Nami Island was the filming location of the very popular Korean drama Winter Sonata, which aired in 2002 and is credited with starting the “Korean Wave.” The Korean Wave refers to the popularity of K-dramas, K-pop, and Korean movies throughout Asia. Due to the drama’s success and it’s billing as a place of natural beauty the island is one of Korea’s top tourist spots.
Nami island was created as a result of the building of the Cheongpyeong dam. Although it is considered a part of Chuncheon city, it is actually closer to Gapyeong station than it is to Chuncheon. Though I’ve lived in Gapyeong for several months now, I never visited Nami island until this past Sunday. For one thing, I wasn’t super interested in going there since I haven’t seen Winter Sonata. For another, I heard it gets extremely crowded over the weekend and it didn’t seem like it was worth waiting in long lines for.
However, after seeing some pictures of the island in autumn, I decided I had to go. After all, it’s right near my house and November has just arrived, so in a matter of time fall will be over.
I asked a friend if she wanted to go with me but she couldn’t make it so I just went solo. I’ve been to several places in Korea solo before and generally don’t mind it but I was a bit concerned I might stick out more than usual since Nami is extremely popular as a date spot for couples.
Although it’s not too common for folks to go alone to Nami (most people seemed to be in a couple, group, or family) I actually didn’t feel too weird. After all, a lot of places in Korea tend to be popular with families and couples so I’m used to that. Plus the views of all the tree lined streets on Nami are the best in this season.
Aside from the several lanes of trees, Nami has plenty of public art around, most of it made from recyclables. Most of it is pretty cute while some is a tad weird.
There’s also plenty of different gardens and fountains around. It’s not a large island so it’s easy to walk throughout the whole place. I found it fun to explore and the autumn colors are vibrant.
There’s also the pen of ostrichs.
Nami also has plenty of food choices, though they can be a bit pricey. I had a stick of lamb skewer and vegetable pajeon for lunch. The lamb was 3,000 won and the pajeon was 10,000. There’s also a pizza restaurant, a few Korean restaurants and an Asian restaurant with dishes from several countries.
I had hoped to get to Nami early to avoid the crowds but wasn’t willing to get up early enough for that. On Nami itself the crowds weren’t a huge problem since the island is spacious enough, although it can be an issue for photographs. The lines to the ferry were long but moved pretty quickly. The only time the crowds were a problem was the long wait at Gapyeong station in line for a cab to the ferry, and then another long line for the bus back to the station.
To get to the island, get to Gapyeong station either by ITX or by the Gyeongchun line. Then take a taxi to the wharf (line may be long) for about 4,000 won. There’s also a bus but the line for that was even longer than the taxi line.
There’s a zip line to the island for 38,000 won, but I took the ferry since it’s much cheaper. Round trip ticket plus entrance fee is 8,000 won for foreigners.
There’s one hotel and a few bungalows to stay the night, if wanting to check out the Garden of the Morning Calm or more of Gapyeong the next day. Nami is cute for what it is, a little romantic tourist park. Not a bad place to go exploring for a day from Seoul, but earlier is better.