During the warmer months of the year, Korea has no shortage of fun things to do outdoors, but if you want to get out of the heat for a day I would recommend Gwangmyeong Cave!
What used to be a previous gold mine (literally. The cave held gold, silver, bronze, zinc and other ores which were mined from 1912 until 1972 when the mine was shut down. Rumor is there’s still a ton of gold down there yet to be discovered!) is now the largest themed cave attraction (in korea? Don’t quote me on this the internet told me.)
The cave is easily accessible from Incheon, Seoul, and it’s surrounding Gyeonggi area by bus and subway! We took the bus from Incheon to Gwangmyeong Station and then took a local bus straight to the cave.
I know I probably say this in every single post but bring your walking shoes. The cave is at the top of a small hill, and there are a lot of stairs inside the cave itself. There is also a hiking trail outside if you feel up to it!
Admission to the cave costs W6,000 for adults, and W2,000 – 3,500 for youth, and there are a few places outside the cave to grab something to eat before you enter.
The cave has a rich history, some of it tragic, but culturally important. You can read more about it here on the official website!
The cave has a ton of attractions to see, but don’t worry about missing any because there is only one way to go a lot of the time. Following this system means that there aren’t a lot of crowds to battle!
Not far into the cave, you’re going to hit this GIANT auditorium built into one of the passageways – make sure you stick around to watch the art light show what is projected onto the cave walls! I couldn’t find any information on how often they change the content of the show, but both times we have been we have seen a different one!
One of the most fascinating features of the cave is the Golden Road, a path adorned with what feels like a million golden plaques with visitors wishes written onto them. The plaques can be bought for W5,000 inside the area, and are hung up on the walls to help your wish come true!
I’m unsure if it’s a recent addition, (we certainly didn’t see it the first time we went) but we stumbled across this time capsule area of the cave. A lot of the cases were empty but a few of them had egg-shaped capsules already inside! Tell me if you’ve visited and you know more about it!
Talking about hoarding gold in the cave, the Hobbit/LOTR exhibit was an unexpected but welcome addition to my day. The cave sports an 800KG model of Smaug, with Gollum accompanying him on the ground below. The exhibit also carries a replica of Gandalf’s staff, as well as a whole ton of concept art and illustrations by local artists (if you know me, you’ll know why I got excited)
Heading back up towards the exit of the cave will bring you to the Wine cave, where you can sample and buy a selection of locally produced wines! I grabbed a sweet fruity one to enjoy with our dinner.
After heading out of the cave, we made sure to head up the stairs to check out the view from the top! (This took me a long time. Trust. Why does korea have so many stairs? D:)
Let me know if you’ve been and what you thought of it in the comments! I’d definitely reccomend it at least once if youre in the area!
Until next time ~