Travel Report: Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, Hanoi.
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April 2018. The ancient Vietnamese art of water puppetry stretches back over a thousand years to the days when Hanoi was known as Thang Long. Performances took place in rice paddies and were carried out by the same local craftsmen who created the wooden puppets. Today Vietnam’s treasured art form can be enjoyed in this theatre on the northeastern bank of Hoan Kiem Lake.
April 2018. Opened in 1969, the venue has become Hanoi’s most popular place to see an authentic water puppet performance. Get your ticket from the booth outside and head upstairs. If you’re bringing a camera or camcorder, expect to be stopped for additional tickets at the foot of the staircase.
April 2018. The hour-long show is a playful, engaging, fast-paced romp that offers an insight into the daily lives of Vietnamese farmers. You’ll see fishermen chasing after an elusive dinner, farmers tending to buffalo and wild family celebrations for the rice harvest. Folk tales and local legends are also told, so look out for twisting dragons, a giant tortoise and bobbing boats. Eight invisible puppeteers control everything seamlessly in the background, their efforts augmented by discreet technological touches of fireworks, dancing light and creeping, dry ice smoke.
April 2018. A talented orchestra, positioned either side of the performance pool, provides the soundtrack, with operatic singers, bamboo flutes, horns, cymbals, drums and sound effects aplenty.
April 2018. There are multiple performances daily and times can vary. Usually, 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30 & 20:00 are all safe bets, though it’s wise to book in advance. Tickets go for 100.000VND (£3.30/€3.70/$4.40). I had to pay an additional 20.000VND (£0.65/€0.75/$0.87) for my camera. Thang Long Puppet Theatre is located at 57B Dinh Tien Hoang Street.
For more on Vietnam’s amazing capital, have a look at my other pieces from around Hanoi.
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