Tiger Balm Gardens

For the last day of #blogjune we leave London with a short stop in Singapore on the way home to Melbourne.

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We left rainy Heathrow via a short stop in Amsterdam before flying home via Singapore where we’d planned a one night stopover at the Hotel New Majestic in Chinatown.

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We’d always regretted missing seeing the old Tiger Balm Gardens in Hong Kong, now long demolished and replaced by apartment towers. But then I read that the Singapore Tiger Balm Gardens (correctly, Haw Par Villa) not only still existed but had been restored, so we really had to organise a visit. We took the metro to Haw Par Villa and, dripping with sweat in the humid morning heat, walked up the hill through the old Chinese gateway. What an amazing place!

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Haw Par Villa is named after the Aw brothers, who created the medical ointment Tiger Balm.

Built in 1937, Haw Par Villa is famous for its often gruesome depictions of Chinese folklore’s 10 Courts of Hell. But this wonderful theme park also has more, shall we say, tasteful scenes from other Chinese legends, such as Journey to the West and Madame White Snake. Pick your favourite from the over 1,000 colourful statues and tableaux on display, among them a giant gorilla and massive deity heads.

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