In today’s edition of Explore As Much of Singapore As Possible Before Rebecca Leaves, my friend Lauren and I ventured out to Haw Par Villa, located on the western part of the Circle Line. There’s nothing around it except for a car dealer and a Korean BBQ restaurant, meaning that Haw Par Villa has its own MRT stop! Neither of us had ever been out in that direction before.
I first heard about Haw Par Villa from a friend a number of weeks ago and promptly forgot about it. Another friend asked if I’d brought Lucas there when he visited last weekend, which reminded me that I wanted to go. (Obviously, Lucas missed that experience. He’ll just have to come back!)
Haw Par Villa was built by the brothers who developed Tiger Balm and made millions. They opened the theme park as a way of giving back to society. Entry is completely free, which is always nice. It was very hot and sunny today and we walked through the whole park in about 90 minutes.
Our first stop was the section of the park depicting the 10 Courts of Hell from Chinese folklore. To give you an idea, this is how each of the courts were described:
Each of the courts had a sign like the one above, and all sorts of graphic depictions of the punishments, like these:
It gets stranger:
The rest of the theme park continued depicting different Chinese tales. Having Lauren around was particularly helpful because she spent four years living in Shanghai and can read and speak what she calls elementary Mandarin. It was also just fun to point out the weird sh** everywhere to someone as intrigued as I was!
The last area we visited was called Virtues and Vices and depicted scenes of daily life, both virtues and vices, from places Lauren could identify as Shanghai and Hong Kong. I’m also pretty sure at least one scene was set in Singapore, but it’s hard to say.
It was definitely a unique and entertaining afternoon! I highly recommend a visit!