Thirty(ish) minutes South of the port town of Samcheok, you can discover one of the strangest places in Korea. Haesindang, or Penis Park. Why is it called “Penis Park” you might ask? Easy. Its full of statues of Penises.
We are not talking one or two of them, but hundreds, some highly elaborately carved out of huge tree’s.
Why does this place even exist? Being Korea, there’s a legend behind it. Instead of trying to paraphrase, I’ll just copy and paste from the Korean Tourism Page on the subject.
Legend of Aebawi and Haesindang – There once lived a young maid who was engaged. One day, the maid took her husband’s boat out to sea to harvest seaweed. Her husband dropped her off at a rock that was at a distance from the beach. After promising to pick her up later, he returned to the beach to do his work. Later, the weather changed, and brought with it strong winds and pummeling waves. The man couldn’t rescue his wife and she ultimately drowned. Since then, the village people caught no fish and some said that it was because of the dead maid. To soothe the spirit of the dead maid, the village people made several wooden carvings and held religious ceremonies on her behalf. After a while, the fish slowly returned and the villagers were able to live comfortably again. The place where the maid died was named Aebawi Rock and the building where the religious ceremony is held twice a year was named Haesindang. The ceremony is still honored today as a traditional folk event.
Since then, its turned into a kind of outdoor art sculpture garden dedicated to the, well, penis.
Thats not all. Everything is penis themed. We even have a water fountain style thing that moves up and down by the power of water.
More odd are the museum style outdoor exhibits, showing how Koreans used to live and work. Similar to many folk village exhibits except for one small (large?) detail. Guess.
We also have the 12 signs of the zodiac done as penises. Each granite statue is carved with the relevant animal and exhibited in a circle looking out over the water. (This pic is actually a huge mega panorama. 15 shots stitched together, so click it and have a look. Beware if your computer is slow or your have a slow internet connection, it might take a while.)
If you come to Korea, I’d recommend this place. Its one of the nicest parks, in a stunning part of the country. Yes its a good long way from Seoul, but worth it.