Early Saturday morning, on our 3rd day in Korea, we made our way to Tagpol Park near Insadong for the shuttle bus straight to Gapyeong Wharf. The bus leaves Insadong at 9:30 am so make sure to be there before 9:20 am. There are a few options to go to Nami Island, but we chose to take the shuttle bus so we can still sleep on the way, and that there would be less transits. Take note that the tickets for the shuttle bus needs to be purchased before-hand, and if you want to go the following day you probably won’t be able to get slots. I bought the tickets on my first day while I was wasting away my afternoon since their Seoul main office is in Insadong. More information can be found here. (update: Try this link and this link to book for the shuttle bus online and make online payment.)
We purchased the one-way bus ticket plus the entrance to Nami Island for 15,000 Won (7500 Won-bus; 8000 Won-Entry ticket + Ferry). We didn’t want to take the bus going back to Insadong because we were still planning to go to Petit France and the bus leaves Gapyeong Wharf at 4:00 pm.
Other options to go to Nami Island are as follows:
1. By Subway:
– Make your way to Cheongpyeong Station of the Gyeongchun Line. Exit through exit 2 and look for the terminal for the ‘Gapyeong Tourist Shuttle Bus’. It’s a hop-on bus, and for a fee of 5,000 Won you can ride to and from the 10 destinations among its route:
Of course we only used this bus going to Petite France from Nami Island, then Petite France to Gapyeong Bus Terminal. It is important to note the timing because the bus only pass by each stop once every hour. Brochures are available at any tourist information centers within Gapyeong, and there you can find the bus timing schedule. Pay to the bus driver the fee and keep the ticket as it is your pass to ride this bus within the day.
2. Shuttle Bus (From Seoul to Namiseom Island)
* Bus Stop
1) Insa-dong (Jonggak Station, Subway Line 1, Exit 3): Next to Tapgol Park
2) Jamsil Station (Subway Line 2, Exit 4): In front of Lotte Mart
* Shuttle Bus Schedule:
Insa-dong, Jamsil Station → Namiseom Island: 09:30
Namiseom Island → Insa-dong, Jamsil Station: 16:00
※ Advanced reservation required (Inquiries +82-2-753-1247)
From Gapyeong Bus Terminal or Gapyeong Station, take a taxi to Namiseom parking lot. (Travel time: 10-15 min)
Take the ferry from Namiseom Dock to Namiseom Island. (Travel time: 5-6 min)
If you are feeling a bit adventurous, instead of taking the ferry, why not take the Namiseom Zip Wire? It’s not so bad since you will be in a sitting position, there is less queue and you will get to the Island in less than 2 minutes. The fee is 38,000 Won, more expensive compared to taking the ferry but I would definitely try this on my next visit.
Nami Island is yet another tourist destination in Korea and no trip to Seoul will be complete without visiting this place. NamiIsland, Namiseom or Naminara Republic declared its cultural independence in 2006. It has its own national flag, anthem, passport, postage stamps, telephone cards, written characters, papers, and currency. The entrance fee of 8,000 Won includes the ‘Visa’ to enter to NamiIsland. They aim to preserve the natural setting which is why you won’t see any cables around the area, all are underground. But more importantly, this island was popularized by the Korean drama “Winter Sonata” which stars really famous Korean actors and actresses. The tree lined paths are a sight for the eyes, and this place would be beautiful at any given season. I swear to return to this place in either Spring (cherry blossoms!) or Autumn, heck I bet it will look beautiful in Summer too!
There are a few restaurants inside varying from local cuisines to Chinese and Italian cuisines. There is also a museum specially dedicated to the Korean drama ‘Winter Sonata’. Bike rentals are also available, as well as play area for kids. Half a day is not enough to be able to roam around the whole area, we only covered 1/4 of it! My sister said it would be nice to ride a bike to be able to reach end to end as it would be tiring to do on foot. Hence, I shall return! 😀
After another ferry ride back to Gapyeong Wharf, we made our way to the Gapyeong Tourist Shuttle bus terminal beside the 711 store and boarded the bus to Petite France. It took around 20-30 minutes drive, and the bus didn’t stop along the way since all the passengers seemed to be heading in the same location.
Petite France is another tourist destination made famous by Korean dramas such as the one I’ve mentioned in my previous post. Another name for this place is Little Prince Village which contains a memorial hall for Saint-Exupery, the author of the celebrated French novel, Le Petit Prince. There are public performances and indoor puppet shows, although we weren’t able to see any. The entrance fee is 8,000 Won and you can get a discount by printing the coupon found in this link.
After roaming around we decided to leave the village, 1 or 2 hours is enough to explore the village. We took the shuttle bus to Gapyeong Terminal and took the subway from the Gapyeong Station back to our hostel.
For those asking, below is the schedule of the Gapyeong Tour Bus.