Half-day Trip to Korea’s Spectacular Nami Island
January 14, 2017
Located 63km away from Seoul in the direction of Chuncheon lies the famous Nami Island. Hoards of tourists have been flocking there due to the picturesque photo spots, made popular by the drama, “Winter Sonata”. Formed as a result of the construction of Cheongpyeong Dam, Nami Island is a half moon-shaped isle, and on it is the grave of General Nami, who led a great victory against the rebels in the 13th year of the 7th king of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejo (reign 1455-1468).
Nami Island took our breath away! It’s hard to put what we saw and felt into expressive words, but just check out the photos! We wandered around the island, just to find awesome photo spots. On top of that, we chanced upon some cute squirrels that kept scampering away from us. Like every tourist who step foot onto Nami Island, we took photo with the gorgeous redwood trees lining both sides of Metasequoia Road too. This was the backdrop for many romantic scenes in “Winter Sonata”.
Fans of the drama will also be delighted to discover many tributes at Nami Island, where many scenes of “Winter Sonata” were filmed. We liked “First Kiss Bridge” the most – so named because Min-hyeong kissed Yoo-jin here while building their snowmen. If you walk further in, you’ll find the “Couple Snowmen”, which Min-hyeong and Yoo-jin made together in the drama during their courting period. There are many replicas of the couple snowmen on Nami Island, but the “real” one is located by the lake after the “First Kiss Bridge”. You can also find life-size statues of Min-hyeong and Yoo-jin.
Since we went in late December around Christmas period, there weren’t many outdoor activities we could do. However, if you are there in May, July, August and October, where Nami Island is at its prettiest, you’ll be able to rent bicycles and have picnics on the island.
You don’t have to worry about food as there are a couple of restaurants and street snacks such as the pan-fried rice cake, steaming hot buns, fishcakes, and many more to fill your tummy. We were really looking forward to trying the brown sugar filled rice cake, but perhaps due to the season, we savoured the ones with an assortment of beans, and didn’t really like them. The pancake was crisp on the outside and fluffy inside though!
Directions from Seoul
Taking the ITX is the fastest method, and we booked a hotel that’s 2 minutes away from Cheongnyangni Station. There’s a direct ITX train which brings you to Gapyeong Station. Upon your arrival at Gapyeong Station, approach the helpful and friendly station staff, who will direct you to the shuttle bus queue. It’s not hard to miss the queue as there will be others who are visiting Nami Island as well. It costs 6,000krw per person to board the shuttle bus and you can alight at any stop along the shuttle bus route, board the bus again to your next destination, before ending your journey back at Gapyeong Station after a full day of exploration. So, do remember to keep your shuttle bus ticket properly!
Alight at Gapyeong Wharf before you choose between taking a ferry or zip-wiring to Nami Island. The former costs lesser but you have to squeeze with massive crowds and tour groups. If you love the adrenaline rush and don’t mind paying more, take the zipwire to Nami Island. One advantage is being able to avoid being pushed and shoved by the huge crowd of tourists on the ferry. It might be a faster option as well, depending on how crowded the ferry “terminal” is.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, BRING YOUR PASSPORTS! A “visa” will be given to you upon purchasing your entry ticket onto the ferry and into Nami Island.
30 minute intervals between 7.30am to 9am.
10-20 minute intervals between 9am to 6pm.
30 minute intervals between 6pm to 9.40pm.
Nami Island Address
1 Namisum-gil, Namsan-myeon, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do
Gapyeong Wharf Address
1024 Bukhangangbyeon-ro, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
More information can be found on their website: https://namisum.com/en/.
It took about 3 hours for us to explore Nami Island, but if you plan well, you’ll be able to check out Petite France and Garden of Morning Calm on the same day too. That’s what we did, and I will share the experience with you soon! Overall, Nami Island’s a beauty during winter, resulting in our expectations during spring and autumn months soaring sky-high. Looking forward to visit Korea and Nami Island again in future!