One can’t miss attraction of Vietnam’s cultural capital is Hanoi night market, the place bridges the gap between tourists and locals. Founded in the Old Quarter, visitors can also have chances to taste several types of Vietnamese street food along the three kilometer long pedestrian street, enjoying intriguing cultural activities and purchasing a diversity of goods.Read more
I know what you are thinking but no, this is not a parade or a rave. It is actually a corner of a 266 – meter street in Hanoi called Ta Hien. You might overhear or even get invited to Ta Hien and grab some beer in these burning hot days in Hanoi. Ta Hien Street is a must-visit place in Hanoi Old Quarter not only for beer lovers and night owls but also Vietnamese cuisine and culture enthusiast.
II. Introduction of Ta Hien Street
266 meters in length, Ta Hien is usually called Beer Street or Foreigner Street (Pho Tay) as it is an “international crossroad” drawing many foreign visitors as well as Hanoians. From Hang Buom to Hang Bac street, crossing Luong Ngoc Quyen street, Ta Hien takes its name after Ta Quang Hien, Admiral of Tonkin Military Forces (under Nguyen Dynasty, Emperor Ham Nghi), leader of the Can Vuong movement in Thai Binh province.
During the French colonization time, the street was named Géraud. Ta Quang Hien, as a leader of an anti-France colonization campaign, resigned from his position as Lord Lieutenant and led liberal fighters against the French army. At the end of that year, after recruiting about 4000-5000 liberal fighters, his army regained Thai Binh Province and prevailed in other battles afterwards. But in a battle in February 1887, he was captured and killed.
Another interesting fact about the name Ta Hien is that it was sometimes misread into Tạ Hiền (originally ‘Tạ Hiện’,) so it creates a huge confusion for tourists because the words of ‘Tạ Hiền’ and ‘Tạ Hiện’ are both displayed on signboards in the same street.Ta Hien still kept most of its old texture and time-worn structure.
All the pubs at the crossroads of Ta Hien – Luong Ngoc Quyen have been operated for over a decade. The beer here is known to be cheap and tourist-magnetic. Pub operators from time to time speak Vietnamese and some English to communicate with their customers who come from different countries. Eventually it appeared the informal name of the crossroads – ‘The International Crossroads’ (Ngã tư Quốc tế).
If you imagine yourself sitting in a pub and enjoy beer in Ta Hien Street Hanoi, you will be completely wrong! There is no proper pub here, not even proper table. Customers will sit on small stools around a little taller plastic or wooden stools on which food and beer bottles are placed. It may be uncomfortable for some foreigners, but it creates a unique atmosphere for customers to experience ancient local lifestyles in Hanoi. Besides, one of the best parts of drinking beer here is that the beer is usually served along with delicious food such as roasted squid, fried fermented pork rolls, roasted bird meat, or simply a plate of sunflower’s seeds.
Like any other pub street, the atmosphere here becomes more lively when the night falls down with the influx of both locals and foreigners. The quietness of the street in the day time is suddenly replaced with the noisiness. The whole street is crowded with groups of people drinking beer and chatting with each other. Echoed throughout the street is the sound of “một hai ba…dzô!” (one two three… cheers!) from both local and foreign customers.
The common thing among beer restaurant in Ta Hien is its simple and street style. Everything is on street sides with plastic chairs used for both seat and table. The customers can order a mug of beer and sit for hours without being interrupted. The comfortable and friendly atmosphere as well as great beers and foods are the main reasons for the attraction of Ta Hien Street.
Aside from beers and pubs, personally, I think Tạ Hiện street is like a narrow or a mini version of a food heaven with lots of super small alleyways and twisted intersections, which I presume very fit for a curious explorer who wants to enjoy a little bit taste of rusticity. On the small and crowded street of Ta Hien, you can find variety of best Hanoi street foods such as Nem chua, Vietnamese bread, noodles, sweet porridges, …
The snack foods to serve with the beer are also diverse, from traditional ones such as nem Phung, fried nem, nem, boiled peanut to Western ones such as fried chip, cheese stick, … The prices are generally cheap.
Water puppet is one of the most theatrical arts that you can only find in Vietnam.
For locals, it occupies an important position in the heart of Vietnamese people, as a meaningful tradition taking root from ancient civilization.
II. Introduction of Water Puppet Show
Water puppet is a type of theatrical folk art, an unique tradition in Vietnamese agricultural civilization.
It was born over 1000 years ago, in Hong delta area. This performance often occurs in festivals, Tet holiday. Water puppet is considered as a special immaterial culture of the country.
Water puppet show developed at peak in Ly and Tran Dynasties. The only remain object proving this fact is the stele “Sùng Thiện Diên linh tự tháp” in 1121, which engraved that there is a water puppet performance to celebrate for King Ly Nhan Tong.
It is an unique creativity of people living in Hong delta area, formed based upon the work of irrigation. Through the story, audience can feel and sense the various aspect of festival in countryside, express some simple dream about life.
Among idyllic nature, we have a chance to contemplate the art including green land covering by trees, immense water surface, blue sky with clouds, and red roof tiles symbolizing for Vietnamese architecture. That’s the unique combination of art, nature and people.
Before officially becoming theatrical art, water puppet was a popular activity scattering most of villages, nourished by villagers’ enthusiasm.
This activity attached to village culture, in one side to worship gods, in other side to create the welcoming atmosphere for tourists, also an exciting festivals for villagers.
II.2. Elements of water puppet:
Unlike other types, water puppet has a characteristic feature: using water surface to be the stage in which puppets perform. Puppet house is built in the middle of pond or lake, with proportional architecture, symbolizing for rooftop of pagodas, temples in countryside.
The space in front of puppet house is the stage, only totally completes in the show.
The puppet is products of folk wood-sculpture art, realistic, simple, ardent and lyrical. Its figure is often described as cheerful, humorous, highly symbolic.
The most typical character is “chu Teu”, humorous and optimistic. Teu is the incarnation of a strong, good-natured, rustic Vietnamese farmer, who is a story-teller in festivals. His role is to open festivals, introduce shows and announce some events occurring. This character can be sarcastic to anyone or any event.
The more perfect puppets are, the more helpful it is for improving controlling technique, also expressing abilities.
II.2.3. Controlling technique:
Controlling technique in water puppet is highly respected, making every single movement of puppets in the show. This is a key value of this art.
Upon experiences and creative ability, artists has made many spectacular performance with various and diversified movements. The control is hiden under water, using water to make movements, surprising the audience with marvelous scenes.
Talent of artists is that they show us joy, honest, gentleness, positivity, natural aspects of folf art, virtue of people.
In the past, water puppet performed outdoor, so music was often loud to keep rhythm and stir up the atmosphere.
People uses many traditional instruments to raise an uproar, rosing both audience and artists.
Artists control puppets based on music, from gentle to dynamic, to connect performances together.
II.3. Highlights/ Performances of Water Puppet Show
III. Water puppet show theater
III.1. Lotus water puppet
Address: 16 Lê Thái Tổ (79 Hàng Trống), Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi
Opening hours: at 5 p.m everyday
Standard: 80.000 VND
V.I.P: 100.000 VND
Hotline: 024.39381173 – 0972030420
III.2. Thang Long water puppet theater
Address: 57B Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
From May to September: at 4.10 p.m, 5.10 p.m, 6.30 p.m and 8 p.m
Other months: at 3 p.m, 4.10 p.m, 5.10 p.m, 6.30 p.m and 8 p.m
Adults: 100.000 VND
Children below 1.2 meters height: 60.000 VND
Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
At the moment, we do not have the tour to see water puppet show performance, but if you are really interested in this activity, don’t hesitate to call us Az Local Trip to ask for a guide to have a visit with a local experience.
Customize tour: Tourists can choose the destination and our company will arrange them in a route.