Exploring Samcheok: Haesindang Park

Sit back and let me tell you the legend of Haesindang. A long time ago there was a beautiful young lady who was engaged to the man of her dreams. Her fiancee took her out in his boat and dropped her off at Aebawi rock, a large rock in the middle of the water were lots of rich seaweed grew. She would collect her daily seaweed to sell and he would return to shore to work as well.

Posing with Haesindang.

Posing with Haesindang.

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He promised to pick her up as he always did, but that evening a terrible storm hit the coast and her betrothed could not reach her. A powerful wave swept over Aebawi rock and poor Haesindang drowned.

The waters where Haesindang perished.

The waters where Haesindang perished.

Soon after she died, her village’s fishing industry went sour. No fish could be caught and many people lost their jobs and went hungry. Locals thought it was the angry spirit of Haesindang, bitter of her sudden end and a life without her love. One day, a fisherman answered the call of nature and peed into the water near where he was fishing. That day the fisherman caught his best catch since Haesindang’s death and the locals deduced that seeing his male parts had somehow appeased the angry spirit who never got her wedding night.

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A reenactment of urination that fateful day.

The fishermen appealed to local artists and carpenters to create some phallic pieces to erect (I had to) along the coastline. The offerings consoled the bitter Haesindang, who never knew her beloved as intimately as she wanted. The folk village enjoyed a prosperous fishing industry once again and the people of Samcheok made an entire park in her honour, called Haesindang Park. It is also known as Penis Park. 

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Sarah and I study our maps diligently.  Photo courtesy of Jon Collins.

Sarah and I study our maps diligently.
Photo courtesy of Jon Collins.

Once I learned of this legend and researched the park, I had to see it with my own eyes. So this place, along with the Hwanseon Cave (read cave story here), was my main purpose for visiting Samcheok city. I’ll let the pictures tell the tale from here.

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All vulgarities aside, it really is a beautiful park. The Samcheok locals still give monthly phallic offerings to the spirit of Haesindang during a monthly festival in her honour. If you plan your trip right, you may be able to attend one of these festivals.

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A Korean tourist takes a picture while his wife giggles in the background.

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Yours truly taking photos in the garden of genitalia.  Photo courtesy of Jon Collins.

Yours truly taking photos in the garden of genitalia.
Photo courtesy of Jon Collins.

Admission to the park is only 3,000 won (approx. $3.25 CAD) and the walk through takes about an hour. There is also the Fishing Village Folk Museum you can experience just inside the main entrance to the park. There is no additional fee to enter the museum.

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The boat shaped building on the left is the entrance to the museum.

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Posing with my Chinese zodiac animal. I am the rooster.

Transportation: The park is about 40 minutes from Samcheok Intercity Bus Terminal. Look for the bus heading to Hosan or Imwon and get off at Haesindang Park station. Bus fare will probably be around $2. We were pressed for time and took a taxi which cost around 30,000 won (approx. $33 CAD) but the ride had a beautiful view of the mountains and coastlines. 

That’s it for now Dear Readers! I hope you’re enjoying spring in your corner of the world as I am here in Korea.

5 thoughts on “Exploring Samcheok: Haesindang Park

  1. I love this park, I wish I had been there with you. I’m noticing that it seems to be so much easier to sight see in Asia. The sights are beautiful and the prices are beyond reasonable. I also feel bad for the poor girl.

  2. GREAT as usual Karli and VERY tactfully handled!! What a place!!! :-)

  3. I wonder if the statues are carved out of hard wood or soft wood?

  4. Thanks for reading Grandpa!
    I may qualify in the spinster category soon haha!

  5. Hey Karluchi!

    That’s some park. Some imagination. Some fascination indeed by the park creators. The Asians are so far ahead of Westerners in reaching out to reality. Anyway, the Park works, so everyone is happy.
    Might be a great spot for a bunch of elderly spinsters to kick up their heels and chase some younger guys,come to think of it!
    cheers and watch them wooden nickels.
    gramp and nana xxxxooooooooooo

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