환선굴

Hwanseon Gul - Hwanseon Cave - Fairy's Cave


Useful Information

Location: 800, Hwanseon-ro, Singi-myeon, Samcheok-si, Gangwon-do.
Expressway 65 exit Pyeongjeon-Dong, National Road 38 towards Taebaek, after 20 km at Daepyeong-ri towards Gangwonnambu, then left and up the valley. Signposted.
From Tong Seoul Bus Terminal take a Samchok-bound bus, a 4:50 ride. At Samchok, take a bus to Taei-ri (55 minutes).
(37.323579, 129.008253)
Open: MAR to OCT daily 8:30-17.
NOV to FEB daily 9-16.
Closed 18th every month.
[2022]
Fee: Park Entrance fee: Adults KRW 1,000, Children (13-18) KRW 800, Children (7-12) KRW 500, Soldiers KRW 800.
Groups: Adults KRW 800, Children (13-18) KRW 600, Children (7-12) KRW 300, Soldiers KRW 600.
Cave Admission fee: Adults KRW 4,500, Children (13-18) KRW 2,000, Children (7-12) KRW 1,500, Soldiers KRW 2,000.
Groups: Adults KRW 4,000, Children (13-18) KRW 2,000, Children (7-12) KRW 1,000, Soldiers KRW 1,500.
Monorail: Adults KRW 7,000, Children (13-18) KRW 3,000.
Cave fee does not include park fee.
[2012]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Speleologyriver cave.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=6,200 m, T=11 °C, A=820 m asl.
Portal: W=14 m, H=10 m.
Guided tours: L=1,600 m, St=398, D=60 min.
Photography:  
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Kyung-Sik Woo (1989): Original mineralogy and carbonate diagenesis of speleothems in Kwanum and Hwansun Cavern, Kangweond, Journal of the Geological Society of Korea 25, n.1, pp.90-97.
Address: Daeyi Cave Tour Center, 800, Hwanseon-ro, Singi-myeon, Samcheok-si, Gangwon-do, Tel: +82-33-541-9266, Tel: +82-33-541-7600, Fax +82-33-541-7181.
Tourism Development Bureau of Samcheok-si, Tel: +82-33-570-3545.
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

15-JUN-1966 Daeiri Karst Area including the cave was designated a National Monument (#178).
15-OCT-1997 opened to the public.
APR-2010 monorail opened to the public.

Description

환선굴 (Hwanseon Gul, Fairy's Cave) was named after a legend of a beautiful fairy, who took a bath and when she noticed that she was watched disappeared into this cave. Others say it was named after a legend of a monk who went into the cave for meditation. He never left the cave again, until he finally became a god and ascended to heaven. Excavations in the cave entrance revealed the remains of a house, a furnace, and a mortar which are believed to have been used by a monk.

A few years ago the cave claimed to be the largest show cave in the East of South Korea, now they claim to be the longest cave in Asia, which is preposterous. 6.2 km of cave passage have been explored and surveyed, which also makes this cave one of the three longest of the country. But cavers discover new caves every year in this country, so this superlative may change soon. The cave is located in the karst area 대이리 동굴지대 (Daeili Dong-guljidae, Daeiri Karst Area) with many caves, nearby are Gwaneum Cave, Jeampung Cave, Yangtumokse Cave, Dukbatse Cave, and Keunjaese Cave, which are not open to the public. The landscape of Shingi Myeon offers scenic mountains and Korea's "Grand Canyon" Kangwon-do Samchok.

From the ticket office it is a 45 minutes walk uphill to the cave entrance. A few years ago a monorail was built which brings visitors to the cave entrance, saving a lot of work and offering nice views. Ihe distance is only 1.3 km, but the path climbs 200 m. The path leads along the river, which emerges from the cave portal at the end of the valley. The portal is 10 m high, and a wooden mill was constructed inside the portal to use the power of the cave river.

The height of the passages averages 15 m and its width 20 m, but at some points it becomes 100 m wide and 30 m high. The main chamber, 40 m in diameter, features layers of white sand and is big enough to hold thousands of people. The cave rivers forms ten pools and six waterfalls along the tour path.

But its main sight are various speleothems, the cavern is loaded with a variety of rimstones, popcorn calcite, calcite crstals and curtains. Outstanding are a structure named after the Great Wall of China and Okchwadae (Royal Throne) in the main chamber.

47 species of cave animals were found in the cave. This includes the lung-less Korean clawed salamander Onychodactylus fischeri, the spider Allomengea coreana, the cave cricket Diestrammena japanica, the millipedes Epanerchodus kimi and Antrokoreana gracilipes, the moth Apopestes indica, and a species of amphipod in the genus Pseudocrangonyx. The Hwanseon Blind Beetle (Kurasawatrechus latior) and three other species are endemic to this cave.