Thang Long Water Puppet Theater

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Tags : Shows & Theatres

Timings : Shows at 3:00 PM, 4:10 PM, 5:20 PM, 6:30 PM, 8:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 Hours

Entry Fee : Adults: VND 100,000Children under 1.2 mts: VND 60,000

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Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, Hanoi Overview

The water puppet show is an ancient art form in Hanoi dating back to the 11th century when the rice fields flooded, and the villagers entertained each other by standing in water with puppets. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater offers the most authentic experience: a Vietnamese orchestra playing traditional songs about agricultural harvests and mythical legends acted out by puppets in a pool of water.

Water puppetry is a famous ancient Vietnamese tradition that has been practiced for thousands of years. And when in Vietnam, there is no better place to experience it than at The Thang Long Water Theater in Hanoi. A popular tourist spot, it stays open all days of the week. In a unique performance like no other, historical stories are told through puppets on water.

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Show Timings of Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Five shows are held every day of the week at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, with an extra show on Sunday mornings. Don't worry about missing out as the show runs 365 days a year. The timings may vary but they are usually at 03:00 PM, 04:10 PM, 05:20 PM, 06:30 PM and 08:00 PM.


The practice of water puppetry began a 1000 years ago in the water-filled rice paddies of Northern Vietnam. Dating back to 11th century, the tradition started as a form of entertainment. After the rice paddies would be flooded by the Red River, puppeteers would appear with wooden puppets to perform and amuse the rural people. Numerous stories - of the daily lives of farmers and fishermen, legends of dragons and other historical tales - were told.

What to Expect?

Today, in modern Vietnam, talented puppeteers tell similar tales in cosy auditoriums. Established in 1969, The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater uses a stage filled with water as the setting of the performance. Puppeteers stand hidden behind a screen in waist-high water as they manoeuvre exquisite handcrafted wooden puppets, narrating historical legends and the stories of the daily lives of the Vietnamese fishermen and farmers. Teamed with changing mood lights and authentic Vietnamese orchestra music, the complete scene looks magical.

Tips for Visiting

  • It is best to book tickets in advance as the theater is extremely popular with tourists. You can also avoid standing in the long ticketing line by getting your tickets delivered to the hotel.
  • Like most tourist places, Thang Long Water Puppet Theater too is busiest on weekends, so try to book your visit for a weekday.   
  • The show is conducted in Vietnamese and so you may not understand what they are saying, but the expert puppetry makes the story easy to interpret.
  • The theatre does not allow late entries as it disturbs the show, so make sure to be on time.   
  • For post-show activities, the theatre has its own café overlooking Lake Hoan Kiem. Here you can have nice food and drinks while enjoying a beautiful view of the lake.
  • You can also buy souvenirs from the in-house shop.

How To Reach Thang Long Water Puppet Theater

Situated right next to Hoan Kiem Lake, Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is at a prime tourist spot. At 57B Dinh Tien Hoang St, Hanoi, it is fairly easy to locate on the map. It's a short walk for those staying in accommodations near the lake in Old Quarter. As for those staying far, taking bus numbers 04, 08A, 08ACT, 08B, 08BCT, 11, 14, 18, 23, 36 to the Nguyen Huu Haan bus stop would be the best option, a five-minute walk from the Theater

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