Haw Par Villa is a Chinese mythological theme park in Singapore, located along Pasir Panjang Road. It is without a doubt one of the most unique tourist destinations you’re likely to encounter anywhere in the region. The park contains more than 1,000 statues and giant dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese folklore, legends, history and illustrations of various aspects of Confucianism. It’s gory, bizarre and all kinds of wonderful. You won’t want to miss it.
Attractions include statues of the Laughing Buddha and the Goddess of Mercy, as well as dioramas depicting scenes from journeys to the West. Be sure to check out the so-called “Ten Courts of Hell,” which features grim depictions of hell as conceived in Chinese mythology within the nearly 200 foot-long trail of a Dragon. There are also statues of a woman breastfeeding her father in law, armed monkeys and a human-faced giant crab.
Also worth checking out is a small jade museum that houses an impressive collection of carved gemstones.
Originally named “Tiger Balm Gardens,” the Villa was built in 1937 by Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the developers of Tiger Balm, as a venue for teaching traditional Chinese values. It was renovated in the late 1980s, and high entrance fees have rendered the destination practically deserted. Counter-intuitively, this adds to its charm, lending it a sort of ghost town aesthetic. How exactly the nutty displays are intended to educate visitors and locals is unclear, but it’s a good time regardless.