The Glass Castle, Jeju, South Korea
It’s like Loveland, minus the explicit statues | Credit: Jim Saunders
New tourist attraction goes with a glass theme
Story and photos by Jim Saunders
Upon entering one of Jeju’s newest tourist attractions, the Glass Castle, the striking similarities with Loveland will soon become readily apparent. It’s as if the business model that sustains Loveland has been picked up and plonked down again somewhere else on the island. Only this time the sexually explicit sculptures have been exchanged for tasteful works of art made from glass.
The Glass Castle contains six themed areas with some 350 works on display, and a walking course around the attraction that follows a predetermined route. A mirror maze, tunnel of jewels and eternal ring are highlights, as is the glass heart – if only to see the endless rows of couples lining up to have their photograph taken alongside. Indoor exhibition halls explore the origins of the material and have exquisite Venetian items from Italy for viewing.
The upper floors of the large multi-colored, main building, are seen on the way out, providing a chance to buy some glass fashioned items. There are hands-on experience studios in which artists cover a wide range of glass making techniques. Visitors can craft their creations into items such as necklaces and earrings with prices starting at around 5,000 won (increasing to 40,000 won or more).
Despite the large number of visitors many chose not to join in the studio experience, which is a shame given how unique it is to the island. Many press their noses against a window to observe the work in progress, but none put down money to try it themselves. However, after considering a hefty 9,000 won tourist admission fee (6,500 won with alien card discount) and a further 10,000 won to make anything of worth it an expensive stop on a day’s itinerary. Factor in a whole family and prices spiral even higher.
The obligatory presence of Jeju’s Dolharubang in glass form then, leads to the conclusion that the attraction is almost exclusively for visiting Korean tourists from the mainland. This is further reinforced by a lack of English translation and busy car park full of rental cars and tour buses bearing the name of a mainland province.
The Glass Castle may not be as much fun as Loveland (and it is smaller). But it is worth at least one visit, day or night. Especially with the Spirited Garden, Peace Museum, and Ghengis Khan show all within a short drive to lengthen out a stay in the often under visited western interior of Jeju island.
How to get there
The Glass Castle is located on the western side of the island. It is highly recommended that you have your own transport. A taxi from the bus terminal will cost at least 23,000 won (one way). Alternatively, take the coastal road bus (2,000~3000 won) heading to Hallim. From Hallim it is best to take a taxi to complete the trip. A local bus service is available but it is erratic and runs an irregualr intervals. On an English language tourist map the Glass Castle is on the blue road midway between the Male Stone Turtle Museum and Sulloccha Museum.
Main building in which the glass making techniques are housed | Credit: Jim Saunders
Getting to the Glass Castle | Credit: Jeju Glass Castle