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A Strange and Wonderful Theme Park

More than a thousand statues and dioramas depicting themes from Chinese mythology, Buddhism and Asian history fill this famous park. They show scenes from traditional romances and legends, religious deities, the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, famous people and fastastical creatures. Perhaps the most well-known - and notorious - diorama is titled "Ten Courts of Hell" which shows, in great and colorful detail, the fates of sinners in the afterlife. The villa was originally built in 1937 by the Aw brothers, the Burmese twins famous for creating Tiger Balm medicinal ointment. Now owned and operated by the Singapore Tourism Board, the park has the reputation for being a little worn, but still great fun. Admission is free, but there are guided tours for a fee. It's easy to get to: Just look for the Haw Par Station on the MRT Circle Line.

Utrip Tips

* Be aware that Haw Par Villa also houses a section devoted to "Buddhist Hell", which contains pretty graphic depictions of the Ten Courts of Hell. Use discretion when visiting with children.

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