Singapore Life #12 – Haw Par Villa (Tiger Balm Gardens)

A few weekends ago we visited Haw Par Villa aka The Tiger Balm Gardens.


I had read some reviews on trip advisor so I knew what to expect. Haw Par Villa is weird as shit.


tiger balm gardens

It’s known as a theme park, but to me, a theme park has rides and this thankfully does not have rides. It’s basically a garden of statues that was built by the brothers that came up with Tiger Balm (I love that stuff)



It’s right on the coast so you get a great view of the shipping containers and cranes. I’m not joking, I love that stuff.



Just after you first walk into the main gates, you go into a covered tunnel that displays the ten courts of hell. Hell as depicted by buddhism. I don’t have children, but if I did, I would not take them in here. It’s really gory. These are definetly not the most gory pictures that we took.


ten courts of hell


Various forms of torture based on your bad deeds. Some of the bad deeds were listed as robbery, gossiping and possession of pornographic material.



The 10 gates of hell are only a small part of Haw Par Villa and thankfully once you are back out in the sunlight, there is plenty of other sights to ensure you aren’t scarred for life.




We walked across a little bridge and Key told me to look at all of the turtles. I looked down and took that first photo, suitably impressed at the amount of turtles in the water. Then I realised he was talking about all of them under the bridge. It was a super hot and sunny day so they were all hiding in the shade. They kept piling on top of one another until eventually one on top would fall off, it was hilarious.



The statues outside were less gory than in the 10 courts of hell, but they were still weird.


Haw Par Villa

I would love to explain to you what is going on in some of these photos, but I have no idea either.



The majority of the place is extremely run down but I thought that kind of added to the charming creepiness of it. Key said he thought it would be a good place to film a horror movie and I totally agree with him.




More turtles and fish.



It’s free to get into so I don’t know how they have kept it running, but some of the exhibits did seem to be in the process of getting repainted and fixed.



Will I be rushing to take visitors from home here…no. Am I glad we went…definitely! If you are only in Singapore for a short time I probably wouldn’t prioritise it over other things like Gardens By the Bay and the Botanical Gardens but we had fun wandering around the place for an hour or so. Another bonus is that because it is a bit run down, it’s fairly quiet. There was people there, but not the crazy crowd that I’ve seen at other tourist attractions.



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Hi! I’m Taryn. The Wooden Spoons is a food blog and collection of wooden spoons, recipes and stories. I’m a Canberra fan-girl with a passion for all things food. I love South East Asian food, fusion food done well and slow cooked anything. I don’t get quinoa, have a mild phobia of milk touching my skin and custard from a package freaks me out. Thanks for joining me on my cooking and food adventures.

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