Monday, July 4, 2011

South Korea Spring/Summer Trip: Nami Island

I had to include Nami Island in our itinerary because I want to see Metasequoia Lane, a kind of tree which name is foreign to me.  The arrays of other foreign trees such ginko trees, white pine trees and white birch trees serve like a long pathway that can make a living postcard of  how the four seasons of South Korea change in beauty and color. Peaceful green at summer, sparkling white at winter, translucent leafless at spring and vibrantly yellow and red at autumn.  
Metasequoia Lane
Photo from Nami website
(Was not able to take a good photo with so many tourists local & foreign in the island that day)
Our trip to the island is the most relaxing - sort of taking a break from the "Amazing Race" like travel that we had for the last three days. We took the direct shuttle bus to Nami from Insa-dong. The package rate already included roundtrip bus fare, round trip ferry ticket and entrance to Nami Island.  The shuttle bus operates from Jamsil and Insa-dong. Since we were staying near Insa-dong, we took the shuttle bus from there.  You can make a reservation a day before or take a chance to wait for any available spot.

If you want to take some route and more adventure, you may go to Nami Island via subway Gapyeong Station. Check out this link for more details.

From Hongdae hostel, we went to Tapgol Park where the direct shuttle buses to Naminara Republic are waiting for the tourists. It is scheduled until 9:30am but if the buses are already full as early as 8:30, they leave insadong right away. We were lucky to get the vacant spots since we did not make any reservation for the trip.

how to get to the shuttle bus terminal in Insa-dong:
get off in jongno 3(sam)-ga station 1then take exit 3. walk straight towards the bus stop which is next to tapgol park. before tapgol park, you will pass-by McDo and Skinfood. After Tapgol Park, turn right and there you'll see the shuttle buses. Better landmark? - It's just across the tony moly store =) and at the other side of the main road is the famous cheonggyecheon stream.
too early to open our eyes wide!
The travel took 1.5hrs but I enjoyed the scenery from famous world cup of seoul to the green fields and a lot of parks surrounding hangang river. From one town to another, I saw a lot of football fields and now I understand why Koreans love football so much.
Nami is an independent island, have their own visa!
When we arrived, it was almost lunchtime and saw the long queues of tourist to the port. I read from some blogs that it is better to visit Nami on a weekday. But since we had our all-inclusive ticket already, we were not worried at all. we can go directly to the Gapyong dock without hassle.

But before getting on the ship to Nami island, we had another adventure in South Korea - food trip! It was very difficult ordering from that certain restaurant without an English menu nor a picture, and they can only understand "chicken"as english word but I think the food is alright. I tried wrapping the meat with lettuce as what I saw in koreanovelas and put some chili paste. It was fun but not appealing though. I also tried the naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles).
After having another taste of korean cuisine, we proceeded to the dock and boarded the ship to nami island. It was like Philippines' version of "ro-ro" ship (Roll-On/Roll-Off vessels) and the travel time took 5-6minutes only.

Namiseon or Nami Island is a tiny half-moon shaped island located in chuncheon, gangwon province. It is named after General Nami who died at the age of 28 after falsely accused of treason during the reign of King Sejo, 7th king of joseon dynasty. Naminara Republic declared its cultural independence on march 1, 2006 and re-named itself naminara republic. it is an imaginary country but has invented its own passport, currency, stamp and telephone island.

The place is also the filming location of koreanovela, "Winter sonata", though i haven't watched this yet so i just wrote something on the wall near the male lead. the place is very beautiful - too small but with too many activities  to do- i can compare it to our version of potipot island, lakawon island or another island in Coron, Palawan where you can tour around the island in a short period of time. this place is best to visit during autumn where everything will turn to red/orange. 

After exploring around the island on our bikes, we went back to another long queue again to board the ferry back from Nami Port to Gapyong since we need to catch up the 5PM departure of the shuttle bus. i bought notebooks souvenir featuring four seasons of nami. i would suggest an overnight stay in the island to enjoy more the place.
the charm of nami - long stretch of trees
what's in nami:
1. tour the island on bikes - if you're a couple, you can rent a couple bike but make sure that your partner knows how to bike too.
2. if you don't know how to bike, then rent the electronic car
3. small themed gardens - very beautiful landscape!
4. unicef train strollers - ask for donation only - this is where i left my seoul book and print copies of my itineraries =(
5. herb world - bought some tea and tasted free samples too! =)
Important info for your Nami Trip:

Ferry Schedule:
From 7:30-09:00 - every 30 minutes interval (first ferry from Gapyong 7:30AM and from Nami 7:35AM)
From 09:00-18:00 - every 10-20 minutes interval
From 18:00-21:40 - every 30 minutes interval (last ferry from Gapyong 21:40 and from Nami 21:45)

Visa Fees include roundtrip ferry fare and tax:
Regular - KRW 10,000
Foreigners -KRW 8,000

Check out nami's official website for more info:


Anonymous said...

Hi! What month did you visit Nami Island? :)

Wanderer Claire said...

Hi! Gone to Nami mid-May ;-0