Photo Gallery

Tiger Balm Garden (built 1935)

Tiger Balm Gardens, more formally known as Aw Boon Haw Gardens, were the creation of Aw Boon Haw, who made his fortune from the sale of the popular curative balm. Constructed in 1935 at a cost of HK$16 million, the almost seven and a half acre (three hectares) site is a grotesque and surrealistic conglomeration of colorful concrete animals, pagodas, religious figures, and numerous other garish objects. Located in the midst of high-rise apartments in at the edge of Causeway Bay, the gardens are a gaudy version of what some have called a Chinese Disneyland.


All images & text copyright 2000-2001 Professor Robert D. Fiala of Concordia University, Nebraska, USA

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Roy Jaques posted on Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:50 pm:

I was sent to Korea, Australian signals, and went on leave in Hong Kong -stayed at the Star Hotel Nathan Rd Kowloon. Visited the tiger balm gardens in the 1050's to see grotesque figers of all types of torture - humans being disected, boiled in oil,run over by the old steam roller etc. then there were a row of mermaids plus African animals, what a mixture. The big tall pagoda in the gardens had to be closed to the public because of the amount of suicides. Oh yes I remember it real well and my photos and movie film of it have not survived unfortunately.

D L Head posted on Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:19 pm:

Gaudy, garish and absolutely amazing! My photos from a 1951 visit during our ship's stopover in Hong Kong have begun to fade....but I still remember it as a fantasia of color and imagination! I'm glad I got to see it.

lynn Ng posted on Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:56 am:

Can i have haw par villa in hong kong address please as want to visit? Thanks

Acie Workman posted on Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:31 am:

I visited Tiger Balm Gardens 2 times. Once in 1952 and again in 1954. I was stationed at Clark AFB in the Philippines and we took a ship to Hong Kong. I remember the tram ride up to the gardens. It was really a site.

JEAN-FRANCOIS CHAMPOLLION posted on Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:00 pm:

Malcolm Aw, the grandson of Aw Boon Haw (son of Aw Swan) Executive Chairman of Waterl'eau Plc., is currently masterplanning to reforest parts of MENA and terre-forming arid land into an everglade of wetland and floodplain of rich agricultural developments made possible with Massive Water Recovery, Generation and Reforestation and Environmental Restorative Technology that provides inexhaustible supply of freshwater for sustainable health, livelihood and economic evolution and to effect positive climate change-back so as to improve the well being of the environment.

grano9 posted on Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:14 pm:

Visited Tiger Balm Gardens in 1985.... was color overload, but amazing.........enjoyed the time there

Gordon Thompson posted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:27 am:

In 1952 to 1954, I was stationed at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. Twice, I took a Naval ship from Manila to Hong Kong and each time I visited the Tiger Balm Gardens. At that time, Hong Kong and Kowloon were protectorates of Great Britain. The Gardens were magnificent. It is sad that they no longer exist in the original form. I always wanted to visit the Gardens in Singapore, but never was able to do it. At least some of the artifacts are still on display.

NJ Gard posted on Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:13 pm:

Oh...just read more notes and see that the Gardens no longer exist. What a shame.

NJ Gard posted on Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:12 pm:

Happy to see the gardens are still there. Visited them in May/June 1962. My husband was stationed on Okinawa. What a wonderful duty station that was. Loved it.

segrell, robert posted on Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:40 pm:

While in the navy (1952-55) I toured Tiger Balm Gardens, Hong Kong, China around the years 1952/53.

0337f posted on Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:19 pm:

Jerry Wheatley I was on an Aircraft Carrier. USS Wasp and USS Yorktown in 1955

Website: none
RICARDO FABIÃO GOMES posted on Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:56 pm:


Dicky Woollard posted on Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:46 pm:

Unfortunately the Tiger Balm Gardens are no more (in Hong Kong). Li Ka Shing, one of Hong Kong's wealthiest men, developed the site in 2004. The Legend now stands on the site. However, as a part of the deal for the development the Mansion and its private gardens are preserved, although not open to the public.

BLY posted on Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:01 am:

There is another Tiger Balm Gardens in Singapore.

doug dickson posted on Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:11 am:

when Par HAW Mansion was first built it was totally on its own with the nearest building some 1 kilometre away. my father visited in the 1940's and took some pictures from 200 metres above the mansion and gardens

Marvin S. Robinson,II posted on Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:04 pm:

This place introduced

Glenn Cockrell posted on Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:46 pm:

I went to Hong Kong on R

Nadine Lester posted on Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:37 pm:

I was in Hong Kong as a child 5 times in the middle 50's. We went to Tiger Balm several times. I remember a carving depicting rats at war. Does anyone remember that? I also remember the sea turtles, they were huge and very old.

Joe posted on Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:04 am:

My father was on R

Alice Chan posted on Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:29 am:

When I was 10 years old. My family with 7 kids to visited Tiger Balm Garden. Almost 45 years . When I hear the News it is bring me back the memories. Unfoutunately in that time my family couldn't affort to had a camera to keep in the picture. I am very serious to search. Where I can find the history and picture of The Tiger Balm Garden?

Gil posted on Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:33 am:

I visited the gardens in 1956, and I will always remember them. Would love to return

Stephanie Stewart posted on Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:55 am:

I was in Hong Kong in 1973-1976 and went to the Tiger Balm Gardens with my family. I have never forgotten it and was truely impressed. I still have some photo's although many were lost unfortunately. I also have postcards and slides. Memories in pictures.

jack B Ogun posted on Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:04 pm:

Little is said about Tiger Balm, the product with mild benefits and still on the market today. It is a great example about how untested and unproven medications can often create great wealth for their designers and medicine showmen. Always read the label!

Paul Stone posted on Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:12 pm:

I spent two wonderful years living on Stonecutters Island, Hong Kong between 1972 and 74. During this time my wife and I visited Tiger Balm Gardens and found it surreal and rather wonderful. I have often sought details since, but always drawn a blank. While it is a shame that much of the site has been redeveloped, it is reassuring to learn that the house and its private garden are to be saved for the future. My memories are sadly all that remain, as I became parted from all of my precious photographs from those years. I would love to see any other photos of Hong Kong and Kowloon from the early will aid my memory in the years to come... Any current pictures showing Stonecutters Island would be specially appreciated....That has changed beyond all belief!!!

Bertram A. Udovin posted on Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:30 pm:

I,too, visited the Gardens in early 50's. It was an awe-some experience. I am in the processl of having 8mm film from that time, forward, converted to DVDs.Will let you know the results. The colorful lifesize animals were spectacular

Dean schuler posted on Sat May 15, 2010 2:13 pm:

Visited the gardend in the early 1950s.The means of punishments for crimes left nothing to the imagination.Body crushing grind stones for serious crimes.Body stretchers ,resulting in pulling the body apart.Tongues cut out for gossipers.Hands severed for theft.Adultry( you can imagine).Controlling the masses was absolutely necessary and bleeding hearts,such as curently in the United States were non-exististing.

Website: AOL
S. M. Spencer posted on Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:43 pm:

I was at the Tiger Balm Garden in the early 50s. What a beautiful place. I have never forgotten the visit. Vivid in my mind is a depiction of a prisoner in a box cage, bent over with a rack of stones on his back, he was unable to stand or move. For a young sailor this was quite an experience. I remember it often.

ameer aldaisi posted on Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:25 pm:


ameer aldoaisi posted on Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:23 pm:


Frances Durkin posted on Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:24 pm:

We tried to visit on 7 Oct 2009- but it was closed, despite an official website saying it was open, which I can't find now. We could see the mansion which looks like it is being restored, surrounded by new luxury residential apartments. If it is re-opened, it needs to have the website updated

AdamY posted on Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:33 pm:

Beautiful indeed. I spent hours in the Haw Par Villa in Singapore. I had planned to visit the one in Hong Kong in 2002/3 but had read that it was closed and demolished. Can't trust everything you read on the internet. If these pictures are recent what remains in HK is being maintained better than some parts of the one in Singapore though that one is huge and well worth a visit. I stayed in Causeway Bay. I had no idea it was in the area and still can't imagine where it's hidden away around there.

Tanks1 posted on Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:23 am:

I believe that you can use the imaged regardless of purpose only if you acknowledge the professor as its rightful owner somewhere.

Jangkeun posted on Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:58 am:

I would like to use one of the images above can be used for an Aida project if its possible. Thanks.

Duke Claw posted on Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:35 am:

"grotesque" "gaudy" are not the first word that come to mind when i think of Aw Boon Haw Gardens. there are about 1000 other words that come to mind when i think of tiger balm like..."unique" "amazing" "amusing" "interesting" ect! this place holds lots of memories to different people!

john e takalo posted on Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:52 am:

I visited the gardens numerous times between 1966 and 1975, I'm surprised to see it's still there after all these years.

Website: tiger balm gardens