Sex and The Island: Jeju Loveland Exposed
Take a peep inside Korea’s taboo busting erotic theme park where love oriented art and eroticism meet unabashed.
A statue of a fornicating faun, the half-human-half-goat creature from Greek mythology, holds a naked woman in the air by her hips. Their gravity-defying position looks like they are going for the gold medal in some sort of sexual Olympics.
Just beyond a massive green hand the size of an SUV reaches out from under the ground, as if a giant woman (or man) was buried just under the surface. The fingers are spread wide like the legs of spider. The middle one is pushed inside a heart-shaped vagina rising from the ground: covered in a ceramic tile mosaic a la Antonio Gaudi.
Looking around it’s easy to think you’re on a tour at Hugh Heffner’s Playboy Mansion. However, this erotic theme park is actually on a small island in conservative South Korea. How can it be?
Jeju Loveland started in 2002 when 20 artists from Hongik University in Seoul were commissioned to create sculptures for the park. It eventually opened in 2004. According to the park’s website, this humorous love theme park is a place where visitors can appreciate the natural beauty of love.
The park is also the country’s ultimate cultural anomaly. Only just decades ago police walked the streets of Seoul with rulers to measure the length of women’s skirts, and kissing on TV or in the movies was taboo. Couples rarely held hands in the street then. Even today most Korean’s don’t kiss or hug in public.
The park now has over 140 sculptures representing sexual organs and positions, sex toys, “hands-on” exhibits, and much more. Jeju Island or “The Rock” as it is lovingly referred to by expats living here, is probably the only place in Korea something so taboo in this country’s Confucian culture could exist.
To understand why what happens in Jeju stays on Jeju, look no further than the most frequent visitors to the unofficial Hawaii of Korea – honeymooners. The island is hugely popular with Korean newly weds and the park is seen as a place to, umm, “grease the wheels” of many a honeymooning couple. Seeing that Korea has the lowest birthrate in the OECD, it is unlikely the park will be shut down anytime soon.
Just Smile and Say “Kimchi”
Walking through the park it’s hard not to feel awkward, especially when you make eye contact with Koreans getting their photo taken in front of a massive one-story tall ass while sitting on a cow-sized penis, saying “kimchi”, and making a V with their fingers. But then those are the oddly funny travel memories you take with you and cherish the rest of your life.
Whether you are on your honeymoon or just want to see the most un-Korean theme park in Korea, a visit to Loveland will undoubtedly be a memorable one. Be sure to bring some water though because you may find your temperature rising by the end of your visit. And if you forget to bring your own, you can always take a drink from the park’s water fountain: a statue of a naked man with a penis for a spigot that is peeing into a urinal. Just remember to hold up your fingers, make a V, and say “kimchi” for the camera when you take a sip!
Getting There: Jeju Loveland is only 10 minutes from Jeju International Airport. There is a map here.
Hours of Operation: 9:00am to midnight
Admission: 7,000 Won
Phone: +82 64 712-6988
Website: www.jejuloveland.com (English)