Our last day in Jeju started off with a bit of a misadventure where we were told to get on the wrong bus. Luckily it went in the same direction we wanted to go, it just happened to drop us off on the edge of the highway about 3km away from where we wanted to be. It wasn’t bad at first. There were things along the road for us to read about where we wanted to go, but in order to get to our destination we were stuck walking through a small pathway along the side of the road, eventually giving up and going from walking on the road and ducking back into the weeds when we saw cars.
As we walked we started talking about how wonderful ice cream sounded since it was a bright sunny day, probably one of the hotter days during our trip and as we passed markers saying we were getting closer we began to hear laughter and shouts and I spotted people through the bushes on the opposite end of the road. Then I spotted ice cream. So we beelined into a parking lot and found ourselves in a cat paradise. We had stumbled upon Kimnyong Maze Park, something we would’ve completely missed had we been on the right bus. Cats, ice cream and a maze, we headed straight to the ticket office and paid the 3,300 won to get in.
The worker who sold us our ticket asked us where we were from and told us he’d gone to university in the US and then told us he’d see us either in 10 minutes or tomorrow morning, good maze humor. But before we entered the maze we were distracted by all the cats relaxing and enjoying their own little cat friendly playground.
When we managed to pry ourselves away from the cats we didn’t get very far, ending up in the garden and stopping by the cafe for green tea and tangerine ice cream. They also serve cactus ice cream but it was sold out and more generic flavors. The green tea was heavy and semi-sweet while the tangerine was more light and refreshing.
To the maze!
Armed with a brochure of the maze that talked about Doctor Frederic H. Dustin who created the maze after falling in love with Jeju and retiring on the island. The maze was designed by Adrian Fisher Minotaur Maze Designs and is full of symbolism of Jeju history and culture. I also talked with the staff who told me Dr. Dustin doesn’t just like cats but absolutely loves them, thus the large amount of them wandering about.
The maze has observation spots where you can get a better view of the maze and also collect stamps that are set out throughout that highlight the designs within the maze. The hedges are also aromatic and smell absolutely lovely. While we were walking through them someone was trimming which flooded the whole area in that sort of evergreen/pine scent. There were also jokes if you took the time to look for them, like spiders, big fake ones, fake doors, and probably my favorite, the person who didn’t make it out of the maze.
We had a lot of fun and weren’t too concerned with being lost, the back of the brochure we’d been given had a map so we could always use that to figure our way out. A lot of people also just turn around and go back out the way they came, but the most popular thing seemed to be family’s who made it to the victory bell shouting to their family how to get out, or to hurry up.
After ringing the victory bell you can head to a shaded platform with vending machines and picnic tables and the final stamp.
We had a lot of fun at the maze, fawning over cats, walking around, and eating ice cream. It was a great thing to stumble upon. They also sell souvenirs, mostly cat themed things either in post cards of their cats or pillows, as well as Jeju snacks you’ll find throughout Jeju. Any bus heading towards 만장굴행, Manjanggul cave will put you near the maze. The maze opens at 8:30 am and closing time varies depending on season, usually after 5pm.