Thang Long Water Puppet Theater

In Hanoi we were pleased with the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, where puppets in a pool depict Vietnamese folk tales. Dating back to the 11th century, puppeteers originally worked in rice paddies. The photo above is from the legend of returned sword. From wikipedia,

Emperor Lê Lợi was boating on the lake when a Golden Turtle God (Kim Qui) surfaced and asked for his magic sword, Heaven’s Will. Lợi concluded that Kim Qui had come to reclaim the sword that its master, a local God, the Dragon King (Vietnamese: Long Vương) had given Lợi some time earlier, during his revolt against the Chinese Ming Dynasty.

Musicians play traditional instruments, and the songs are in Vietnamese. We don’t understand Vietnamese, but we could relate the folk tales to the title in the program.

musicians at water puppet show
musicians at water puppet show

These two videos show the puppets and the accompanying music.

The puppeteers appeared at the end of the program.


We sat at the end of the third row, where we were close and with no one behind us when I stuck the camera up for photos. I used a 70-200mm telephoto lens, but third row only required a focal length of 70-100mm. I pushed the ISO to 4000 to take photos with available light.

We enjoyed Hanoi’s Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, where we saw a folk art form with music. The show was reasonable, short, and close to our hotel in the Old Quarter. We purchased general admission tickets, so go early for the best seats.


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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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