Exploring Jeju’s Manjanggul Lava Tube (Manjanggul Cave 만장굴)

30 October, 2014

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On 30 October, 2014
Last modified:30 October, 2014

Summary:

The Manjanggul Cave is a 13 km-long multi-level lava tube. It is one of the largest lava tubes in the world with a width of up to 18 m and a height of up to 23 m. Despite being thousands of years old, what makes Manjanggul Lava Tube stand out from other lava tubes around the world is its well-preserved passage shapes and internal micro-topographic features. Only about 1 kilometre of the Manjanggul cave is open to tourists. See map below for the size of the Manjanggul lava tube.

After our lunch – black pork tofu kimchi hotpot meal and a morning of climbing the Seongsan Ilchulbong Sunrise Peak, we drove to our next attraction for the day – the Manjanggul Lava Tube (also known as the Manjanggul Cave 만장굴).  Manjanggul Cave 만장굴 is a must-see attraction for any Jeju itinerary. Jeju is well-known for its natural monuments e.g. the 3 famous Jeju waterfalls, Mount Hallasan and of course the Seongsan Ilchulbong.

The Korean GPS coordinates of Manjanggul Cave (by phone number) is 7834818 – just key in this number in the Korean GPS provided with your KT Kumho Jeju rental car and you will get estimated time of arrival and step by step directions.  The drive from the Sunrise Peak area to Manjanggul Cave took us about 30-40 minutes.  There is free parking facilities at the Manjanggul Cave carpark.  Go to the toilets beside the carpark as there are no toilet facilities at the Manjanggul Cave.

You will need to walk about 5-7 minutes from the Manjanggul Cave carpark to reach the Manjanggul Cave entrance and the Manjanggul Cave ticket office.  Adult entrance tickets for Manjanggul Cave is 2000 KRW (2 USD) – do note that the Cave closes at 6pm.

Upon exiting the carpark, you will see the Manjanggul Cave museum (see pictue below) – this is not the entrance to the cave.  You can check out the interesting exhibits and information boards inside explaining Jeju’s natural sights and attractions and how the Manjanggul Cave is formed (from thousands of years of volcanic activities).

manjanggul-cave-lava-museum

The Manjanggul Cave is a 13 km-long multi-level lava tube. It is one of the largest lava tubes in the world with a width of up to 18 m and a height of up to 23 m.  Despite being thousands of years old, what makes Manjanggul Lava Tube stand out from other lava tubes around the world is its well-preserved passage shapes and internal micro-topographic features. Only about 1 kilometre of the Manjanggul cave is open to tourists.  See map below for the size of the Manjanggul lava tube.

manjanggul-lava-cave-cross-section-map

Set aside about 45 minutes to visit the Manjanggul Cave – you need not walk the full 1 kilometre trail if you are not really into geology stuff and lava flowlines and cave structures.  Going on the full 1 km trail means you need to walk 2 km in total because the entrance to the Manjanggul Cave (see picture below) is also where you will exit from (there is no exit at the end of the 1 km trail so you will need to walk back along the same path).  Most people walk for about 400 metres to see one of Manjanggul Cave’s key attraction – the Stone Turtle.

Manjanggul Cave is not wheelchair-friendly – there are 2 flights of stairs (the one you see in the picture below and another one further in the cave).  The floor is always wet because of the cave’s own atmosphere.

manjanggul-lava-cave-one-path-1km

This is the second flight of stairs – the floor is very wet and the steps are well-trodden (so not completely flat) so hold on to the railings.

manjanggul-lava-cave-jeju-slippery-dim-lighting

The Manjanggul Cave is not as dark as the Dark Cave at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur – there are lightings illuminating the cave but it is quite dim and the floor is quite rocky and uneven so you should wear comfortable shoes and watch your step.

manjanggul-lava-cave-rocky-path

Photography will be a challenge due to the dim lighting – just enjoy the view and the natural wonders of the Manjanggul Cave 🙂

manjanggul-lava-cave-large-spacious

Along the wall of the Manjanggul Cave, you will find lava flow lines like the ones you see in the picture below – these straight lines are natural and they are formed by lava flowing through this Manjanggul lava tube many many years ago.  The lava no longer flow through here so it is safe to visit the Manjanggul cave. 🙂

manjanggul-lava-cave-lava-flow-lines

manjanggul-lava-cave-jeju-lava-flowlines

Do note that the Manjanggul Cave can get quite chilly – so wear a sweater or a jacket to keep yourself warm.

manjanggul-lava-cave-lava-stalacities

After about 20-30 minutes of walking through Manjanggul Cave, we reached our trail milestone – the Stone Turtle.  This is a natural formation and it is one of the attractions in the Cave because it looked like a turtle and the shape of the overall structure resembled Jeju island’s shape.  From this point, we made our way back to the entrance.

manjanggul-lava-cave-turtle-rock

Manjanggul Cave is open from 9am to 6pm during summer and 9am to 5.30pm during winter.

Admission fees for Manjanggul Cave is 2000 KRW for adults and 1000 KRW for youth and children

If you are driving, key in this GPS coordinates: 7834818

There are some forum posts that mention a 20-minute walk from the Manjanggul Cave entrance (parking lot) to the Cave itself.  This is not true if you are driving – the carpark is just about a 5-7 minute walk to the Cave itself.

Zhiqiang & Tingyi

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