At the top of the hill of Haw Par Villa lies a seemingly forgotten area of the gardens. Age shows in some of these sculptures, and the grounds are visibly more weathered. It almost seems as if these areas were left untouched for years (well, not all), with faded colours powering the dioramas with an unsettling appearance.
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Mysterious Gardens is not a specific area in Haw Par Villa – it is what I call a few areas in the entire compound that are quite… strange.
The Pavilion and Pagoda zone at Haw Par Villa is a brief respite from the terrors of the Ten Courts of Hell. It is a small but open area, with a large pond being the key highlight – the Pagoda and Pavilion in the middle. A series of faded ornamental bridges link different parts of the pool together.
The Ten Courts of Hell is the hallmark attraction at Haw Par Villa. World famous for depicting all sorts of gruesome punishments for sins in one’s life, this harrowing journey to the netherworld is a short walkthrough within a dark tunnel.
Although similar to Hell Houses and some “Haunted” attractions, this attraction is not a Haunted House (well, not in the usual sense) and does not use effects as part of the experience. Rather, it is a glimpse into the beliefs of afterlife in Chinese culture and folklore, both modern and traditional. I’d say the purpose of this attraction is more of a cautionary tale than entertainment.
Haw Par Villa is a theme park lost in time. Originally called the Tiger Balm Gardens, this quaint park was built by the founders of Tiger Balm – the Aw brothers. It is filled with thousands of statues and dioramas to depicting Chinese mythology, history and traditional values. Under new management in the late 80s, the gardens evolved into a theme park – Haw Par Villa Dragon World, complete with shows and rides.