Yvonne and I went to the Hwanseon Cave, also known as the Hwanseongul Cave, during our trip to Korea. The cave is a cave located in Gangwon province, South Korea about 45 minutes from Samcheok. We took a bus from Samcheok early in the morning and hitchhiked back because it was snowing and the bus wasn’t going to arrive for about 3 hours.
The Cave is massive and it is estimated to be about 8 km in total. Spelunkers have explored 6.2 km, but for the public you can see only a little bit of the cave. Below are some of our best pictures from within the cave and a short description. We had a great time and thought it was worth the trip to visit.
To get to the entrance of the cave you have to hike about 30-45 minutes to the ticket office. At the bottom of the sign above you can see visitors are allowed to explore 1.6 km of the cave. So, there is plenty to see in side the cave.
This the entrance of the cave, once you have purchased your tickets about ₩4000, you will enter the main cave, which is well lite by colorful lights and has walkways for visitors.
We went during the winter, early February, during the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival. Because it was very cold outside and snowing, we were able to see ice stalagmites. The ice water dripping from the roof of the cave was building up at the entrance of the cave. Near the back of the cave the temperature was actually warm.
I am not a geologist and I didn’t take pictures of the plates describing the different rock formations, but there were many different types of stalactites, flowstones, rimstones, popcorns, pipes and curtains.
This formation, above, was called the Turtle formation because it looks like a turtle shell.
Another shot of the size of the Cave. You can see all the different walk ways and different lights in the background.
There were many small waterfalls and many pools of water.
More rock formations. This cave was really big and amazing.
Final Thoughts on the Hwanseon Cave
As you can see from the pictures, it is a giant cave with many different rock formations. Caves aren’t usually a very exciting travel destination but there is not much to see around Samcheok, we had only went to the area to see the Penis Park, but since we had extra time, we decided to see the cave. The cave was opened in 1997 and each year about 1 million people visit, which is quite a lot.
We really enjoyed it and would recommend it for anyone that is in the area. I wouldn’t suggest going there just for the cave, unless you like caves, but if you are in the area be sure to check it out. It was one of the better parts of our South Korea trip, so, if you have time and like caves than be sure to visit.