I’m back after a long break!
I know that I have this huge backlog on posts about my trip to Seoul last March and I’m actually thinking of whether to write about Nami Island and if so, what to write about it. Thing is, most blogs you will read out there only have a thing or two to say about Nami Island and the common one they would say is that it is the filming location for the Winter Sonata, a famous Korean drama. My fear is that if I write about Nami Island, I’m just going to say the same thing, i.e., it is where the Winter Sonata was shot.
But then I looked at our photos again and ka-pow! The fun memories just all came rushing back and I finally figured out what to share with you.
On our second day in Seoul, we went to Nami Island which is also called Namiseom / Namisum. It’s a small half-moon shaped island which got its name from General Nami who died at a young age after having been falsely accused of treason during King Sejo’s reign. Nami Island is not a theme park so I can’t hype it as having some bad-ass roller coasters or awesome attractions. As for historical value, I’m not well-versed in Korean history but with the little amount of information that I know of, there are other places in Seoul that are more historical than Nami Island.
Having said that, would I even recommend that first time tourists spend about a 3-4 hours of back and forth travel time just to get to a filming location? My answer is a big big YES.
Whether you like Korean dramas [or not], I highly recommend that you go to Nami Island and bring your family, friends, and loved ones, and spend at least 3-4 hours exploring this small island. Your major takeaways from that trip will probably consist of quite a number of wonderful photos which you can happily share with your friends back home as proof that you’ve been to one of the most beautiful places in South Korea and probably in the world.
Nami Island is outside Seoul and every tourist will probably ask how to get there and how long does it take to get there. Okay, there are three ways to get to Nami Island. The first one is by train. The next one is by bus. There are many posts our there on how to get to Nami Island by train and/or by bus so just Google it.
And the last one is by a private coach which we did because as I’ve been saying in my previous posts, we went there as a group of 12 with 7 senior citizens. If you opt to get to Nami Island via a private coach, I suggest that you arrange it with your hotel/guesthouse representative at least a day or two before your intended trip to Nami. I was very lucky that we stayed in 126 Masion, which is owned and managed by my friend Hyunchung, because she arranged a private coach for us even before we arrived in Seoul.
The rental for a private coach/minibus is KRW80,000 for 10 hours and since we had no stopovers, we reached Nami Island in an hour or so. Because the rental is good for 10 hours, we still managed to squeeze in Myeongdong shopping after Nami Island and the 10th hour closed with the driver bringing us right back into the doorstep of 126 Mansion. So convenient!
By the way, there are additional expenses if you’re going there by private coach. You have to pay for your driver’s lunch, around KRW20,000, and parking for KRW4,000.
When you reach Nami Island, you’ll notice that it is referred to as Naminara Republic. There really is no significance to the name and it’s just more like a marketing strategy or something. Being referred to as a “republic,” guests are required to pay for entry visa (entrance fee) of KRW10,000 per adult. Senior citizens get a discounted rate of KRW8,000 while children are charged KRW4,000 each. That includes the round-trip ferry ride. You can also reach Nami Island via the zip-line which is really costly
The ferry ride lasts for 10 minutes and I would suggest that you stay outside for a good view of the water, the mountains, and the island itself.
And that is Nami wharf which houses the entrance to Naminara. Let me take you on a short tour inside via my photos. Enjoy!
this is a favorite spot for group photos so when you see it traffic-free, grab that chance to camwhore!
2012 letters and messages on wood
this little fella’s drinking soju. naneun sojuleul wonhanda!
the tomb of general nami
you’ll find lines of trees of different kinds from sequoias to pines
if you get lost inside the island, do not worry because there is a tourist information office there. and in case you don’t have enough Korean won with you, go to this place because they a bank inside that exchanges US dollars to Korean won
this spot is off the sequoia lane and is reachable by crossing the bridge that you’ll find to your left after the tourist information office. surprisingly yet fortunately, the crowd when we were there was just staying along the sequoia lane and we got this snowman by the lake for ourselves!
isn’t this spot beautiful? look at that lake! i wanna stay here forever!
told yah, it’s about the Winter Sonata
and what is this hullabaloo about?
ahh grilled rice cakes served with honey
hah! caught on cam. mashi e sseo yo!
[and may i just say that it's only now that i noticed that dangling thread near my right hand. arggh, so distracting!]
there are many restaurants in the area and this is the more popular stopover
‘sif nami island is running short of cute… check this out: cute birdie pens on display at a souvenir shop
so this is where they used to cook their meals. i think i remember seeing something like this in my lola’s panciteria…
another Winter Sonata spot right there
those are the bikes used in the drama
this is a funny mother and child sculpture it’s everybody’s favorite
And that’s it!
There may not be a lot to say about Nami Island and most of the pictures you see online may all look alike, but being there definitely feels different and is actually… magical. The pictures you see online will never give it justice. The place is serene and it’s beautiful any time of the year. We went there between Winter and Spring and as our photos showed, the place looks dramatic. Come Spring and Summer and the place takes on a different look, more like fresh, young, and vibrant. At the turn of another season, Nami Island looks romantic and fiery with the colors of autumn. Its beauty is changing with the season and there is nothing like it that you will see in Seoul.
Hope you enjoyed this post and I’ll leave you my itinerary and breakdown of expenses for Day 2:
Private coach to Nami Island, 80,000krw divided by 12 persons, or 6,700krw per person.
Driver’s lunch, 20,000krw divided by 12 persons, or 1,700krw per person.
Parking fee, 4,000krw divided by 12 persons, or 335krw.
Visited Nami Island. Entry visa costs 10,000krw.
Rice cakes, 1,000krw.
Korean lunch of noodles, tteokbokki, pajeon, and coke, 10,000krw per person.
- Myeongdong shopping (to be included in a separate post; shopping expenses vary).
Snacks at Lotteria in Myeongdong, 6,000krw per burger meal which includes burger, Coke, and French fries.
Dinner at a Korean bbq restaurant with my friend Hyunchung (to be included in a separate post).
- Walking around the Gwanghwamun area at night. Free.
Total Day 2 Expenses: 35,735krw or P1,430.
Until my next post folks, annyeong!
This is part of a series of posts about Seoul. Check out the others:
- [Updated] Getting a Korean Visa
- Seoul Series: Why I Love 126 Mansion (review)
- [Seoul Series] Day 1: Arriving in Seoul and Exploring Samcheongdong and Bukchon
- [Seoul Series] Day 1: Gyeongbokgung Palace (and Changing of Guards and Hanbok Wearing Experience)
- [Seoul Series] Day 3: COEX Mall, COEX Aquarium, Kimchi Field Museum, and Doota Mall
- [Seoul Series] Day 4: Insadong, Ssamzie-gil, Jogyesa Temple