Unfortunately, our stay on Jeju wasn’t all clear skies and warm weather. We arrived in Jeju only a day before a rain band of a distant typhoon had us shivering and soaked. We learned a valuable lesson that day, even if you are going to an outdoor enthusiast’s dream island; it’s a good idea to have a backup plan with indoor activities. Oh and one more lesson we learned: the presence of palm trees does not mean Jeju is a year round tropical paradise…that rain was cold! Jeju has 4 very distinct seasons and we got there just in time for the start of fall.
So we came up with a backup plan as we sat listening to the rain drum against the window. We went through our list of activities searching for one that would be unaffected by the rain (which wasn’t much, we planned on taking full advantage of Jeju’s outdoor offerings) and came up with visiting Manjanggul Lava Tube. What’s better than being in a cave to escape the rain?! All we had to do was get to the other side of the island.
The bus system is simple enough to use, even for two Texans who don’t speak any Korean, so we hopped on a bus to the caves. However, in Jeju the bus stops aren’t always exactly close to where you want to be. For example: the stop for the city harbor is still a 12-minute walk from the actual harbor, and, the stop for Manjanggul Caves is 2.5 kilometers from the actual park. This left with a decision to make (remember it’s windy, cold and raining); Wait for a taxi and pay way too much for a short cab ride…or hoof it. In the interest of saving money we set out on foot through the cold rain.
15 minutes later we arrived so thoroughly soaked that the rain didn’t even matter to us anymore. HAHA rain you have no power here! We even delayed hot coffee till afterwards so we could go wander around one of the largest lava tubes in the world. This is where we learned yet another lesson; the temperature in underground lava tubes is considerably lower than on the surface. At least we were out of the rain, right?
The cave itself was immensely impressive with a wide range of rock formations throughout. We were greeted with a new spectacle as we walked around each bend, it’s not everyday that you get to walk through an actual volcano! Even soaking wet we were able to enjoy our time in the cave and it was worth all we had been through to get there. At least half of any adventure is just getting there and that proved true with our trip to Manjanggul Cave, and in the end we had an experience we won’t soon forget. So if you have the time while you are on Jeju you should take a morning to go see it for yourself.
Have you ever had a trip turned upside-down by the weather? We would love to hear your stories!
Manjanggul Caves: When the Journey Is More Interesting by firstname.lastname@example.org