Water Puppet Show - Distinct Uniqueness Of Northern Vietnam Tour

Nowadays, among the domination of modern types of entertainment, water puppet still has its own role in the life of people in Tonkin that can’t go away. That’s why in the North Vietnam tours, travelers shouldn’t miss enjoying a water puppet show in Hanoi.

What is a Water Puppet Show?

Water Puppet Show - Distinct Uniqueness Of Northern Vietnam Tour
Photo by shanka s.
A Water Puppet Show is really just what it sounds like: a puppet show but on water. If you attend one of these theatre shows, you will get to see the most amusing and rather confusing show of puppets jerking their way across shallow pools of water with the master puppeteers well hidden behind curtains and stages.

In fact, the secret to how these talented puppeteers make their puppets move so flawlessly and on cue on top of the water while seeming blind from behind a screen is a closely guarded secret till date. It is part of the thrill, especially when you see the puppets impossibly pass objects between themselves.

It is said that in the past, these secrets were passed down from father to son because they feared daughters would divulge the secrets when they marry outside the villages.

How to control

Water Puppet Show - Distinct Uniqueness Of Northern Vietnam Tour 1
Photo by Steven C. Price
The puppets are made from wood which is available in every village, then they are lacquered and decorated as well. The shows are performed on water like pools, ponds or rice paddies. A large bamboo rod is used by puppeteers who normally stay behind the stage in order to support and control the movements of puppets.

Where to See the Show in Hanoi

Water Puppet Show - Distinct Uniqueness Of Northern Vietnam Tour 2
Photo by Jean-Pierre DalbĂ©ra
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is by far the most popular show in Hanoi (though I saw mine at Lotus Water Puppet, which was great too). Located near Hoan Kiem Lake, this ancient theatre is a magnet for both locals and international tourists who want to see this legendary traditional Vietnamese form of art.

You definitely cannot miss the show while in Hanoi since it is the only one that runs for 365 days a year! It has four daily shows and an additional show during the winter months between October and April when this part of the world welcomes thousands of tourists.

After the show, you can buy souvenir puppets and see if you can figure out how they make them dance!