My friend Kylee and I went on an overnight trip to Samcheok, South Korea to celebrate her birthday and to tick a few things off of her Korean Bucket List: Yonghwa Ocean Railbike and (of course) Haesindang Park! We had also intended to visit a cave or two, but the local bus schedule was very challenging (to say the least) and we simply didn’t have enough time!
We decided to leave Daegu at 8:30am on Saturday morning. The trip took about 4.5 hours and we arrived in Samcheok just in time to seek out a motel and find the bus stop in-town. We chose Star Motel (it was the first one we looked at) and were satisfied. We shared a standard room for 60k won and had a good size bed and all the amenities. You may be able to find cheaper elsewhere, but we were happy with it and wanted to get started on the fun stuff!
We found our bus stop and headed to our first destination: Haesindang Park (also known as the Penis Park). This is a very popular destination for foreigners and locals alike and these giggle-inducing sculptures are nestled among some gorgeous scenery!
You may be wondering Why in the hell is there such a thing as a Penis Park? Well, there is a bit of interesting history behind it. The story goes: a young woman (a virgin) was left on a nearby rock (next to the sea) each day as her lover went to work. She had to stay there and wait for him with no food or drink. One day a massive storm rolled in, he was unable to save her, and she drowned. Shortly thereafter, the local fisherman’s catch kept getting smaller and smaller. Being a fishing village, this was of great concern to the locals and they weren’t sure how to remedy the situation. One day, a fisherman noticed the fish coming back after relieving himself in to the water. The news spread quickly and it was believed that the fish came back because the virgin beheld the man’s penis. Sculptures were erected (see what I did there), the fish slowly came back, and the community has had plenty of fish since.
Here are just a few of the highlights!
TIP: Haesindang Park is relatively easy to get to. You can hop on bus #24 from Samcheok and get off at the park. There are 2 entrances and I recommend getting off at the first! 3k won entry fee! BE AWARE: The buses are VERY infrequent, so you may be waiting a while to get picked up!
The next day, we took a trip on the Yonghwa Ocean Railbike. Not fully trusting the bus schedule, we spent A TON on a taxi to get out to the railbike depot. Of course, we went to the WRONG location haha. There are 2 places you can start from and we went to the wrong one… awesome…. The ticket agent, upon realizing that we didn’t have a car to drive to the other place, made a few calls and switched our tickets out-wohooo!
Though the weather was overcast, the railbike tour was lovely. It required very little effort on our part, and was super relaxing! I hear there are some nice places to take a railbike in the autumn and I’ll be sure to check it out if I can!
TIP: Bus #24 also will take you to the railbike….Make sure you arrive at the correct starting point. Tickets are about 12k won for a 2-seater and the trip lasts about 1hr 45min. You will stop part of the way through for refreshments and a bathroom break. This MAY NOT be suitable for young kids (who are afraid of the dark) or for those who have epilepsy (flashing lights in the caves).
After taking the railbike, we headed back to Samcheok to figure out how we were gonna get home. We accidentally purchased SLOW bus tickets instead of FAST–this was just NOT our day! Once we realized our mistake (a couple hours in), our bus driver helped us catch a fast bus in Pohang to save us a bit of time. It still took us 6hrs to get home and we arrived just in time to get rained on haha.
Though Samcheok isn’t super-close to Daegu, it isn’t a bad weekend trip! If you do visit Samcheok, South Korea, drive if you can. If you can’t drive and must rely on public transport, this is one place you really should plan ahead to make sure you do everything you want!!
Would I go back?-Absolutely, but I’d do A LOT more planning!