Thang Long Water Puppet Theater Hanoi is a city full of culture and history, with many attractions and activities to enjoy. One of the most distinctive and fascinating cultural experiences in Hanoi is watching a water puppet show at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. Water puppetry is an ancient art form that originated in the rural areas of northern Vietnam, where farmers would entertain themselves and their neighbors by performing stories and legends with puppets on the water surface of flooded rice fields. Today, water puppetry has become a national treasure and a symbol of Vietnamese culture, attracting millions of visitors every year. In this blog post, we will tell you everything you need to know about the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, including its history, features, location, and how to visit it.
H2: The History of the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater was established in 1969, under the name of Kim Dong Artistic Union, with only nine members1. At first, the theater performed traditional puppet shows on land stages, but later switched to water puppetry in 1990, when it built its first water stage at its current location on Dinh Tien Hoang Street1. Since then, the theater has developed and improved its water puppetry techniques and repertoire, creating many original and innovative shows that reflect the Vietnamese culture and history. The theater has also performed internationally in more than 40 countries and participated in many prestigious festivals, winning numerous awards and recognition1. The theater is now one of the most popular and famous attractions in Hanoi, attracting thousands of visitors every day.
H2: The Features of the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater has a unique and impressive design that creates a captivating atmosphere for the audience. The theater consists of two main parts: the water stage and the backstage.
- The water stage: The water stage is a large pool of water that serves as the performance area for the puppets. The water surface is decorated with colorful lights and patterns that create different effects and moods for each scene. The water also acts as a mirror that reflects the puppets and enhances their movements. The water stage is surrounded by a wooden frame that resembles a traditional Vietnamese temple, with carved dragons and phoenixes on the roof.
- The backstage: The backstage is where the puppeteers control and manipulate the puppets from behind a bamboo curtain. The puppeteers use long bamboo rods and strings to move the puppets on the water surface, while hiding their bodies under the water. The puppeteers are highly skilled and trained, as they have to coordinate their movements with each other and with the music and sound effects. The backstage also houses a live orchestra that plays traditional Vietnamese instruments such as drums, flutes, zithers, gongs, horns, and cymbals.
The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater performs various shows that depict different aspects of Vietnamese culture and history, such as folk tales, legends, festivals, daily life, agriculture, fishing, wars, heroes, dragons, fairies, and more. Some of the most famous shows are:
- The Legend of Hoan Kiem Lake: This show tells the story of how King Le Loi returned a magic sword to a golden turtle god at Hoan Kiem Lake after defeating the Ming invaders.
- The Dance of Four Sacred Animals: This show features four sacred animals in Vietnamese culture: the dragon (symbolizing power and nobility), the unicorn (symbolizing intelligence and benevolence), the turtle (symbolizing longevity and wisdom), and the phoenix (symbolizing beauty and grace).
- The Harvest Festival: This show celebrates the harvest season and expresses gratitude to nature and ancestors for providing food and prosperity.
- The Fishing Festival: This show depicts the fishing activities and rituals of Vietnamese fishermen who rely on the sea for their livelihood.
- The Fireworks Festival: This show showcases the spectacular fireworks display that marks important occasions and events in Vietnam.
H2: The Location of the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is located on Dinh Tien Hoang Street, in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. It is next to Hoan Kiem Lake, one of the most iconic landmarks in Hanoi. It is also close to many other attractions and amenities in Hanoi, such as the Ngoc Son Temple, the Hanoi Opera House, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, the Hoa Lo Prison, the Dong Xuan Market, and many restaurants, cafes, shops, and hotels.
H2: How to Visit the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is open every day from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. There are several shows per day, each lasting about 50 minutes. The show times are:
- 9:30 am
- 10:30 am
- 11:30 am
- 2:00 pm
- 3:00 pm
- 4:00 pm
- 5:00 pm
- 6:30 pm
- 8:00 pm
The ticket price for the water puppet show is 200,000 VND (about 8.6 USD) for adults and 100,000 VND (about 4.3 USD) for children2. You can buy tickets at the theater’s box office or online through its official website or other booking platforms. You should book your tickets in advance, as the shows are often sold out quickly. You should also arrive at least 15 minutes before the show time to find your seat and enjoy the pre-show music.
The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is a unique and fascinating cultural experience that you should not miss when visiting Hanoi. It offers a glimpse into the rich and diverse heritage of Vietnam through its captivating and entertaining water puppet shows. Whether you are a solo traveler, a couple, a family, or a group of friends, you will surely enjoy and appreciate the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater.