As for traditional entertainment, a performance of the water-puppets, Vietnam’s charming contribution to the world of marionettes, should be high on everyone’s itinerary. When visiting Hanoi most people devote an hour to the water-puppets (mua roi nuoc) – literally, puppets that dance on the water – a uniquely Vietnamese art form that originated in the Red River Delta. Traditional performances consist of short scenes depicting rural life or historic events accompanied by mood-setting musical narration. While water-puppets provide a light-hearted introduction to Vietnamese performance art, a presentation of ca tru music is quite the opposite. Consisting of just three musicians, one of whom is a female singer, a ca tru ensemble creates an esoteric and haunting sound that is very moving. Apart from the folk music groups playing at the Temple of Literature and one or two other tourist venues, at present these are the only easily accessible venues regularly showcasing Vietnamese traditional culture in Hanoi. However, the situation is evolving rapidly, so keep an eye on the English-language press, or ask around. Otherwise, apart from the odd group playing traditional music at some of Hanoi’s main tourist sights, there’s little on offer in the cultural sphere that’s easily accessible just yet. Very occasionally, events are listed in the English-language press, but are more likely to be announced on street banners or outside the venues themselves, so it’s worth asking the concierge at your hotel to see if there’s anything interesting happening. Each November, the Minsk Club puts on a popular music festival, featuring a wide range of acts from home and abroad; check w minskclubvietnam.com for details. On the traditional side, even if you’re not particularly into Western classical music, it’s well worth catching a concert or ballet at the Opera House.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Vietnam features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
Why Da Nang is Vietnam's new foodie hotspot

Why Da Nang is Vietnam's new foodie hotspot

Da Nang has long been missed off Vietnam’s well-trodden tourist trail. Those that do visit tend only to stop by for a day, spending their time basking on the…

10 Oct 2017 • Freya Godfrey insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook