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Manjanggul Cave: Exploring Jeju’s underground

Home to the world’s tallest lava column!

Nature | Recommended

Update: Manjanggul Cave is closed until August 2025 for “safety inspection and improvement work.” It’s disappointing but there’s still plenty to do on Jeju. Check out our list of the best things to do on Jeju here.

Manjangul Cave is an impressive lava tube on Jeju’s east coast. It’s part of the Geomun Oreum lava tube system, a 200 to 300-thousand-year-old system of lava tubes found around Geomun Oreum on the east side of Jeju.

Manjanggul Cave is one of two lava tubes open to the public and it’s the most famous and easy to access. It’s also well-preserved and has plenty of interesting lava tube features you can see and learn about.

What’s more, with a length of around 1 km it’s a fun walk and a nice way to spend around an hour while visiting this part of the island. It’s also a great place to go on rainy days, as it was when I went recently, as being underground means you won’t get wet.

I’ve visited the cave plenty of times since living on Jeju. My most recent trip was in September 2023. Here’s all you need to know about making a trip yourself.

Getting to Manjanggul Cave

Manjanggul Cave is situated on Jeju’s east coast around 30km from Jeju City. It’s one of the island’s most popular attractions so you have plenty of options for getting there.

Driving from the city takes around 50 minutes and there is a large car park when you arrive. I visited on a rainy day during the Chuseok vacation, which means the cave was about as busy as it will ever get, and I had no issues finding a parking spot.

If you don’t have a car, you can take the bus. You’ll need to take the coastal express (101) or regular coastal bus (201) to Gimnyeong Elementary School and then switch to the 711-1 or 711-2 and get off at the dedicated Manjanggul Cave bus stop. According to Kakao Maps, this will take between and 60 and 90 minutes.

The final option is to take a taxi. This should cost around KRW 25,000 if you leave from the Jeju City bus terminal.

Exploring the area

When you arrive, you’ll need to head from the car park (or bus stop) to the ticket office, which is just outside the entrance to the cave.

As you make the short walk, you’ll go past the Manjanggul Cave information center. This is well worth a stop as it contains a small exhibition that explains what you are about to see. All the information has been translated into English so it’s a good way to prepare before heading into the cave.

The information center building is also home to a restaurant which at the time I went sold Donkkasseu which are Korean fried pork cutlets. There are also a couple of food stands you can visit if you’re feeling hungry.

Once you leave the information center, you’ll soon find the ticket office. Prices are all clearly displayed and when I went the cost was just KRW 4,000 for an adult and KRW 2,000 for children, with group discounts available.

Manjanggul Cave admission 🎟️

Manjanggul Cave’s opening hours are from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. The ticket office closes at 5 p.m. so you must enter before then.

The below prices were correct when I visited on September 30, 2023.

  • Adults over 24 KRW 4,000 or KRW 3,000 for groups
  • Ages 7 to 24 KRW 2,000 or KRW 1,500 for groups
  • Children aged 6 and under are free

The cave entrance is next to the ticket office. Follow the steps down into the opening section of the cave.

When you enter the cave you come into a large cavern with plenty of room. You’ll notice that it’s well-lit with colorful lights so you won’t have any trouble seeing the cave features or watching where you step.

The ground is rocky all the way to the end of the cave, with a few sections where there is a raised platform to make the walk easier. The surface is solid but it is uneven in places so you’ll have to be careful.

The cave itself is relatively wide throughout, there are a few places when it gets a little narrow, but never to the point where you have to squeeze through. The image below shows one of the narrower points in the cave.

I wore running sneakers and had no problem getting around. There were plenty of people wearing everything from regular sneakers to walking boots. While most were fine, I did notice one lady slipped and fell, so it’s probably best to use shoes that are on the sturdier side if you have them.

The other issue with the ground is that there is plenty of standing water so there is the chance that your shoes and feet will get wet.

As you walk down the path, you’ll notice several features of the cave including lava flowlines, rock falls, and lava rafts. Each of these features is highlighted and has Korean, English, Japanese, and Mandarin language descriptions so you can read about what you’re seeing.

The highlight of the trip is the lava column at the end of the tunnel, or at least the end of the part you can walk down. This formed when lava flowed from the upper tube down through the ceiling to the floor of the lower tube and then started to congeal. The column in Manjanggul Cave is the largest in the world at 7.6 meters high.

There’s a viewing platform so you can get a good look at the tub and it’s lit up with various color lights which gives it an atmospheric feeling.

As this is the end of the tunnel, it’s now just a case of walking back down to the entrance. In total, the path is around 1km in length and it took me approximately 30 minutes to get there and back.

Where to next?

Manjanggul Cave is in an area of Jeju that is especially full of fun attractions. Here are some of the highlights you can consider visiting.

Gimnyeong Maze Park

Gimnyeong Maze Park makes this list because it is only around 1km from the cave. It’s also a fun maze made up of large hedges that are a challenge to get around, or at least it was for me. I’d never done a maze when I went to the park and I had a ton of fun finding my way around.

Address: Jeju-do, Jeju-si, Gujwa-eup, Manjanggul-gil 122

Woljeong Beach

Woljeong Beach is a long stretch of white sand and clear blue ocean on the coast just down from Manjanggul Cave. The area is home to tons of beachfront facing cafes and restaurants and it’s also a popular spot for beginners to try surfing.

Address: Jeju-do, Jeju-si, Gujwa-eup, Woljeong-ri 33-3

Bijarim Forest

Bijarim Forest has a short and accessible walking path that is easy for anyone to visit and suitable for strollers and wheelchairs. There’s plentiful parking, a cheap admission, and its a good chance to see some of the gotjawal forest that grows on Jeju without committing to a longer walk.

Address: Jeju-do, Jeju-si, Gujwa-eup, Bijasup-gil 55

Seongsan Ilchulbong

If you want to stick to the most popular Jeju attractions, it’s easy to head from Manjanggul Cave and go straight to Seongsan Ilchulbong, the dramatic tuff cone on the far east of the island. The distance between the two attractions is around 23 km so they aren’t close, but stopping at Manjanggul is an easy way to break up the journey from Jeju City as you travel to Seongsan.

Address: Jeju-do, Jeju-si, Seongsan-eup, Seongsan-ri 78

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Duncan Elder

Duncan first came to Jeju in 2011. The plan was to stay for six months. 11 years later, he's still here and enjoys sharing his knowledge of the island on Inside Jeju.

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