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Nami Island

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Written by : Essential Expat Experiences

Nami Island (or Namiseom) is a tiny island located to the east of Seoul in Chuncheon, Gangwon-do. Although it does not draw in crowds in the same way that Jeju does, Nami is still an immensely popular spot for a day trip. The island is open year-round, and visitors can rent bicycles, golf carts, Segways, or make their way on foot to explore the less than 500 m² space. Nami is famously beautiful in all four seasons, but particularly so in the fall!

To get from Gapyeong wharf to Nami, you have two options: the ferry, or an enormous zip line (44,000 won for one way)! Having never used a zip line before, my friends and I decided to take to the ferry, which runs regularly and makes the trip from the mainland to Nami in just five minutes. The port is designed to look like an immigration office, as Nami is often referred to as the Nami Nara Republic. When you get to the port you buy your 'visa' for 13,000 won, which allows you to enter Nami and includes the round-trip ferry. Currently there are two styles of ferry running, one that allows passengers on the roof and one that does not. If you have a preference for one over the other, you can simply wait an extra 10 to 20 minutes for the next one to arrive. The hours of operation, according to the official Nami Island website, are:

From 7:30 to 09:00 - Every 30 minutes after first ferry at 07:30 (departure – Gapyeong Wharf)

From 09:00 to 18:00 - Every 10 to 20 minutes

From 18:00 to 21:40 - Every 30 minutes until the last ferry at 21:40 (departure – Gapyeong Wharf)

Once you arrive on the island, you are greeted with a selection of cafes, shops, and rest areas, as well as a massive statue of books. Nami has a special relationship with books, and there are several in every public bathroom that guests are encouraged to pick up and enjoy during their visit. In addition, Nami has hosted various literature festivals, specifically for picture and children's books. The island is home to many cultural centers including museums, a statue park, and of course libraries.

If you turn right after arriving and make your way down the main road of Nami, you'll be treated to a beautiful walkway of trees. Nami is home to many tree-lined walkways and small forests, made up of many different types of trees. During the fall Nami is famous for its yellow gingko tree lane, and its multi-coloured maple trees.

As you walk from the dock to the other end of the island, you'll pass more restaurants, cafes, libraries, exhibition halls, and museums. On the right right side of the island there is a beautiful walkway that runs along the water, which is particularly beautiful during autumn. For those who want to spend the night, there are several cabins / villas available for rent at the far-end of Nami. However most guests begin to depart Nami as the sun goes down, including my friends and I. We spent several hours taking photos, playing the leaves, and enjoying a delicious dinner, but by 4:30 the air had become significantly colder, so we made our way back to the mainland on the next available ferry. The drive back to Seoul was much longer than we anticipated due to traffic, so it's good to keep that in mind if you plan on visiting Nami on a holiday or weekend.

To get to Nami Island, the easiest option is to book a group tour with one of the companies that run regular trips throughout the week. If you want to go on your own, you can take an ITX train departing from Yongsan Station for Gapyeong. From there you can taxi or take a local bus to the ferry station. Driving is also an option, and parking at the wharf is readily available. For more information on visiting Nami, including directions, please click here.

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