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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.