I feel like I’m going to get back to my favorite Wins for the Week features sooner than later, but maybe it’s going to be later than sooner at this point. Camp Humphreys is still at HPCON B, which means we’re limited in terms of travel and have a good deal of restrictions in place regarding where to visit, but with the threat of HPCON C hanging overheard (more like a lockdown), we’ve been exploring as much as possible! With the heat though, we’ve done a lot of indoor activities, and I wanted to share what people should know about visiting Korea’s Chungju Jade Cave.
All About Chungju Jade Cave
Like Gwangmyeong Cave, Jade Cave offers a perfect blend of adventure and excitement, as well as ample opportunity to cool off while underground. South Korea’s Jade Cave goes by several names including Chungju Hwalok Donggul, but more commonly by foreigners as the Chungju Jade Cave. About 1.5 hours from Pyeontaek, Jade Cave lies in the North Cheungcheong province and offers both fun and adventures – as well as an indoor kayaking experience.
Jade Cave used to be a mine and is now hailed as one of the largest of Asia’s former mining operations. The cave stretches over 8 km and reaches a maximum depth of 700+ meters, but it’s easily accessible on foot for visitors. Unlike the stairs and narrow corridors at Gwangmyeong, the Chungju Jade Cave’s passageways are more open and cavernous, allowing for space between visitors and a flat, even terrain throughout.
Why Visitors Love Jade Cave
While Gwangmyeong Cave was like a theme park, Jade Cave was kind of the perfect blend of history and nature, sharing the beauty of the spot without going too overboard. Jade Cave has lighting throughout in different areas, which the kids loved, and it was definitely colder than our last cave experience. It was really fun to see the exposed mine shafts, old gear, and historical tablets throughout, as well, detailing the rich history of the mine. Even better though – Jade Cave actually felt like a cave, while Gwangmyeong felt like a mine (which it was).
Clear Bottom Kayaking in Jade Cave
Probably the biggest draw for visitors to Chungu Jade Cave, however, is the clear bottom kayaking experience. As you venture deeper into the cave, passing multiple exhibits, a wine cave, and an underground wasabi farm (yes, you read that right), you reach a bend where the line to kayak in Jade Cave begins. When you purchase tickets, you have two choices. You can purchase the cave experience, or you can purchase the cave and kayak experience. Obviously, we chose the latter.
We waited about 20 minutes in line for our chance to kayak in Jade Cave, and they allowed us to have four people in our kayak. Mieke, Spencer, Ryan, and I went in one kayak, while Porter went with our friends. A couple of attendants wading in the underground lake helped us get into the kayaks, then gave us a gentle shove off. Honestly, kayaking in Jade Cave was unbelievably cool. Forget the accompanying light show. The cave, itself, is enormous, and watching the koi swim all around us – and beneath our kayak – was really neat. My only complaint is that the kayaking was short; only about 10 minutes. We ended our day with an ice cream treat though, trying out the wasabi ice cream made from the plants harvested onsite. It was…something.
What to Know About Korea’s Chungju Jade Cave
Cost: There are two separate fees – cave entry or cave + kayak entry. To do both, our adult tickets were 8,000 Won, and the kids were 6,000 Won each for ages 2 and up. Kayaking ticket sales end at 3 PM though. They accept both cards and cash (Won).
Amenities: There is a convenience shop, toilets, and a cafe/restaurant onsite. Just note that, like any tourist site, libations are priced accordingly, and our ice creams were 4,500 Won apiece.
Accessibility: The cave is largely accessible and without stairs, the only thing that may be unattainable is the clear bottom kayaking experience.
How to Get to Jade Cave: Using Waze, enter the following address – 26, Mokbeoran-gil, Chungju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do; Using Naver, enter the following address: 활옥동굴: 충북 충주시 목벌안길 26