Destination: Manjanggul Lava Tubes and Crater Mountain Peak (Jeju-do) Part 1

Jeju :

Author’s note: this is the first of three posts on a group tour to Jeju-do during Chuseok. Stay tuned for the other posts!

Jeju-do. Part 1. ‘Nuff said.

While the oft-repeated title of ‘honeymoon island’ is true, there’s far more to see than newlyweds – or anyone else, for that matter – can see in a week. Korea’s largest island manages to cram dozens of museums, interesting attractions, beaches, temples, and ancient geologic formations into one 1,848 sq. km. island. This is almost the same size as Maui of the Hawaii islands, and a fifth the size of the ‘Big Island’.

Author’s note: this is the first of three posts on a group tour to Jeju-do during Chuseok. Stay tuned for the other posts!

Jeju-do. Part 1. ‘Nuff said.

While the oft-repeated title of ‘honeymoon island’ is true, there’s far more to see than newlyweds – or anyone else, for that matter – can see in a week. Korea’s largest island manages to cram dozens of museums, interesting attractions, beaches, temples, and ancient geologic formations into one 1,848 sq. km. island. This is almost the same size as Maui of the Hawaii islands, and a fifth the size of the ‘Big Island’.

During Chuseok, I joined a group tour taking advantage of the long weekend to explore some of Jeju’s most interesting sights. I’ve been to several places around Jeju, but visiting during the winter just isn’t the same. The camera – and the person taking pictures – is a bit better the second time around as well.

First stop: Manjanggul Lava Tubes (만장굴). About 1,000 meters of the 13.4 km-long lava tube is open to the public, which is more than enough to enjoy in the short time a guided tour offers. While the light level is exceptionally low, eyes adjust quicker than a camera’s ‘eye’.

A nearby sign describes these as ‘lava stalactites’. As lava flowed through this tube, it would melt a bit, not unlike wax melting on a candle.

Some areas feature a space where rocks fell into the lava flow, either melting down, getting carried along the lava flow, or become solidified with the ground. I’d rather not be around to see the rock that once filled this space!

The path varied from narrow to wide – this being one of the more spacious moments. While there was never a claustrophobic moment as in other caves, getting dripped on or wet is an unavoidable occurrence.

The ‘turtle rock’ (거북바위), AKA a ‘lava raft’. Formerly a piece of rock that ‘floated’ along the lava flow, it settled here when the lava flow solidified. While the signs imply a resemblance to Jeju island, I don’t see it.

Next stop: the Trick Eye Museum. While mainly unchanged from the last time I was here, it’s a pleasant place to re-visit:

Getting lined up with the exhibit takes a little bit of effort, but is lots of fun.

A mysterious force propels me above the ground…

Outside the museum is another excellent exhibit. While some elements are better photo fodder than interactive, you can’t help but hold the tower up (or pull it down).

Because zebras ought to come in all colors of the rainbow.

The next stop was a ferry ride away, and Udo deserves a post of its own. Stay tuned for that as part 2.

After getting back to Jeju, the bus took us to Seongsan Ilchulbong (성산일출봉, AKA Crater Mountain Peak, AKA Sunrise Peak). The timing was definitely better this time around, as the sun was just beginning to set by the time we reached the top.

Just one of the many interesting rocks along the hundreds of stairs.

The view from the top – hard to believe that this was a volcano not too long ago.

The obligatory sunset picture – a little mystical-looking.

Stay tuned for part two and part three of the trip in the coming days.

Ratings (out of 5 taeguks): How do I rate destinations?
Ease to arrive:

Foreigner-friendly:

Convenience facilities:

Worth the visit:

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