Tel: 6773 0103
Entrance Fee: Free
Opening Hours: Daily 9.00am - 6.00pm
A childhood favourite - in fact, a favourite tourist attraction even during my mom's days - Haw Par Villa has once again caught my attention, resulting in me bringing some overseas relatives there for a visit over the Chinese New Year period.
Built in 1937 and formerly known as "Tiger Balm Gardens", this eclectic theme park is a treasure trove of Asian culture, especially in the more paranormal sense. Why do I say that? What does one expect to find here at Haw Par Villa?
Well, mythical characters in Chinese folklore and legends come alive here in this quirky park. Expect to find immortal and godly architectures such as a 5-storey Pagoda with statue of Buddha upon it, the architectural makeup of The Eight Immortals etc.
Also expect to come across familiar characters such as Monkey God ("Sun Wu Kong"), Mermaids, and Sumo Wrestlers.
If you are bolder, venture into the Ten Courts of Hell and be expected to come face to face with the simulated postures of painful treatments in hell, such as cutting of the tongue, etc. Also expect to meet the Two Guardians of the Underworld.
This is a nice place to learn about Chinese history and folklore on legends and death; a nice place for pictures and exploration. A Hell's Museum is coming up soon, depicting topics that are realistic and yet fascinating. When I was young, there used to be a boat ride "Journey into Hades" where we could see figurines slaying each other, cutting off the tongues etc, depicting what life is deemed to be like in hell, especially for the evil-doers. Sadly, this item is no longer around.
Another drawback is that there is no food or beverage stall within Haw Par Villa itself, so feel free to bring along your own food for a picnic, or support the "Ice Cream Uncle" situated right outside the entrance to the theme park itself (at the car-park area, actually).