metrotrekker

A Quirky Walk Around the Outdoor Gallery of Haw Par Villa

Singapore

The Map

The Navigation

Links To Help You Navigate

The Facts

  • Start or End: I started and finished at the Haw Par Villa MRT Train Station (Google Map Directions).
  • Length: 1.8km (1.1mi) in about 1.5hr
  • Grade: Very Easy. Close to public transport with wheelchair accessible options.
  • Date Walked: 9th of September 2019
  • More Information: Please click here to visit the official Haw Par Villa website.
  • Price: Entry is FREE! There is an option for guided tours at a cost of $10/$5 (adult/child) for the daily 9:30 am to 10:30 am tour and $20/$10 (adult/child) for the Friday Twilight Tour at 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
  • Opening Hours: 9.00 am – 10.00 pm every day of the year.
  • Facilities: Toilets are available as well as some tables and chairs. At the time of writing, there are limited food options within the park (only vending machines and some packaged snacks in the Visitor Centre).

The Story

Entry is free to Singapore's largest outdoor art gallery, depicting Asian history, philosophy and religion in a quirky and informative way.

I'm not sure where to begin with Haw Par Villa. Is it Weird? Awesome? Gruesome? Informative? Bizarre? Fun? Tacky? Violent? Colourful?

Haw Par Villa, Singapore's largest outdoor gallery showcasing Asian culture, history, philosophy and religion (via very quirky sculptures), is probably all these. The Asian cultural park now known as Haw Par Villa was originally called Tiger Balm Garden when it opened in 1937. Have you heard of Tiger Balm? The ointment used for pain relief. Well the owner of Tiger Balm, Aw Boon Haw, created the park as a gift to the world. And quite the gift it is. A unique gift.

I'm going to start my explanation of the unexplainable Haw Par Villa with the last photograph I took. It was right after the Ten Courts of Hell and it really caught my eye. I think my jaw dropped. It was that moment when I realised ... "It's time to go home now".

Click Here To Read More ...

Yes, that's an elderly woman suckling at the ample bosom of a woman as children cry and dance in the background. I'm sure there is a logical explanation for this, but I didn't stick around to find out.

Ok, I started off with the most bizarre and shocking example of the displays at Haw Par Villa, but it is a good example of what this place is about. Scattered throughout the park are sculptural displays of this artistic design which tell a story relating to Asian culture, history, philosophy or religion. Display boards explain the story of each display.

I will admit it, I didn't do that much reading of the display boards, generally just a quick glance. I am here to see the quirky artwork, not get an all-day history lesson.

Some of my favourite displays are these ...

Quirky (and even violent) enough for you?

One of the displays which spoke to me the most was the "Journey to the West" display, which depicts the 16th-century Chinese novel, Journey to the West, by Wu Cheng'en. Why? Because as a kid I watched and loved the show "Monkey" on afternoon ABC television (click here to read about it on Wikipedia), which was the television adaptation of the book. "Pigsy", "Dragon Prince" (who is transformed into Tripitaka's white horse) and of course "Monkey" are all there.

Adding to the eccentricity of Haw Par Villa is the special display "Ten Courts of Hell". It even comes with an advisory notice at the door.

And here's why ...

The very dark tunnel that is the "Ten Courts of Hell" loosely depicts the afterlife in Chinese mythology. Basically, each court hands out gruesome punishments for various sins. For example, if you "cause trouble for parents or family" you get sawn in half, as shown above. A bit harsh I think.

Haw Par Villa is one of the most eccentric places I have ever visited. I doubt Haw Par Villa is to everyone's taste, especially with the exposed breasts and violence shown, but I really enjoyed it. And with the FREE price tag, how can you go wrong.

The pictures I have shown above are the most "interesting" displays, but it's not all like this. There are large displays you can walk through, memorials, decorative archways, ponds, pavilions and some colourful and fun sculptures to enjoy. Please browse through the gallery below to see more.

Haw Par Villa is "Selfie" heaven and I hope you enjoy exploring the park as much as I did.

Click Here To Read More ...

Information

Click Here To Read More ...

The Video

Recommended Read

Points of Interest

Gallery

View Photographs

Nearby Walks

Resources

Welcome

Hello, I'm Marc and welcome to metrotrekker.

Be it seeing the city sights, exploring parklands and gardens, urban walks or day-hikes in the city outskirts, the metrotrekker website details walking routes and hiking trails accessible by foot and public transport in metropolitan areas.

The metrotrekker website provides you with all the details required for metropolitan exploration:

  • a map with geolocation and a selection of map types (street, satellite, topographical)
  • navigation formats compatible with common GPS devices, desktop browser/software or mobile apps
  • trail length and difficulty
  • start and finish options (particularly by public transport)
  • photos/videos
  • attractions or points of interest along the way
  • other walks and hikes nearby
  • often a story or detailed description of the trail (I have personally walked every single trail on the website)
  • and more improvements and resources are continually being added

So let's get outside and explore our great metropolitan areas by foot. Click Here to begin exploring with metrotrekker.

Pleasant Trails,
Metrotrekker Marc

Open MenuClose Menu
SearchHide Search