These two were so coy and playful and full of personality. WANT!
Is it weird I find lizards cute?
shrunken versions of us
When we saw Hallim Park on a map we were expecting it to be more like a state park or a public park. Instead, it turned out to be more like visiting a botanical garden with an Asian theme park flair. Our main focus while visiting was to see the lava tubes of which this park had two: Hyeopjae and Ssangyong.
The Hyeopjae and Ssangyong caves were formed by the eruption of Mt.Halla, and are considered unique because there are stalagmite and stalactites which aren’t often found in lava caves. Fossil remains of seashells have led scientists to believe that the caves were below sea level when they were formed by flowing lava millions of years ago. These two caves are part of a network of more than 20 caves in the area — most which are not open to the public. Surprisingly, the caves seemed to be one of the least visited attractions in the park (at least while we were there), which worked well for us.
We explored the park for a couple hours, talked to a lot of birds and lizards, read a totally ridiculous cave legend about some doctor that played with a bead in the cave (?) and met a lady who was actually a fox, walked around the underground pillar of knowledge, stopped for drinks, bought a few small souvenirs. and toured the bonsai gardens. For the most part, it was an enjoyable way to spend a morning before hitting the beach for the remainder of the day.
DETAILS | Hallim Park + Lava Tube Caves
HALLIM PARK | LOCATION: Approx 5-10 minutes walking distance from Hyeopjae Beach. If you’re at the beach facing away from the water, cross the street and turn right. Once you pass the sinkhole you will arrive at the park. | COST: $10/adult | DESCRIPTION: Vintage 80s era theme park that once had amusement rides and a shooting range (?!!?!) but now is mostly a series of botanical gardens, a bird garden, a traditional Korean house recreation, some birds and reptiles on exhibit, and two lava tube caves. The park isn’t too big or two small and easily walkable in a couple hours. Concessions, restaurants, bathrooms, and gift shop on site. | GOOD FOR: Kids, families, garden lovers, cave enthusiasts | VERDICT: I was actually surprised to see this ranked as the #4 tourist attraction in Jeju according to TripAdvisor. Really? If you’re in the area then and want to see the lava caves then sure, but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to see it. At $10 it’s not cheap (for Korean Parks) and in terms of lava tube caves I think there maybe be larger, more popular ones to visit on Jeju. Hallim Park has a realty tropical feel to it, which is nice, and it’s very well groomed. My favorite part of the park was the bird garden — many of the birds roam freely around a huge enclosed outdoor area and there are huge cages where you can buy food, go inside the cage, and feed the birds. My least favorite aspect of the park was the strange greenhouse by one of the concessions stands, where for an extra dollar or so, you could take pictures with caged puppies, chained birds, and a chained monkey in a little organ grinder suit. That made me very very sad. 🙁