Jeju Volcanic Island
and Lava Tubes

jeju-islandIlchulbong ("First Sunlight") Mountain is one of the must-visit sights on Jeju Island (Getty)

Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes

Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes are one of the unique volcanic attractions in the world. This natural attraction is recently enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Having visited Jeju Island (or Jejudo) numerous times in the past, I can confirm the beauty of the island is something unique and worth visiting even for once in your lifetime.

The whole Jeju Island sits on lava created by the (dead) volcano, which until now you can see through the crater of Hallasan Mountain's peak.

The enlisted Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes altogether comprise the three areas totaling over eighteen thousand hectares.

TRIVIA: Jeju Island is considered the 'honey-moon' paradise of South Korea. Some also call it in a broader and global name, the 'Hawaii of Asia'.

The over 18 thousand hectares of natural beauty include...

  • Geomunoreum--regarded as the most exceptional lava tube system of caverns anywhere, with its multicolored carbonate roofing systems and floorings, and dark-colored lava walls;
  • Seongsan Ilchulbong tuff cone, a fortress-like structure, rising out of the ocean, a significant landscape; and
  • Mount Halla, the tallest mountain peak in South Korea, with its waterfalls, multi-shaped rock formations, and water-filled crater like a lake.

The location, of outstanding aesthetic beauty, also bears testimony to the history of the world, its environmental functions, and processes.

According to UNESCO...
Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes is a consistent natural and beautiful treasure comprising three elements. The unmatched feature of the Geomunoreum lava tube system and the display of distinct and volcanic features in the other two components show a unique and essential contribution to the understanding of worldwide volcanism.

When judging the quality of Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes, the UN heritage organization used various criteria to qualify this natural world treasure.

First, it is mentioned that the Geomunoreum lava tube system, which is considered one of the most exceptional cave systems in the world, has an outstanding visual effect even for those experienced with such phenomena.

jeju-volcanic-island-and-lava-tubesYellowish Rapeseed Flower is one of the best attractions during Summertime on Jeju Island

It displays the distinct phenomenon of multicolored carbonate decors embellishing the floors and roofing systems. Its dark-colored lava walls, partially covered by a mural of mineral deposits, added more magnificent beauty to its already imposing natural grandeur.

The fortress-like Seongsan Ilchulbong tuff cone's walls rising out of the ocean is a dramatic sight that features how nature should look like and entices the innocent human onlookers.

Then Mount Halla, with its range of textures and colors through the changing seasons, waterfalls, display of multi-shaped rock formations, and columnar-jointed cliffs.

More so, Hallasan Mountain's towering peak with its water-filled crater further contributes to the aesthetic and picturesque appeal of Jeju Island.

Jeju has a unique worth as one of the few large guard volcanoes in the world built over a location on a stationary continental crust plate.

jeju-island-hallasan-mountainAmazing sight of Halla Mountain's peak with its crater catching rain water or melted snow

The Geomunoreum Lava Tube system is one of the most valuable and impressive series of secured lava tube caves in the world.

It includes an incredible range of secondary carbonate speleothems (stalactites and other mineral features), with an abundance and diversity unknown somewhere else within a lava cave.

The Seongsan Ilchulbong tuff cone has exceptional direct exposures of its structural and sedimentological qualities, making it a world-class location for comprehending Surtseyan-type volcanic eruptions.

Indeed, due to human interference on the island, Jeju Volcanic Island would somehow look different then. Therefore, as an enlisted world treasure, the local heritage management should sustain its natural beauty and function as criteria for their inclusion in the list.

Such sustainable action includes preserving the natural landscape of the three areas by preventing development projects and any farming activity that could potentially affect their integrity.

Another management activity includes limiting the number of visitors and tourists alike who could potentially harm the natural features of the volcanic treasures.

If you travel to Jeju Island, you will not miss noticing the fantastic volcanic feature of the island.

Besides the volcanic beauty, you can as well explore numerous parks, museums, entertainment facilities, hiking trails, beaches, and other commercial and public facilities.

Getting to Jeju Island

Basically, you have two choices if you come from the mainland, Seoul, or somewhere in the Korean Peninsula.

You can either fly to Jeju International Airport or take a ferry from some ports, such as from Mokpo City Harbor, Incheon, or Busan City.

You can fly any Gimpo Airport in Seoul and other airports in the country. Alternatively, you can also fly directly to Jeju Island if your point of origin (or country) offers such a flight route.

I hope you can travel and enjoy Jeju Island and its volcanic features. Keep safe!

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