Enchanting Vietnamese Water Puppet Show

Asia, Vietnam

The Vietnamese Water Puppet House in Ho Chi Minh City

Puppets are one of the most widely-used tools in many cultures around the world, whether for ceremonial or entertainment purposes, and Vietnam is no exception. Originated from northern part of the country, the water puppets used to be played on rice fields after harvesting season. As tourism grows rapidly in the southern part of the country, the water puppet show has also been played in Ho Chi Minh City since a few years ago, and it has now become one of the most favorite places to go in the city.

The approximately one-hour show that I watched in Ho Chi Minh City was probably one of the highlights of my travel in Vietnam. This sounds too much for a puppet show, but it’s true. It is traditional, yet very funny and entertaining. The show started when a group of traditional Vietnamese band plays traditional musical instruments while chattering some conversations in Vietnamese imitating real situation of people’s daily life around rice fields. There are a total of 11 acts during the whole show, which were all played on a platform filled with muddy water (imitating Vietnamese rice fields). The storyline is simple, but some special effects (not really sophisticated though, but surprisingly entertaining) made the show worth watching. I smiled and felt light-hearted when the curtain dropped and the show ended.

Vietnamese Traditional Band

Plowing The Rice Fields with Buffaloes


This place is located not far from the Reunification Palace, which makes it easily accessible. So, when you go to Ho Chi Minh City, make sure you don’t miss the show!

Posted by

Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.

14 thoughts on “Enchanting Vietnamese Water Puppet Show”

  1. Lokyra Stone says:

    I actually really wish puppet shows would come back. I’ve been thinking about building a little puppet theater and making puppets.
    If I ever manage to make it to Vietnam, I will be sure to put aside time for the Puppet House. (Vietnam is on my list of places to go before I die.)
    Also, I love the photographs. They made me smile.


    • Wow, building a puppet theater sounds very interesting! let alone making puppets.
      Thanks for reading and I’m glad the photographs made you smile 🙂


      • Lokyra Stone says:

        Of course, then I’d have to find people who will sit and watch a puppet show. And I’ll have to figure out what on earth I’m going to actually do for the show!

        Also, my puppet theater will obviously be much smaller than the Puppet House. *grins* I will make a portable one.

        I’m really enjoying being able to see the wonderful places you go to and read about what you do there. I look forward to the next post.


      • Actually here in Indonesia, a small number of people in some Chinese communities still play Potehi puppet show which doesn’t need a large space to perform.
        You may google it and it might give you some inspiration.
        By the way, my next ‘big’ travel will be in January, but I will keep writing some interesting things/places along the way. Thanks!


      • Lokyra Stone says:

        Wow. Just spent an hour looking at articles and essays on Potehi. I dug up some classical plays used in Potehi, which I saved. Perhaps I’ll have a chance to share these with others one day.

        And even if you’re not traveling, I still look forward to your posts. I enjoy the way you view the world.


  2. Great post – colorful pics too. I’m looking at my black buffalo puppet I shipped home from Vietnam as I’m writing this …and you are right. An hour may seem like too much, sitting at home, reading about it, but being there, that hour seems way too short.
    Good post. I love Vietnam.


    • A black buffalo puppet sounds cool! Actually I really want to watch it in Hanoi where the show is originally from. Maybe one day.
      Thanks John!


    • And surprisingly entertaining! I kept checking some other people around me and noticed them smiling and even laughing during the show 🙂


  3. We saw the same show in Hanoi. It was nice but I wasn’t as enamored sadly, though the puppets were cool. Perhaps we felt lackluster about it because we we missed the shadow puppet show in Indonesia? I’d bet the farm it would have been better.


    • You told me that one day you want to visit Indonesia again, didn’t you? Well, shadow puppet is a must if you’re a puppet enthusiast! But be prepared to stay awake the whole night since a shadow puppet show’s duration is usually that long.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.