This weekend was Korea’s memorial day weekend, which meant a nice 3-day weekend for me. My friends and I decided to get out of Seoul for the weekend and explore the Northeastern coast of Samcheok. Samcheok is famous for beautiful clear water, a picturesque coastline, high mountains, some of the biggest caves in the world and a very special park called Haesingdang Park, also known as Penis Park. Taking into account the conservative culture of Korea, I think you will be just as surprised as I was to find out that Korea has this infamous park covered with hundreds of penis sculptures. (If you are offended by the word penis or images of the male genitalia, then I suggest you don’t read this entry). I think you will also be a little surprised to hear the story behind this park and to see that it is one of the most beautiful parks in the world.
Legend has it that there was a a newlywed couple, a fisherman and a virgin girl who loved to collect seaweed. The girl was collecting seaweed one day and her husband was supposed to come back and get her but there was a bad storm and since he couldn’t make it to her, the girl died in the ocean. She died a virgin. When she died, the fish all disappeared. The fishermen mourned the loss of their fish. Apparently a man decided to urinate in the ocean one day and the spirit of virgin liked what she saw and the fish came back into the ocean.
After that the villagers began exposing themselves to keep the fish coming. Eventually they built giant statues of cocks. Now the park is covered in phallic artwork.
Obviously I wasn’t sure what to expect when coming to this park, but it exceeded my expectations. I think that if this sort of park existed in the USA it would attract a different sort of crowd if you know what I mean. In a strange way this park works. The natural setting of the park is beautiful and the artwork is truly unique. There are penises in the shapes of benches and chairs and even a huge one in the shape of a canon. I would say that overall it is very tasteful and artistic, especially considering what the focus of the park is. People visiting the park included tourists of all age including families with young children. My friends and I had a fun time taking pictures with the statues. We were even lucky to catch a nice viewing of the shirtless Korean military soldiers running through the park doing training exercises 🙂 Kind of strange that they would pick that location to do their training, but like I said, it’s a beautiful park. I was glad we took advantage of the nice weather this weekend to get out of Seoul and see some other sights.
It wasn’t your typical day at the park. But who wouldn’t want to spend a beautiful day at the park surrounded by clear water, mountains and one of God’s greatest creations.