This theme park on Chinese mythology is a must visit for all visitors. Take the MRT to the Haw Par Villa station and alight. On exit you will come to the entrance of the theme park. The architecture is traditional Chinese style and entrance is free.
You will see the 10 gates of hell where the wicked are tortured by the god of hell. You will also see the characters of Journey to the West, a famous novel in which a monk set out to the West to discover the lost Buddhist scripture.
As a short background on this place, it was the abode of the Tiger Balm pioneers; the Aw brothers (Aw Boon Hor & Aw Boon Par, the latter being the elder and more flamboyant of the two). It was, however, primarily resided by Aw Boon Par as Boon Haw was based in Hongkong most of the time.
It is, therefore, not surprising that there's a similar theme park-like residence to be found in Hongkong as well (now belonging to the Lee Kar Shing family).
This place saw a few ups & downs as the government struggled to give Haw Par Villa a new breath of life with little success. With the opening of the Circle Line Station at Haw Par Villa, this place is now a little bit more livelier than before.
Haw Par Villa is also known as Tiger Balm Garden. It is located at 262 Pasir Panjang Road (south-west). Not sure why it is not widely recommended to the tourist. Maybe its because the location is a bit off from most attractions.
The admission is free of charge. You can see bus loads of Chinese tourist visting this attraction. I do see mostly foreign visitors viewing the exhibits in this attraction.
There are 25 clusters of original statues and figurines which replicate the Chinese mythology characters like the Laughing Buddha and the Taoist deities, Fu Lu Shou.
You must visit the Ten Courts of Hell exhibits which feature the ten steps of judgement before reincarnation. The statues are very literal and leaves no room for imagination. There are moral values and Chinese cultural heritage lessons to be taught to the future generations. There is an admission charge of $1. The Jade House also has an admission charge of $1.
Even you may not believe in reincarnation or deities, it is still worth it to see what others believes are.
If you like Tiger Balm, you may purchase a bottle at the stall at the entrance. They even comes in plaster to relieve pain in your muscles.
Take SBS bus 200 from Buona Vista MRT Station (EW21), SBS bus 10, 30, SMRT Bus 188 from HarbourFront (after visit to Sentosa), SBS bus 143 from Orchard Road or SBS bus 51 from Chinatown.
... also known as Tiger Balm Gardens. It is named after the owners - the Aw brothers, Boon Haw (Tiger) and Boon Par (Leopard) who first opened the park in 1937. The garden with its statues represent Chinese legends and mythology.
The place is almost deserted with only a few visitors daily. But I heard this was a popular site for local families to have picnics here before thea started charging fees in 1985. Every statue on display has a story behind it. Unfortunally the statues are not in good shape anymore.
the ruler of the gardens is, who else, but a dragon. It is 60 m long and you can enter it through mouth and walk along his body.
The most scary or probably bizzare display is the 10 courts of Hell. Not one, but 10! Each court is ruled by a king (yama) who gives punishments according to the sins the person had committed in his life.