Singapore City Tour – Haw Par Villa and The Ten Courts Of Hell
If you had already toured Singapore, visiting the many famous attractions and entertainments such as Universal Studios Singapore, Zoological Gardens, Orchard Road, Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, etc, and thought you should head home, I advise you not to, for at the western end of Singapore hide an unadvertised attraction, an attraction so unique that it’s probably the only one I heard of in the world.
Singapore city tour of Haw Par Villa is a theme park built in 1937 by two Burmese-Chinese brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, who moved to Singapore and are the two famous businessmen who developed the world renowned Tiger Balm oil, an external use medicated ointment, widely used till today.
Haw Par Villa is a rare find in today’s theme park -it has no rides and play thing. The whole park features hundreds of statues depicting the story of Chinese folklore and legends, a very popular place for locals and tourists who wants to know more about Chinese values. It is a regular itinerary for school’s educational tours and a favourite spot for photographer who loves Chinese culture.
As almost 90 % of the park is unsheltered, it is advisable to avoid it during rainy day. The park is opened from 9 am -7 pm daily. Admission is free. The best time to visit the park is weekday early morning, it is especially crowded during weekends, when photography becomes an issue. A casual visit to Haw Par Villa would take about 1.5 hours.
There are hundred of statues and sculptures depicting legends and folklore .
The Ten Courts Of Hell
The theme park, however, is best well-known for its Ten Courts Of Hell. It is believed that the evil doers would be punished by the Ten Courts after death. The Ten Courts Of Hell is located in a grey-stoned cave-like structure, the place has no sound effect to scare visitors, that’s not its intention. It’s a learning journey, being the most popular attraction in the park, no visitors should miss it. in fact, most visitors are here to visit just that. Bypass Ten Courts Of Hell and there are not many places, if not the only place, in the world that vividly depicts the after-life of a person.
Interestingly, some visitors who are unaware of it dare not enter, they are scared to enter just by looking at the name of it, others who had entered made a quick walk through. I’m not sure if it’s because of guilt, customs and beliefs or the impressive gruesome figurines. But I witnessed that students were enjoying the tour while doing a detail study on the topic, while many Caucasian had found it intriguing. It’s certainly an exceptional tour offers at no other places other than Haw Par Villa Singapore. From what I know of, every race and religion believes in after-life, it just differs in the way one perceive it. It’s a journey everyone needs go through.
The walkway to the Ten Courts Of Hell has figurines and sculptures lining up to give visitors a preview of what’s next. A very good ‘warm-up’ indeed. Going to hell? That’s the entrance of The Ten Courts Of Hell. The Ox Head and Horse Face are guarding, believes to be sent by the King Of Hell to take one’s life.
Throughout the walk through there are boards with explanation on each Court, available in both English and Chinese language.
Here we go, The First Court whereupon death, the Ox Head and Horse Face would bring the ‘dead’ to the King Of Hell. The sin committed by the ‘dead’ while alive on earth is being read out……just in case he has forgotten.
The chained sinners are lead from one Court to another to be punished accordingly.
Be cut into pieces.
Be pierced and spiked.
There are so many more Courts, I dare not to upload all pictures, for fear you close the page instantly and runaway. But exhibits of Ten Courts Of Hell is not there to scare visitors, rather it shares the virtue of morality and good deeds.
In the last stage of Hell, sinners who has been punished are lead to an Old Lady, Meng Po. A magical tea is offered to the sinner. Upon drunk, the sinner forgets all his past lives and is ready to start a new life again. The phrase ‘Meng Po Dang’ is now commonly used to describe ingratitude and unkindness people, example: ‘He’s probably drunk the Meng Po Dang, that’s why he has forgotten how we help ever help him.’