It was forecasted that rain would pour the whole afternoon and we abandoned the idea of going to Everland Amusement Park. We instead boarded a bus bound west of Seoul, to Jeongseon-gu in Gangwon Province.
From Dong Seoul Bus Terminal located in front of Gangbyeon Station (Line 2) Exit 3, we purchased tickets which costs KRW17,600 (P880) each and rode a bus going to Jeongseon. The bus left at exact departure time and while on the road, we were confused if we were on the right bus or just missed our stop. In the first hour, we were either stuck in traffic or surrounded by buildings. But as we traveled further, we were awed by the stunning scenery of hills and mountains covered with trees in vibrant autumn shades. The narrow winding roads felt endless and we could not ask anyone because we were unsure if the other passengers could speak English; we were the only foreign looking passengers.
After 4 hours, at last, we reached the Jeongseon Bus Terminal. The place felt rural and remote in contrast to the lively Seoul. Our first stop was to visit the Byeongbangchi Skywalk at Arii Hills. It was hard to pronounce but it was a breeze to get to this place. We just walked around 200 meters and found the stop for the free shuttle to Arii Hills. (Don’t forget to buy your ticket back to Seoul before leaving the terminal if not staying overnight.)
Ever since my first skywalk, I wanted to visit every skywalk I am closest to. Glass floors and glass railings feel exciting. Not for faint-hearted or acrophobic. The one I had tried in Busan faces the sea with the view of Haeundae Beach from afar. While the one in Arii Hills Resort faces a river and mountain ridges. Ticket costs KRW2,000 (P100). It was chilly and windy at 10 degrees but it was not a hindrance to spend a long time in the skywalk. It was off season also which explains there were only a few people to none and gave us ample time to enjoy the landscape.
After taking countless photos at the skywalk, we took a short walk to another viewpoint.
After enjoying Arii Hills, we headed back to the terminal via free shuttle and took a local bus going to Hwaamdonggul Cave. Bus fare costs KRW2590 (P130) per way and may take at least 30 minutes. After reaching Hwaam Cave Station, we crossed the road and followed a smaller road on the left which leads to the entrance of a monorail ride. The admission fee costs KRW8,000(P400) which already includes the 5-minute monorail ride to the entrance of the cave.
I didn’t expect much with this destination and thought that the monorail ride alone was already worth the price but as we entered the cave, we were welcomed by interactive displays of how is life living inside a gold mine. The cavern was abandoned decades ago and was redeveloped into a museum and exhibits on mining, a history of the cave, and ore and geological processes.
Few meters after, we saw a questionable narrow entrance to flights of stairs heading downwards. The bottom is certainly pitch black with the only illumination on the stair steps. We were hesitant to go in at first as we can’t see any human being roaming those stairs but as soon as we saw a family of three went inside, it was our go signal to explore further down the cave.
Apparently, the narrow path leads to a theater-like size room of the cave equipped with artificial lights, fountain, and structures.
After ups and downs on the lighted path and stairs, we reached more caverns with projections of stars and horoscope signs, and children section which features the life of mini goblins cultivating colorful gems. It was really cute.
It took us an hour and a half to explore the Hwaamdonggul Cave. We wanted to stay longer but we didn’t have enough time and needed to catch the last bus to Seoul at 6:30 pm. Plus, it was already raining when we got out of the cave, we have no time spare or else we will be stuck out of nowhere, freezing.
We were really thankful that everything went well. The weather was also cooperative as it was predicted to start raining at 12 noon until 6 in the evening. We arrived Seoul at 10 pm. We were energyless and hungry after the 4-hour ride back so we ate to our tummy’s content at Myeongdong.