Jeju Day 2 - Manjanggul Lava Tubes, Gimnyeong Maze

View of Seongsan Ilchubong (Sunrise Peak) from the rain-streaked window

It rained the whole morning. I had planned Eco Day in Jeju - going around to see all the nature parks and gardens but now it was pouring cats and dogs, threatening to spoil our day. However, we were in a good mood to face anything - our light clothes and flipflops didn't mind the weather, and we were on our Honeymoon! Nothing could spoil our mood! :-)

That being said, I fell asleep on the bus in my hubby's arms, in the seat behind the driver. The senses all so familiar to me, that fresh scent of rain, the droning of the bus engine, the warmth of his body. It was a one-hour bus ride from Seogwipo city to the east side of the island where we would meet our friends at the Manjanggul Lava Tubes. And so I slept, a deep comfortable babyish sleep, because it felt so great to be together again. He stayed awake all the way so that I could sleep peacefully, keeping an eye on the map to check whether we had reached our destination despite not knowing one word of Korean. 

Manjanggul Lava Tubes (만장굴 / 万丈窟)

Jeju is a volcanic island. The Manjanggul Lava Tubes were formed when continuous flow of the hot lava eroded the floors and walls underground, forming a 7.4km long cave. One of the pictures shown in the gallery was of an 18th century visit of the Lava Tubes by a procession of Korean high ranking officers in October 1702. The minister was riding a palanquin carried by 8 soldiers.

We ran into our friends upon arriving at Manjanggul, to find out they had already finished their exploration of the cavernous depths. So we arranged to meet up later for lunch at Seongsan Ilchubong, then descended into the depths of the 100,000 feet cave (loosely translated in Chinese). Before going down I had the funny feeling that I was just going down into one of those basement shopping complexes in Singapore, with the green shrubs hanging all over us from the top. The inside of the lava tube cave system felt like a gigantic, empty fridge - it was cold and I only had my one thin, transparent jacket on. We descended further through the cave, and for a moment I thought "Hey, this must be what it's like when Hell freezes over!"

Inside the Manjanggul Lava Tube

We took many pictures inside the Lava Tubes but none came out nice because of the dim lighting (and simply because my camera sucked). Anyway the cave trail would end in front of a 7.6m tall lava column, the tallest lava column in the world (upper left picture). Outside the tubes there is a similar man-made structure for people to take photos with.

Gimnyeong Garden Maze

Us inside the Gimnyeong garden maze

Our next stop after the Lava Tubes was a short walk (1-2km) to the Gimnyeong Garden Maze. I found out about this interesting garden maze through the Internet. If you state at the ticket counter that you came by walking, they will give you an eco-discount.

I have always been fascinated with garden mazes though the only ones I had ever been to were the small playground mazes that my parents brought me as a kid. My favourite maze is in the 4th Harry Potter book "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" - where the maze was the last challenge in the Triwizard Tournament. 

OK so I was the one fascinated; he was the one worried and with all the pressure to get us safely out of the maze haha. So while he was busy drawing our escape route and figuring out how to get out of the damn maze (it was not easy!) I was busy taking pictures of myself around the maze hahaha. Walking was kinda tough cos it had just rained and the whole road was muddy and filled with potholes and we had to leap over them and at the same time be careful not to slip and fall on the mud yucks. 

Our goal was to find and ring the elusive silver bell, which only 20% of people entering the maze were able to succeed in doing. Sometimes we got lost and had to backtrack, while he sweat somemore and burst his head thinking of ways how to get us out of that damn place. But in the end we succeeded! He rang the silver bell in victory while I took more pictures of us on the sky bridge hehehe.

OK la, reward you with a Jeju purple cactus icecream for being so clever ^^

And for anyone who wants to conquer the Gimnyeong maze, you can pre-download the map from here. :-) Happy trying!


josze said…
ah i've always seen pictures of garden maze. its so nice that u can actually try that out!

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