One of the more strange and offbeat destinations in Korea is Haesindang Park, or “Penis Park” named for the several phallic sculptures in the park. The reason why the park has so many penises is because apparently they placate a dead girl’s spirit.
The legend is that a maiden was engaged to a fisherman, and she went out to the ocean to harvest seaweed, but a storm came and she drowned before her husband-to-be could save her. After that, her spirit was apparently so angry that she died before she could get married that the fishermen were unable to catch fish. Therefore, the villagers carved a bunch of penis statues to calm her down, and it worked. The fish came back.
Haesindang is located in a small fishing village called Sinnam, which is about 40 minutes from Samcheok terminal. At the terminal, there is a local bus stop where bus 24 leaves for the park pretty frequently throughout the day. I went early on Sunday because I knew the trip from Samcheok back to Gapyeong would take several hours.
I took the 7:20 bus and got off at Sinnam bus stop. From there, it’s a short walk to the park. The Korea tourism web site says Haesindang opens at 9 a.m. but luckily I was able to get in at 8. They had the gate open and I paid a small entrance fee. Because it was so early, there were very few people there, which was nice.
There’s a small shrine dedicated to the maiden. And lots and lots of penis sculptures.
The grounds are pretty nice but the flowers are no longer in bloom. Spring or summer would be more ideal to visit, but of course the sculptures can be enjoyed any time.
The park is obviously nearby the sea, and there’s several view points.
There’s a constant breeze coming from the ocean that would be especially nice in warm weather.
According to the Korea Tourism page on the park there are still folk ceremonies held in Sinnam in honor of the maiden.
Haesindang is definitely a must see in Samcheok, and must see in Korea in general if you are looking for something strange, unique and different from the usual temple.