화암동굴

Hwaamdong-gul - Hwaam Cave - 畫岩洞窟 - Hwaam Gul - Jeongseon Hwaam Cave - Jeongseon Painted Rock Cave


Useful Information

Location: 12-1 Hwaamdonggul-gil, Hwaam-myeon, Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do.
Halfway up Gakhee mountain, Hwaam 2-ri Dong-myeon. 21 km from Jeongseon-eup. Follow local road No. 424 (Deoku~Baekjeon).
(37.349232, 128.793752)
Open: All year daily 9-17.
Last entry 30 minutes before closing.
[2022]
Fee: Adults KRW 5,000, Children (11-18) KRW 3,500, Children (6-10) KRW 2,000, Children (0-5) free, Seniors (65+) free, Disabled free.
Groups (30+): Adults KRW 4,500, Children (11-18) KRW 3,000, Children (6-10) KRW 1,500.
Reduced: Adults KRW 3,500, Children (11-18) KRW 2,500, Children (6-10) KRW 1,500.
Groups (30+): Adults KRW 3,000, Children (11-18) KRW 2,000, Children (6-10) KRW 1,000.
Monorail: Adults KRW 3,000, Children (11-18) KRW 2,000, Children (6-10) KRW 1,500.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightColoured Light
Dimension: L=730 m, VR=50 m.
Guided tours: self guided, L=1,803 m, D=90 min, VR=90 m, St=365.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no, many steps
Bibliography:  
Address: Jeongseon Hwaam Cave, 12-1 Hwaamdonggul-gil, Hwaam-myeon, Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do, Tel: +82-33-562-7062.
Tourism and Culture Bureau of Jeongseon-gun, Tel: +82-33-560-2365.
Hwaam Tourist Attraction Control Office, Tel: +82-33-560-2578.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1922 start of mining operations at Cheonpo mine.
1934 discovered during mining activities in a gold mine.
1945 mining ended.
26-FEB-1980 designated Gangwon-do Regional Monument No. 33.
2002 opened to the public.

Description

화암동굴 (Hwaamdong-gul, Hwaam Cave) is a karst cave with speleothems, and colourful light. Quite exceptional is, that it was discovered during mining activities. Normally the soluble sedimentary rock which are essential for karst caves do not contain much valuable ores. But in this case the 천포금광촌 (Cheonpo Gold Mine) produced gold, it was the 5th largest gold producer in Korea at the time. And so the mining of the gold is a main topic at the cave tours. We were actually not sure if we should classify the site as show cave or show mine, it obviously both.

A Monorail brings the visitors up into a side valley where the mine entrance is located. It's also possible to walk to the mine entrance, the monorail has a separate fee. The mine is entered through the upper tunnel which is a 515 m long mine tunnel. It was equipped with the 역사의장 (Chairman of History) exhibition, which displays dioramas and animatronic miners who explain the mining of the gold. There is also a stop where four compressed air rock drills are installed so the visitors can experience how the daily work of the miners actually was, though we guess they were toned down for security reasons. At the end of the tunnel the huge shaft is reached and the visitors descend 365 steps on a huge staircase tower built into the vast shaft, to the 676 m long lower tunnel through which the mine is left. This tunnel contains the 동화의나라 (Fairy Tale Land), which is intended for children to explain gold ore mining, processing, smelting and the production of bullions and coins. All this is part of a story of goblins with a lot of plastic and coloured light. The whole story is told by Geumkkaebi and Eunkkaebi, the gold and silver goblin! Sounds silly, and is silly, but they insist it works, at least with Korean children. Finally the 금의세계 (World of Gold) is reached, a more traditional museum about gold and its uses.

Finally the show cave is reached, which is a single huge chamber with an area of 2,975 m². A 392 m long trail leads in a circle once around the chamber. The cave is noteworthy for extraordinary speleothems. There are numerous huge stalactites, stalagmites, frozen waterfalls and so on, and as this is Asia its all named and colorfully lighted, and the number of scenes which can be seen is counted and proudly presented to the visitors. However, a group of three massive stalagmites with a height of 8 m and a circumference of 5m, is quite impressive. 유석폭포 (Yuseok Falls) are a frozen waterfall or flowstone which is 28 m high. There are also numerous aragonite minerals forming white incrustations, twig like structures, bubbles, or balloons. The extraordinary minerals are obviously a result of the same geology which also created gold deposits in a limestone sedimentary rock. Also, the cave has numerous troglobiont inhabitants, spiders, millipedes and niphargus. At the end the cave is left through the mine tunnel which opens almost at the parking lot.

The former area of the mine on the valley floor was transformed into a huge parking lot, numerous restaurants and exhibitions. There is the 천포금광촌 (Cheonpo Gold Mine Village), which is an open air museum with the reconstruction of the miners city between 1920 and 1945. The open air museum is free. We recommend visiting the 정선향토박물관 (Jeongseon Local Museum) which is also located on the former mine grounds. It exhibits the history and cultural heritage of Jeongseon, starting with various agricultural tools, clothing, food, and livelihood. They also have a collection of donated gold-themed pottery and an exhibition on the history of gold mining in Korea. The museum is free.

We list thousands of tourist venues, and there is a big group where the open times or the fees are quite complicated. This is definitely one of them, they have reductions for a long list of things, and we had real difficulties to understand what they mean.