Nami Island may not be the first place you think of when you think of islands near Seoul. It's not surrounded by the sea; instead, it lies in the middle of the Han River, about 1 hour upstream from Seoul. The island has quite a distinct feel to it. So much so, that it playfully refers to itself as Nami Nara...or, Nami Country, a country distinct from Korea.
The Scouting Report
Nami Island is beautiful. It isn't beautiful in that "tropical-island-in-the-ocean" way. No, not at all. Instead, it is beautiful in that "wow-this-isn't-typical-korean-scenery" way.
Unfortunately, Korea has done a very good job of spoiling would-be beautiful scenery. Thankfully, Nami Island has not been spoiled. Although it is overrun with visitors on a daily basis, it maintains a very serene setting. This is one spot travel destination that Korea has done a great job of managing.
Nami Island can be done as a day trip from Seoul or as a multiple day excursion. If you attempt to tackle the island in a day, you will be forced to jostle your way onto and off of the island alongside throngs of other day-trippers. Be prepared to stand in lines during the first and last parts of the day. Once you're on the island, however, there is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy yourself.
For those truly wanting a different experience, consider renting a room at the lodge on Nami Island, Hotel Jeonggwanru. Even the cheapest rooms are slightly expensive, but you will be paying for a unique experience. Rooms in the main building run from 77,000 won to 150,000 won. There are also bungalows and cottages which cost a little more. The bungalows run from 160,000 won to 380,000 won while the cottages run from 100,000 won to 130,000 won.
If you do have extra time on your visit to the island, let loose and have fun. Water sports are very popular here. Scattered around the island are a number of landing sites for boats. Pick your ride: banana boats, motor boats, swan boats, jet skis, etc. There is a ton of fun to be had on the water.
If you're feeling a bit brave, send a surge of adrenaline through your body by jumping from the nearby bungee jumping tower. The platform is not actually on Nami Island. Rather, it is on the mainland near the landing for the ferry that transits you to and from the island.
Truly, the best part of Nami Island is the scenery. It is quietly beautiful. The scenery will not make your jaw drop and stand breathless. It is still quite enjoyable in its own right, though. Whether you enjoy it by picnicking under a tree, bicycling along the islands roads, or dining on an outside patio, you can't do wrong. All those options (and more) provide great returns.
Extra Info - Entrance Fee
Oh, there is one thing you should know. You must pay to get onto Nami Island. The cost for Koreans is 10,000 won while foreigners are given a 2,000 won discount (yay!). The ferry ride to the island is included in the price.
See the Nami Island Photo Album to see more pictures of the area.
How To Get There
-Ride either the Gyeongchun Line or the ITX-Cheongchun Line to Gapyeong Station. Nami Island is just under 2 km from the station. Follow the signs.
By shuttle bus:
-Shuttles leave from Insa-dong and Namdaemun daily at 9:30 in the morning. The return shuttle leaves Nami Island at 4:00. Adult 2-way tickets cost 15,000 won. (1-way = 7,500 won)
-Plug the following address into your navigation: 1024, Bukhangangbyeon-ro, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do. The parking fee is 4,000 won.
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Posted October 28, 2015