Friday, August 28, 2009

Weird sightseeing part 3 or caves and the like

I maybe better explain the meaning of this title a little bit more. As much as I like Korea now, I must say that there no real 'world-class' sights here - nothing like the pyramids in Egypt or the Acropolis in Greece. Still we are having an awful lot of fun sightseeing, because the Korean sights are usually very tacky and/or action oriented. So the attraction lies more in their weirdness than in their cultural significance.

One sight that could classify into world-class category though is the Hwanseon cave, one of the biggest caves in whole Asia. But the way to the cave is steep and long - it is a tough 1,3 km uphill hike. Not the nicest thing in the sun, but well worth the effort. The cave is indeed the biggest one I have ever been in. It even has various streams and waterfall running through it and therefore you have to walk on metal walkways. The whole circuit through the cave is 1,6 km and a constant up and down.

They somehow had to illuminate the whole scenery and for some reason they choose different coloured neon light chains for that. The whole thing now looks like a disco cave! But there are more interesting things: The cave features were given titles. And so we walked up to the 'summit of hope' descended into the 'valley of desires' crossed the 'bridge of love' into 'hell' and walked over the 'bridge of confessions' to see the 'mountain of life'. And after 1,5 hours in the cave's 12 degree C we were chilled enough to continue cycling.

But that was not the end of cave fun. Samcheok, our next stop boasts 2 cave museums. The buildings alone are worth a visit. One looks like a huge wedding cake dripping with brown icing, whereas the second one is shaped like a bat.

The second one was a real hoot. It consisted only of various cave mock-ups and was action filled. You could do some cave climbing on ropes and strangely enough there were no safety features there whatsoever. I wonder how many people had already injured themselves there. But beside somewhat scientific cave models it also displayed cave creatures and we could happily watch a dragon flashing his red neon eyes around. The fun factor was very high!

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