[Seoul Series] Day 2: Nami Island / Naminara Republic

I’m back after a long break!

I know that I have this huge backlog on posts about my trip to Seoul last March and I’m actually thinking of whether to write about Nami Island and if so, what to write about it. Thing is, most blogs you will read out there only have a thing or two to say about Nami Island and the common one they would say is that it is the filming location for the Winter Sonata, a famous Korean drama. My fear is that if I write about Nami Island, I’m just going to say the same thing, i.e., it is where the Winter Sonata was shot.

But then I looked at our photos again and ka-pow! The fun memories just all came rushing back and I finally figured out what to share with you.

On our second day in Seoul, we went to Nami Island which is also called Namiseom / Namisum. It’s a small half-moon shaped island which got its name from General Nami who died at a young age after having been falsely accused of treason during King Sejo’s reign. Nami Island is not a theme park so I can’t hype it as having some bad-ass roller coasters or awesome attractions. As for historical value, I’m not well-versed in Korean history but with the little amount of information that I know of, there are other places in Seoul that are more historical than Nami Island.

Having said that, would I even recommend that first time tourists spend about a 3-4 hours of back and forth travel time just to get to a filming location? My answer is a big big YES.

Whether you like Korean dramas [or not], I highly recommend that you go to Nami Island and bring your family, friends, and loved ones, and spend at least 3-4 hours exploring this small island. Your major takeaways from that trip will probably consist of quite a number of wonderful photos which you can happily share with your friends back home as proof that you’ve been to one of the most beautiful places in South Korea and probably in the world.

Nami Island is outside Seoul and every tourist will probably ask how to get there and how long does it take to get there. Okay, there are three ways to get to Nami Island. The first one is by train. The next one is by bus. There are many posts our there on how to get to Nami Island by train and/or by bus so just Google it.

And the last one is by a private coach which we did because as I’ve been saying in my previous posts, we went there as a group of 12 with 7 senior citizens. If you opt to get to Nami Island via a private coach, I suggest that you arrange it with your hotel/guesthouse representative at least a day or two before your intended trip to Nami. I was very lucky that we stayed in 126 Masion, which is owned and managed by my friend Hyunchung, because she arranged a private coach for us even before we arrived in Seoul.

The rental for a private coach/minibus is KRW80,000 for 10 hours and since we had no stopovers, we reached Nami Island in an hour or so. Because the rental is good for 10 hours, we still managed to squeeze in Myeongdong shopping after Nami Island and the 10th hour closed with the driver bringing us right back into the doorstep of 126 Mansion. So convenient!

By the way, there are additional expenses if you’re going there by private coach. You have to pay for your driver’s lunch, around KRW20,000, and parking for KRW4,000.

When you reach Nami Island, you’ll notice that it is referred to as Naminara Republic. There really is no significance to the name and it’s just more like a marketing strategy or something. Being referred to as a “republic,” guests are required to pay for entry visa (entrance fee) of KRW10,000 per adult. Senior citizens get a discounted rate of KRW8,000 while children are charged KRW4,000 each. That includes the round-trip ferry ride. You can also reach Nami Island via the zip-line which is really costly ๐Ÿ™‚

The ferry ride lasts for 10 minutes and I would suggest that you stay outside for a good view of the water, the mountains, and the island itself.

And that is Nami wharf which houses the entrance to Naminara. Let me take you on a short tour inside via my photos. Enjoy!

this is a favorite spot for group photos so when you see it traffic-free, grab that chance to camwhore!

2012 letters and messages on wood

this little fella’s drinking soju. naneun sojuleul wonhanda!

the tomb of general nami

you’ll find lines of trees of different kinds from sequoias to pinesย 

if you get lost inside the island, do not worry because there is a tourist information office there. and in case you don’t have enough Korean won with you, go to this place because they a bank inside that exchanges US dollars to Korean won

this spot is off the sequoia lane and is reachable by crossing the bridge that you’ll find to your left after the tourist information office. surprisingly yet fortunately, the crowd when we were there was just staying along the sequoia lane and we got this snowman by the lake for ourselves!

isn’t this spot beautiful? look at that lake! i wanna stay here forever!

told yah, it’s about the Winter Sonata

and what is this hullabaloo about?

ahh grilled rice cakes served with honey

hah! caught on cam. mashi e sseo yo!

[and may i just say that it’s only now that i noticed that dangling thread near my right hand. arggh, so distracting!]

there are many restaurants in the area and this is the more popular stopover

‘sif nami island is running short of cute… check this out: cute birdie pens on display at a souvenir shop

so this is where they used to cook their meals. i think i remember seeing something like this in my lola’s panciteria…

another Winter Sonata spot right thereย 

those are the bikes used in the drama

this is a funny mother and child sculpture ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s everybody’s favorite

And that’s it!

There may not be a lot to say about Nami Island and most of the pictures you see online may all look alike, but being there definitely feels different and is actually… magical. The pictures you see online will never give it justice. The place is serene and it’s beautiful any time of the year. We went there between Winter and Spring and as our photos showed, the place looks dramatic. Come Spring and Summer and the place takes on a different look, more like fresh, young, and vibrant. At the turn of another season, Nami Island looks romantic and fiery with the colors of autumn. Its beauty is changing with the season and there is nothing like it that you will see in Seoul.

Hope you enjoyed this post and I’ll leave you my itinerary and breakdown of expenses for Day 2:

  • Private coach to Nami Island, 80,000krw divided by 12 persons, or 6,700krw per person.
  • Driver’s lunch, 20,000krw divided by 12 persons, or 1,700krw per person.
  • Parking fee, 4,000krw divided by 12 persons, or 335krw.
  • Visited Nami Island. Entry visa costs 10,000krw.
  • Rice cakes, 1,000krw.
  • Korean lunch of noodles, tteokbokki, pajeon, and coke, 10,000krw per person.
  • Myeongdong shopping (to be included in a separate post; shopping expenses vary).
  • Snacks at Lotteria in Myeongdong, 6,000krw per burger meal which includes burger, Coke, and French fries.
  • Dinner at a Korean bbq restaurant with my friend Hyunchung (to be included in a separate post).
  • Walking around the Gwanghwamun area at night. Free.
  • Total Day 2 Expenses: 35,735krw or P1,430.

Until my next post folks, annyeong!

 

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This is part of a series of posts about Seoul. Check out the others:

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34 thoughts on “[Seoul Series] Day 2: Nami Island / Naminara Republic

  1. Chy hy says:

    Hi Janis,
    What a great panorama! It’s a brief but very helpful. I’m going to Seoul this Feb. Tks for your sharing that give me lot of tips for my coming trip in Korea.

    Cheer,
    Chu Hy

  2. ria says:

    Hi Janis, nice blog. Really helpful.

    Do you think if I contact 126 Mansion for contact info on the private coach you used, they will help out even if I’m not staying in their place?

    I have two seniors ๐Ÿ™‚ my mom and dad with me when we visit seoul so private coach is preferred. Thanks

    • janiscooking says:

      Hi Ria, I’m not sure if they can do that if you’re not a guest at 126 Mansion but you may want to give it a try. At any rate, there are many taxi services at the arrival station so you can arrange your pick-up service needs there.

      I have moved to http://www.janiscooking.com. Please visit my new blog for updates including my posts about my next visit to Seoul.

      Cheers,
      Jan

  3. Sylvi says:

    Hi! I am going to Korea this 11th March and was wondering how is the temperature? Was it still super cold? Should pack up only winter clothing? Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • janiscooking says:

      Hi Sylvi, we went there in March 21 of last year and it’s still considered winter weather. Temp ranges from -2 to 10deg. It even snowed and rained while we were there. Would suggest you get a weather app, I think I got Swackett, and bring winter clothes. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. guen says:

    hello we’re planning to go to nami in the morning on friday Feb 8..do you think we can do it half of the day…we are going by itx…thanks hope to hear from you soon…

    • janiscooking says:

      Hi Guen, I’m afraid it’s not possible to do everything in half a day. You’ll probably need at least until 3pm to go to Nami, explore the island, lunch, then get back to Seoul. Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip and stay safe!

  5. Dya says:

    wow…nice panorama. did you guys go there with a tour guide? some people say, you got to have tour guide to go in. i am so going to nami island.. i’ll be going there late Nov. can’t wait.

    • janiscooking says:

      hi, we didn’t go there with a tour guide. our Seoul trip was all DIY ๐Ÿ™‚ you don’t need a tour guide to go in. just pick a map at the information office at the entrance. nami island is beautiful all year round, i can imagine the colors of autumn when you go there. enjoy!

  6. Bi says:

    Hi Jan, thank you very for your time! I really appreciate it. By the way, Do you think senior citizen would like to visit Petite France? And, do you think it is possible to get a hostel or hotel in Nami Island without reservation when we get there? Thank you again!

  7. Bi says:

    And, also do you think its advisable to buy Korean won here before to go or just simply bring dollar and exchange it there? I was thinking it might be cheaper to buy here in Manila. What do you think? Thank you again. I appreciate it!

    • janiscooking says:

      It’s hard to exchange either Philippine peso or US dollar in Manila but don’t worry. You can exchange Philippine peso at the airport. You can exchange US dollar/Japanese yen at the airport or at any bank/forex you’ll find in Seoul (you can even exchange US dollars in Nami Island).

  8. Bi says:

    Thank you, Janis! by the way, do you think half day tour is enough for Nami Island? Can I get a ticket in Insadong at least 1 day before the visit to Nami Island? Is friend can help us to get a private couch for 4? And, do you think its easy to travel to Petite France from Nami for those who cannot speak korean? I hope you can help me again. God Bless ๐Ÿ™‚

    • janiscooking says:

      Hi, it might be too tight to squeeze in 1/2 day for Nami Island but it’s doable if you get a private van or coach. If you’re taking the bus to Nami though, 1/2 day might not be enough because the return trip is usually after 2pm (I think aroud 4pm). But in case you really decide to take the bus, yep you have to reserve for your tickets at least 1 day in advance. I don’t think my friend can help you with van reservations unless you’re a guest of their hotel but I’m sure you can always ask for help from the info desk of wherever you’re staying. As for Petit France, yes! It’s near Nami so you can go there right after (although we didn’t do that); you can ask for directions from the Nami information desk at the entrance.

  9. B says:

    Hi Janis, I just like to ask how to avail the senior citizen discount in Korea? What do I need to bring/provide for proof?
    Looking forward for your response. God Bless.

    • janiscooking says:

      Hello there, thanks for stopping by. Just bring any senior citizen ID issued in your city or country. In Nami Island, we just showed the passports and senior citizen ID. In N Seoul Tower, they just looked at our companions’ faces ๐Ÿ˜›

  10. Verna says:

    There’s a UNICEF train that runs between the entrance of the island to the central station in the main square. just 2000KRW per ride.

  11. Sugel says:

    You will need to hop on a ferry to get onto the island, it takes around 7 minutes. Then, a long walk before you get to the highlight of this place. Surrounded with fantastic scenery, it’s a can’t-miss destination for photographers and lovers.

  12. Tina says:

    hello..
    thank u for sharing..
    me and my family plan to go to nami island in december.. can i have the web of Private coach to Nami Island or the contact number?
    Thank you..

    • janiscooking says:

      hi tina, you’re welcome and thanks for dropping by ๐Ÿ™‚ i wasn’t able to get the number of the private coach that brought us to Nami Island. but it’s from the same company that provided us airport vans that picked us up and brought us back to the airport. i believe my friend from 126 Mansion contacted them from the airport service. when we arrived at the airport in Incheon, i noticed that there are lots of private car rental companies smack right in the middle of the arrival station. you may want to check this link: http://www.airport.kr/airport/facility/efalicityInfo.iia?carId=25&facilityId=83. better yet, if you haven’t booked a place to stay in, you may want to consider 126 Mansion and my friend Hyunchung will be able to help you with your itinerary and transpo needs. cheers!

  13. mercadee says:

    The island is small, but quite pretty, perfect to relax for a while and spend the afternoon walking around a beautiful scenery. Now there is a shuttle bus that goes directly from Insadong to Namiseom for around 15,000 KRW the round-trip (more info here ), a bit expensive, but probably the most convinient way to get there for tourists, as it is not easy to get there by conventional bus or train (for instructions, check here ).

    • janiscooking says:

      thanks for dropping by. i agree that it’s a small island but very pretty. we weren’t able to take the bus that leaves from insadong/tapgol park. i heard that one’s convenient but you gotta book your tickets in advance and not on the day of your intended travel. i would have loved to take the trains but my companions may not be comfortable with it. at the end of the day, we still enjoyed the convenience of a private coach and loved our nami island experience ๐Ÿ™‚

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