Nami Island is a teeny tiny 'island' situated in the middle of the Han River just outside of Seoul. It's quite a way from Seoul itself, so keep that it mind if you are hoping to just pop by while you're next in Seoul. You need to get to Gapyoung Station (about a 1.5hour subway ride from central Seoul).
Nami Island became a popular tourist destination after the wildly successful Korean drama, Winter Sonata. In the movie, the famous 'Kiss Scene' can be re-created (complete with little snowmen replicas) but be prepared to queue up for your photo opportunity. Even though it seemed quite silly to replicate something from a movie we had never heard of or watched, it was fun and definitely a part of the Nami Island experience.
We had a long weekend and make the long trek up to Seoul from our town after school, Buan, arriving in Seoul at 11pm and taking the last subway as far as it would go before the lines were closed. We got as far as PyeongnaeHapyeong at midnight and found a motel and restaurant open all night to grab dinner before crashing in our motel. Our aim was to to get to Gapyeong Station (the subway station right the Island) the night before so that we could get to Nami Island early the next morning and catch the first ferry/first zipline. We only ended up getting to the Gapyeoung Wharf at 09h00 and realised that there are a few motels/pensions you could stay at to be right at the ferry terminal to catch the first ferry. Nami Island is ALWAYS busy, so week days would be far quieter but most of us aren't able to get there on a week day. If you get there early it will be MUCH better than later in the day. By the time we were heading home, thousands of people were only just arriving and the queues for everything were so long. Also, we caught a taxi from Gapyeong station to the ferry terminal (W7 000) but there really is no need. It's only about 1.5km's and will only take you about 25 - 30 minutes to walk.
The first ferry runs at 07h30 and goes every 20 - 30 minutes. The Zipline opens at 09h00 and they take about 8 people up at a time so the waiting time is long. We arrived at 09h30 and had to wait until 11am before we could go across. It wasn't a bad wait, as there is a cute coffee shop to grab a drink and people watch. The Zipline itself was a lot of fun. A little scary for me, but nothing crazy, and lasted about 90 seconds. There are two courses (the family course & the adventure course). The family course lands right on the Nami island and the adventure course lands on a smaller island next to Nami, and then you take a small boat across to to Nami. The adventure course was W38 000pp and included entrance to the island and the ferry back to the mainland.
Fare: 38,000 won
Operating hours: April-October 09h00 ~ 19h00 / November-March 09h00 ~ 18h00
* 8,000 won discount with SK Telecom T-membership
* Operation may be discontinued in the case of snow, rain, or strong winds
* For inquires: +82-31-582-8092
Dogs up to 5kg's are allowed on the island, you can see all the rules in the photo above.
Nami Island declared its cultural 'independence' in 2006 and re-named itself the Naminara Republic (Namisun).
The Naminara Republic is an imaginary country, but it has invented its own passport, currency, stamp and telephone card. A 'passport' issued from Naminara is required to enter the Namisum. We didn't need this passport as we got onto the island via the zip line and we were rather happy to avoid the huge lines at 'immigration'. If you bring your passport with you to prove you are a 'foreigner' to Korea you get a small discount on admission. Normal entrance to the island is W10 000 pp but with the foreinger discount it is W8 000.
Korea, (and Nami Island is no exception) sure know how to do cute. Here are some photographs from the coffee shop at the ferry terminal. Snowball couple EVERYTHING.
We had hoped to see more Autumn/Fall colours on Nami, but we were obviously a little too early. The leaves usually peak at the end of October/beginning of November, but bear in mind that is when the rest of Korea will be wanting to see the colours too. Be prepared for the crowds and go as early as possible. Even with a lot of green, Nami was beautiful. There is a wonderful, relaxed feeling on the island. Everyone was smiling and there was a lot of laughter. I would definitely recommend going there, and from what I could tell online, it's beautiful in every season so even if you miss the Autumn leaves, you can can go anytime of the year. The recommended months to visit are May, July - August & October.
Everything is more expensive on Nami, this isn't a surprise (our pizza costs us W28 000!!!!) so I'd suggest packing a picnic lunch and a blanket and finding a spot under the trees to enjoy your lunch/breakfast. There are also a number of places to stay on the island (cute cottages and a hotel of sorts) in case you are able to book ahead and want to spend longer on the island. We were there from 11h30 and by 3pm we were definitely ready to head home. Nami isn't big, you can wall around the entire island in an hour or so. There are also bycicles, tandems and other things to rent and we saw lots of families enjoying themselves.
How to get to Nami Island
- Get off at GAPYEONG station (on the Gyeongchun Line) & walk/taxi to Gapyeoung Wharf (the ferry terminal). It's a 30 minute walk or a W7 000 taxi).
- If walking, head out the station and turn left. Then follow the cars!
By ITX Train:
- Yongsan → Gapyeong Station (about 60 min.)
- Cheongyangni → Gapyeong Station (about 42 min.)
- Chuncheon → Gapyeong Station (about 20 min.)
- Bear in mind the train doesn't go very often so make sure to look at the train schedule (or book online here).
By Shuttle Bus:
- Insa-dong: 09h30 (Nearby the West Gate of Tapgol Park)
- Namdaemun: 09h30 (Sungnyemun Square Bus Stop in front of Namdaemun Market)
- Price: Adult W15 000(round-trip) / W7 500(one-way)
More info on the shuttle bus can be found here >>> Nami Shuttle Bus
Let me know if you make it to Nami Island and what you thought of it! I love hearing from you.