The Thanglong Water Puppet Theatre is a popular place for both domestic and overseas tourist hoping to experience a little bit of Vietnamese culture.  Located at 57B Dinh Tien Hoang Street, next to the Hoan Kiem Lake, this theatre was established in 1969 and has since then gone to greater heights.  Every year, more than 500 shows are performed at the theatre, with international performances held overseas in Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Portugal and Greece, to list a few.   It goes without saying that the water puppet show is one of the top activities to cover for any visitor to Hanoi.

Detailed Review of the Water Puppet Show in Hanoi

The water puppet show focus on the legends of Vietnam, the daily lives and struggles of their people, and their cultural believes and dances. Here’s a preview of what you will see during the 1-hr water puppet show. (Source:  Tranglong Water Puppet Theatre programme leaflet).

1.    Musical Prelude

The show begins with an introduction of Vietnam culture, and the musical instruments used.

2.    Descendants of the Dragon and the Fairy

The legend of the marriage between the King of the Dragons and the fairy, and the telling of the origins of the Vietnamese people.

3.    Production and Struggle

(Fishing, toiling in the rice fields and fighting with tigers)

Food production and struggle again wild beasts were daily routines of the Vietnamese, an agricultural people, or features of the Vietnamese wet-rice civilization.  Ploughing and harrowing the rice field, rice-planting, catching fish with nets, or fighting with tigers, etc were vivid scenes very common in the Vietnamese country side, where humans live closely with nature and spiritual activities of the Vietnamese people, thus ensuring for them a simple life imbued with joys and immense optimism.

4.    Pan-Pipe Dance

The pan-pipe and umbrella are two essential instruments in the cultural life of the ethnic people who live in the mountain region of North Vietnam.  Thus, the pan-pipe and umbrella are closely attached to the local ethnic people in their daily life and in their need to express their sentiments.  On spring market days or in community activities, young people may be seen dancing with umbrellas and pan-pipes for courtship.

5.    Fan Dance

The Vietnamese and peoples in some other Asian countries use the fan chiefly to cool themselves in hot weather.  One may draw pictures or write poems on a fan to demonstrate one’s personality and emotions.

6.    Dance with six ritual offerings

This dance comes from Buddhist ritual.  Though religious, it encapsulates humanity and secularity.  Originally coming from India, this dance was adapted under King Ming Mang’s reign (Nguyen dynasty, 19th century) to become a court dance.

7.    Tay Nguyen Highland Dance

In the Central Highlands province of Tay Nguyen where there are many ethnic groups such as the Ede, Jarai, Bahna, M’nong, Katu, Chau-ro.  The “Tay Nguyen Gong” cultural space recognized by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage indirectly speaks of the originality of the culture of this vast mountain region.


8.    Cham Dance

In the course of its interaction with the outside world, Vietnamese culture has accepted and assimilated many elements from Cham (Champa) culture.  In its turn, Cham dance is one example of the various imprints left by Indian culture on Vietnam.  Nowadays, Cham people live concentrated in Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces, in the middle part of Central Vietnam.  Here, Cham villages and Cham cultures exists as an original component of Vietnamese culture.

9.    National Festival Dance

“So sacred is the word Dong Bao (compatriot)
Millions of hearts share the same red blood
Oh Vietnam! Standing on her dignity, she raises her head,
With back leaning on the Truong Son range,
She tramples underfoot large waves of the Eastern Sea.
The “Dragon-Fairy” descendants have glorified her for thousands of years”.


10.    Ethic Groups Solidarity

This is the final scene where all the water puppet performers will appear for the grand finale!


Want to find out more? Click here to go to the official website for more details.

Thanglong Water Puppet Theatre
Add : 57b Dinh Tien Hoang Str., Hanoi – Vietnam
Tel : 84 4 39364335 – 39364334 – 38255450
Fax / Tel : 84 43 8 245117
E-mail : [email protected]
Website : www.thanglongwaterpuppet.org

Join us next as we list the top 10 must do activities to do in Hanoi.

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