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Apart from its waterfalls and mountains, Jeju Island is also popular for its natural underground caves. Manjanggul Cave is one of numerous underground caves in Jeju Island that is crowned as a World Heritage Site from UNESCO. It is also the most visited attraction in Jeju Island because Manjanggul Cave is the only underground cave with the largest lava tube in the world.
Exploring The Wonder of Manjanggul Cave
Before you venture inside the enchanting Manjanggul Cave, we highly recommend you to visit Manjanggul Cave Museum. You can find the small cave museum after you exit the carpark. Inside the museum you'll be presented with various exhibits related to Jeju's natural attractions. But most of all you'll find important informations about how Manjanggul Cave was formed after billion years of volcanic activities. Visiting Manjanggul Cave Museum before actually step inside Manjanggul Cave will gives you enough background knowledge about the cave itself and wonders dwelling inside it.
Now that you're done observing cool exhibits in Manjanggul Cave Museum, it is time to go under the ground and explore the Manjanggul Cave Museum. The moment you entered the cave, you'll be greeted with a darkness with some dim lightings here and there to guide the tourists. The first thing you'll see is an information board placed near the cave's entrance. There's a picture about the real length of Manjanggul Cave. It's a long and deep tunnel, with only 1 kilometer is open for access. You don't have to go all the way along full 1 kilometre trail if you are not really into geology, especially because you'll have to walk back along the path to go back to the surface. You even only have to walk for about 400 metre to reach Manjanggul Cave's most popular attraction: The Stone Turtle. But if stuffs like cave structures and lava flowlines are your thing, you'll enjoy the whole trip. The deeper you walk inside the cave, the colder it will gets. You might even find it hard to believe that billion years ago, the cave was the passage to the hottest place on Earth. You can see astounding sculptures made by Mother Nature herself including lava stalactites, cave corals, lava stalagmites, lava columns, lava helictites, lava flowstones, lava blisters, lava rafts, lava shelves, lava bridges, grooved lava striations, and ropy lava. Arguably the most enchanting of all is a 7,6 meter lava column recorded as the largest lava column in the world. Manjanggul Cave is also a habitat to many cave faunas. The crawling Jeju Cave-spider, for example, dwells somewhere inside Entrance number 3 of the cave. Also there are at least 30,000 common bent wing bats hanging on the upper part of Entrance Number 2. So far, the bats species is known to be the largest bat colony in the country.
400 metre away from Manjanggul Cave entrance is where the Stone Turtle is located. The Stone Turtle is one of the most precious treasure inside the prehistoric cave. Stone Turtle is a lava stone formation in which some people believed to resemble the shape of a turtle. It is also somewhat looks like the overall structure of Jeju Island. The Stone Turtle was formed from fallen rocks that got carried away and covered by hot lava stream before it solidified into its current shape today.
How to Get Tickets?
To enter Manjanggul Cave, you'll have to pay about 2,000 won ($1.81) for adults and 1,000 won ($90) for children and teenagers. You'll get better deal if you come in group of 10 people or more. For groups, they will only have to pay about 1,600 won ($1.45) for each adult, and 800 won ($72) for each teenager and children. Children age under 7 years old is free of admission, as well senior citizens age 65 and above. You'll need to show the ID Card to obtain the privilege though.
How To Get Around?
From the Cave Park to the entrance to Manjanggul Cave's entrance takes time about 5 minute. It might sounds great to take a walk until you reach the entrance gate, but we highly recommend you to take a cab instead. That way you don't have to waste too much energy and time before you explore the cave. But if you would like to have a slow walk and enjoy the whole process, then go ahead! You will save more money that way.
What Should I Wear?
A pair of sturdy walking shoes is a must, especially because the trail inside Manjanggul Cave is always wet, slippery and it also have uneven surface. No matter what kind of weather outside, it is always best to bring a comfortable jacket as the weather inside the cave is very cold.
Best Time to Visit
Manjanggul Cave is the best place to escape from the heat if you spend your Summer in Jeju Island. You will see more people flocking inside the cave during the season. Although overall, Manjanggul Cave is ideal to be visited at any time of the year. Though you might want to be careful when you visit the cave during rainy season.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, you won't need a guide. All informations you need about Manjanggul Cave can be found in this website.
How To Get There?
From Old Seogwipo Bus Terminal take Bus number 701 and alight at Manjanggul Cave Entrance. You can also take a shorter route by taking the same bus from Ilchulbong Peak Entrance. It takes time about 2 hours from Old Seogwipo Bus Terminal, or 40 minutes from Ilchulbong's Entrance. Take a cab that will fetch you for 1,000 won ($90) or you can also walk for about 5-7 minutes.
If you're thinking of taking selfies inside the Manjanggul Cave, forget it. With such low lighting, you it might be difficult the results you desired using smartphone camera. A compact camera or DLSR camera might give different results though.