The Coolest Culture Space In Korea Is In A Cave In Gwangmyeong – The Soul of Seoul

In the summer we were studying rocks and lava and decided to take a field trip south to Gwangmyeong Cave or Gwangmyeongdong Gol (광명). When Seoul starts to get too hot and humid to handle, take a trip here. The interior of the cave has a huge difference in temperature from the outside and you can literally fill it up as soon as you take one step into the entrance. A visit is a really cool thing to do near Seoul…literally. Once a mine, it is today the largest themed cave garden in Korea.

Plan your visit to Gwangmyeong Cave:

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How to get there

Tabuk: 142 Gahak-ro 85beon-gil, Gwangmyeong-si, Gyeonggi-do

By public transportation: Go to Gwangmyeong Station and off Exit 8, take bus 17 or 77 which will take you directly to the Gwangmyeong Cave site in about 15 minutes. Get off when you see the signs.

Basic information

admission: adults: 6000 watts; Children: 2000 watts

days: Closed on Mondays, Chuseok, and Lunar New Year

hours: 9:00 AM ~ 6:00 PM


what do you know

Gwangmyeong Cave (광명 동굴), Gwangmyeong, Korea

Gwangmyeong Cave was opened to the public in 2011 but before that was the Siheung Mine which was established in 1912. Siheung Mine was the largest mineral mine in the metropolitan area and produced nearly 100 tons of gold, silver, bronze, zinc and other metals every month for 60 years. During the Korean War, the mine was used as a shelter for residents. In 1972, the mine was closed and remained closed for 40 years due to environmental problems with flooding. Interestingly, during that period it also served as a storage space for salted shrimp that came from the port of Surrey.

Finally in 2011, the city of Gwangmyeong took over the cave and turned it into an amusement park of sorts aiming to showcase the cave’s industrial heritage, fun and culture in the area. Oh, just for the kicks, experts say there is definitely still a large amount of gold in the cave that has yet to be discovered.

What to prepare

Jacket: Regardless of the season, take a coat/jacket. The cave maintains a temperature of between 12 and 13 degrees Celsius throughout the year. You will feel it as soon as you enter. Even if you think it’s too hot in the summer and you’ll be fine…believe me, you won’t. Take a jacket or you’ll be sorry.

Gwangmyeong Cave Map (광명 동굴), Gwangmyeong, Korea

Safety information

  • Do not arbitrarily enter a restricted area in the cave.
  • Do not smoke in the cave.
  • You are not allowed to bring food into the cave.
  • You are not allowed to bring pets.
  • Strollers are not allowed in the cave, check the carriage at the entrance to get in.
  • The hiking poles must be folded and put in your bag to enter the cave.
  • In the event of a sudden blackout during the tour, please remain calm and exit by following the directional signs under the supervision of staff or guides.
  • The average annual temperature inside the cave is 12 degrees, and the humidity is 60 ~ 99%. Please pay attention to those visitors who are sensitive to rapid change in temperature and humidity.

what do you see

Treasure exploration space

One of the coolest and newest additions to the Gwangmyeong Cave area is actually outside the cave. Now, that’s not great if you don’t have kids, but it’s pretty cool if you do. Basically, it’s a huge area of ​​experiences for kids that you bring with them so that they can learn more about caves, search for gems, and find bones. There is a forklift that kids can jump into and try on. There is a giant hole of sand that they can sift through to find gems. There is also another sifting station and then lots of beautiful gems to see.

There is a lot of information here. Made for a great and educational addition to the cave. We started with this which was probably fine, and if you have kids, you probably should too. By the time we got out of the cave everyone was ready to sit down and rest.

worm yard

This is the first thing you’ll see when you go down into the cave after walking down the Wind Path, and it’s the entrance where you feel the first chill of cool air rising through the cavern’s tunnels. Once you cross Wind Road, you come to a kind of crossroads which is Wormhole Square. I say fork, but you will be directed in a certain direction and not to worry, you will end up here again when you turn around and exit a different tunnel. Here the halls leading to different parts of the cave intersect.

light space

What you often see in photos from visitors to Gwangmyeong Cave is this part where there are a lot of colored lights which I didn’t catch really well because we were so excited to see what we could see. Not only are there twinkling lights adorning the interior of the tunnel to essentially create a tunnel of lights, there are also some pretty cool luminous creatures to see. It’s a bit like stepping into the darkest depths of the ocean and finding those creatures that have to create their own light in the dark, dark ocean where there is no light from the sun. If you have kids who loved Finding Nemo, they will probably like this thing.

Underground cave world

Gwangmyeong Cave (광명 동굴), Gwangmyeong, Korea

The underground passages you walk through where miners once carried mined ore are mostly lit although some parts are a bit dark. Pay attention to your head. There are few representations of how the miner worked and what they did.

Cave Center for the Arts

Gwangmyeong Cave (광명 동굴), Gwangmyeong, Korea

This may be the largest/longest part of the cave. You can look here very high up on the walls and this is where many shows, concerts or light shows are. There are benches in this section although when we visited, due to Covid we were unable to sit on the chairs but we did stand in different plazas that were spaced out for more social distancing.

Gwangmyeong Cave (광명 동굴), Gwangmyeong, Korea

As soon as the light show started, everyone in the room looked on in astonishment. It was a great show of lights and lasers. The light show seems to change based on the pictures I’ve seen, but when we went we saw a man lighting a fire and then that became the city lights that went off in the dark sky as the stars turned into constellations. It’s not long, maybe 10 minutes or less, but it’s enough time to stand up with a baby. The Cave Arts Center is the first of its kind in Korea and has held a number of fashion, culture, and music events. We hope they can host them again soon. The whole space is absolutely wonderful.

Underground lake cave

Gwangmyeong Cave (광명 동굴), Gwangmyeong, Korea

This is deep, far… down… inside the cave. We were walking downhill and I said how we should have thought of going back, and both my husband and daughter quickly turned around and realized they hadn’t thought about it. You go down deep and the steps are big so be prepared for that hike back up. I already carried my daughter on my back for part of the way back although I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s deep, but there’s so much to see on the way down and up that you stop enough and don’t notice much.

golden road

So if you’re looking for some of that gold that’s still in the cave, this is the place for you…sort of. The golden road, also known as the “way of long life, happiness and peace” will bring you health and happiness due to the effects of the anion, as they say. This golden clip shines and there is a giant golden supernova where you can make a wish. Supernova of Wishes consists of 4,219 gold plates each containing a wish written by a visitor from 2015. You can even write your own wish on a gold plate.

Cave-based aqua world

I wouldn’t say there was anything particularly great about this random little trough at the bottom of the cave except that our daughter loved the suspicious surprise. They are very proud of the fact that the first aquarium in the country is in a cave and they have a goldfish. It was a fun, quirky little stop near the end of the entire adventure in the dark depths.

Gwangmyeong Cave (광명 동굴), Gwangmyeong, Korea

wine cave

If you have time to sit and sip, there is a section of the cave with 170 wines from all over South Korea. Wine tastings take place every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4:00 pm. We didn’t stop in this section but if you like drinking wine in a very cold place, definitely take the time. They also have coffee, juice and tea for you too, so be careful.

Why should we see Gwangmyeong Cave

The huge cave is not just a piece of history but a space that has been renovated into a cultural and entertainment space for the general public and that’s always great to see. very much like B39, the garbage compression station was formerly a space for culture now, or the Peace Bunker culture, used in times of war but now for the public, this is a place where history and present collide for the better. The cave has been selected as one of the “Korean Tourism Stars in 2017” and “100 Korean Visitor Destination for 2017-2020” by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization. It’s awesome, and if you’re lucky, you can have most of it for yourself like we did.

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