Our Romantic Nami Island (남이섬 종합휴양지) Getaway!
Just a couple of hours outside the city center of Seoul sits Nami Island. This small, half-moon shaped island in Chuncheon, South Korea is a great place for friends, families, and couples to visit year-round. It was even a magical day in the rain!
We got up around 8 AM and got ready and out the door in a pretty leisurely manner. I was a little worried as we had decided to take the Subway from Sincheon to Gapyeong which requires 2 transfers. I had organized a Zip Wire trip in advance as a surprised for H, and we had to be there by 12 PM so we began the walk to the subway station at 9:30 AM.
Getting to Nami Island Immigration, the Ferry Dock, and the Zip Wire
Once we arrived at Gapyeong Station we found a cab and headed over to the Zip Wire. It was only about a KRW 4,000 taxi ride. Walking back took approximately 20 minutes if you’ve got the time. Just walk out of the station and take a left. Head out to the main road and hang a right. Go up to the top of the hill and turn left. Follow until you see all the Dakgalbi (spicy chicken) restaurants. Immigration to Nami Island is there as well as the Zip Wire Tower.
For an easier trip, you can either take the ITX (rapid train) to Gapyeong Station, or take a shuttle bus from Seoul (please note: October hours have changed so check out the site here):
※ Insa-dong/Namdaemun ↔ Nami Island Direct Shuttle Bus (Mon-Sun)
|Seoul Insa-dong||09:30(Nearby the West Gate of Tapgol Park)|
|Seoul Namdaemun||09:30(Sungnyemun Square Bus Stop in front of Namdaemun Market)|
|Nami Island||16:00(Parking lot in front of ticket office)|
※ Shuttle Bus Fare
|Adult||KRW 15,000(round-trip) / KRW 7,500(one-way)|
|Child||KRW 13,000(round-trip) / KRW 6,500(one-way) / ※ Child: aged between 24 months and 12 years|
※ Package Ticket Fare (Round Trip & Entrance Ticket)
|Discount||KRW 23,000 (Foreigner)|
|Special||KRW 17,000 (aged between 36 months and 12 years)|
- Reservation is available via phone (+82-2-753-1247) or E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) from 9:00 to 18:00.
- The available period of the reservation is 1 month prior to departure day to one day at 16:00.
※ Purchase on site
Ticket purchase on site is subject to seats availability.
If you buy tickets online through InterPark they’re KRW 45,000 per person, but the kind people at Skyline Zip Wire arranged for tickets at 12 PM (which were KRW 38,000 per person when we picked up the tickets). I think this is a pretty hefty price to pay for about 3 minutes of travel time, but it was an experience for which we were pretty excited!
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The sky was gray and overcast, but we barely noticed once we hit the ground and set off on our way. We had plenty to look at immediately as we walked beside cabbage fields, the UNICEF train tracks, and through some art installations to the forest. The forest was breathtaking. It’s no wonder it was selected as the setting for the famous Korean Drama “Winter Sonata” (more on that later). I had never seen this drama before (I don’t really watch them), but was interested in checking out the cherry blossoms on Nami Island. Better late than never, we got to see all the fall leaves changing colours.
The ferry terminal is close to where the Zip Wire drops off. You’ll see a variety of happy statues welcoming you to the lush, green environment.
The island is made up of a number of different patches of forests with different kinds of trees.
There’s plenty of wildlife and vegetation to keep you occupied for hours!
Winter Sonata is a Korean drama about a young couple in love when tragedy strikes. The boyfriend was in a car accident and the girlfriend thought he was dead. Fast forward ten years when they’re both working on a Ski Resort project. Imagine her surprise when she finds out her first love isn’t dead! Of course, he doesn’t remember her (amnesia?), but they fall in love anyway.
Released in 2002, this drama is said to have started the K-Drama craze throughout Asia and the rest of the world. In early 2016, Family Guy aired an episode set in Busan, South Korea in which Quagmire starred in a Korean Soap Opera called Winter Summer. Clearly this was a nod to Korea’s most famous drama!
Since it was filmed in Seoul and Namiseom (Nami Island), they’ve really managed to keep up the grounds and make them appealing for lovers young and old. They’ve also got the nostalgia and memorabilia factor in spades. You can go check out where Jun-sang and Yu-jin have their first kiss. They’ve made their bicycles and into statues (or as H says, “I’ve finally found out where bicycles are grown…trees”). I’m pretty sure they made little snowmen before they got to mackin’, which is why the island is full of ’em. For more information check out this link.
Food is plentiful on Nami Island, but it doesn’t come cheap. We stopped into a wood-oven pizza place which smelled divine, but the pizzas were about $30 each! After walking through the first set of restaurants near the “first kiss” scene, we happened upon a place selling various kinds of Pan-Asian food. I opted for the Indonesian chicken curry with plain, steamed rice. H chose the octopus with a sweet and spicy sauce, rice, and mixed greens. My curry dish didn’t have too many chunks of chicken, but there were plenty of cherry tomatoes to make me happy. The curry was robust and had a hint of coconut, so I was happy.
There are tons of art installations, museums, and galleries on Nami Island. Most of it (save the outdoor installations) are available for purchase if you’d like to bring home a souvenir!
The ride home from Nami Island was a breeze. We took the five minute ferry then wandered through the streets of Chuncheon (and all its Dakgalbi restaurants!) until we were back at Gapyeong Station. From there, we hopped on an ITX back to Seoul and were hope in time for dinner.
Have you been to Nami Island? In what season did you visit and when is best for Seoulcialites to go?
Let us know in the comments!