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The quietest place in KoreaJeju's World Natural Heritage site Manjang Lava Tubes impress on so many levels
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승인 2011.05.30  03:30:27
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▲ Reporting from deep underground. Photo by Douglas MacDonald

First a note: South Korea is a country of 50 million people, but it’s less than 100,000 square kilometers. Even Jeju Island’s two main population centers, Jeju and Seogwipo, are rife with urban noise pollution. Over the years, it seems, one gets used to it.

Last week, after obtaining permission from the provincial government, The Jeju Weekly’s Sarah Warren, Douglas MacDonald and I accompanied Dr. Jeon Yong Mun of Jeju’s World Natural Heritage Management Bureau to the closed areas of a number of Manjang Lava Tubes.

I had visited and written about the public section of Manjang Cave as part of our on-going Geopark series and was duly impressed. Still, I had no idea what was in store for us when Dr. Jeon gave a private guided tour of the features and geological marvels in these other lava tubes.

Thousands of years old and quite pristine, these cavernous tubes were tens of meters high and cathedral-like. Few people had ever seen their beauty or experienced their utter — and delicious — silence.

It was, in a word, breathtaking.

Manjang is just 30 minutes or so from Jeju City and is one of the only places on earth with such large and diverse lava tube networks. It just proves how much we island residents take Jeju for granted.

I hope our local readers are making the most of every day on the island, and I hope our overseas readers will come to Jeju and explore this oasis for themselves.

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