Haw Par Villa: All you need to know about this strange park

Parks in Singapore tend to be memorable, but this incredible location will stay in people’s minds for a very long time. The park is themed after the most iconic aspects of Chinese mythology and history. In the Par Villa, you can see more than a thousand colorful sculptures and 150 huge dioramas that show scenes from Chinese myths, legends, and history.

An earlier name for this park was Tiger Balm Gardens. In 1937, the park’s namesake founders, brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, who owned the company that made the fabled Tiger Balm, decided to put a significant amount of money into a public park that would be open to all residents of Singapore without charge. Therefore, the park was renamed after them; the modern name, “Villa of the Tiger and Leopard,” comes from the original Chinese.

The park is situated on a hill overlooking the coast, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and fragrant magnolia trees. In a fortunate turn of events, it’s situated far from any monotonous pathways.

Someone said: “What do you think of the old saying ‘repay evil with kindness?’” Confucius said: “In that case how will you repay kindness? Better repay evil with justice, and kindness with kindness.”- Confucius - Kung Tzu
haw par villa singapore entrance arch
Entrance arch

Wonderful fun may be had simply strolling down it and gazing at the various mysterious figures along it. Excluding the terrifying “10 Circles of Hell” exhibit, This place is a good example of the many ways people were tortured in ancient China. These methods came from the sick minds of emperors who competed to see who could go the furthest to show how serious the situation was.

Although this exhibit, like the rest of the park, was created with a specific goal in mind — all of the figures here help us distinguish between good and evil, and the illuminating images from fairy tales and legends remind us of the timeless knowledge that has been passed down through the ages. park that was left behind by a once-mighty civilization.

 har par villa /tiger balm gardens

Curious adults might contemplate the Chinese horoscope engraved into a nearby rock. And the kids will be so excited that they won’t be able to stop climbing the figures from their favorite stories. In certain exhibitions, they are even permitted to enter “magic underground tunnels.” If you want to be lucky, pat Laughing Buddha in the stomach. Hundreds of turtles live in the park’s pond, and visitors may feed them by purchasing special food at the park’s little cafe.

There have been acts with mermaids, a crab with a woman’s head, a pig-man, a deer-man hosting a tea party for a turtle, and even its very own Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Strangely named after the Singaporean brothers who developed Tiger Balm, Aw Boon Haw, and Aw Boon Par, Ho Pa Villa Park may be found atop Pasir Panjang hill. Boon Ho, the older brother, spent S$1.95 million building a mansion for his younger brother that had panoramic windows overlooking the ocean and a massive garden inspired by Chinese mythology and fairy tales.

 har par villa /tiger balm gardens

This park was formerly known as Tiger Balm Gardens, but it was renamed Ho Pa Villa in more recent times (Haw Par Villa). The Tiger Balm Gardens home was hailed as “one of Singapore’s most stunning residences” during its construction in the 1930s.

how par villa - hell's museum
Hell’s museum

An early phase of this establishment’s life included free public access and a zoo for everybody. The brothers were living in America when World War II broke out, but they were forced to leave the country. The mansion was seized by Japanese forces, who used it to spy on passing ships.

Bun Pa’s son Aw Cheng Chye completed the park’s restoration and final touches after the war. However, the time has not been kind to the park. The park’s exorbitant fees drove away many potential customers in the late 1990s. Many individuals have been to this park since then; some schools have even made field trips here to teach students about the consequences of their actions.

how par villa - hell's museum

The Singapore Tourism Board purchased the site in 1985 and made extensive renovations to the park. The fantastic and surreal Chinese legendary park, Haw Par Villa, is now free to anyone. The cave is known as the “10 courts of Hell” and is where many urban legends and ghost stories originate, leading some to believe it is also the entrance to the underworld.

Staff members at the park still talk about how the site comes to life at night and how the sculptures are actually skeletons coated in wax. (Obviously, it’s not true. If you observe them carefully, you will find them to be carved out from wire mesh and plaster cement paste) There is a problem with park personnel taking food and smoking while on the job.

white floral statue Haw Par Villa

Haw Par Villa MRT map

Haw Par Villa mrt map

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is admission to Haw Par Villa free?

Haw Par Villa can be reached from the Haw Par Villa MRT station on the green line. The park is open daily from 9am-8pm and admission is free.

What is special about Haw Par Villa?

Haw Par Villa is famous for its vivid depictions of the Ten Courts of Hell from Chinese folklore.

What happened to Haw Par Villa Dragon?

Haw Par Villa Dragon World, which opened in 1990, ran at a loss for most of its operational period and closed 11 years later in 2001.

Why is the place called The Horrors Of Haw Par Villa?

It’s because the carving on these statues and displays conveys rage, vengeance, loss, and retribution. If you observe them carefully, you will find them to be carved out from wire mesh and plaster cement paste

Who owns Haw Par Villa now?

Singapore Tourism Board owns it

How long does it take to tour Haw Par Villa?

It takes around 120 minutes to take a tour of Haw Par Villa. 

Are Tiger Balm Garden and Haw Par Villa both the same?

Yes, Tiger Balm Garden is an old name for Haw Par Villa.

Is Haw Par Villa haunted and scary?

Haw Par Villa is not Haunted. It is wonderful and amusing for adults, but it can be a little scary for younger children.

Can I take food inside the Haw Par Villa?

No, But there are food courts inside the Park

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Daniel Wong
Daniel Wong
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