The world is the throne of evil, and as humanity goes through the cycle of sins, it is odd to say that Haw Par Villa is a place that one can get a revelation of sin.
Built in 1937, Myanmar-Chinese brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par of Tiger Balm fame erected these sculptures to educate the public on traditional Chinese folklore and mythology. It is simply unbelievable for a modern cosmopolitan like Singapore to house such a strange place like Haw Par Villa. Yet, the quirkiness and gruesome side of Haw Par Villa provides a light-hearted atmosphere to enjoy and learn Asian culture.
For the reckless and the brave, you will be thrilled to know that the iconic theme park has extended its opening hours by three hours to 10pm. Did we also mention that admission to Haw Par Villa is also free?
With over 1,000 instalments and dioramas to check out during the extended witching hours, its infamous 10 Courts of Hell will surely get you goosebumps. I took one for the team and explored the eerie grounds at night.
There wasn’t a crowd when I visited Haw Par Villa on a Friday evening. Having experienced the wonders of the theme park in the day, I personally found that the instalments seemed to come alive at night – there’s just something about the night that made the walk in the park much more thrilling. In fact, joining me on my evening stroll were a few adventurous couples. I guess the excitement and thrills of Haw Par Villa makes for an unconventional spot for dating, eh?
At the end of my trip, I found myself damped from perspiration as I was photographing the installations that were deeper in the park. If you are planning a trip down, it could be useful to pack a mini portable fan and some wet wipes in your bag. You may also need a mini flashlight, as some corners of the theme park are not well-lit at night, especially for the steps leading up to some of the installations.
Haw Par Villa bridges generations on the appreciation of Singapore’s cultural heritage, and it is an ideal destination for Singaporeans of all ages to understand traditional Chinese values and moral ethics. Some of these sculptures might be frightening to some, but there are lessons to be learnt behind each and every one of them. Those that appreciate Chinese folklore and artworks will find a trip down to Haw Par Villa worthwhile.
General admission is free. Haw Par Villa also hosts its after dark “Journey to Hell” tour every Friday night from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Tour prices start at S$10. For more information, visit the official website at https://www.hawparvilla.sg/.
Photos by Soloman Soh of the DANAMIC team.