Trip to Nami Island (남이섬) on first day of 2015

Thing is when I set to stay somewhere for the amount of time that longer than what a tourist would spend there I tend to avoid all the tourist traps or anywhere that attracts lot of people. And this friend of mine also. We have been in Korea for more than half a year and never set foot to Namsan Tower or Nami Island.

I visited both places before on my first time in Korea though, which was 4 years ago (I went with a tour package, I didn’t have a say), I guess that’s why I don’t feel the need to spend time for it again. I don’t know about my friend but there is reason why we get along well, right?

I explained way too much, didn’t I? Let’s cut the background details, we got one day off on January 1st, we were looking for somewhere to go but the time was short it’s hard to plan, on 31st night my friend texted me “Let’s go to Nami Island, we never there!” and next morning we hopped on the train heading to Gapyeong.

Nami Island is located in Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do. It attracts lot of foreign tourists since the island was filming location for the infamous Korean drama Winter Sonata. Nami Island is being marketed with concept of a country named Naminara Republic with its own passport, currency and to visit Nami Island you don’t pay for ticket but pay for visa. (One thing that I don’t get is in Korean Naminara (나미나라) literally means Nami country, I have no idea why they need to put the Republic ending after it.)

If you search online for how to go to Nami Island from Seoul most of the result will tell you to use either ITX Train (which cost 4,000KRW and you’re supposed to buy the tickets in advance since there is change that there will be no seat left when you show up at the station) or Nami Island Shuttle Bus (which also requires you to make reservation in advance). We didn’t have time for any of those so we decided just go by the subway instead. It cost us 2,900KRW and around 1 hour and a half, just a little bit longer than ITX and shuttle bus.

We arrived at the ferry point around 7:30 and found out that the first ferry trip leaves at 8:30AM so we sat down at the coffee shop outside for some hot chocolate while waiting

And greeted the first sunrise of the year

The coffee shop has this cute cake that shaped like a snowman (which you will see a lot around Nami island since it’s the icon of the country) with red bean filling.

The bookshelf inside the café

Entry visa for Naminara Republic

A Happy New Year sign near the ferry point with Vietnamese on it. It felt good being greeted with our own language here.

After around 10 minutes ferry ride we officially landed on Nami Island. I can’t believe that I forgot to take photo of the entrance. But it’s understandable guys, it’s so freaking cold and I didn’t wear gloves.

Someone’s cute new year resolution on the tree near the entrance. In case you don’t know Korean, it said “Please give a boyfriend!” xD

This tree lined path must look good during night when all the balloons are lighted up.

There are lot of fire places around the island during winter for people to warm up their hands, and apparently for snowman and dog too.

And the squirrel we met while walking around.

There are lots of activities for tourists to do too. Take the flyer at the ticket selling point, you can see all the activities on it.

Since it’s cold outside we chose to make glass craft which cost us 10,000KRW each.

And the final product we ended with.

The famous tree lined path that appeared in the drama without all the snow. We planned to revisit Nami again this January just to see the path covered in snow, after all that’s why the island is famous for.

Frozen river.

We got hungry quite early since we didn’t have proper breakfast so we decided to grab some lunch around 11AM.

My chicken teriyaki which tasted good with way too much chicken.

My friend’s beef noodles aka Vietnamese Phở which didn’t taste like Phở at all (I’m sorry but we Vietnamese don’t put shrimps in our beef noodles.)

View from the restaurant’s window.

Right when we walked out of the restaurant we saw this place selling steamed buns with Vietnamese sign again, so they do have Vietnamese employee here huh?

Even though we just had lunch we still can’t resist foods so we got two buns and then throwed ourselves into this souvenir store.

My friend behind a Christmas tree (kind of)

And that’s the end of our trip to Nami Island. With only more than 1 hour away Nami Island makes a great destination for a day trip from Seoul. Remember to wear enough to keep yourself warm if you visit the island during winter, with water all around and lot of snow the weather there feels a lot colder than how it’s stated on weather broadcast.

Gapyeong Station

How to get there?

Nami Island

Directions:

Take subway to Gapyeong Station (가평역) Exit 1.

Get on a taxi right outside the station, tell the driver you want to go to Nami Island, it’ll only cost you around 3,000KRW only which is taxi basic fare.

 

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