Manjanggul 만장굴: Escaping the heat in a Jeju Lava Tube

Hello Jeju!!
           We thought we would take a page out of the Korean guide to vacations and check out Jeju Island for a few days.  Although, my Korean co-worker did tell me that I was crazy to go to Jeju in August as the heat would be unbearable. She was right.

            Now, one could just stay in an air conditioned room to keep cool, or you could be more creative and descend into the deep dark depths of one of the longest lava caves in the world.

            The Manjanggul Lave Tube is a UNESCO world heritage site, and although I don’t usually relish the idea of being underground in a damp, dark tunnel system, when I heard that the temperature usually remains around 11-21 degrees celsius my hesitation evaporated. 

           After a taxi ride to the bus stop, a bus ride, another taxi ride (which we were overcharged for) we finally made it to the top of the stairs at the cave entrance.  I could feel the cold air drifting up, literally calling me into the darkness.  Feeling a little like Perseus entering the gorgons lair, we made the descent. 

Quality sister time in the darkness.

            We didn’t realize that this little underground trek would last for nearly 40 minutes, but with the naturally cool air none of us were about to complain. 

             I was only expecting some relief from the August heat above us, I was genuinely surprised to find such beauty.  

            We contemplated turning around before the end of the tunnel, but thankfully we persevered  and were able to view this beautiful lava column. We even got a tiny glimpse of some creatures of darkness hanging out in the opening at the top of the column. I know bats don’t exactly endear themselves, and the poor things can’t really help it that they are always associated with vampires, but they eat mosquitoes and are therefore heroes in my book.

I can see the light!!
           The cooler temperatures in the cave were a gift on an extremely hot day, but I am a lover of sunshine. Seeing the light I couldn’t help but feel bad for Persephone (yes, I am a greek mythology nerd, have been ever since I was young). She was just hungry and got stuck married to the god of the underworld because she ate a piece of fruit. Tough break.  

            The Manjanggul lave tube was beautiful, but I was more than happy to continue our excursions on Jeju Island above ground. 

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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