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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Seoul Diaries Day 2: Nami Island

   One of the top attractions when visiting Seoul is Nami Island, which became  popular after being the shooting location for the Korean drama "Winter Sonata". But you don't have to come here during winter to enjoy its beauty; I saw photos of Namiseom during other seasons and it is just as beautiful! 

   If you are coming from somewhere in the center of Seoul, Nami Island is about 1.5-2 hours away by public transit.

There are direct shuttle buses from Insadong and Namdaemun to Nami Island, but it leaves only once a day. Pick up points and time:

1. Seoul Insadong- 9:30 am (nearby the West Gate of Tapgol Park)
2. Seoul Namdaemun- 9:30 am (Sungnyemun Square Bus Stop in front of Namdaemun Market)

return From Nami Island to Seoul- 4:00 pm

Adult: KRW 15,000 roundtrip/ KRW 7,500 one way
Child: KRW 13,000 roundtrip/ KRW 6,500 one way

   If you want to leave later than 9:30am, you can also take the subway going to Gapyeong Station. From there, there are two ways to get to Nami Island:

1. By taxi (KRW 3000)- if you only intend to visit Nami Island, this is the quicker and cheaper option if there are 3 or 4 of you

2. By shuttle bus for Gapyeong Tourist Resort - this is more practical if you want to visit other attractions in the area like Petit France (hello, Do Min Joon and Cheon Song Yi fans :D ). With the shuttle bus ticket, visitors can freely get on and off the circulating course and visit any tour site included. Entrance fees, however are not covered.

Shuttle Bus Rates: 
Adult- KRW 6,000
4yo-18 yo- KRW 4,000
Disabled, Senior- Krw 4,000
Kids under 3- Free

 Almost there! My travel buddies B and A in the colorful Oksu Station

   Upon arrival at the wharf, you have to get an entry visa costing KRW 8,000 for Naminara Republic. This includes the round trip fare for the ferry plus the entrance fee. If you're feeling a little adventurous, there is also a zip-line from the wharf to Nami Island (KRW 38,000), but note that operations are subject to weather conditions.

   For your reference, here is the schedule for the ferry boats:

7:30 am- 9:00 am- Every 30 minutes after first ferry at 07:30
                               departure- Gapyeong Wharf
9:00 am- 6:00 pm- Every 10-20 minutes
6:00 pm- 9:40 pm- Every 30 minutes until last ferry at 9:40 pm

Fun fact: Did you know that you can also get "passports" for Nami Island? For KRW 35,000, you can get unlimited access for one whole year! 


   On their tourist information guides, it says that "years ago, Nami Island declared its cultural independence and became Naminara Republic. We are a micro-nation and our exports are mainly imagination and fairy tales". I couldn't agree more! Although filled with tourists, Namiseom is a nice getaway from the fast pace of Seoul.

   With a land area of 460,000 square meters and circumference of 5km, you can easily spend an entire day leisurely exploring and strolling around the island. If a lot of walking tires you out, there are also different kinds of bikes for rent (single, couple, and for families) that you can use to go around.

   Spring has just begun so there weren't many flowers in bloom and most of the trees were still devoid of leaves. But the colors of Namiseom were still very beautiful- a striking palette of sepia tones bathed in warm light. You could really see why this place is a great backdrop for romantic scenes, even I was wishing I had my boyfriend there with me haha >,<

   We had lunch at this barbecue restaurant but the food was quite disappointing. The pork was marinated in sweet barbecue sauce, and the ox tail soup and the omelette pancake were too bland! We've had better food in cheaper places :/

   On the bright side, the view from the restaurant was so pretty!
Did some more exploring after lunch:

Winter Sonata memorabilia and markers are located all around the island

Selfie at Metasequoia Lane :D

Check out this short recording I made at Nami... How awesome is this music?? It really made walking around the area feel like a fairy tale or a K drama haha.

We left Nami Island at 5 pm and tried to go to Petit France, but when we got there they were closing already... Que horror!!! I kind of overlooked the fact that just because Cheon Song Yi and Do Min Joon were able to go there at night time, doesn't mean that us mere mortals can too. Lesson learned: read the freaking information guides.

Thank you for reading! What season would you prefer to go to Nami Island? Leave me a comment :)