After our recent trip to Chuncheon, we decided to visit the famous Nami Island on our way home. Nami Island is famous within Korea and Japan because some especially romantic scenes from the Korean drama “Winter Sonata” took place on the island. It’s also said to be the most beautiful place in Korea, and it’s a micro-republic. Known as “Naminara Republic,” this little island claims to be its own country, although my research of micro republics tells me that they tiny “countries” are really only formally recognized by other micro-republics.
Side story: did you know there’s a micro republic in the USA? It’s essentially just some guys house and he has declared it a separate country called “The Republic of Molossia.” True (and weird) story.
Anyway. Nami Island is only accessible by ferry or zip line. The long zip lines that stretched from the mainland to the island looked awesome, but alas, we just rode the ferry to save money.
The island itself is small (with a circumference of 5km), but it’s covered in small museums, restaurants, public works of art, wildlife and nature. The brochure describes the island as “a place for rest and relaxation. Human beings, animals and trees share peace, love and harmony far away from crowds and civilization.” While I can’t say there were no crowds on the island (after all, this is a tourist destination in Korea), the rest holds pretty true! Here are the best things about Nami Island:
I already mentioned the zip lining, but there are also opportunities to raft, bungee jump, go boating, ride carnival type rides, and rent bicycles. We didn’t do any of them except rent a bicycle (a tandem bicycle!), but that activity alone was still pretty fun. We spent an hour riding around the island on our two-seater bike, which was surprisingly easy to ride!
The island is covered in art galleries, museums, stages for concerts and performances and public arts. It’s eclectic and bohemian–perfect for art lovers!
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I realize that some squirrels and chipmunks might not seem like very exciting “wildlife,” but for Korea, it’s pretty impressive. Matt and I have frequently commented on the lack of wildlife in Korea–there are hardly even any birds (at least in our area). So seeing little squirrels, chipmunks and ducks roaming freely around the island was refreshing. We also saw some signs warning not to feed the rabbits, but sadly, we didn’t see any rabbits.
And last but not least, nature. Hands down, the best part about Nami Island is the beautiful scenery and landscapes. I don’t think there is even a corner of this island that isn’t beautiful. Lush, green grass, massive weeping willows, and quaint little bridges over bubbling streams–no matter which way you look, this island is full of natural beauty.
Which photo is your favorite?
To get to Nami Island, go to Gapyung station and either walk, take a bus or take a taxi to the Gapyeong Wharf. From there you can take the ferry to the island. Entry to the island is 10,000 won for Koreans, 8,000 won for foreigners and 4,00 won for children under 13.