Sunday, December 07, 2014

Manjanggul Lava Tube (만장굴) - One of the World's Longest and Largest @ Jeju Island [Korea]

To put it simply, let's just called this a cave rather than the official term of lava tube! At least that's how i look at it when my sister was researching on the places of attraction in Jeju.

There was a high chance we were about to give the Manjanggul Lava Tube a miss but we were eventually persuaded by its claim as the largest in the world and was supposedly in mint condition despite its age! There was a third reason; being underground means we would be shielded from the sun! 

It's actually funny for us to visit since all three of us hated geography and opted for history in our upper secondary! With its informative and technical details, i am sure if we could not comprehend half of what was written. 

From Sunrise Peak (which i would cover soon in this blog), it was a 40-minute drive and i am not going to waste it by making a u-turn! Anyway, the admission ticket for adult was very affordable at only ₩2,000 (less than S$3). 

A notice for all visitors; the point that people would pay attention to was the lack of toilet facility and you could see most people scrambling to the rest rooms next to the ticketing counter after reading the notice. 

Time to enter! 

The entire length of this lava tube stretched for 8,928 meters! Do be assured that only a kilometer is open to the general public and the total distance one can cover is less than a 2.4-kilometer run. Attached map for your reference.

I didn't expect the light to be so dim even though the notice had already warned us about it. As a blogger, i don't take too kindly to low lighting as more often than not, my amateur photography skill would render most photographs unusable. 

No choice but to play around with the settings (exposure, shutter speed, ISO etc) in order to take some decent pictures! As expected, many turned out more blurred than the above.

The cave was better illuminated deeper in with an obvious fall in the temperature. In this picture, you can also see the lava flow lines by the sides which would give geographers an estimate on how many times lava has flown through this tube. So how did a lava tube form?

I am going to spare you my half-past-six interpretation and shall henceforth, encourage you to read more about its formation and characteristics on Wikipedia

From personal experience, what i can offer is advice; for example, you need a pair of good, covered shoes as the floor was uneven and for most part of my trek, wet! Ladies, leave those heels in the hotel! 

Bring a jacket too as the temperature can go as low as 110 degrees celcius. Alternatively, you can walk faster to work out some sweat! Other than that, do marvel at the artwork of mother nature which was dated about 100,000 to 300,000 years ago. 

Pieces of educational information (in Chinese, Japanese, English and Korean) were scattered throughout the trek and you may wish to take some time to read about them. For me, i still have difficulties differentiating stalagmites and stalactites!

Power was pulled in from outside and you can see the covered lines on both sides. I can so imagine a power outage and the following panic if water manages to get in! 

250 meters to go! And where the heck were my two sisters?!??! Oh bloody, they must have abandoned me while i was fidgeting with my camera settings! Never mind, i am a big boy and can take care of myself! 

Walk, walk, walk; i was actually taking photographs every few steps as i couldn't be sure if they would turn out alright on the big screen, 

Don't know what this is; if it wasn't barricaded, many visitors would have assumed it was a rest stop! Oh wait, just read that it is known as lava shelf.

Rockfalls which could have occurred during or after the formation of the lava tube. I think i am not making sense here; basically, these rocks were not formed from lava but from the natural terrain. 

At some moments during my "nature expedition", i am alone. It can be quite unnerving especially when you have watched movies like "The Descent. ". Go catch it if you haven't; bet an amateur would swear off cave exploration after that. 

Stone Turtle (or Turtle Rock) - official term is lava raft. Sorry, i see no resemblance to turtle although this rock was said to be a symbol of Manjanggul Lava Tube (by the way, .

Don't bother stealing anything from the lava tube; in addition to the installation of surveillance cameras, the rocks were all too huge for you to keep in your pocket / backpack! 


Coming to the biggest chamber; not sure if it is the same chamber said to be 23 meters wide. Maybe for your information too, at its tallest, the tube was about 30 meters high.  

The only place with sufficient lighting! By the way, i bumped into both sisters who were already on their way exiting the tube! Aiyah, relax lah; have to wait for the driver (me) anyway.

Finally, a resting stop! I could hardly rest since as i am aware both sisters would be waiting for me at the entrance! Darn, want to relax in the midst of nature also cannot. 

This honestly looked like a gooey pile of lava covered shit! 

Nope, we had yet to reach the end of the kilometer trek; you are required to walk into darkness once again as the structure at the end has a number one spot in the global ranking.

Strange that this passage wasn't lit like the rest since the flooring next to the raised platform was said to be that of ropy lava! Not that it absolutely mattered to me as the structure right ahead was more appealing.

World's tallest lava column at 7.6 meters high! 

From the accent, these two ladies were obviously Singaporeans! I almost wanted to offer my service to take photos for the both of them but the atmosphere was a bit awkward since there were only three of us. You know the global warning; ladies, don't talk to any stranger, especially male, when you are overseas.

One kilometer back to the main entrance! 

Be careful of your head; remember, we are the intruders here and if checking out the great nature isn't your cup of tea, don't bother visiting and make a hell complaining.

Three entrances existed in Manjanggul Lava Tube with the first one at the nearby Maze Park. We entered from the second entrance; said to be the safest. 

Streams of sunlight brought focus to the passage next to the staircase at Entrance 2 which i believe would lead to Entrance 1. Afterthought from a tourist with no geography background (me) - compared to caves in China, Manjanggul Lava Tube might be a tad boring. 

Notice these principles for visitation to the natural cave only when i was about to leave - point number 5, i am not allowed to take any photos?!?!?! 


Contact Number for GPS

As above

Additional Information
There is a museum near the car park where you can learn more about the discovery of Manjanggul Lava Tube in 1946; the name was taken from the Jeju dialect for "10,000 year-old cave". Turns out it was way older than 10,000. 

42 species and i didn't see any of them!

Manjanggul Lava Tube is actually part of a bigger system known as the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System and stretched for over 13 kilometers! On the second picture, you may read further of the other caves in the system.

Lastly, for those who have had a hard time taking pictures of the tallest lava column due to the low light, you can have a second chance using the above replica. In my opinion, however, it was a more accurate representation for a pile of nicely formed shit with urine that continuously sprayed at it! 

I am thankful i didn't take geography; would likely flunk it. 

For the summary of my inaugural South Korea trip, 
(Jeju and Seoul), please click HERE


  1. These are some nicely taken photos of Manjanggul cave indeed! I was there last summer and as you said, the lighting there is not good for photos (plus I suck with cameras). & because of the time constrain, we didn't get to reach the end of the trek.
    Love my trip there nonetheless, the natural 'air-con' was awesome! :D

    1. Thanks Jacie! You went as part of the tour package? Self drive the next time; you can spend the whole hot afternoon there! :P

  2. Hi Cavin, is it possible to push stroller into the cave?

    1. Hi! The path was rather rough and i think it's easier for you to leave the stroller in the car.

    2. rough as in bumpy?

    3. yes! wear comfortable sports shoes.


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