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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Manjanggul Cave and Gimnyeong Maze Park, Jeju - Day 12 in South Korea

As we bid our taxi driver goodbye, we headed to Jeju's intercity bus terminal to take a ride to Manjanggul. The place where we were staying at, Woljeongni, is quite near from the famous tourist attraction, so  why not make this our last stop before we retire for the day. Just ask around the terminal which bus number takes you to Manjanggul, it's the same bus to Woljeongni so we didn't have problems on that. The bus ride to our destination took about 40-50 minutes. From there you can either take a taxi, walk or ride a bus (that we didn't even have a glimpse of!) We reached the bus stop by around 4:30 PM and the walk from there took us 30 minutes or so.

Located some 30 km east of Jeju City, Manjanggul Cave (만장굴) is one of Earth's finest and largest lava tubes. This geological jewel stretches for about 13 kilometers and was formed underwater more than 200,000 years ago. It has not only been designated as a National Treasure, but a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. While only 1km of the total length is open to visitors, you'll still be amazed by the interesting structures such as lava stalagmites and stone pillars.

manjanggul
Cool lights at Manjanggul Cave

Some points to note before going inside the cave, especially for disabled persons and photographers, are the dim lighting, uneven terrain and steep stairs so make sure you wear comfortable shoes and be careful while making your steps. People going in should be aware of these precautions - better be safe than sorry.

korea unesco
these stairs reminded me of Lumiang caves in Sagada, Mountain Province

manjanggul jeju
Entrance to Manjanggul Cave

cave jeju

After descending onto the cave, you would easily discover the massiveness of the lava tube tunnel. As compared to other similar tunnels that you can enter by crawling or kneeling, Manjanggul can be fully explored by walking with the cave's height of over 20-24 meters.

cave korea

There were different notable sections of the cave and good thing they have information boards that can tell you more about them.



The whole cave looks like a subway tunnel with all various light display to make it more attractive. The walk around would take about 40-60 minutes. I did not notice a change in temperature once inside but was told that it was colder once you're in the cave. The rock formations are sure to keep you interested during the course of the trail. We left in a hurry though (same path as there is no way out but to exit from the entrance) as I wanted to visit the maze park afterwards and it was getting dark already that time.

lava tube manjanggul
The flooring was a bit slippery so watch your step

Some of the ahjummas inside Manjanggul cave

Manjanggul is a must-visit especially for nature junkies, science buff or just a plain tourist. It's definitely one unique of an experience and now you can slash of 'the lava tube experience' from your bucket list.

lava tube korea
Notice the details of the lava tunnels!


From Manjanggul, you can walk 500 meters to Gimnyeong Maze park. Make sure to tell the staff that you walked from Manjanggul Cave to the maze park to be able to get a discount ;)


Gimnyeong Maze Park (김녕미로공원) is located near Manjanggul Cave and was designed by Adrian Fisher Minotaur Maze Designs and was funded by the life-time savings of an American Professor at Cheju National University, Frederic H. Dustin (wow, he must be really rich then).

gimnyeong maze park
The entrance to Jeju's life-size maze

I was super excited to try this hedge maze. I have always been fascinated reading about them in mythology (remember the story of the minotaur at the Labyrinth of Crete?) Of course, I wouldn't miss it for the world knowing that they have it in Jeju!

maze park jeju
A small part of the maze

It was dark already when we went here so we were not able to use any map. We were going in circles for about ten minutes and yes, I have to admit we got lost! Me and my friend were the only ones left in the maze and it was not easy getting out especially if you can't see anything (note: there isn't much lighting around here during late afternoon-night time).

Funny sign under a bridge #alamna

maze park korea

We were almost near the exit (clue: you have to see a bridge nearby) when one of the guides called out to us. She told us that we were almost there and gave us directions (I was really thankful I knew how to speak/understand Korean!) We were out of the maze after some time. She helped us because the maze was already closing for the day, so I wish we could have tried this a bit earlier to see if we can really finish this by ourselves.

The stairs up to the right bridge

Finally we were able to ring the bell at the end of the maze! The staff took a picture for us for this memorable 'lost in Jeju' adventure and thanked her for helping us out and being extra nice. She introduced us to an American staff who was working at Gimnyeong Maze Park who gave us a ride to Woljeongni. What a day huh! For myth fans out there, be sure to try out this maze and let me know if you were able to ring the bell :)

jeju travel blogger



Day 1: Gangwon-do
Chuncheon and Nami Island

Day 2: Gangwon-do
Mt.Seorak (Seoraksan)

Day 3: Gyeonggi-do
Yongin and Food Tour

Day 4: Gyeonggi-do
Suwon: Hwaseong Fortress, Korean Folk Village

Day 5: Gyeonggi-do
Everland

Day 6: Gyeongju
Food Tour

Day 7: Gyeongju
Seokguram Grotto

Bulguksa Temple

Cheomseongdae and Anapji Pond

Day 8: Busan
Railway Train in Korea

Day 9: Busan
Igidae Coast

Busan Fireworks Festival

Day 10: Busan
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Flying with Jeju Air

Day 11: Jeju (E)
Food Tour- Altang

Dragon Rock

Jusangjeolli Cliff

Teddy Bear Museum

The Seaes Resort

Day 12: Jeju (W)
Sunrise Peak

Seopjikoji

Trick Art

Folk Village

Sangamburi Crater, Mt.Halla

Manjanggul Cave, Maze Park

Jjimjilbang

Day 13: Seoul
Flying with T'way Airlines

Couchsurfing in Korea

Day 14: Seoul
Palaces and Bukchon Village

Day 15&16: Seoul
Myeongdong and Ewha University

N Seoul Tower

Booking Flights
via T'way Airlines

Travel Report for South Korea
16 days travel itinerary and tips

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