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Hwalok Cave: An Abandoned Mine Revamped Into Theme Park With Light Sculptures & Wine Cellars

Hwalok Cave in Chungju

Once a prosperous mine, Hwalok Cave is now a vibrant theme park with neon light sculptures and even a cave pool where you can kayak. 

But don’t be fooled by the colourful installations – you’ll also be able to sample wine fermented from locally grown apples, which proves that this attraction isn’t just for kids.

Wide array of neon light sculptures

Hwalok Cave - light sculptures
Image credit: @daontoday

Located on the shores of Chungju Lake, Hwalok Cave was discovered in 1900, and it was a talc, white jade, and dolomite mine for over a century.

Its rich history will guarantee you an eye-opening experience – here, you’ll also get to see the tools used to transport the mined minerals in the 19th century.

Hwalok Cave - light sculpturesImage credit: @daontoday

The cave is adorned with vibrant light sculptures that make for great photo spots, and there are various sculptures of animals such as tigers and flamingos, which are bound to excite young children.

Hwalok Cave - light installation
Image credit: @bins_191282

Hwalok Cave - marine light sculptures
Image credit: @daontoday

Besides light sculptures of animals, the cave also features a marine-themed section decorated with colourful corals and reefs. 

Hwalok Cave - light sculpturesImage credit: @kky2620

Hwalok Cave - D.P. filming locationImage credit: @jhn0620

Fun fact: a part of Hwalok Cave actually served as one of the filming locations of episode 6 of the Netflix’s D.P (2021). The section is clearly marked by a banner – you won’t miss it.

Ride on a transparent kayak

Hwalok Cave - kayaking
Image credit: @aj_hailie

One of the main highlights of Hwalok Cave is the lake formed by stagnant bedrock water, and visitors get to explore the cave in a transparent kayak. 

Hwalok Cave - kayakingImage adapted from: @1yu_jin1

Believe it or not, there are actually fish that thrive in the cave’s waters, so you’ll be able to observe them through the bottom of your transparent kayak.

Hwalok Cave - kayakingImage credit: @say_miracle

To ride the kayak, adults have to pay KRW3,000 (~USD2.32), and children have to pay KRW1,000 (~USD0.77). This is on top of the admission fee to the cave.

Explore wine cellars & a horseradish farm

Hwalok Cave - horseradish farm
Image credit: @daontoday

The temperature of the cave is maintained at 11 to 15°C throughout the year, and it’s thus suitable for the cultivation of horseradish. 

It can get pretty cold in the cave, so be sure to bring along a jacket. 

Hwalok Cave - horseradish farmImage credit: @ni._.ji

A section of the cave is dedicated to growing horseradish, and you can even buy some as a memorable and edible souvenir.

Hwalok Cave - fermented wineImage credit: @nabimoon

In addition, the cave also has a pretty cool cellar where wine and vinegar are fermented in big barrels.

Hwalok Cave - fermented wineImage credit: @sihyun0916_

The wine is made from apples grown locally, and you can even attend their wine tasting sessions for an authentic taste of Chungju.

Hwalok Cave - admission pricesImage credit: @ni._.ji

Admission into the cave costs KRW10,000 (~USD7.74) for adults, KRW9,000 (~USD6.97) for elementary, middle, and high schoolers, and KRW8,000 (~USD6.19) for children. 

Getting to Hwalok Cave

How to get here: 

  • From Chungju Public Bus Terminal, take Bus no. 514, which is located in front of Hi-Mart.
  • Alight after 20 stops, at Mokbeol-dong bus station. 
  • After a 2-minute walk, you’ll be able to spot the entrance of Hwalok Cave. 

Address: 26 Mokbeoran-gil, Chungju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do
Opening hours: Tues – Sun 11AM-6PM (Closed on Mondays)
Telephone: 043-848-0502

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Cover image adapted from: @daontoday, @daontoday, @say_miracle