Haw Par Villa, the Cat Cafe, haunted houses and more
While Singapore’s got its fair share of tourist attractions that visitors simply have to see – MBS, Raffles, the Botanic Gardens and so on – there are a few extra things to do that may get overlooked. But it doesn’t mean they’ll be any less fun! Take having a coffee with a cat draped across your shoulders, for example, or staring at over 1,000 mildly disturbing statues from Chinese folklore. Worth an afternoon, we reckon. Presenting some of Singapore’s weirdest and wonderful(est?) things to see and do…
One of the most unique places in Singapore (or, dare we say, the world!), Haw Par Villa has over 1,000 statues, not to mention 150 dioramas, that dramatise and bring to life Chinese legends and folklore. You’ll wander past figures such as Fu Lu Shou, Confucius and the Laughing Buddha, and experience the Ten Courts of Hell, a Journey into the West and numerous other exhibits. In short, it’s an exploration of ancient times, complete with blood, gore and, er, human crabs. Open daily from 9am-7pm with free admission, Haw Par is not to be missed.
262 Pasir Panjang Road | 6872 2780
This spot is just like any other cute café, except it’s filled with cats. Lots of cats. Enjoy a coffee or bite to eat while friendly cats roam freely around, looking for a cuddle or play. The owners of Neko No Niwa believes cats create a therapeutic environment, and they welcome people to their café to interact with the felines and chill out. It’s $12 per hour, but the menu is pretty affordable and, considering this is the first cat cafe in Singapore, we reckon it’s worth a novelty afternoon out.
54A Boat Quay (Level 2) | 6536 5319
Floating Baby in Gardens By the Bay
This giant sculpture of a floating baby was created by the internationally recognised artist Marc Quinn and was donated to the Gardens for permanent display. It’s a recreation of the artist’s infant son. Why not?
18 Marina Gardens Drive
The Sandcrawler building in Fusionopolis is a huge eight-level building that’s pretty awesome. Aside from having lavish gardens, the sloping structure is reminiscent of the huge mobile fortress building in Star Wars – which is why it’s the headquarters for Lucasfilm Singapore. It’s won a slew of architectural awards too. Fittingly, within one of the gardens sits a bronze statue of Yoda, sculpted by Lawrence Noble, and built upon a boulder waterfall.
The Sandcrawler, 1 Fusionopolis View
Want to see dozens and dozens of tiny buddha statues? Head to Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, one of the largest Mahayana Buddhist temples in Singapore. There’s free admission, plus you’ll probably learn something too!
88 Bright Hill Road
During the occupation of Singapore during World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army built a Shinto Shrine, the Syonan Jinja, in the forest around MacRitchie Reservoir. It was destroyed by the British forces, but the ruins remain and it was declared a historic site in 2002.
Check out the video above for more info on tracking it down, but be aware that the site is now officially closed to the public.
Fancy a good old fashioned scare-fest? Check out one of these haunted sites around town…
The Red House: This house currently remains abandoned and empty and does admittedly look pretty eerie, even in daylight. It’s said that a doll was sighted swinging on a rocking chair, alone in the house. It’s also believed that a pair of stone lions guard the house and stare at whoever attempts to sneak into the compound.
Around Loyang Drive 4
Matilda House: The house is currently fenced up and outfitted with CCTVs. The home, abandoned in the seventies, is said to be occupied by evil spirits, who try to see off anyone who attempts to enter.
21 Punggol Way
Hillview Mansion: Located at the top of Hillview Hill and also known as the Green House. The previous owners were killed in a fire and renovations were never fully completed, due to the belief that evil spirits were lurking in the house. It was demolished in 2004, with only an old gate and a pile of rocks left behind.
Old Changi Hospital: One of the most popular locations for bold ghost-seeking types. The most famous tale associated with this place is that screams and shadows could be seen and heard around some of the wards. It’s rumoured to be because the Japanese had used these rooms as torture chambers.
View Road Hospital: This was a mental hospital in Woodlands that has since been converted into a foreign workers’ dormitory. Some believe that the spirits of the patients were trapped here were never able to escape.
Admiralty Road West
For more helpful tips, head to our Living in Singapore section.