Seoul is known for many amazing things, like strange cafes, bizarre activities, and a unique twist on food. However, one thing Seoul is not well known for is greenery or nature. So what can you do when you’re feeling trapped in the concrete jungle, or maybe you just want a great location for a photoshoot in nature, but don’t want to travel the three hours on a bus to the countryside?
Well, one thing you can do is take a day trip to Nami Island.
The history of the island is a little bit interesting. It was named after a famous Korean general, named Nami who consistently fought bravely but was killed in battle at age 26.Korea is a country with a monsoon season, which usually falls around the height of summer. It was this rain that used to transform the land into an island. However, with the construction of the Cheongyeong Dam the piece of land now is consistently surrounded with water and is an island yearlong now.In 1965 there were thousands of trees planted on the island by Byeong-do Minn, which today allows for the scenic vision we can experience today.
Often people flock to the island for a couple of different reasons. To begin with people like to go there to escape the city and get some much-needed R&R in nature.There is also some wildlife on the island…. Well, wildlife by Korean standards… that can also mean ostriches and peacocks. But who really cares whether or not the animals are indigenous or not… they’re animals running around freely… something you don’t see in Seoul. If you are lucky you can also see the rabbits, ducks, birds and squirrels roaming around, too.
A second reason people from all over the world really enjoy going there is because many K-drama’s have been filmed there. Many tourists and locals alike go there to take photos in the places where their beloved celebrities acted in the famous dramas.This is also an awesome location for photographers to do shoots, but if that it the case, GO EARLY to avoid the tourists.
The island is accessible by public transit, too. As a matter of fact, Jennifer (my friend, co worker, and travel partner) and I took the subway there. We wanted to save the extra money and it was only about an hour and a half from our apartments. We took the trains from Hoegi station, transfer at Sanbong and then continuing straight onwards. Roughly, it cost us only 3-4$ round-trip. However, if you want to save some time, and don’t mind spending the extra money (roughly 14$) you can take the ITX train from Youngman Station, or Sanbong station which will get you there in approximately 40 minutes.
However, if you want to extend your trip from a day trip to a weekend trip there are hotels, cafes and restaurants scattered all over near the ferry terminal. The area is developing quickly and has become a major tourist destination.
If you want to stay on the island you are able to rent Japanese style cabins that are lined up next to the pine tree forest. It looks quite nice, and had we had the extra time and money we would have looked into staying in one
Once we arrived at Gapyeong station we took some photos around the station because it is surrounded with rice fields, which in the fall turn a beautiful gold colour.
Since we made the trip over chuseok the shuttle bus wasn’t able to run due to the large amounts of traffic. We were directed by an attendant to walk so we started following the mass crowds moving down the road. We followed the group through a rice field. It was an adventure, we ended up dodging mudslides and holes throughout the field, but eventually made it to the other side. The walk only lasted maybe 20 minutes, and again saved us some money, so for us it wasn’t a problem.
When we got to the ferry terminal we went through the “Nami Island Immigration” and purchased our round trip ferry tickets for approximately 8$.
We started off walking around the island taking in the fresh air and enjoying the greenery that we miss out on while in Seoul. We stopped every now and again to take some photos, because that’s just what you do in Korea.Along the way we stopped at some of the famous sites where Drama scenes were filmed and tried to emulate the famous couple poses we saw all the Koreans and Chinese people doing.
After about 3 hours of walking around and enjoy the scenery we stopped for dinner and enjoyed a delicious traditional meal. After our fill of meat and kimchi we decided it was time to return home. On the way back to the ferry we walked along the tree lined path that was lit up with white balloon lanterns.
Nami Island is a really great place to go to escape the daily grind of the big city, it brings some much needed nature therapy and helps relax you from the stress work and the city can bring.