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If you’re backpacking through Singapore, you’ll know that your options are limited as the prices of everything are so expensive.
That means you’ve probably googled ‘free things to do in Singapore’ and made your way down the list to spend your time.
Luckily, there are plenty of things which will hardly cost you anything in this magnificent city.
One of the quirkiest places which piqued my interest was the Haw Par Villa or Tiger Balm Garden in Singapore.
The History of Haw Par Villa or the Tiger Balm Garden
Haw Par Villa was created as a theme park in 1937 by Boon Haw for his younger brother Boon Par.
The whole park is a journey through Chinese Mythology and there are lots of lessons you can learn here.
You probably won’t recognise their names but you will recognise Tiger Balm, that essential backpacker’s go-to remedy.
Boon Haw and Boon Par invented Tiger Balm!
Cold? Tiger balm. Headache? Tiger balm. Mosquito bites? Tiger balm. You get the idea.
It is a cure-all-ills lifesaver still used by thousands today.
The mansion and the park at Haw Par Villa are rumoured to have cost over $2 million Singapore Dollars!
Here’s a journey into the world of Haw Par Villa…
Haw Par Villa today
The Haw Par Villa was originally created in 1937, but closed during World War II and went into decay.
In the 1980s the park was revived by Boon Pars’ son and reopened to the public.
In 1985 the Singapore government recognised the park as a part of its history and gave it a new lick of paint.
Nowadays, the park is still frequently visited by locals and tourists alike.
Top tips for visiting the Haw Par Villa or Tiger Balm Garden in Singapore
How to get to Haw Par Villa
Getting to the Haw Par Villas in Singapore is really easy via public transport. There is even a metro station named after it!
So, you can grab the Yellow Circle line to Haw Par Villa station and from here it’s a short walk to the Tiger Balm Garden.
How much does it cost to visit Haw Par Villa?
It’s absolutely free to visit the Tiger Balm Gardens in Singapore so it makes an amazing budget activity!
What time does the Haw Par Villa open in Singapore
The Tiger Balm Garden is open from 9 am to 6 pm with the last entry at 5.45 pm.
Things to do at Haw Par Villa
When you think of a theme park, visions pop into your head of happy songs, rides and characters, candy floss and popcorn, and nothing that would make you think of the realities of this world. Well, not Haw Par Villa.
Although it is called a ‘theme park’ it concentrates on Chinese Mythology and there are lessons and moral teachings to be learned here.
Beyond the amazing colours and sculptures which are dotted all around, each one (save a few) comes with a story of consequence.
You will read tales of adulteresses, robbers, misers, and uncharitable vagabonds who all got their comeuppance.
They were eternally damned, transformed into crabs, or lost everything.
Singaporean residents cry at how this park gave them nightmares as children. This was my perfect quirky attraction to spend an afternoon!
The 10 courts of HELL at Haw Par Villa
If you’re on a short time limit, make sure you visit the main attraction of the 10 courts of hell in the Tiger Balm Garden.
This is deemed the scariest part of the villas and there is a warning that it contains some distressing scenes.
As you walk through the tunnel which is guarded by Ox and Horse-headed men, you will be in for a surprise.
Each court deals with different types of criminals from extreme to murderers to those who cheated on a test or lied.
The scenes are quite comical, but they will show those being sentenced to a lava pit, having to walk forever, or being stretched on the rack.
At the end of the tunnel, you will be judged and it will look to see if you’re innocent or guilty! Is your conscience clear?
It was probably the coolest part of the theme park so definitely check it out!
Other awesome things to see at Haw Par Villa
There are other great treats in store for you in Haw Par Villa such as the famous “Tiger Car”.
This was made to get from the top of the hill down to the bottom and they originally even put red light bulbs in the tiger’s eyes!
Make sure you check this one out.
Save this mini Haw Par Villa guide for later!
So that, in a nutshell, is Haw Par Villa or the Tiger Balm Garden in Singapore.
If you’re looking for something different to do in Singapore or just looking for more free attractions to save your dollar, look no further than here.
I had such a great time exploring Haw Par Villa and the 10 courts of hell were my cup of tea. You definitely won’t regret it.
Read my guide on having a Singapore Sling at Raffles next!
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