Nami Island (남이섬) is definitely one of the most common day trips to make when you are in Seoul. The island got popular because of Winter Sonata, a Korean drama, that used the island as the drama set. Nami island is actually a separate republic from South Korea. They declared their independence in 2006 but don’t worry, you do not need a passport or visa to go to Nami Island!
The Naminara Republic, which declared its cultural independence from the Republic of Korea, has its own diplomatic and cultural policies. Naminara celebrates the imagination and shares its beautiful fairy tales and songs with guests from all over the world.
Taken from Naminara Republic website, namisum.com
If you are planning to visit Nami, I would recommend you to make a full day trip from Seoul and visit other attractions near Nami Island using the Gapyeong Shuttle Bus while you are in the area. The other two commonly visited attractions there are Petite France and the Garden of Morning Calm. I will be making another blog post for these two destinations but for now, let’s talk about Nami Island~
How to Get There
Nami island is located nearest to Gapyeong Station on the Gyeongchun Metro Line. The fastest way to get to Gapyeong Station is to take the Intercity Train Express (ITX) from Cheongnyangni station, Seoul Metro Line 1. It takes around 40 minutes using ITX and costs 4300 KRW for a reserved ticket and 4000 KRW for a non-reserved seat ticket. You can book and pay for the tickets from this website. Just go to the “Rail Tickets” section and input in the relevant details.
I really recommend you to book online a few days before your trip because when I tried booking for tickets the day before, the time I wanted ran out of seats and I had to get an unreserved ticket – meaning that I had no seat throughout the whole ride. Also, if you are planning to go to the other places I mentioned earlier, please plan to leave early (Around 8AM or earlier if you want) from Cheongnyangni so that you don’t need to rush through the day.
Once you reach Gapyeong and get out of the station, you will see a tourist information center on the right side and a bus stop next to it. That bus stop is where you will board the Gapyeong Shuttle Bus that takes you to Nami Island, Petite France and the Garden of Morning Calm.
The shuttle costs 5000 KRW for the whole day so do remember to keep your tickets to board the bus again after Nami Island. It runs in a circle and there are specific pick up times for all departure and pick up points. If you plan to go to all three destinations in a day, make sure you plan your day according to the shuttle schedule below.
If you are only planning to go to Nami Island and if you are going with friends or family, taking the taxi from Gapyeong Station will be a better option because the island ferry port is quite near to the station. It would probably cost 5000 KRW for a one way taxi ride so it may be cheaper than taking the shuttle if you have friends to share the cost with.
After arriving at the Nami Island bus stop, you’ll need to walk through the parking lot to get to the ferry departure point and ticketing counter. Buy your tickets (8000 KRW, including the ferry) and get ready to board the ferry. It’s a pretty short ride, I think it was around or less than 10 minutes to the island. Alternatively, you can also zip your way through to the island. It costs 38000 KRW and it is also the faster way to get to Nami without queuing for the ferry.
Alternatively, if you want to have a fuss free day, consider joining this all-in package by Trazy which will take you to more places than what you can cover if you go on your own without the planning trouble.
What to do in Nami
The obvious thing to do in Nami is to take as many photos as you can. Nami is best visited in Autumn when the leaves turn yellow and red or in winter when it snows. I couldn’t go there during the foliage but went there before instead because my parents wanted to go while they were visiting. It was still very pretty though!
If you are planning to take the shuttle bus and go to Petite France and the Garden of Morning Calm, you’ll need to have lunch in Nami Island. We ate at the Korean restaurant and it was not bad although it was pretty expensive. Alternatively, you can have some snacks on the island and eat when you are back on the mainland.