Jeju Island: The wonderful nature – Hailim Park, Hyeopjae Beach, Hyeopjae Cave and Ssangyong Cave

**Only for 28th Sept 2013!
Leave your comments on this post.
Q1: Which airline flew me to Korea fr this trip?
Q2: In Hailim Park, which area is your favourite?
Example of answer: the caves/the beach/ the bird garden, etc
2 winners will EACH win a RM50 voucher tonight! 🙂

italian restaurant damansara heights - kl restaurant week - DV ristorante (44)

Now I have got the museums out of the way, post HERE and HERE  (well, there’s another one on the Haenyo – Korean “sea women”, are female divers in the Korean province of Jeju but that can wait), let me get to the Jeju Island that I truly enjoy and love.

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Hailim Park is admittedly one of the tourist attractions of Jeju Island. Though touristy, it isn’t one of those rip-off or artificially made venues. The caves here are maintained in both cleanliness and in its natural physical form since centuries ago, allowing travellers curious peeks or ventures into their hollow entrances
The zone within Hailim Park is clean and safe. The entire area has a tranquil quality that makes a day spent here very pleasant.

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Clean, breezy air, wide pathways, picturesque surroundings. Hailim Park offers all that and more for the entrance fee of 9,000 won (RM30+-) per adult.

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At the entrance:

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Entrance fees:

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Spot some animals as you roam around Hailim Park.

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There are many parts to Hailim Park so choose which suits you best. For the entrance fee paid, you’re welcome to stay all day and visit all sections of the park or just the few that interest you.
The nine sections of Hailim Park: Palm Tree Avenue, Wild Flowers.

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Or Hyeopjae & Ssangyong Caves.

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Jeju Stones and Bonsais for the biologist, botanist, conservationist and ecologists. A bit of history is found in the Jae-Am Folk Village where the traditional Jeju life is revived or head to the bird gardens to say hi to the bad tempered ostriches. 😀

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Last few sections are the Stone Exhibit Hall, Subtropic Botanical Garden and Water Garden.

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For us, we went straight for Hyeopjae Cave and Ssangyong Cave. The manager of Hailim Park welcomed us and gave us a short briefing that lovely morning.

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Hyeopjae Cave and Ssangyong Cave are considered geological unique as stalagmites and stalactites are seldom found in lava caves but there are stalagmites and stalactites in here. The whole area of Hailim Park has over 20 caves that are connected in a single system.
However not all parts of the 17,000 metres system are open to public. It is supposedly the longest lava cave system in the world and thus it’s international appeal.
Here we are entering the mysterious depths of the lava caves – first being the Hyeopjae Cave. I was really excited as this would be my first time entering a real lava cave! 😀

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It’s marveloud that pictorial explanations are provided throughout the entire journey. And in English too. I took my time taking pictures and reading these boards. Really “lawatan sambil belajar” (field trip). 😀

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For those who are interested, every part of the cave has its own names and history of how it was formed. I’m sure we are all familiar with stalagmites and stalactites from our early Geography lessons right? No? Well, time to revives those memories! 🙂

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These images below shows the exact formations within Hyeopjae Cave itself. These visuals are god-send for those really into the study of the lava caves. For the rest of us who prefers an easy stroll walk and some photographs for memories, just walk and enjoy what you see!

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I was warned by our guide to bring a jacket along as it can get cold inside the caves but she didn’t say it was FREEZING!

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My first sight of the lava caves filled me with pure awe. There are so much character on the ceilings, the walls and the ground. The lights on the side of the walkway provided just enough illumination to safely guide visitors along their way but it didn’t interfere with the experience. The caves kept its dark, chilly mysterious vibe.
Only gripe would be that flash is required as the illumination is not bright enough for photography. However, a good low light camera like mine – the Sony NEX did a fantastic job. All the photos here taken without flash.

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No 2 parts of the caves were the same, and all naturally formed by Mother Nature. I find myself looking up quite a bit, as the formations above my head was in all shapes and was just fascinating.

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The walk was made interesting with natural occurrences such as these.

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Interesting isn’t it? 😀

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Waterless Waterfall and Golden Mountains. These people gets really creative with names don’t they!

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So does it looks like a waterless waterfall with golden mountains?

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Some parts of the caves are low so do remember to watch your head.

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The path is long, but the walk is very comfortable as it felt like walking in a chiller! It helps too that the whole place is clean and the pathway clear. If you have noticed, at most parts the cave is black as these caves are formed by lava from Mt Halla during volcanic activities millions of years ago.

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Almost at the end of Hyeopjae Cave. You can literally ‘see the light at the end of the tunnel’. 😀

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Coming out to sunshine, the path goes through Hailim Park and its scenic gardens. Both sides of the road were full of these Jeju stones, a popular feature in many places on Jeju Island.

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Most of these are modelled after people, which in some ways is cute but could be freaky too. I’m not entirely sure of the story behind it and since I was alone at this point (I lost my group cos I was taking too long with my picture taking exercise) I couldn’t ask my guide.

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And then it’s the entrance to Ssangyong Cave.

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The formations within Ssangyong Cave are more interesting as parts of the cave resembles dragons. This caves is the only one in the world that is a joint lava + limestone cave. And this cave is formed about 2.5 million years ago during one of the eruptions of Mt. Halla.

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It was surreal stepping into a 2.5 million year old cave.

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It looks and it felt ancient. You would be somewhat be compelled to speak softly as you explored this primeval structure. Like many others, I was awestruck and didn’t speak much.

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Let the education begin. In fact I loved these signboards. I could take my time to explore the cave without a need of a guide who would understandably hurry you along with the group.

Ahh, so this is Lava Shelf.

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Do you see the shape/body of a dragon?

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Ok, I’ll leave it to your imagination. I was struggling to see the resemblance myself.

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This is supposedly the tail coming in from outside of the cave.

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Parts of the cave had rays of sun through some cracks in the formations and these gave some parts flashes of colour.

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I think the roof of the Ssangyong cave did exhibit similarities to a dragon’s body right?

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Hmmm… double luck today! 😀

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Next, the Golden Cave.

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The Golden Cave is beyond the cordoned off area. Too bad visitors are not allowed.

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Can you see the formation of lime?

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This formation is called the Underground Pillar and a walk around it promises some intelligence. Naturally I walked the circle. More intelligence is appreciated anytime! 😀

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Kung-fu in a cave??

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Nope. A nice myth actually.

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Mother and Baby. Can you make it out?

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Now, Bear & Turtle.

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I took sometime to figure this one. Hmmmm, there are some form of resemblance I guess? 🙂

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Take a look from another angle. Yes? No?

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The Ssangyong Cave is much longer and more interesting than the earlier Hyeopjae Cave isn’t it?

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Stalactite on the roof.

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And we are at the end of the cave!

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I see sunlight.

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And walked out to Cheju Stone and Bonsai Garden. This part of the park is gloriously green and pretty.

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There are many flowers and plants within the garden and signs explaining each variety and its name. Like I said before, Hailim Park is a very nice place for those who are seeking relaxation and nature. I personally find the lava caves the most interesting part of Hailim Park and I can imagine how bored it would be for those who do not enjoy nature.
Then again, Jeju Island has many charms, you just have to research and plan your trip accordingly. 😀

After the gardens we headed for the exit. Enroute, we went past the Bird Garden and Water Garden where the lilies are.

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We spotted many families here at Hailim Park. The children prefers the Bird Garden as they would get to learn and play with the birds.

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Beware of the ostriches though.

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The lilies.

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Not all plants are pretty and sweet. You wouldn’t want to mess with this one!

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One last monument before the exit.

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Bye Hailim Park!

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If you are not in any hurry Hailim Park has a souvenir shop, coffeehouse and a restaurant. You could rest, enjoy an ice cream or have a meal here before leaving.

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Just outside of Hailim Park is Hyeopjae Beach. We spent about 30 minutes before heading into Hailim Park and I didn’t want to leave.
I’m absolutely in love! Can you tell why? 😀

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It’s so beautiful!
The whole coastline of Jeju Island is lined with black formations/rocks and cliffs like these; dark stones and white sand against clear, pristine waters.

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The best part is, the beach is open for the public. I would spend a whole day here if I’m ever back in Jeju. I’ll have a picnic, build sandcastles and tan on the beach. Just as how a beach holiday should be! 🙂

The shallow waters are great for kids too, as long as there are adults around to keep an eye on them of course.

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Beautiful Jeju. A must visit!

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Tips if you’re going into the lava caves:
1. Bring a jacket. It’s cold (almost 15 celsius) inside, all year round.
2. You can wear open footwear but the grounds are uneven so it’s not to wear covered sandals or flats. No wedges or heels.

*************************************************************************************************************************************************

*This wonderful experience was part of our itinerary during our Jeju media familiarization trip organized by AirAsia X. Thank you AAX! 😀

* AirAsia X flies 7 times a week from Seoul, Korea to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
* AirAsia X flies 4 times a week from Busan, Korea to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

FLIGHT SCHEDULE FOR KUALA LUMPUR- SEOUL, KOREA

Flights From

Departure/ Arrival

Flight No.

Frequency

Kuala Lumpur to Seoul

08:50/16:10

01:45/08:20

D7 0504

D7 0506

1,3,5

2,4,6,7

Seoul to Kuala Lumpur

17:35/23:20

09:35/15:20

D7 0505

D7 0507

1,3,5

2,4,6,7

  • 1- Monday, 2- Tuesday, 3- Wednesday, 4- Thursday, 5- Friday, 6-Saturday, 7-Sunday

FLIGHT SCHEDULE FOR KUALA LUMPUR- BUSAN, KOREA

Flights From

Departure/ Arrival

Flight No.

Frequency

Kuala Lumpur to Busan

08:30 / 15:45

D7 512

4,7

Busan to Kuala Lumpur

17:00 / 22:20

D7 513

4,7

Kuala Lumpur to Busan

01:15/08:30

D7 518

1,5

Busan to Kuala Lumpur

10:35/15:55

D7 519

1,5

Days: 1-Monday, 4- Thursday, 5- Friday, 7- Sunday