Early Autumn in Jeju, 2014
Our first visit place in Jeju is Manjanggul (Lava Tube), just 2km driving distance from the villa we stayed for the first night. Government designated cultural asset - the 98th Natural Monument, Unesco World Natural Heritage & Global Geoparks Network, Manjanggul is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world - with distinctively well preserved interior & topography.
Our first family photo in Jeju taken in front of the Manjanggul Lava Tube Exhibition Hall.
The Exhibition Hall
From the carpark, we first pass by the exhibition hall, where facilities such as public toilets and a mart that selling food & souvenirs next to it. We briefly browse the exhibition hall and it's good to know Manjanggul in details before we start the cave tour. I summarised what we had learnt from the exhibition hall at below:
First of all, it's all begin from Geomunoreum Lava Tube System (read: Geo-mun O-reum). Geomun Oreum is the series of lava tubes that erupted from Geomunoreum volcanic cone that forms Manjanggul, Gimnyeonggul, Yongcheondonggul & Dangcheomuldonggul Caves on right side, and Bengdwigul Cave on left side. Out of all, only Manjanggul is open for tourist. That's is why Manjanggul shouldn't be miss if you visit Jeju.
Other Global Geopark in Jeju besides Manjanggul are Seongsan Ilchulbong (which we visit after this), Mt.Halla, Mt.Sanbang, Yeongmori, Cheonjiyeon falls, Daepo Jusangjeollidae and Suwalbong.
Some of the topographical features inside Manjanggul that can be see during the cave tour. Husband did a great job in captured all of it where you will find the complete list of the topographical features with information board in this post at the below.
There are also some photos of interiors that NOT able to see due to not open for public visit display in the Exhibition hall. These are carbonated columns and other various kind of lava tube product in Dangcheomuldonggul cave.
Inhabitants inside the Manjanggul - Total 42 species of cave creatures discovered in Manjanggul. Most commonly found species is Jeju cave spider, copper winged bat and long winged bats that reside inside the tube, forming largest colony of bats living in Korea so far. However, we see none of it during our visit to the cave. Maybe too dark inside the cave. Lol.
The first person who explore Manjanggul together with his expedition group from Gimnyeong Elementary School in 1946 without any exploration equipments.
The model structure of Manjanggul Lava Tube in whole with 3 entrances. Total length of Manjanggul is 7.4km and some parts of the lava tube is multi-layered structure. Manjanggul Lava Tube is the 12th-longest lava tube in the world and the second longest on Jeju island.
Last but not least, the UNESCO World Heritage Certificate awarded to Jeju Volcanic Islands and Lava Tubes that exhibit near the entrance where we exit.
More information boards that can be seen near the ticket counter and also at the entrance of the cave. I find this one brief yet very informative about Geomunoreum Lava tubes.
The exhibition hall is free admission. To visit the cave, admission fee is required:
Adults : 2,000 won
Teenagers & Children : 1,000 won
* Children (below 7yrs old) & Senior Citizen (above 65yrs old) admission is free
After purchase tickets, we proceed to walk down the staircase towards the underground cave.
The world highest 7.6 metres lava column (or lava stalagmite) at the end of the 1km tour course is the highlight of Manjanggul that shouldn't be miss.
Inside of the tunnel the temperature sustains at 11~21 Celsius. The coldness is at an acceptable level. Put on a cardigan if you afraid of cold. Suggested to wear sport-shoes or covered shoes as the flooring is uneven and rocky, can be slippery due to wet and water ponding here and there. Not recommended for elderly or those who has weak knee to complete the 1km. Occasionally there are water dripping from the above but very very little.
The cave tour begin with lava flow-lines along the tunnel's wall. 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.
Large and Small Passages
From larger passage, we went through smaller and narrow passage, and go back to larger passage again. In Mangjanggul Lava Tube, large and small passage occur repetitively. Continuous supply of hot lava into the tube causes thermal erosion of the tube's floor whereas the lava can be accreted on the tube-ceiling, resulting in the irregular height of the tube. Near narrow passages, Manjanggul opens up into a section with wider and higher ceilings. The demo-like topography of the ceiling is called a "cupola".
We've walked 280m so far, another 720m ahead..
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-flow by active lava flows or melted down.
Lava raft is formed when rock fragments from the ceiling or side wall fall during the 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 the lava to form mound-like or ball-like lava rafts, which are called lava balls. *Note: My camera is out of focus in the dark, photo turns out blur.
Don't miss this Turtle Rock which resemblance to Jeju Island. This lava raft named Turtle Rock has become a symbol of Manjanggul Lava Tube. A lava raft is a remnant of rock rubble that was carried down-flow by a lava flow, eventually to become 'frozen' on the floor when the lava flow solidified. On the other hand, Turtle Rock formed by accretion of hot lava along the margin of a fallen rock after it was settled on the floor. Flow-lines along the margin of Turtle Rock coincide with those left on the wall.
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.
Till here, we have walked 850m, another 150m ahead ..
Lava toes formed when the lava flowing through the upper-level tube poured down through a floor opening into the lava tube below. The poured-down lava flowed in a series of elongate and entangled lava lobes, each if which reminiscent of an elephant toe.
Lava flowstones form as the heat of lava melts the ceiling and walls inside a lava tube. The melted lava flows down the walls and take an varying sizes and shapes depending on the temperature and amount of lava. Lava flowstones also form when liquid lava inside the wall seeps out through small holes.
Lava Column ~ The Highlight of Manjanggul
After about 40 minutes walk, we reach where Lava column is - which is the highlight of Manjanggul. Llava 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 7.6m 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.
There is a platform for visitor to take picture with the lava column. Except my sister's MIL who took rest not far from lava column, everyone is here smiling at the camera! We took photos via tripod! By the way, selfie stick (selca-bong) is in hit in Korea, almost every Korean is holding one wherever we go!
Normally the 1km will takes about 20-30 mins walk, so round trip will be around 1 hour (Yes, we need to walk another 1km back to where we came from). We took 40mins to arrive since my sister's mother in law has a weak knee, plus she is on sandals, not suitable to walk fast. However it gave us extra time to look around closely - that's how husband and I get all topographical features captured and sharing with you all here.
There's a park with sculptures and greenery view next to the carpark where visitor can hang-around too. Jeju weather is getting cloudy, hopefully it is not raining as we are going to visit Seongsan ilchulbong after lunch!
How to get here [by bus] :
1) From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal - take Bus no. 990 (to Gimyeong) and get off at Manjanggul Bus Stop. (Travel time : about 40 mins) - walk approx. 2km to Manjanggul entrance but advisable take taxi (charges@1,000won per pax).
2) From Seogwipo Intercity Bus Terminal - Take Bus no.701 and get off at Manjanggul Bus Stop (Travel time : about 2hr) - walk approx. 2km to Manjanggul entrance but advisable take taxi (charges@1,000won per pax).
Manjanggul Lava Tube (만장굴)
Address: 182, Manjanggul-gil, Jeju-si, Jeju-do 제주특별자치도 제주시 구좌읍 만장굴길 182 (구좌읍)
Operating Hours : 09:00-18:00 (Last admission 17:10)
* Closed 1st Wednesday of every month