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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

Popular Activities at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Want to make your visit to Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre even more unique? Don't forget to try some of these activities:

Trying a Private Hanoi Night Tour with Street Food Tastings will help make visiting this celebrated attraction all the more memorable!

Peruse our Hanoi things to do page to learn about even more activities while you're in the area.


Guide to Exploring around Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

See all 1,422 Properties near Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
The Oriental Jade Hotel ¥10,762
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 ¥24,289
    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.

      Silk Collection Hotel & Spa ¥4,188
      Silk Collection Hotel & Spa

      Silk Collection Hotel & Spa

      58 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, 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. St. Joseph's Cathedral and Ngoc Son Temple are also within 10 minutes. Hanoi Long Bien Station is 14 minutes by foot and Hanoi Railway Station is 18 minutes.

        O'Gallery Premier Hotel & Spa ¥6,986
        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. Hang Gai Street and Ly Trieu Quoc Su Pagoda are also within 10 minutes. Hanoi Railway Station is 11 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 19 minutes.

          Tirant Hotel ¥6,484
          Tirant Hotel

          Tirant Hotel

          38 Gia Ngu Str., Old Quarter - Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            This family-friendly Hanoi hotel is located in the historical district, within a 5-minute walk of Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Hoan Kiem Lake. Hanoi Old City Gate and St. Joseph's Cathedral are also within 10 minutes. Hanoi Long Bien Station is 13 minutes by foot and Hanoi Railway Station is 22 minutes.

            Apricot Hotel ¥13,051
            Apricot Hotel

            Apricot Hotel

            136 Hang Trong Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
               
              5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Hoan Kiem, this luxury hotel is steps from Hoan Kiem Lake and St. Joseph's Cathedral. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Hanoi Opera House are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Long Bien Station is 20 minutes by foot and Hanoi Railway Station is 21 minutes.

              Serene Boutique Hotel & Spa ¥4,012
              Serene Boutique Hotel & Spa

              Serene Boutique Hotel & Spa

              16-18 Bat Su, Hanoi
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                This family-friendly Hanoi hotel is located in the business district, within a 10-minute walk of Dong Xuan Market and Hanoi Old Town Night Market. Hoan Kiem Lake and St. Joseph's Cathedral are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Long Bien Station is 9 minutes by foot and Hanoi Railway Station is 19 minutes.

                Somerset Grand Hanoi ¥11,165
                Somerset Grand Hanoi

                Somerset Grand Hanoi

                49 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
                   
                  4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in the heart of Hanoi, this family-friendly aparthotel is steps from Embassy of Belgium and Hoa Lo Prison Museum. Temple of Literature and St. Joseph's Cathedral are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Railway Station is 9 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 24 minutes.