There’s one thing that crosses all cultures, customs and language barriers: the phallus. They pop up everywhere--literally--from buildings and bronzes to boulders and backdrops. And as we discovered, each has a story.
Penis Park stands in Sinman, South Korea. It’s not just full of phallic sculptures -- it’s full of smiling phallic sculptures. They pay homage to a bride-to-be whose husband was killed by a monstrous ocean tide. Afterward, the sea dried up until a local man urinated in it. When all the fish returned, the villagers erected the penises to make the women feel better about her inability to consummate her doomed union.
Hang Sung Sot
Yes, the object of discussion in this place does hang, but the name actually means “Cave of Surprises.” You’ll find it on Vietnam’s Bo Hon Island in Halong Bay, about 82 feet above sea level. Cool-looking natural cave formations line the walls and ceiling, but the star is the rigid rock that can’t be mistaken for anything else but a penis. Natives consider it a fertility symbol. It’s lit up pink, so you can’t miss it.
Goddess Tuptim Shrine
By now you’ve picked up that Asia seems to have corned the phallus market. The trend continues in Thailand, at the Goddess Tuptim Shrine in Bangkok. You can definitely get more than 6 inches here. The setup includes 6-foot stone replicas surrounded by smaller, brightly-colored wooden carvings. Also called a spirit house, the shrine is probably loosely tied to fertility in honor of the goddess Chao Mae Tuptim.
Phra Nang Cave
This phallic place in Krabi, at Phra Nang Beach, also relates to a goddess -- Phra Nang, who waited in a cave for the return of her shipwrecked husband. You’ll find in her honor a cave adorned by local fishermen with bronze bulges capped by red tips and slender sculptures with very real detail. There’s some incense left at the shrine, too -- you know, to set the mood.