Category: Jeju

Jeju Overview

I went to Jeju Island (Jejudo) this past weekend (June 22-23 2013) to hike Hallasan, see the sunrise from Seongsan, go to the lava caves (all 3 are UNESCO sites) and go to Love Land. There were a few other things we were able to do along the way.

Before I get into those smaller things, here’s a few tips or facts about Jeju in June/Summer:

  • Humid to the point where it is sticky
  • Many many many bugs
  • A few options for jimjilbangs to sleep at, which you can find via Google or the TripAdvisor chat boards
  • There is a great guide to get from the airport that is green and tells you about all the attractions on the island (not in any real order, mind you, just schedules as to what they think you should do as a foreigner, couple, family, or solo)
  • There is also a great bus information sheet you can get at the airport too. While it does not have times, it tells you which bus to take to get where, how long it takes and how much it is. I have posted some of the timings on the Hallasan and Seongsan posts.
  • Taxi drivers might be a bit pushy, but push back and don’t let them try to take you to town when you just want to go to the bus stop
  • A lot of the land is dedicated to growing Jeju Oranges and raising horses, cows and goats

There is a maze near the lava cave, about 500 meters away. Kimnyoung Maze Park. It is meant for kids but they won’t stop adults and they will hold your backpack for you. There is a beautiful garden here, and you get to ring a bell when you finish the maze. Just keep in mind that the green part on the map is not the hedges…It costs 3,200 to get in but you get a 500 won discount if you say that you walked there instead of taking a taxi.

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Not much to say about Love Land for those who know what it is…if you don’t it’s other name is Penis Park because of all the penis statues, boob statues, and statues of people having sex. It costs 9,000 to get in, but children and older people get a discount. That’s right.

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After this we stopped by the Jeju Museum of Art as it is right next to Love Land and was seemingly free…The ticket booth only had signs for the special exhibit and that cost so we thought we just wouldn’t go though it. Little did we know we would be pushed though it, you were supposed to pay 1,000 won to enter anyway and there was no one to check tickets.

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From Seongsan (Ilchulbong) you can take the Ilju Road East Direction (Road No. 1132) but going in the west direction (the Ilju Road West Direction goes West from Terminal). It will take 40 minutes and cost 1,000 won. A few buses go by the Seongsan Office stop so make sure to ask the bus driver if the bus goes to Man-jang-gul. If you’re going from Terminal, get on the same bus but it will take 50 minutes and cost 2,000 won.

From the bus stop you can walk 2.5 kilometers or take a taxi. We walked there and took the taxi back and the walk was quite nice. There was no sidewalk for more than half of it. Just before the caves there is a maze (500 meters before the cave).

You need to pay 2,000 won to go into the cave and it is 1,000 meters long (well, 1,000 meters that you can access). The second you walk down you will feel a change in the temperature and humidity which was a VERY welcome break. There is a sign saying to not speak loudly, take photos, or take creatures out of the cave. Since it’s Korea you can’t expect people to not be loud–it’s not the subway–and I assume they meant no flash. I, sadly, saw no creatures to steal. This was specified by a later sign with pictures of bats but I still didn’t see them.

There were a lot of informational signs inside, however many people seemed to just blow past them to get to the end. None were very extensive and I found them interesting.

Some overview: Manjanggul cave is a 7.4 km-long lava tube locally with a multi-level structure. It is one of the largest lava tubes in the world having a main passage with a width of up to 18 meters and a height of up to 23 meters. Numerous lava tubes are found worldwide, but Manjanggul Lava Tube is an outstanding example because it has well-preserved passage shapes and internal micro-topographic features in spite of its very old age. Thus the cave possesses significant scientific and conservation values. Three entrances to the cave developed due to a collapse of the ceiling, with the Second Entrance being the one used by tourists. A variety of lava formations and decorations, such as lava stalactites, lava stalagmites, flow lines, lava benches and lava rafts are present. The 7.6 meter high lava column is known to be the largest lava column in the world.

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Lava flow lines: When lava flows in a tube, the level of the flow is often recorded on the walls. These features are called lava flow lines. Numerous flow lines are found in Manjanggul Lava Tube, indicating that the level of lava flows was falling continuously inside the active tube.

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Rock falls: Abundant rock fragments that fell from the ceiling are found on the floor of lava tubes. They fall from the ceiling either during or after the lava-tube formation. The fallen rocks rest on the floor of lava tubes when the lava stopped to flow and is solidified. Otherwise, fallen rocks are either carried away down stream by active lava flows or melted down.

Lava Raft: A lava raft is formed when rock fragments from the ceiling or sidewall fall during lava flow and then are carried away by lava before settling and solidifying at a certain location. In some cases, fallen rocks are completely coated by lava to form mound-like or ball-like lava rafts, which are called lava balls. The one photoed here is called Turtle Raft and resembles Jeju Island and is a symbol of Manjanggul Lava Tube.

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Quartzite fragments: Most rockfall debris in Manjanggul consists of basaltic rocks but also comprises light-colored rocks, called quartzite, that are distinguished from basalt. These rock fragments, ranging between 1 and 5 centimeters in size, are interpreted to have been derived from the metamorphic basement rocks and then incorporated into the lava flow.

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Lava shelves: Lava shelves form when the liquid lava, only partially filling the tube, is accreted and hardened on the cooler walls. Lava shelves are further divided into lava balconies and lava benches by their shapes. (I feel like the people naming things just got lazy here and looked outside).

Lava toe: Lava toes formed when the lava flowing though the upper-level tube poured down though a  floor opening into the lava tube below. The poured-down lava flowed in a series of elongated and entangled lava lobes, each of which is reminiscent of an elephant toe, giving it its name. (I don’t see it)

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Lava flow stones: Lava flow stones form as the heat of lava melts the ceiling and walls inside a lava tube. The melted lava flows down the walls and take on varying sizes and shapes depending on the temperature and amount of lava. The lava flow stones also form when liquid lava inside the wall seeps out though small holes.

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Lava Column: A lava column forms when lava pours down from the ceiling to the floor and congeals. Lava columns are found in many lava tubes elsewhere around the world. However, the 7.6 meter-high lava column in Manjanggul Lava Tube is the largest lava gest known. The lava poured down from the ceiling spread across the floor of the lower passage and made well-developed lava toes.

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Here’s some photos I just likedJeju 272 Jeju 293 Jeju 301 Jeju 307

Outside, there is a Lava Column Cascade which is a fancy name for a cascade, like above, that has been turned into a water fountain. There is also a convenience store, bathrooms, water fountains and a restaurant.

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While we were on Jejudo (Jeju Island) it was cloudy nearly the whole time, and that included the morning of Sunday, when we wanted to go to Seongsan Ilchulbong, or the sunrise peak. At times you could not even see the mountain, and I wasn’t too upset because all the pictures that you see of it are with beautiful skies so this gives a different perspective.

You can take the bus that says Ilju Road East Direction (Road Number 1132) to ‘Seongsan (Ilchulbong)’ as it says on the map or ‘Seongsan Office’ as it says over the bus speakers and at the bus stop. This will take 90 minutes from Terminal and cost 3,000 won.

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The bus goes along the coast so I was able to take some nice pictures there as well.

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Once arriving at Seongsan Office we were a bit concerned as it might have been better to get off at the next stop–Seongsan Entrance–so we walked there and then left to the ‘beach’. There is great view of Seongsan from here, and it is where people who want to go scuba diving can leave from.

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From there we walked toward Seongsan and to Dongamsa Temple, which is right in front. At this time I thought it would be great to get a picture with the sign and mountain in the background but went to the bathroom first…to come back to no mountain! The clouds had come in in those 5 minutes and the mountain was hidden. We waited 10 minutes and it came out again though.

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Walking further past Seongsan you get to the entrance where you have to pay 2,000 won to go in. We didn’t want to go up because our legs hurt from hiking Hallasan the day before, there were a million people and it was beyond humid to the point where you just felt sticky. Plus with all the clouds you would not be able to see out. However the sign said it would take 50 minutes return to go to the top and back. There is another observatory to the left of the mountain that allows for great pictures of both the mountains and famous female divers. They are ‘grandmas’ who dive to the bottom without masks to get shellfish for the local restaurants. They put on shows at 1:30pm and 3:00pm.

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From there we took the bus to the Lava Caves, bus stop Manjanggul (ManJang Cave) which takes 40 minutes and costs 1,000 won.

This weekend I went to Jejudo (Jeju Island)! It’s a special part of Korea that has 7 UNESCO sites and is considered a honeymoon spot as well as an adventure area.

Hallasan is the highest mountain in Korea (and one of the sites). It is easier to climb than the 2nd and 3rd highest peaks because it is a volcano, and thus not as steep. Only two paths go up to the top: Seongpanak (the way we went up) and Gwaneumsa (the way we went down). You have to get to certain points by certain times, depending on the sunlight. For Seongpanak, you have to get to Jindalrae Office by 12pm in November-February, 12:30pm in March, April, September, October, and 1pm from May though August. This Office takes 3 hours to get to from the start, according to maps. For Gwaneumsa, you have to get to Samgakbong Shelter by the same times as Jindalrea Office on the Seongpanak trail, but I’m not sure how long that takes to go up–I believe it is longer as I read that it was harder.

From the Airport, you can take the 100 bus to Terminal for 1,000 won, then the 5.16 Road bus to Seong-panak for 1,500 won. The Jeju book says that you can take a bus to Gwaneumsa, but at the Airport they said you could not. Also there was none when we came down and we took a taxi to town for 15,000 won (should be about 20,000 won to the airport, or from the airport if you want to start on this hike). See below for the bus times from terminal.

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We arrived at the start of the park at 10:30 (should get there at 10:00 to start) to a ticket lady who was telling us we had to rush…but she kept talking and talking…anyway, you will go past Sara shelter, a detour (which takes 40 minutes return that we did not have) called SaraOreum Observatory, and then Jindalrae Shelter. We made it though! with 6 minutes to spare before 1:00! Myself and everyone who had just gotten there before us or arrived after were very excited but when I gave a thumbs up to the guy in the box with the loudspeaker he just seemed bored…so be warned of him!

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From Jindalrea Shelter it should take 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to the top of the volcano/mountain. It is mostly wooden stairs. The view on the way up isn’t amazing…compared to whats on the other side!

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You ‘have’ to leave the top by 2:30 to be sure to make it to the bottom before dark but I didn’t see anyone enforcing that rule (again, a guy in a box with a loudspeaker).

The walk down via Gwaneumsa was beautiful. There were more places to stop and a bridge that looked a lot like the one we went over for the Jagged Ridge Hike. There was also a warning for falling rocks so be careful! Also some cooled lava to walk over, and an old cave for storing ice. The last 1 hour and 30 minutes of this trail is a nature walk, so there are a lot of information signs about wildlife and vegetation which was pretty interesting. Jeju 121 Jeju 134 Jeju 138Jeju 158 Jeju 162

From here, as stated above, we took a taxi to town for dinner, as the only restaurant at the bottom was closed.