Sunday, May 19, 2013

Manjanggul Cave, South Korea

Jeju Island is one of South Korea's main tourist hotspots, and the volcanic island is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Classified under the Natural section, its Lava Tubes are highly regarded and valued around the world.

Walking in the lava tube in Manjanggul
The Geomunoreum Lava Tube System is a series of lava tube caves formed when the Geomunoreum volcano erupted 100 to 300 thousand years ago. The biggest of these lava tube caves is Manjanggul Cave, and the tunnels through the cave runs for 7416 metres! However, only one section of about 1km is open to the public.

Formed by volcanic lava flows, the tunnels and caves are literally "carved" out by lava flows. You can actually see the flow lines on the tunnel walls! So it was quite surreal to think that molten rock created this huge passageway that you are now walking on. There are also many formations within the cave as a result of hardened lava, and many of these provide excellent geological value for scientific studies. There are even lava stalactites formed! Many parts have signs with explanations of the various features, so it's very educational. There are also many species of cave creatures that inhabit the cave, which again provide rich academic value. Luckily, the tourist section of the cave were spared visitations by these creatures :)

Manjanggul Cave is accessible by public bus from Jeju city as well as Seogwipo. However, from the bus-stop on the main road, it's another 30+minutes of walking to the entrance of the cave. Luckily, it's a nice scenic walk. Of course, with a hired car, things get more convenient (and most would agree that Jeju is best visited with a car). Visitors should bring some warm clothings as the temperature inside the cave range between 11-18 deg Celsius. A torchlight may be useful too although the cave and tunnels have some lights, they are unfortunately gawdily coloured (I feel).

Highly recommended visit!

The 30+ minute walk to the entrance is a scenic walk :)

No comments: