After visiting Petite France, we boarded the shuttle bus heading to our next destination: the gorgeous, half-moon shaped island Namiseom in Chuncheon, Gangwon-do province. I was so excited to cross another destination off my ever growing South Korea bucket list!
Before I get into the details of the trip, here’s some quick background on the place: Namiseom was named after General Nami, a notable figure in Korean history. After its creation, it was basically landscaped and reforested to become the popular destination that it is today. In 2006, Namiseom or Nami Island declared its cultural independence and became an imaginary nation, “Naminara Republic,” to be exact. They even invented their own passport, national flag, stamp and currency called “Nami Tongbo” (of course you can use Korean won to buy things). It was also used as a filming location in some K-dramas, the most famous being “Winter Sonata” in 2002.
We arrived at the ferry terminal of Nami in less than 30 minutes. From there, our guide gave us our entrance tickets (Yep, no need to queue because they’re included in the tour package) and it was time to board the ferry. In case you don’t fancy taking the ferry to the island, you also have the option of zip-lining, which is definitely on my to-do list, possibly for the next time I go to Nami. You just have to pay ₩30,000 to the guide and he will take you to the zip wire office. However, the zip wire queue might be long at times which might result in less time to explore the island. Even if you take the zip wire, note that you will have to take the ferry back from the island.
After a ferry ride that took less than five minutes, we were dropped at the “port” and set off to wander aimlessly around the island for only two hours. We were so hungry and actually wanted to try dakgalbi (stir-fried chicken dish), which apparently is Chuncheon’s specialty food, but it was peak lunch time so we decided to eat at a later time. Halfway through the long Central Korean Pine Tree Lane, we realized that we wanted to rent electric tri-ways so we could swiftly move from one area to another. We paid ₩18,000 each for one hour. A bit pricey, yes, but it was worth it and so much fun to use! The Metasequioa Lane was our favorite area, as cliche as it may be, seeing as it’s one of the iconic settings from “Winter Sonata”. But seriously, it’s really beautiful and made the journey worth it!
In my opinion, you can easily walk around the whole island in a day, and that’s going at a slow pace, taking your precious time. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to explore other areas due to time constraints. We also didn’t get to try dakgalbi in the end; but on the bright side, we got to taste the most delicious grilled chicken sausages we’ve ever tasted in our lives. I’m not exaggerating. In addition, Nami Island has a variety of cultural events including exhibitions and performances, water-related activities, as well as hands-on activities and environmental education programs open to both families and groups. They have accommodations too, from little bungalows to larger condo-style pensions.
I highly recommend purchasing Funtastic Korea’s Nami Island and Petite France Shuttle Bus package if you’re a first-timer or if you’re on a short vacation. For only ₩40,000, you get to visit two amazing places outside of Seoul (entrance tickets included) and save the hassle of taking public transportation and transferring so many times. However, next time, I’d definitely purchase Funtastic Korea’s Nami Island Shuttle Bus Ticket only which gives me more time to take advantage of everything the island has to offer. :)
For more information on how you can visit Nami Island and other destinations in South Korea, check out www.funtastickorea.com.