are all over Vietnam and tourists as well as locals can enjoy a family friendly show, typically accompanied by live music from a traditional Vietnamese orchestra. The stories are much the same as the original ones back in the villages; retellings of historical events, hilarious village scenes or legends.
Water Puppet Theaters
Although Thang Long Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi is probably the most famous one, you can visit water puppet theaters all over Vietnam. Here are a few options.
Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, Hanoi
Firstly, the best place to go to is the theater where it started, in other words right at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi. The theater building is right at the lake in the center of Hanoi. Shows are a few times a day. However, we advise to just walk up to the ticket office to get all the timings and prices. You can go during the day, because the ticket office is open. Alternatively, you can have your hotel call for details. Have a look at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater website here. Read about our experience at the Water Puppet show in Hanoi here.
Website; Thang Long Water Puppet Theater website
Address: 57B Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hanoi
Telefoon: (+84)91 3511063 – (+84)37 5827429
Longlink Water Puppet Theater, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi
Photo credit: Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi
Secondly, another option in Hanoi is the open air water puppet theater inside the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology . (Check out things to do in Vietnam with kids for more info, or go to their website) . The Longlink Water Puppet Theater not only gives performances, but besides that also offers activities that are especially fun for children. For example, meet the puppeteers, master puppetry yourself, watch the painter paint puppets, paint by yourself, and more. Tomi and Mimi cannot wait to get back to Hanoi to visit the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and watch their show. Have a look at the Longlink puppet show website for all their offerings. Have a look here about experiences of other travelers.
- Little side note for the parents; We haven’t actually been here, and the information provided was pre-Covid. We have contacted the museum and the theater for an update on their performances and activities. An update will be posted as soon as we hear back.
- Update August 1, 2022: we heard back from the theater. Fortunately, they still give performances in the weekends at 10am, 11am, 2:30pm and 3pm. However, the children’s activities are no longer offered, we do not know if and when they will be back.
Hoi An Water Puppet Theater
Thirdly, Hoi An Water puppet theater has been said to be on par with the Thang Long Theater in Hanoi. This open air water puppet theater lies a little outside the historical city center. Hoi An is a historical trading town and UNESCO heritage site in Central Vietnam famous for its lanterns. Although, Tomi and Mimi were in Hoi An (read about it here), they saved the theater for next time. We are looking forward to go and make photos for you.
Website; Hanoi Water Puppet Theater Facebook page
Address: 548 Hai BaTrung
Telefoon: +84 (0) 235 386 1327; +84 (0) 941 378 979 (hotline)
Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater, Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, previously called Saigon, also has a Water Puppet Theater. The Golden Dragon is located along the busy Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in District 1. So, this well-known Water Puppet Theater will be easy to find. They have another theater show as well in the ‘Smile’ theater especially for children. However it is the water puppet show you want to see. Every Tuesday and Friday at 6:30pm they give a performance.
Website; Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater website
Address: 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 700000 Vietnam
Telefoon: 028 3930 2196 – 0989 370 873 (ticket office)
Wherever you decide to vacation in Vietnam, be sure to visit a Water Puppet Theater show. It is a wonderful family experience that will bring smiles and laughter to young and old.