South Korea’s Most Bizarre
Loveland, Jeju Island
Here’s a prior warning for the NSFW contents of Loveland, which is unsurprisingly situated on Jeju Island. After all, Jeju has traditionally been a dreamy honeymoon destination for newlyweds. As one of the world’s most salacious sculpture gardens, Loveland certainly provides a glimpse into South Korea’s kinkier side.
Centred on erotica and sexuality, it is no wonder this is a popular destination for couples (note the park’s 18+ entry policy!). Its wide array of risque sculptures are courtesy of twenty art graduates from Seoul’s Hongik University. Here, you’ll find bountiful photo ops of the weirdest kind amid tangled body parts and erotically acrobatic love-making.
Afterwards, have a romantic meal at their in-house glass-domed restaurant or wind down at its quaint outdoor cafe. Make sure to grab a peculiar trinket at their gift shop before you leave! This strange place is certainly a welcomed anomaly compared to the rest of South Korea’s traditionally conservative culture.
Mr. Toilet House, Suwon
As its name suggests, it is the toilet-shaped house of Mr. Toilet, as the former mayor of Suwon Sim Jae-duck is affectionately referred to. His affinity with toilets is evident throughout his time in office where he pioneered bathroom revamps and beautification.
Mr. Toilet House was built as his dream house to mark the founding of the World Toilet Association. The house was turned into a toilet museum after his death and is the largest toilet sculpture in Korea.
Two floors of exhibitions within showcase quirky toilet-themed art as well as a walk through history centred around this essential bathroom fixture. Its external grounds make for a toilet-themed park (the first in the world), with peculiar photo sites like the giant golden pile of poop and the oversized potty.
Mr. Toilet House also serves as hosting grounds for regular special exhibitions, educational events and competitions like the bizarre Golden Poop Painting Contest.
Imsil Cheese Theme Park
Dedicated to the zesty dairy favourite, this sprawling 32-acre fun theme park has become the hallowed mecca of everything cheese. Before 1958, many people in Korea were clueless about the likes of cheese until a Belgian priest came to Imsil, began making his own cheese and then taught the skill to the whole community.
Imsil is now known as the birthplace for domestically-made Korean cheese. According to Atlas Obscura, the park is a cheese heaven where you can learn about, make and eat cheese – it sounds like the perfect day out. Explore the cheese wheel buildings and milk processing factory, treat your taste buds to the heartiest of cheesy snacks and ride past the goats on the slide to the Cheese Playland.
Experience cheese in its purest forms as you learn the art of cheese-making at the park’s cheese experience centres. Your visit to this specialty of Imsil should be immortalized in some cheese wedge-shaped souvenirs from their specialty shop where you can also stock up on Imsil cheese for your pleasure back home.
Haesindang Park, Samcheok
If you haven’t had enough of hysterical laughter at Jeju’s Loveland, head down to Haesindang ‘Penis Park’ for a fresh set of giggles. This cheeky place is a barrel of laughs for old and young alike, so don’t be surprised to see families there (although I recommend leaving the curious little ones behind).
The legend behind Haesindang Park follows the tragedy of a drowned virgin that affected the catch of the local fishermen. One fisherman then relieved himself in the sea which remarkably brought the fish back, thus the village began to place phallic statues in view of the shore. In fact, the name Haesindang literally means ‘God of Sea Hall’, in light of this tale.
From penis sculptures of the Chinese zodiac animals to peculiar penis-shaped park benches to take a rest, this park has everything to do with the male genitalia. Again, this is a refreshingly different perspective on Korea’s reserved take on sexuality. For a change of scenery, head to the park’s Fishing Village Folk Museum for some lovely foliage, lotus ponds and beautiful sea views.
Ice Gallery, Seoul
This is where visitors find much-needed chilly solace from the sweltering Korean summers. The Ice Gallery is more spectacular than bizarre but still a cool (in all senses of the word) visit nonetheless. Maintained at approximately -5°C, the chill is lovely and welcome as you step in.
Enter whole rooms made top to bottom in beautiful ice rivalling that of Elsa’s. The impressive icy creations include a living room, bedroom, a whole car and even a toilet made entirely out of ice that you’ll be oohing and aahing at. The most popular feature there is the ice slide where visitors have a butt freeze sliding down. Talk about a cool experience!
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