I saw Haw Par Villa for many times – on buses or taxi. Today I passed by this place again and my curiosity was killing me; so, I did a little research on Haw Par Villa and now share with you my findings.
Haw Par Villa is a Chinese mythological theme park in Singapore, located along Pasir Panjang Road. The park contains over 1,000 statues and 150 giant dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese folklore, legends, history, and illustrating various aspects of Confucianism.
These include The Laughing Buddha, The Goddess of Mercy, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and most famously The Ten Courts of Hell, a depiction of a gruesome underworld of tortures and torments set in the mouth of a 60-meter-long dragon. Interesting, isn’t it?
Haw Par Villa History
The park, originally called “Tiger Balm Gardens“, was constructed in 1937 by the brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the developers of Tiger Balm, as a venue for teaching traditional Chinese values. The Aw family eventually sold the Gardens to the Singapore Tourism Board in 1979.
The park was renamed Haw Par Villa in 1985 and re-opened in 1990, when it was converted into an amusement park and promoted with the name “Dragon World“, with many of the statues and scenes replaced with fairground rides. However this new incarnation proved unpopular when attendances started to decline and Fraser and Neave, which had 75% stake in the theme park, started seeing losses. More recently many of the old features have been replaced, such as the dragon ride. Some of the statues have also been moved to the Chinese Gardens.
Entry to the park has been free since 1996, while previously a S$16 entrance fee was charged and a Chinese Heritage Centre has been constructed within its grounds.
The sad thing is, Haw Par Villa park is in a run down state. Many of the water ponds are covered with algae.
- Open Hours: 9.00 am – 7.00 pm (daily)
- Approximate Touring Time: 2-3 hours
- Location: 262 Pasir Panjang Road Singapore 118628
How to Get to Haw Par Villa
Take SBS Transit bus 200 from Buona Vista MRT Station (EW21), SBS Transit bus 10, 30, SMRT Bus 188 from Harbour Front Centre, SBS Transit bus 143 from Orchard Road, SBS Transit bus 51 from Chinatown or SBS Transit bus 175 from Clementi MRT Stn/Temporary Bus Interchange.
The future Circle Line Station, Haw Par Villa MRT Station (CC25) would be located next to it.