Haw Par Villa

Haw Par Villa

Haw Par Villa, located in Pasir Panjang, is an Asian cultural park that offers a unique glimpse into the rich traditions and folklore of Chinese history. Originally known as Tiger Balm Gardens, the park was built by Aw Boon Haw, a Myanmar-born businessman, for his brother Aw Boon Par. The park was named after the famous Tiger Balm medical ointment created by their father.

The origins of Haw Par Villa can be traced back to 1937 when it was first opened to the public. Boon Haw’s deep passion for Chinese culture and mythology led him to personally supervise the creation of many of the park’s original fixtures. His intention was to provide moral guidance to the public through the park’s depiction of traditional virtues.

During World War II, the Aw family fled singapore for Yangon, leaving the park behind. It was used as an observation point by the Japanese army during the war. After the war, Aw Boon Haw returned to Singapore and began rebuilding the park. From the 1940s to the 1970s, many members of the Aw family contributed to the park’s development, including Aw Cheng Chye, Boon Par’s son. Aw Cheng Chye’s passion for travel led to the establishment of the park’s International Corners, which pay tribute to the cultures of the many countries he visited.

In 1985, the Singapore Tourism Board took over the management of Haw Par Villa and began revitalization work on the space. This marked the beginning of the park’s modern transformation. Since then, the park has continued to evolve and attract visitors from all over the world.

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One of the main attractions of Haw Par Villa is the Ten Courts of Hell, which vividly depicts scenes from Chinese folklore. Many Singaporeans have fond memories of visiting the park as children, where they learned about the exacting nature of traditional Chinese morality. The park is also home to over 1,000 statues and 150 dioramas, showcasing scenes from legendary works of Chinese literature such as Journey To The West, Madame White Snake, and the stories of the Eight Immortals.

After undergoing nine months of upgrading works, Haw Par Villa reopened in 2021 with enhanced night lighting and extensive conservation work on its iconic statues. The park’s most iconic attraction, the Ten Courts of Hell, is now part of Hell’s Museum, a new space that offers visitors the chance to explore global beliefs and traditions about death and the afterlife.

For those looking to delve deeper into the stories of Haw Par Villa, the park offers guided tours that provide fascinating insights into the history of the Aw family and the origins of Tiger Balm and Haw Par Villa. The tours offer a glimpse into the turbulent tragedies and meteoric rises to success that have shaped the park’s history.

If you prefer to explore the park at your own pace, you can download the Hop! Par Villa Trail Guide, which provides information on iconic spots and hidden spaces within the park. After a day of exploration, visitors can relax and grab a bite to eat at The Sixth Milestone, a charming bistro overlooking the Pagoda Pond.

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It is important to note that visitor discretion and parental guidance are advised due to the graphic nature of some of the exhibits in Hell’s Museum. The museum is not recommended for children aged 8 and below.

In conclusion, Haw Par Villa is a cultural gem that offers a unique and immersive experience into the traditions and folklore of Chinese history. From its origins as Tiger Balm Gardens to its modern transformation, the park continues to captivate visitors with its vivid depictions of Chinese mythology and its dedication to preserving and sharing Chinese culture. Whether you choose to take a guided tour or explore the park at your leisure, a visit to Haw Par Villa is sure to be a memorable and enlightening experience.

Address And Location:

262 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore 118628

  • Operating Hours

    Haw Par Villa:
    Mon – Sun, 9am – 8pm (last entry 7.30pm)

    Hell’s Museum:
    Tue – Sun, 10am – 6pm (last entry 5pm)

    Visitor Centre:
    Mon – Sun, 10am – 6pm

  • 262 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore 118628

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