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South Korean Trails Header Manjanggul Cave, Jeju Island, South Korea

â“’Korea Tourism Organization - Lee Beomsu

Manjanggul Lava Tube

Manjanggul Lava Tube, located on the enchanting Jeju Island in South Korea, is one of the most spectacular and well-preserved natural wonders in the world. Created by volcanic activity over 200,000 years ago, this magnificent underground cave system offers visitors a glimpse into the island's geological past and serves as a captivating testament to the forces of nature.

The lava tube was formed when lava from Hallasan Mountain, the island's dormant volcano, flowed underground and cooled rapidly, leaving behind a vast network of hollow tunnels and passageways. The Manjanggul Lava Tube stretches for approximately 8.6 kilometers, making it one of the longest lava tubes in the world, and a section of approximately 1 kilometer is open to the public.

Stalactites and Stalagmites

Upon entering the Manjanggul Lava Tube, visitors are greeted by a surreal landscape of lava stalactites and stalagmites, rock formations, and natural sculptures that have been shaped by millennia of cooling lava flows. The temperature inside the cave remains relatively constant throughout the year, making it a cool and refreshing escape during hot summer months and a cozy shelter during the colder seasons. The interior of the lava tube is dimly lit, allowing visitors to appreciate the cave's natural beauty and eerie atmosphere. Illuminated walkways guide visitors through the cave, ensuring a safe and immersive experience.

As visitors venture deeper into the tunnel, the low ceilings and narrow passageways add to the sense of wonder and adventure, creating an otherworldly journey into the heart of the earth.

Stone Turtle

One of the most impressive features of the Manjanggul Lava Tube is the "Stone Turtle," a massive lava formation resembling a turtle emerging from the ground. The Stone Turtle is revered by the locals as a symbol of good fortune and longevity, adding cultural significance to the geological marvel. As visitors continue to explore the lava tube, they encounter various chambers and sections with intriguing names like "Pillar Palaces," "Turtle Rock," and "The Altar of the Sun." Each section boasts its own unique geological formations, with lava stalactites hanging from the ceiling and stalagmites rising from the floor, creating an awe-inspiring display of nature's artistry.

Rare Creatures

In addition to its geological wonders, the Manjanggul Lava Tube is also home to rare and unique cave-dwelling creatures. One such inhabitant is the Jeju cave spider (Neoneonella amoena), a small, eyeless spider species found exclusively in the lava tube. The presence of these endemic species underscores the importance of preserving the cave's delicate ecosystem and has led to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Conservation Efforts

The conservation efforts at Manjanggul Lava Tube include strict visitor guidelines to protect the delicate cave formations and minimize human impact on the environment. Visitors are urged to stay on designated paths and avoid touching or disturbing the cave's features to ensure its preservation for future generations to enjoy.

While most visitors explore only the open section of the cave, a portion of the lava tube is off-limits to the public, as it serves as an important habitat for the cave-dwelling creatures. Research and conservation efforts are ongoing to study these unique species and better understand the ecology of the cave.


The Manjanggul Lava Tube stands as a testament to the geological history and natural wonders of Jeju Island. Its awe-inspiring formations, underground labyrinth, and unique cave-dwelling species make it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and anyone eager to explore the island's rich geological heritage. As visitors journey through the Manjanggul Lava Tube, they are reminded of the island's volcanic origins and the remarkable beauty and resilience of nature's creations. Preserving this magnificent cave system is not only crucial for the unique biodiversity it supports but also for ensuring that future generations can continue to marvel at the wonders that lie beneath the surface of Jeju Island.

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