Haw Par Villa

Haw Par Villa is one of the most unusual theme parks in the city, with Singaporeans nicknaming it the "Chinese Disneyland". Over a thousand peculiar sculptures and a hundred and fifty impressive dioramas, depicting characters from Chinese folklore and legends and highlighting the different historical events and aspects of Confucianism, are collected here. Haw Par Villa may not look as modern as the majority of Singapore’s ultramodern entertainment parks, but it definitely has its own special zest and charm.

The park was founded by the Burmese brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, who had emigrated to Singapore in the year 1937, although actually the brothers are more famous for having owned a world famous brand; Tiger Balm. This business proved to be profitable and, having earned a tidy sum, they decided to invest their money in construction of a large city park, the entrance to which would be free of charge.

However, the main goal of the Aw Boon brothers was to introduce the richer aspects of Chinese culture and traditions to Singaporean locals and guests. For this purpose, they created a thousand statues and over hundred canvases, illustrating Chinese legends, facts about Chinese history and Confucius’ doctrines. Most of the exhibits were actually quite scary: giant monsters and dreadful grimaces, as well as scenes of torture and bloody battles. The most ominous installation, however, is the Ten Circles of Hell; outlining the afterlife and shocking guests with the scale of the punishments that are visualised. It depicts a chain of cruel ordeals, through which a soul has to undergo in hell. The composition portraying a Chinese wrestler - who fights with tiger - is no less bloody. But despite their sometimes repulsive essence, all of the park’s characters are intended to distinguish good from evil, as are the edifying scenes from Chinese fairy tales and legends; forcing guests to think about centuries-old folk wisdom.

In 1988, the park, which was initially known as the Gardens of Tiger Balm, passed into the ownership of the Singapore Council of Tourism and was turned into an entertainment area that is now called the Haw Par Villa, in honor of its founders. All of the sculptures were restored and many of them were ‘revived’ with the help of modern technologies. The means that nowadays, the characters of Chinese folklore move, blink and growl. The number of bloodcurdling statues and installations was reduced, while new, more cheerful figures and modern park amusements appeared in their place. The real buick 1925, painted as a tiger, as well as a Singaporean version of the Statue of Liberty are among them.

There is a pond with turtles on the park’s territory. Visitors are permitted to feed them with special forage that can be bought at the local café. In addition to this, Haw Par Villa has Museum of Nephritis, which features a rich collection of elegant items from this beautiful mineral, often called the national stone of China.

Average rating
6.97
Ratings: 44
Ratings

 

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Reviews
Reviews: 43
Pol

One of the most unique places to visit while in Singapore. Bizzarre, interesting and amusing. Ah, and 100% for free!

15.11.2017  
0
Edmund

I was terrified of this theme park when I visited as a child, and I'm visiting today 20 years later and I'm still terrified! I've got to say it's full of nostalgia & south east Asian Chinese culture.

06.04.2017  
0
Jess

A place to la-kopi at Old Nanyang Coffee shop at WestWay mall, located opposite Haw Par Villa MRT station.

18.01.2017  
0
Jess

WestWay mall is opposite Haw Par Villa MRT station with reasonably-priced eateries in a not-so-strong aircon place located at 27 West Coast Highway Viaduct.

18.01.2017  
0
Emily

Don't miss out on weird photo opportunities! Especially the naked mermaids

15.04.2016  
0
John

Must go here.. A Singapore original theme park, recently reno after many years. Most Singaporean parents bring their children here, which that fact in itself is very informative of Singapore culture.

11.04.2016  
0
Elise

Cool place to see strange statues and take time to read up the interesting stories of each scene. Totally opened air place so it gets really hot though!

02.03.2016  
0
Mariana

Interesting and unique. One of a kind in Singapore.

14.04.2015  
0
Annie

Crazy, weird place to visit! Explains a lot about Chinese mythology and stories to teach people morals.

27.03.2015  
0
Connie

Depicts the ancient history and others chinese legend. A good place to hang out if you haven't been here.

09.02.2015  
0
Brandon

Enter the minds of the eccentric millionaire developers of Tiger Balm. The Ten Courts of Hell is what I imagine would happen if Prince Tuesday went Caligula on the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

26.12.2014  
1
Tyler

One of the strangest and most unique tourist attractions anywhere, let alone Singapore. Built by a millionaire to teach the town folk morality lessons through statues and dioramas.

05.10.2014  
0
Lord_Voldemort

Free admission, S$5 for parking. Nothing interesting, maintenance required. Ponds are dirty

27.04.2014  
0
Eu Gene

Visit this place for a journey to the Past. It looks a bit run-down, but some will love that. I'll recommend the Court of Ten Hells, its educational.

06.02.2014  
2
Alexandre

Gates of Hell! What a different view of education!!!

25.12.2013  
0
Donald

It brings back memories ...

04.10.2013  
0
Yoshihiro

日本語で説明があり、日本人には大変助かります。

07.09.2013  
1
Chris

Chinnese myth n travel to Hell.

10.08.2013  
0
Zen

it might look a bit rundown ...

27.02.2013  
2
Myo

Free admission and the 10 courts of hell is a must visit.

20.01.2013  
0

Other interesting places nearby...