KOREAN TRIP: DAY 6 MANJAGGUL CAVE (LAVA-TUBE CAVE)
Despite the intermittent rain, our trip to Jeju Island was not spoiled by nature. The typhoon was hitting much of Taiwan and mainland China, and have moved to coastal Japan on that day. We were advised not to climb the famous Mt. Hallasan, and the nearby waterfall, due to the strong wind. The taxi driver took us to a local restaurant for genuine Korean food. I think it was Bulgagi (marinated and spicy black pork noodle); two “wokful” for a total cost of 70,000 won, that is about Rm38 (US 9) each. By Korean cost of living, this would be considered cheap. The dish went smoothly with fermented rice wine. At the end of the trip, we had almost 20 different dishes. This dish was a little different from Ddukbokkie (spicy Rice). The trouble travelling in Korea was the language, all in Korean, in contrast to their world economic standing. Like it or not, that status would gradually fall, without world language (English and Chinese). After the meal, Mr. Pak looked at me for approval; I showed him a big thumb up. We emptied almost every side dish(banchan), except some Kim Chi. Body language was augmented with empty dishes, and satiated look on all.
The rain had stopped after lunch, not due to my prayers. I hope the bride would not be a soaking bird. It was drizzling when we reached the entrance of the lava-cave tube. It was slippery, with dimmed lights, and a temperature at least 10 C below the outside, about 25 C.
It was the finest lava tunnel, formed by the awesome power of volcanic lava flow, 300,000 years ago. About 1 km out of more than 14k m length was opened to the public; took us almost 2 hr for the return journey. It was nature’s tunnel cathedral for bats and nocturnal animals. It was discovered by Mr. Jong haw Boo; measured 23 m in breath and a height of 30 m. The public viewing stalagmites and stalactites were not impressive enough, but the large columnar tunnel was majestic.
Sometimes we need to see the big pictures to appreciate the small; and vice versa. The rain had stopped and we still had time for our next destination: Oedolgae Rock along the coast of Seongwipu. This huge volcanic rock measured 10 m in circumference and 20 m in height stood out among the many smaller cluster islands.
Finally we were driven to a nearby Korean restaurant, near our hotel, for dinner.
That sumptuous dinner cost us 170,000 won (Rm650); about Rm92 each, which is considered fair by Korean cost of living.