The Creepiest Amusement Park of All Time?

Singapore is bland. It’s a high-priced row of shopping malls and fine eateries, with a few hawker markets thrown in. “It’s soooooo boring,” warned my hairdresser Miss P.

But then you stumble on something like this. The Tiger Balm Gardens: The most disturbing theme park of all time.

There’s sex, violence, bear-maulings and scabies. Statues of slutty immoral crotch-grabbing wenches, and creepy animals dressed as humans. Down a dark musty cave, a terrifying tableaux displays every vengeance that awaits you in the hell you’ll surely meet.

And behind it all, a simple message: better be good, dammit, and use Tiger Balm to ease your human pain!

Built in 1937 by Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the eccentric brothers behind Tiger Balm ointment, this bizarre park was meant to be an Emily Post for Asian kids. If you visit a prostitute, it warns, you’ll be “thrown into a pool of blood and drowned.” Disrespect to elders or escape from prison, and your heart will, quite literally, be cut out. Waste food? Body sawn in two.

The park is also a celebration of Chinese tradition and culture. Episodes from the classic adventure novel “Journey to the West” are retold in statues, and 10′ tall Peking Opera masks stare out creepily from walls.

Check out the following insane pictures, with more explanations, below…

Haw Par Villa (虎豹別墅), Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore

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11 Responses to The Creepiest Amusement Park of All Time?

  1. balinesecat says:

    I’m almost afraid to ask … but were there any shows, restaurants, or rides here as well, or just the sculptures?

    • Dean Pickles says:

      Actually, there used to be rides and shows, but those are long gone. It’s almost empty — there were a handful of other families (also with small kids in tow) — and the upkeep has fallen to “very little.” Dust on everything, which seemed even more strange for Singapore.

      My pal Fukuen remembered that “it was always very hot (no air con!) and crowded – this was suffering. The most ‘innovative’ part of it all was taking a train ride through the passage of hell; you half-expected ghosts and objects to suddenly appear.”

      Half of the park has now been taken over with a museum on the Overseas Asian Experience. (Basically, a “railroad and chinatown” museum.)

  2. balinesecat says:

    thanks for the additional info.

    i like to imagine the train might have looked something like that tiger head car in one of the pics, red eyes lighting the way :-)

  3. Jaciara says:

    Awesome! Hope I can visit it someday. Thanks for showing us this odd view of Singapore!

    • Dean Pickles says:

      I hope you can, too… it really makes Singapore special, somehow. (And it’s wonderful seeing old pictures in Youtube slideshow videos — it’s barely changed since it was built!) Goes well with a trip to Adams Hawker Center for their award-winning Nasi Lemak!

  4. wheelsmom says:

    I love it!

  5. Tobes says:

    Thank you so much for this site! I’ve had an absolute hoot reading through the review and comments by the pictures. My sister has recently moved nearby – so I’m going to take a stroll inside in the next day or two!

    What a shame this place isn’t more widely known – a definite eccentric tonic to counteract the sterile consumerism of so much of the rest of Singapore…

    • Dean Pickles says:

      Yes, REALLY!!! Let me know if you find anything else wonderful in Singapore (besides the Nasi Lemak at Adams Hawker Center, of course… ;P ) — I was just reading about the Wanderlust Hotel there, and want an excuse to go peek inside!

  6. Pingback: Haw Par Villa « A cuppa and a pikelet

  7. Philip says:

    Hello, Can you please tell me where I can find this kind of place in Fujian, China? I looked it up and it said that there are 3 of these places…the one you found in Singapore, one closed down in Hong Kong, and one in Fujian (Mainland) China. I’ll be in Guangzhou this June and could easily make a trip to Fujian province in a day. If you know, can you please tell me where the hell this place is? It looks amazing!
    Thank You!
    -Philip
    P.s. This website is AMAZING!!!!

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