My boyfriend and I have wanted to explore more of Korea with our pup, but it was always a little difficult without a car. When my boyfriend decided to get his Korean drivers license it opened new doors for us and we took our first family trip to Jeju Island this past summer. Now that it’s Autumn we decided to go to Nami Island and take in some of that beautiful fall foliage.
Nami Island is a small, half moon shaped island located in Chuncheon. It’s formation was the result of the rising water of the North Han River caused by the construction of Cheongpyeong Dam (청평댐) back in 1944. On March 1, 2006, Nami Island declared its cultural independence from the Republic of Korea. The Naminara Republic has its own diplomatic and cultural policies. It even invented its own passport, currency, stamp and telephone card. When you purchase your entrance ticket, you are actually purchasing a temporary “visa.” The ticketing area is even labeled “immigration.” It was very exciting, like going on a trip without having to leave your own backyard.
The visa/entry ticket includes a round trip ferry ticket. They also allow dogs weighing 5kg or less on the island at no additional charge, which was one of the main drawing points for us. It only takes about 5 min to get to the island from the dock, but looking at the beautiful scenery really hyped us up for what lay ahead.
Once we disembarked, we found ourselves engulfed in a beautiful sea of red, yellow, orange and green topped trees. We were so overwhelmed we didn’t even know where to start, so we just began walking. As we strolled through the island we noticed that it appeared to be divided up into different “themes.” There were artistically inspired areas with sculptures and local art on display as well as areas more focused on nature, having only a few benches and pagodas to sit on and enjoy the view. Each walking path was also “themed” with its own type of tree like “Korea Pine Tree Lane,” “Metasequoia Lane” and “White Birch Lane” to name a few. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many different kinds of trees all in one place before. It was beautiful!
It seemed like everywhere we turned there was something to look at, whether it was gazing into a koi pond, making a wish and ringing a bell or taking pictures in the fallen leaves. Scattered throughout the island we found little open aired huts with shelves of books for any one who feels like curling up with a good read. The boyfriend certainly felt inspired to sit in one and do a quick sketch. Nami Island became particularly popular after being the filming site for the famous 2002 Korean drama, Winter Sonata. So, there were also photo zones set up for guests to recreate some of their favorite scenes.
One of my favorite things about the island is all the wildlife that is left to roam freely. We saw bunnies, ostriches, peacocks, Siberian chipmunks and red squirrels. All the animals seemed relatively comfortable around people and for the most part visitors would take a few pictures and leave them be. It was nice to be able to experience nature up close like that without cages. Apparently there are a lot more animals that we didn’t get to see like deer, turkeys, moles, and even black woodpeckers. It certainly leaves more for me to look forward to on out next visit.
As if the beautiful scenery weren’t enough, there are also different cafes and restaurants to refuel at after all that walking. We got to try a few things like lamb skewers, freshly streamed red bean buns and hotteok. I’d have to say out of everything we tried the hotteok was the best. Unlike typical hotteok which is fried, this one is grilled over charcoal giving it a crispy and chewy texture. It’s filled with honey and though I can’t put my finger on it, it just tastes better than any others I’ve tried.
As it grew darker, various paths were lit with lights and lanterns. There were also bonfires set up throughout the island to warm up around. It was a great way to end our trip. Theres a hotel, bungalow and a few cottages on the grounds to for overnight stays. So perhaps next time we’ll check that out. It’s certainly something to look forward to.
- Ferry Hours
- 7:30am~9:00am (every 30min)
- 9:00am~6:00pm (every 10~20min)
- 6:00pm~9:40pm (every 30min)
- Foreigners: ₩8,000
- Natives: ₩10,000
- Round-trip ferry fare & tax included
- 1024, Bukhangangbyeon-ro, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
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