Haw Par Villa’s Ten Courts Of Hell may bring back poignant memories for many of us: gory visuals that scared the heck out of us as children, and a hellish heat, since there was apparently no such thing as A/C back in the day. On 29th October 2021, the attraction will reopen as part of an upgraded and expanded Hell’s Museum, complete with complimentary guided tours available daily.
This is only the first part of a phased reopening, with more attractions like rides, a container hotel and an escape room coming soon!
Haw Par Villa was set up way back in 1937 by Chinese-Burmese businessman and philanthropist, Aw Boon Haw, as a gift for his younger brother Aw Boon Par. It may surprise you that much of the original structure has stayed intact through the years. Today, the family’s garage has been converted into the entrance and indoor gallery of Hell’s Museum.
You can spot it by its intricate afterlife-themed mandala and bright red signage out front.
Take a step in to learn more about how death has been interpreted across religion, culture and time.
In this air-conditioned indoor exhibit, find four stations filled with a myriad of information and tales from the birth of time to how we handle death and perceive the afterlife in Singapore today. We recommend going through this area of the exhibit slowly and taking your time to read all the details on the walls.
We don’t talk about death much – which is why most of us may not know that there is a standard grid size for graves at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery today: 2.9M x 1.5M x 1.8M. Or, how the perception of the afterlife differs between religions. TILs of the day.
Don’t be shocked to spot a recreation of a 1980s Chinese funeral and a realistic-looking grave here.
Don’t worry, this isn’t real!
Beyond Buddhism and Taoism, this revamped edition also touches on beliefs on death from Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and even Zoroastrianism.
We visited on a hot day and it was literally cooler in hell
Heading out into the museum’s open-air park, you’ll spot a couple of things including the revamped Ten Courts of Hell. Fans of the original may be glad to know that much of the OG structure remains intact, save for some touch-ups and the addition of TVs and air conditioning units.
Here’s sneak preview for those who haven’t been:
Good news for the squeamish: the background audio with hair-raising screams that used to plague us in the past is now gone.
At the outdoor garden, also check out upgraded versions of Chinese deities, and sculptures depicting folklore of filial piety. Read the signs for all the details – some say the previous versions had factual errors, but this time around you can rest assured that nothing is fake news.
While everyone is welcome to visit, the park is not recommended for those under nine years old due to the gory nature of the exhibits.
Hell’s Museum aside, Haw Par Villa has also undergone several upgrading works in recent months. Now, find a Visitor’s Centre with snacks, merchandise and Tiger Balm ointments – a nod to the park’s history.
There’s also a new restaurant, The Sixth Milestone, with snacks and drinks, alongside a free VR exhibit Beyond the Veil Art & Tech – a surreal phone-based activity that shows you how your choices determine your fate in the afterlife.
A dressed-up original 1925 Buick, similar to the one Boon Haw used to market Tiger Balm back in the day.
Coming soon in 2022 are:
Whether or not you remember the original Ten Courts of Hell, swing by Hell’s Museum – now with more to explore. Tickets are priced at $18/adult and come with free tours around the park four times a day.
Don’t wait to visit – during the opening weekend of 29th – 31st October 2021, there’ll be a lineup of sideline activities like dance performances and hypnotherapy workshops, said to help participants get in touch with their subconscious. Yoga under the stars and rental of Halloween-themed picnic sets will also be available.
Register for these programmes via the QR code on Haw Par Villa’s Facebook page.
On 28th October 2021 at 6.30PM, there’ll also be a Facebook live stream airing the official launch of the new attraction.
Price: $18 for adults | $10 for children aged 7-12
Address: 262 Pasir Panjang Road, Haw Par Villa, Singapore 118628
Opening hours: 10AM-6PM, Daily (Last entry at 5PM)
* 10AM-8PM daily during opening weekend
Telephone: 6773 0103
For more new attractions in Singapore:
Photography by Zhou Jinquan.
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