A day at the theme park is rarely described as a deeply disturbing experience.
But typical theme parks don’t often leave you with hellish images of bloody torture. Nor do they confuse you with symbolic sculptures and detailed dioramas.
With that being said, it’s safe to say that Haw Par Villa isn’t your average theme park.
Haw Par Villa
Located towards Singapore’s southern end is a collection of sculptures unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Haw Par Villa, officially labeled as a Chinese mythological theme park, is a massive collection of scenes and statues set up to depict ancient Chinese tales. And while the description thus far may lead you to believe the park is a perfect place for a day of family fun, think again.
Refusing to give in to any potential censorship, Haw Par Villa accurately describes these Chinese myths as they are said to have happened. What results is a thought-provoking, shocking, and occasionally disturbing series of dioramas.
With free admittance, you need only respect the park’s hours which extend from 9am to 7pm.
Visiting Haw Par Villa Park
Entering Haw Par Villa, you will be presented with a series of fairly unassuming sculptures. Colorful tigers, monkeys, and dragons are each part of their own personal tale. Unfortunately, not being well-versed in Chinese, you’ll be unable figure out their deeper meanings.
Whether fortunately or unfortunately, what follows will be much more involved. Dioramas along your walk will include depictions of a grown man sucking a woman’s breast, a collection of severed heads, and a part-crab/part-woman creation.
But don’t think that you’ve seen the worst of it quite yet.
Ten Courts of Hell
As the only sheltered portion of the theme park, the Ten Courts of Hell‘s entrance is set up to appear like a dark cave. Soaked in red light, the displays illustrate what happens to those who have led a sinful life.
Though hell’s depictions aren’t incredibly realistic, the details are sufficient enough to make you squirm. Bearing witness to a sinister sampling of torture, you’ll be thankful to return to the light of day.
Credit: Rudy Herman
Old Changi Hospital
Now that you’ve gotten a taste for the unusual, consider upping the ante by visiting the Old Changi Hospital. Abandoned since 1997, the facility is said to be home to a number of spirits. Legend has it that while many people enter the abandoned structure, not all of them exit.
Occasional tours are available for those who seek them; however, visiting on your own will be all the more creepy. Keep in mind that you’ll need your own source of transportation.
Heaven has a road, but no one travels it, hell has no gate but men will dig to get there. - Chinese Proverb
When To Go
While precipitation in Singapore will be unavoidable, the driest months will range from June through to August. But maybe you’ll find Haw Par Villa all the more creepy in the rain.
The region’s temperatures will be fairly consistent throughout the year with lows of 73°F (23°C) and highs of 88°F (31°C). Average precipitation during the summer hovers around 150mm per month.
Getting There & Around
Look to take the metro to the Haw Par Villa MRT Station, located on the Circle Line. From there, it’s only a short walk to the theme park.
- Mid-range accommodations: $200-300
- Meal: $10-30
- Beer: $7
- Consider leaving the kids at home.
- Visit one of the city’s museums to get a better understand of Chinese culture.
- Look elsewhere for a romantic date.
- Assume the park is in pristine condition.
- Expect to truly understand any of the sculptures.
- Litter. You could face fines of up to $1,000.
- While it is illegal to sell gum in Singapore, it’s completely fine to chew it.
- The nation consists of a total of 64 islands.
- In Singapore, you aren’t allowed to hug in public without permission.
Feature Image Credit: beggs