가자 Korea Diary 9: Day Trip To Nami Island [With Vlog]
I'll start this blog post with a vlog that I compiled from my Snapchat snippets of my day trip to Nami Island. Still, read through this blog post for more information...and more photos! KEKE!
A visit to South Korea will not be completed without paying a visit to Nami Island.
Nami Island is located a few kilometers away from Gapyeong 가평 and is a part of Gangwon-do, about 1-2 hours drive from Seoul. It's a half moon shaped island that is named after General Nami from the Joseon Dynasty who was wrongly accused of treason. Nami Island skyrocketed to fame after the airing of "Winter Sonata겨울연가"- the Korean drama that started this whole viral K-drama craze all over the world.
Many people tend to assume Nami Island is located in the middle of the sea but it is being surrounded by a river. Going more technical on this explanation, we can have a look at the Hangul words. Nami Island in Hangul is written as 남이섬 (Nami-seom). The word 섬 means the "island" in a river whereas 도 (pronounced as 'do') is an island in the sea, with saltwater.
Annabelle owned a florist in Melbourne Central in 2015 and I used to buy baby breaths from her - that's how we became friends. When I was unemployed after graduation, I volunteered to help her build terrariums in her florist to get away from my aimless life. Annabelle then moved to Seoul.
Seeing that she's a fan of plants, I asked if she'd be interested in going to Nami Island with me. Her boyfriend (Juho Oppa) was nice enough to drive us there and be our tour guide. He's the one who explained the story of Nami Island to me ;)
[Gosh, it's been a year and 2 or 3 days since this day...Juho Oppa and Annabelle are now engaged! I'm being invited to their wedding in May 2019!]
Our original plan was to visit Nami Island, Petite France, the Garden of Morning Calm as they are all located around Gapyeong. However, we ended up spending way too much time at Nami Island because it was too beautiful.
I was quite disappointed initially because I am a huge fan of the Little Prince and a few of my favourite Korean dramas were shot at the Garden of Morning Calm...but there's always next time and I didn't want to just rush through the day without fully immersing myself into Nami Island itself!
Don't worry, I'll be back in Korea for countless of times till my very last breath anyway ㅋㅋㅋ
My first taste of a convertible car! My hair's everywhere but I totally enjoyed myself. Credits to Juho Oppa~ 감사합니당
If you are traveling from Seoul and relying on public transport, I hope this link here will be helpful in getting you to Nami Island. A solo traveler whom I met at the 1st Shop of Coffee Prince told me that she found a local tour that covered her entire trip (transportation, tour guide, entrance fee included) around Gapyeong with a friendly price tag. Try doing some searching on the net to see if you could find some hidden gems. Alternatively, I personally find this blog post pretty helpful too!
The chilly autumn breeze paired with the picturesque scenery, literally blew my mind! ㅎㅎ
The carpark was so full at Chuncheon. To get over to Nami Island, you can opt to take the ferry or the Zip Rider.
Ferry is a cheaper option but Zip Wire is a whole new adventure if you aren't afraid of heights!
Check out this link for the fare and entrance fees.
Cute snowmen merchandise found at the souvenir shop. I think this is like the mascot of Nami Island or something because I remember watching a Korean variety show and the celebrities were hugging the same snowman too!
Nami Skyline Zipwire (ZipRider) was introduced back in 2010 and its one of the largest zipline facilities in Asia.
Head over to the ticket counter upon your arrival to secure your slot. We had a bit of time to kill after purchasing the tickets because the line was quite long. Best option is to book your ticket online here.
I'm not a fan of theme park rides or things like that so you could imagine me screaming for help when Annabelle and Juho Oppa paired up to force me onto this thing. They opted for the ZipRider to Jara Island because of its higher speed (those adrenaline rush freaks!) and a boat would be there to take us to Nami Island. The fare for the ZipWire (approximately 40,000 won) inclusive of the boat fare and the return ferry fare too.
"Oppa has paid for you and I'm going with him too, so if you don't wanna come with us, you have to figure out how to get to the other side on your own!", Annabelle said to me while trying to hide her laughter.
Despite how scary it seemed at that time, the view from the top deck was too breathtaking to be true.
Me in full panic-but-trying-to-hold-it-but-kinda-failed mode...
I finally convinced myself to go for it, "If I were to die here, at least it's my favourite country and I could haunt this beautiful place forever, sounds like a good deal afterall!"
Once the gate opened, my panic was all gone with the wind. I actually enjoyed myself a lot. The panaromic view around me was just plain beautiful especially with the autumn colours...Heaven's on earth!
The boat ride from Jara Island to Nami Island was a pretty short one but we got the whole boat to ourselves! We were so blessed!
The only downside of Nami Island was that it's very crowded. It didn't feel like Korea at all with all the international tourists and it's hard to get a decent photo without someone in the background.
For the rest of the blog post, I'll just let the photos do the talking!
First in Korea and one among the 14 in the whole world, Nami Island was designated as a UNICEF child friendly theme park in December 2010.
Fun fact: Nami Island is actually an independent micronation named as Naminara Republic ('nara' means country in Korean, written as 나라) with its own national flag, anthem, currency, passport and stamps. Click here to Naminara Republic website for more information.
For afternoon snack, we stopped by this little place and ordered mung bean jelly with seaweed & seafood scallion pancake.
In Korean, mung bean jelly is called Muk/Mook 목. It's my first time eating this. It didn't have much taste but a very refreshing feel, just like eating jelly without the sugary content. I love seaweed so the overflowing seaweed on top of the jelly was a huge bonus!
Seafood is called "haemuel" 해물; "pa"파 means scallion; "jeon" 전 means an ingredient that is being seasoned and dipped into wheat flour and egg wash before being fried in oil.
Combining everything together, you get Haemuel Pajeon that's seafood scallion pancake.
겨울 "gyeoul" means winter and연가 "yeonga" means love song.
That's the spot where K-drama Winter Sonata being shot and of course you see many aunty-fans over there. The reason why I said aunty-fans was because Winter Sonata's a drama from a long time ago thus I have never watched it before since it's not exactly something that's from my era.
We spent several hours at Nami Island and it didn't even feel enough. Even forever's too short!
We walked, we talked, we played with leaves, we took lots of photos, we chased after a rabbit and a squirrel, we ate and drank under a big tree with leaves constantly falling on our heads and into our cups...Life's good when you are present in the present.
We dropped by a cafe on our way back.
Annabelle and Juho Oppa brought me to a Korean-Japanese fusion BBQ restaurant for dinner in HongDae before dropping me back to my Airbnb at Hapjeong.
If you haven't caught up with my 가자 Korea Diary series yet, here are the links to the blog posts that I have published so far:
- 가자 Korea Diary Part 1: Post Kimchiland Thoughts & Reasons Why I Love Korea
- 가자 Korea Diary Part 2: Preparation Tips for Korea
- 가자 Korea Diary Part 3: First Night in Korea - My Airbnb @ Hapjeong & Dinner @ HongDae
- 가자 Korea Diary Part 4: The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince @ HongDae
- 가자 Korea Diary Part 5: Traditional Side of Seoul with the Koreans - Ikseondong, Gyeongbukgong, Insadong, Cheonggyecheon
- 가자 Korea Diary Part 6: Ewha Womens University, Yonsei University, Sinchon
- 가자 Korea Diary Part 7: K-Star Road @ Apgujeongrodeo, JYP & FNC Entertainment @ Cheongdamdong & Kakao Friends Store @ Gangnam
- 가자 Korea Diary Part 8: CN BLUE Kang MinHyuk's Dad's Resturant - Hwang's Eel Restaurant 황가네꼼장군