Samcheok is by the Japan sea, but once you go away from the coastline the terrain gets mountainous very fast. And the mountains of Samcheok have marvelous caves, such as Hwanseongul, one of the largest limestone caves in Asia.
Near the bus stop is a model of the type of houses Koreans in this area lived in before industrialization.
While walking from the bus stop to the cave I got to see the mountains covered in misty, a lovely waterfall, and an otter.
And then … it was INTO THE CAVERN!!!
These photos do not convey just how LARGE this cave is. I did put in a few photos showing the walkways to offer some sense of scale. You could fit a cathedral into some of the chambers.
I took the first bus in the morning, so at first it was very quiet in the cave. Then the first group came, and I waited for them to pass me, for I wanted to savor the cave in solitude. By the time I left the cave hours later, there were a number of groups entering. And this was a weekday. So I highly recommend visiting in the morning.
Some of the rock formations types seen in this cave have not been found in any other cave in the world. As I slowly, leisurely made my way through the 2 kilometers of walkway, I constantly found new shapes and formations, such as waterfalls cascading from the ceiling, or the “Great Wall” formation.
This is one of the coolest experiences I had in all of South Korea. If you ever go to South Korea, even if you don’t have much time, try to visit this cave, even if you have to make a special trip out of Seoul just to see it.
Enjoy the photos!