Haesindang Park

Top choice in Gangwon-do

Of all the things you’d expect to find in a fishing village like Sinnam (신남), a ‘penis park’ is probably not one of them. There are more than 50 phallic sculptures, some taking the form of park benches or drums, attracting a large crowd of both young and old, including kids. It's a cheeky, eye-opening 20 to 30 minute walk if you don't stop, but you will stop. If you head downhill, you can detour towards the end to some rocky coves.

The phallic obsession originates with a local legend about a drowned virgin whose restless spirit was affecting the village’s catch. A fisherman discovered that she could be appeased if he answered the call of nature while facing the ocean, so the village put up phalluses to placate her. A small shrine to this spirit stands at the seaward tip of the park, and binoculars look out to the statue commemorating where she drowned. The name Haesindang (해신당) literally means 'God of Sea Hall'.

There’s an elaborate series of penis sculptures representing the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac and outside the park stands a red lighthouse with the same, uh, peculiarities. Penises spring forth from sculpted fish mouths, penis stools are there to sit on if you're tired and there's even a phallic waterwheel. The park also contains the Fishing Village Folk Museum as well as lovely trees, flowers, lotus-filled ponds and gorgeous sea views.

From Samcheok’s intercity bus terminal, take bus 24 (₩1800, 40 minutes, hourly) from the platform on the right. You can enter Haesindang Park from the top of the headland (where there’s a huge parking lot) or from the entrance in Sinnam. The easier walk is to start at the top, work your way down and exit at the village. The bus journey itself is lovely, past pines, crystal waters and glittering coves.

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