Haw Par Villa aka Tiger Balm Gardens
Since I first stumbled upon Haw Par Villa, also called Tiger Balm Gardens, I am totally fascinated by this place. The fact that it is not all polished up, like many places in Singapore, plus that it often is empty, adds enormously to it’s appeal. It feels like having discovered Singapore’s best kept secret. Walking through Haw Par Villa is like walking in a forgotten sculpture park. No crowds, no entry fee, no staff or guards. Just you and a thousand sculptures. How amazing is that! It makes me feel like a child in a candy store or like a pirate who found a deserted treasure island.
Haw Par Villa – Singapore’s Best Kept Secret
I know, I already wrote a number of posts about Haw Par Villa. You can read them here, here, here and here. Yes, I confess, I’m a fan. A huge fan! And I’m trying to spread my enthusiasm;-). This eccentric place so deserves more love and attention from visitors!
Oh, and if you find my fascination for this place contagious and decide to visit it for yourself, then I have done all the hard work for you already. I have written down all the information you need, including a map of the site, here. How neat is that?!
Sharing some amazing pictures
Although it’s risky to share your favorite, almost secret places in a city with ‘the world’, I’m still going to share my pictures of and my obsession for Tiger Balm Gardens in Singapore with you guys. It’s too good to hold it all for myself.
Have a look around…
Deserted but not in total neglect
|The Ten courts of Hell indoor area was still there and repaired and repainted where necessary.|
|Look e.g. at the -missing- hand from the lady in the foreground.|
|Nowadays she found her hand back;-)!|
|He was missing his right hand a year ago….|
|And now he not only has his hand back but is also keeping a big knife in it.|
|When you exit the inferno of the Ten Courts of Hell, you literally return to the light, to the upper-world. The sun shines bright and you see the sweet pastel colors of the 360 degrees diorama structure.|
|…with all sorts of daily scenes depicted….|
|Walking along we encounter all sorts of scenery’s, sculptures, tales and mythological storylines.|
|I love the detailing in most sculptures (over a 1000!!!) in the whole park.|
Find the difference between some years ago and now:…..
Walking through the park you encounter giraffes, seals, bears and other animals scattered around, making you wonder what they are doing there…
I recently learned that a nephew (who for a while took over the care for the grounds after his uncles died) was responsible for this. He got to travel and thought that what he saw in America and Australia should also be represented in Haw Par Villa. Making the mix of creatures even more strange and eclectic than it was before.
Along a lane there is a series of tableaus, partly 2D, partly 3D. The shape and size of each tableau is comparable to an undeep bus-stand-shelter.
In a corner of the park there is an area with four gigantic masks hanging at the fence. They are really huge!!!
At one point, one of the four had fallen down and was lying flat on his face. Last time I revisited, it was reinstalled again. They are very impressive and expressive.
And our walk continues….
|Renovated part of the park.|
The park is quiet, green and besides 1000 statues there are several pavillions, memorials, temples and bridges on the premisses.
Great place for a picnic! Just make sure to bring your own food and drinks!
|You can imagine why the brothers chose these premisses for their home and gardens: on a hill, overlooking the sea. It must have been a fantastic place to live!|
Our photographic tour ends here, folks. Were you entertained? Are you impressed? Or do you find it just one, crazy, gaudy kitsch-y garden that you can not be bothered with?
Let me know what you think. It would be lovely to know that I’m not alone in my taste for wacky, tacky, exotic and eccentric places like Haw Par Villa, Singapore’s best kept secret.