Jeju’s Manjanggul Cave

Written by on March 21, 2011 in Travel

Millions of years ago the Earth was a fiery mess. Molten rock, compressed under the crust built up enough pressure to break free, casting debris over the countryside. Today, eruptions continue along the Ring of Fire, but rarely within Korean Territory. However, long ago, Korea’s paradise, Jeju, was ripe with volcanic activity. Hallasan may be the most visible sight of the island’s volcanic roots, but hardly its most treasured.

Located some 30 km east of Jeju City is one of the largest lava tubes in the world. Stretching nearly 13km and created some 200,000 – 300,000 years ago, the geological jewel not only has been designated as a National Treasure, but a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While only 1km of the total length is open to visitors, those that descend into the darkness are treated to natural works of art by the gods.

The first thing visitors will notice when entering the mouth of the lava tube is how incredibly massive it is. Most people that have visited lava tubes in the past do so by kneeling or crawling. Mangjangul is different. The height of the tube is as much as 20m in some places and 24m wide in others. There is no crawling around. This excursion is experienced walking tall.

The cave continues to house many unique creatures, including a variety of bats that call the damp catacombs home. The average temperature inside ranges 11-21C with humidity between 85% and 100%. Because of its scientific importance, research and monitoring continue.

Walking the lava tube can take anywhere between 40 and 90 minutes. Make sure you bring a jacket, for it can get a little chilly in the damp darkness. It’s also advisable to wear comfortable shoes, since the terrain is a bit uneven. The entire 1km path is well lit, but it may take a few moments for one’s eyes to adjust to the lower light levels. When traveling along the route, one will also notice several distance markers and emergency phones for those concerned about being underground.

Along the 1km walk to the main objective are several unique lava formations, such as a wall shaped like a wing, the “turtle rock”, and numerous stalagmites and stalagmites. However, the walk ends at the massive lava tower. It’s one of only a few double pillars of lava that was formed when the upper flow tube cracked and poured the molten rock to this level. From there, turn around and return to the cave’s mouth.

Information:

Address: Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Jeju-si Gujwa-eup Donggimryeong-ri San 7-1

Phone: +82-76-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese), For more info +82-64-783-4818 (Korean only)

Website: http://english.tour2jeju.net/main/index.php

Hours: Summer season 09:00~18:00 / Winter season 09:00~17:30

Admission Fees:

Adults – Individual 2,000 won / Group 1,200 won
Youth – Individual 1,000 won / Group 600 won
Children – Individual 1,000 won / Group 600 won
Free – Senior citizens, disabled visitors
* Group – 30 or more people

Local Transportation:
· From Jeju Bus Terminal, take the Donghoe Line Intercity Bus to get off at the parking lot near Manjanggul Cave Entrance. (Takes approximately 30 minutes.) At the parking lot, take a town bus bound for Manjanggul or a taxi. 30 minute walking distance from Manjanggul Cave Entrance(The parking lot) to Manjanggul Cave.
· From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal, take the Donghoe Line Intercity Bus to get off at the parking lot near Manjanggul Cave Entrance. (First Bus: 5:50 a.m. / Last Bus: 8:00 p.m. / 20 Min. Intervals / Takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.) At the parking lot, take a town bus bound for Manjanggul or a taxi.
* Three minute ride by taxi from the parking lot to Manjanggul Cave.

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Steve Miller

Steve Miller, the QiRanger, is Korea’s best-known travel video blogger-journalist. His videos have been viewed by millions and seen on media outlets in throughout the word. In addition to sharing his entertaining and informative videos, he writes about life abroad and releases a popular podcast. Steve appears regularly on international radio stations, talking about travel, Korean culture and East Asian news. He’s also appeared on Arirang Television sharing unique aspects of Korean life. You can follow Steve on Twitter @QiRanger or visit his site QiRanger.com.