Probably every child dreams of visiting Disney, meeting Mickey and Co., and spending a day full of fairy tales and adventures. Wouldn’t it be amazing to combine that with learning something useful for their lives? For Instance, learning about what punishment it will receive in his afterlife for every sin it commited while being alive?
Luckily, the Chinese Culture has thought about that and included valuable lessons into their tales and folklore.
So, if you want your child to learn in a fun way (
and traumatize it for life), Haw Par Villa Singapore is the place to go! 😉
But even for people traveling without kids, this amusement park can be a welcome diversion from other theme parks around the world due to its bizarre statues and figures.
What to find out in this post
Believe it or not, the entrance to Haw Par Villa is free of charge. It was never easier to bring sleepless nights to your youngsters.
How to get to Haw Par Villa?
The probably easiest way is to go by MRT (Metro). The exit of the Haw Par Villa Station on the Circle line is directly next to the entrance of the park.
How much time to spend there?
For a whole tour through the park, you might need around 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Haw Par Villa History
If you have been traveling in Southeast Asia before, you have probably heard of Tiger Balm. For everyone that has never heard of it, it is like the Asian version of Wick Vaporup.
The inventors of Tiger Balm are the brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par. (I guess you can already see where this is going)
Aw Boon Haw started the construction of the Haw Par Villa for his brother around 1935 and spent around 1 Million Singapore Dollar on it.
1939 the Park was finally opened for visitors under the Name Tiger Balm Gardens.
In the 80s, the Park’s name was changed into Haw Par Villa Dragon Park and equipped with fairground rides. Unfortunately, it didn’t meet the expectations and didn’t show much success. Therefore, the rides were removed again.
What is there to see in Haw Par Villa?
Let’s start our little tour through the Haw Par Villa Amusement Park. The first thing we need, is a super cheesy couple picture in front of the entrance because there is one in every good Amusement Park post, isn’t it?
After entering the park, there are still nice figures waiting for you, making you feel as if you actually were in an innocent child-friendly amusement park.
The Ten Courts of Hell
Probably, the most bizarre part of the Haw Par Villa is the exhibition of the Ten Courts of Hell. It shows the Chinese Interpretation of what is happening to everyone post-mortem.
Here you can find a detailed description of how you will have to pay for each of your sins.
Isn’t that a super-easy way to teach your child values and ethics? 😉
Following these Karma-like Principles, after cheating on an examination during your life, they will cut out your tongue after you have passed away. (Or was it your heart, I actually don’t remember. There were just too many punishments shown) Makes sense, right?
The statues covered in blood represent the shown lessons effectively. Simply a perfect Sunday trip for the whole family 😉
Cautionary Tales and Fables
All over the Haw Par Villa Park, you can find statues whose sense we couldn’t explain even with the best will in the world. Anyone familiar enough with Chinese Folklore and Chinese legends to explain the following pictures?
However, in some parts of the Park, there are signs that explain the associated stories. Therefore, even visitors like us that are not familiar with Chinese tales can understand what is going on.
The Cautionary Tale of the Turtle
There is one tale I still remember for any reason. (Probably, I found the expressions on the figures’ faces hilarious) The story is about a turtle that was about to be sold on a market in order to be eaten. A man came by though and felt pity for the little turtle, bought her and set her free back into nature.
Some years later, the man found himself on a sinking ship in the middle of the sea. While all the other passengers drown in the cold sea, the man survives because he gets saved by the now grown up turtle he set free years ago. (A nice story on the one hand. But I can’t stop thinking of Titanic. There is definitely more space on the turtle for others!)
Is the Haw Par Villa Haunted?
Several security guards of the Haw Par Villa reported that the place comes to life at night.
Some of them even claim that the statues shown are actually dead humans covered in wax.
There are even guards leaving little presents for the statues, such as food and cigarettes in order to keep them from attacking them.
Whether those are actual opinions or just a marketing trick is left to your imagination. 😉