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Where Gods Are Born

Rated 4.94 out of 5 from 82 reviews.Singapore, Singapore

Paused until 5 November.

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Experience hosted by Chwee Lian

2.5 hours
Up to 10 people
Hosted in English

What you'll do

We will go behind-the-scenes at Say Tian Hng Buddha Shop, a forgotten shop that has been making Taoist effigies since 1896. (https://www.buddhashop.sg)

We will learn the stories of these deities. Who were these ancient heroes? Who is the boy wonder who rides on Wind Fire Wheels? Who is the butcher turned saint? Who is the sabre-wielding warlord worshipped by cops and crooks alike?

We will learn about the dying craft of effigy-making, one that uses secret blueprints, sandalwood ash dough, marble slabs, Thai gold leaves, bamboo sticks and wood from the camphor tree that grows to 1,000 years old. Some of you can even get your hands dirty if there is time.

As we are a very small family business, we don't usually take visitors so this tour will be a rare experience.
We will go behind-the-scenes at Say Tian Hng Buddha Shop, a forgotten shop that has been making Taoist effigies since 1896. (https://www.buddhashop.sg)

We will learn the stories of these deities. Who were these ancient heroes? Who is the boy wonder who rides on Wind Fire Wheels? Who is the butcher turned saint? Who is the sabre-wielding warlord worshipped by cops and crooks alike?

We will learn about the dying craft of effig…

Chwee Lian's commitment to safety

This host has committed to Airbnb’s COVID-19-related safety and cleaning guidelines – including adhering to social distancing guidelines, practising good hygiene, and ensuring that all participants wear a mask.
Learn more
From $48
/ person
No dates available

Meet your host, Chwee Lian

Host on Airbnb since 2017
  • 82 Reviews
  • Identity verified
I am an 87-year-old great-grandma who runs Singapore's last Taoist deity shop. This is where I worked for 70 years and raised 7 children. As I don't speak English, my grandsons Yong and Chong will be your guides and share about our family's story. I will conduct a demonstration of the art of effigy-making for you.
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Where you'll be

The shop is a working space filled from floor to ceiling with statues of Taoist effigies. You'll see our traditional tools and effigies in various stages of completion.

Rated 4.94 out of 5 from 82 reviews.

Yun-Shan
December 2019
Have been wanting to join this experience for a while and finally had the chance! The shop is a cozy family business and we got to meet the various members of the family. We learned more about Taoism and the way the stories of the various deities was introduced was creative and engaging. The hands on activity at the end allowed us the opportunity to experience how decorations are made on the deity statues. A truly dying art! It was certainly a memorable experience! Highly recommended for both tourists to Singapore and Singaporeans alike!
Have been wanting to join this experience for a while and finally had the chance! The shop is a cozy family business and we got to meet the various members of the family. We learne…
Grace
December 2019
A very meaningful experience, even for us locals. Grandma Chwee Lian's generous sharing of her professional and personal stories, and Yong's historical and cultural approach to explaining the religious craft made the session very accessible and engaging. The whole family of 4 generations was also on-hand to guide my daughter and I through the effigy-making , which added a familial intimacy to the session. Thoroughly enjoyable for both kids and adults (my daughter recommends kids to bring their patience along, as the hands-on session requires lots of it!)
A very meaningful experience, even for us locals. Grandma Chwee Lian's generous sharing of her professional and personal stories, and Yong's historical and cultural approach to exp…
Eileen
October 2019
Very unique experience. The hands-on part was challenging and engaging. The host was friendly and shared a lot of the culture and history.
Carmen
October 2019
What a magical afternoon ... I feel honored to have met this family; have learned about their lives and profession in a way that I felt like at home ... very personal experience , especially due to the wonderful grandma ... I will keep her in my heart!! Thank you again!!
What a magical afternoon ... I feel honored to have met this family; have learned about their lives and profession in a way that I felt like at home ... very personal experience ,…
Cassandra
October 2019
If you're looking for an off-the-beaten-track experience in Singapore, this is an absolutely amazing experience everyone should try. Say Tian Hng is the last of its kind in Singapore, a country were modernisation happened so rapidly that certain traditions were left behind. Super interesting insight into the behind-the-scenes of an industry and practice we would otherwise not have access to (witness). The host and family were incredibly friendly, very welcoming and we left the tour with more than a deeper understanding of a culture and practice but also some meaningful connections as well. We also had the chance to try our hands on making a dragon at the end which was really fun. Overall super worth it, once in a lifetime experience everyone must try.
If you're looking for an off-the-beaten-track experience in Singapore, this is an absolutely amazing experience everyone should try. Say Tian Hng is the last of its kind in Singapo…
Yashas
September 2019
What an incredible experience! Truly special to meet someone who has practiced her craft for decades and still has the same passion, love and joy to keep at it. Was an absolute honour. And the entire family including the kids were excited to make sure our experience was the best! Highly recommended.
What an incredible experience! Truly special to meet someone who has practiced her craft for decades and still has the same passion, love and joy to keep at it. Was an absolute hon…

Things to know

Cancellation policy

Any experience can be cancelled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase, or at least 7 days before the experience starts.

Guest requirements

Up to 10 guests ages 10 and up can attend.

More tips

Please be punctual. We will wait 5 minutes for late-comers before commencing the session.
Statues of the deities are sold separately.