A short walk from the Old Town, Hoi An’s Water Puppet Show is an entertaining prelude to dinner and fun for all ages. Set under the stars in amphitheater-styled seating, this energetic and frequently humorous 45-minute show presents a series of fables and stories on Vietnamese village life through colorfully hand carved puppets.
Having visited the famous Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi, I was interested to see how the Hoi An version compared. Surprisingly, I preferred it. The much larger, enclosed Hanoi theater, where the tallest person known to man sat in front of me, was constricting whereas its smaller Hoi An counterpart afforded clear views from every angle. As well, being out in the open under the stars created a much more relaxed atmosphere.
There are unicorns and fairies, the odd boat race and dragons amidst smoke and colourful lighting as stories about Vietnamese legends and village life are narrated through a series of vignettes. Whilst there’s an English translation, it’s minimal. However, the language of slapstick, where lazy farmers fight off big fish, is something everyone can relate to.
With or without kids, Hoi An’s Water Puppet Show is highly recommended and for the best seating arrive around 15 – 20 minutes early.
Booking: Pay at the booths in and around the Old Town or at the entrance to the theater. Showing Tuesday, Friday and Saturdays, the show starts on time at 6.30pm and finishes at 7.15pm.
Tickets: 80,000 vnd (adults) & 40,000 vnd (children)
Tip: Start your evening with some pre-show drinks at the nearby Almanity Hotel. It’s two-for-one Happy Hour cocktails or beers and you can sit outside while the kids frolic in the grounds.