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.
|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.
|these stairs reminded me of Lumiang caves in Sagada, Mountain Province|
|Entrance to Manjanggul Cave|
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.
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.
|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.
|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).
|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!
|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|
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|