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Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Stories from local legends are told at this theater with hand-carved wooden dolls and colorful dragons that perform on a stage on the water.

 The Vietnamese art of water puppetry is a true cultural experience that is not to be missed while in Hanoi. Performed entirely in Vietnamese, the music and gesturing puppets tell a story that can be interpreted by all.

The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre was founded in 1969 and is one of the best places to watch the art of Vietnamese water puppetry. Dating back to the 11th century, this unique type of performance art started in the waters of the Red River that runs through Hanoi.

Today, the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is one of the few traditional theatres still in operation and its wooden, lacquered puppets are world-famous. Since 1990 the theater has regularly traveled internationally and has appeared at art festivals all over the world.

Performed on a stage that resembles a pond, puppeteers stand waist deep in the water, hidden behind a screen. They spectacularly maneuvre the puppets with a long, submerged rod. Expect to get splashed if you are seated in the front row, however, this is also the prime spot to admire the exquisite details of the handcrafted puppets. Enjoy the screams of surprise from the audience when dragons or princes emerge out of the water and see local legends unfold.

There is a live orchestra and the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is known for its comical performances, so you’ll be laughing a lot too.

Stay back after the performance to enjoy a drink at the theater’s café, which has great views over picturesque Lake Hoan Kiem.

Shows at the theater are all under an hour in length. Booking the inexpensive ticket in advance is recommended, as the theater is incredibly popular.

The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is located on the edge of the Old Quarter. The theater is open daily and there are up to six shows per day. Some shows display an English translation on a screen

Get the most out of your time spent at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. Here's a list of the top activities:

When arranging your visit, you may want to consider purchasing a Hanoi Water Puppet Show Tickets or a Private Hanoi Night Tour with Street Food Tastings.

For even more things to do, have a look at our Hanoi things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

See all 1,745 Properties near Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
Hanoi Royal Palace Hotel 2 ¥3,820
Hanoi Royal Palace Hotel 2

Hanoi Royal Palace Hotel 2

95 Hang Bong Street, Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Hoan Kiem, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Hang Da Market, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, and St. Joseph's Cathedral. Hanoi Old City Gate and Hoa Lo Prison Museum are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Railway Station is 13 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 16 minutes.

    La Sinfonía del Rey Hotel & Spa ¥6,688
    La Sinfonía del Rey Hotel & Spa

    La Sinfonía del Rey Hotel & Spa

    33-35 Hang Dau, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Ha Noi
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Hoan Kiem, this spa hotel is steps from Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, Hoan Kiem Lake, and Ngoc Son Temple. Hanoi Old City Gate and St. Joseph's Cathedral are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Long Bien Station is 16 minutes by foot and Hanoi Railway Station is 26 minutes.

      The Oriental Jade Hotel ¥12,012
      The Oriental Jade Hotel

      The Oriental Jade Hotel

      No. 92-94 Hang Trong Str., Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Hanoi
         
        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Hoan Kiem, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hoan Kiem Lake and St. Joseph's Cathedral. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Hanoi Old City Gate are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Long Bien Station is 18 minutes by foot and Hanoi Railway Station is 19 minutes.

        Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi ¥28,647
        Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

        Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

        15 Ngo Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          This family-friendly Hanoi hotel is located in the historical district, within a 15-minute walk of Hanoi Opera House, Ngoc Son Temple, and Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. St. Joseph's Cathedral and Hoan Kiem Lake are also within 1 mi (2 km). Hanoi Railway Station is 23 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 25 minutes.

          O'Gallery Premier Hotel & Spa ¥7,104
          O'Gallery Premier Hotel & Spa

          O'Gallery Premier Hotel & Spa

          122 Hang Bong Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Hoan Kiem, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hang Da Market and Vietnamese National Tuong Theatre. Ly Trieu Quoc Su Pagoda and Hang Gai Street are also within 10 minutes. Hanoi Railway Station is 11 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 17 minutes.

            Matilda Boutique and Spa Hotel ¥4,452
            Matilda Boutique and Spa Hotel

            Matilda Boutique and Spa Hotel

            73 Ma May, Hang Buom, Hanoi, Ha Noi
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Hoan Kiem, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Ta Hien Street and Hanoi Old City Gate. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Hoan Kiem Lake are also within 10 minutes. Hanoi Long Bien Station is 10 minutes by foot and Hanoi Railway Station is 25 minutes.

              Oriental Suite Hotel & Spa ¥6,076
              Oriental Suite Hotel & Spa

              Oriental Suite Hotel & Spa

              58 Hang Dao Str, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Hoan Kiem, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hoan Kiem Lake and Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. Hanoi Old City Gate and St. Joseph's Cathedral are also within 10 minutes. Hanoi Long Bien Station is 11 minutes by foot and Hanoi Railway Station is 23 minutes.

                O'Gallery Classy Hotel & Spa ¥7,130
                O'Gallery Classy Hotel & Spa

                O'Gallery Classy Hotel & Spa

                No 2 Cho Cau Go, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Hoan Kiem, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Hoan Kiem Lake. Hanoi Old City Gate and Dong Xuan Market are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Long Bien Station is 13 minutes by foot and Hanoi Railway Station is 24 minutes.