You'd think there's nothing new in puppetry, but that's until you go to the Thang Long water puppet show in a theatre near the lake in the centre of old town Hanoi. Fighting dragons, jumping fish and dancing warriors are all part of the legends and tales which unfold on water on the stage, accompanied by haunting traditional music. The denoument is when they show you how they do it ...shhhhh. Unique and great for all ages.
A much-appreciated break from the busy streets of Hanoi, the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university, is one of the best examples of traditional architecture left in Vietnam.
Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, the temple is a great place to while away a couple of hours strolling through beautiful courtyards and grand halls.
Who knows, you might catch a traditional music recital and get inexplicably involved in a silly hat wearing photo opportunity as I was.
Pho Quoc Tu Giam, about 2km west of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Here are some tips for you while you are in Vietnam:
Things to remember:
- It's in your best interests not to drink the tap water, especially after flooding!
-Avoid cycle rides after dark.
-Dress modestly and appropriately when visiting local dwellings and religious sites, etc.
- Leave your valuables behind before a night out on the town, or going to the beach.
- When crossing the road – especially in HCMC – always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly!
- Don't offer money directly to beggars – instead donate to a local charity or offer a small gift, such as pens.
-However frustrated, don't loose your temper (“losing face”), as it won't get you very far!
I wish you a nice trip to Vietnam.
For travel guide websites for Vietnam, you can visit Dmoz.org at:
Hanoi may be more famous for its traditional water puppet performance, but no visit is complete without viewing its seedier cousin. The secret water puppet show will not be mentioned in any guide book, or indeed any government pamphlet, but hang around in the tourist section north of Hoan Kiem lake for long enough and you will probably be hassled by a tout advertising “sexy puppets” or “naughty puppets”.
With pornography banned by the Communist government, paddy field workers in need of a little titillation turned to their water puppets, adapting them to create this rather hilarious wooden soft porn. In some of the more comical scenes, even the animals are involved.
The entrance is usually in some little hideaway alley off Dinh Liet Street, to which your ticket seller will escort you. It last around an hour and should cost around 50,000 dong.
Warning: this is not suitable for children, no matter what the tout says.
North of Hoan Kiem lake
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