I took a trip to Haw Par Villa with my friend on a weekday afternoon. Nowadays it is easy to go there -simply take a MRT train and alight at Haw Par Villa MRT. Get out of the train station and turn right. The Haw Par Villa is just a few minutes walk away from the train station. The good thing about going to this Chinese theme park is that it is totally free – no entrance free to pay. This theme park is the only one in Singapore or in fact in Asia with more than 1000 statues and 150 huge dioramas depicting Chinese mythology, the famous Journey to the West scenes and the scary 10 Courts of Hell. Other statutes and dioramas may not make sense like the Statue of Liberty, a huge gorilla, koala bears, lady in clam shell, old man sucking on a lady breast??, a vintage car with the tiger’s head, etc.
My first impression was that this place really need a good maintenance and upgrading work as it looked worn out. Dried leaves scattered all over the ground, the pond was filled with dark greenish water and many statues have the worn out appearance; but I saw a few workers doing some painting and maintenance work on the statues. Even though there is no entrance fee, it was very quiet when I was there; there were hardly any visitors. It was hot and humid on that day and luckily I brought along sun shade and 2 bottles of mineral water.
I find Haw Par Villa a very unique and interesting Chinese theme park. Lots of bizarre and unusual statues; a riot of colors everywhere and there were lots of stories about filial piety, doing good and punishment for evil deeds. In short, this theme park really has its own unique character and charm. The 10 Courts of Hell is a must see – though it is advisable not to bring little kids along if they are afraid of statues depicting gruesome violence and blood. My friend told me that the scenes depicted in the Courts of Hell are too extreme and violent. Perhaps the message is simply to tell people to be good and do good deeds.
I took about 2 hours to complete the tour of the Haw Par Villa theme park. By that time, I was feeling very hot and slightly tired. There are plenty of benches around the park to rest but there was no cafe or canteen where visitors can buy drinks and food. If you are visiting Singapore, the Haw Par Villa is worth taking the time to visit. In fact, it is the most bizarre and colorful theme park that I ever have visited.
I visited the Marina Barrage again because my friend had wanted to see this place and he is not sure on how to get there. So this would be my third visit to the Marina Barrage since last year. My friend and I took a MRT train to Marina Bay and then a bus to Marina Barrage. The free shuttle bus service did not arrived at the schedule time and so we took Bus No. 400. I have also written 2 blogs last year about this place; and if you are keen to read about it, here is the link:-
When I was there, the place was very quiet, there were only a handful of visitors – why aren’t the tourists visiting this place? Personally, I felt that this place is worth visiting and is an ideal place for picnic and newly wed couples wanting to take their wedding photos. Anyway, I took the opportunity to take some photos of the Sustainable Singapore Gallery at the Marina Barrage. There are all together six galleries and is free admission too. Another advantage is that if you feel hot after taking photos or looking at the reservoir, this is a nice place to cool off as the air conditioned is very cool. It took me about one hour to complete browsing through the six galleries and the exhibit does give you a good history of Singapore and a understanding of water technology and environment challenges.
My friend told me that the Marina Barrage is a nice place to relax your mind and body. He said that next time if he feel stressed out from work or feeling down, this is a good place to contemplate and recharged. Well, I think the water element in this place does make a person more relax; and the wide open space is very good for picnic or flying kites. Do remember to bring along a bottle of mineral water or your some snacks; as there is no food kiosk over here.