Monday, December 16, 2013

Best of Korea: Namiseom Island (Naminara Republic), Chuncheon

I went to Nami Island for the 3rd time on my last visit to Korea a few weeks ago. It's not because I love it so much that I wanted to go again and again. It's just because every time I go there, I was with different people and they always want to go Nami Island. I guess it's a must visit for at least once if you ever go to Korea.



Creative Map of Nami Island
If you're still clueless as to why this island is so famous, let me give some introduction. It was the main shooting location of a popular Korean Drama called Winter Sonata, although it does have a history to it. I have to admit I've never seen the drama so I was clueless as well when I first went there. Regardless if you know or seen the drama, you'll enjoy the the island simply for its breathtaking sceneries. An interesting fact is that it is considered an independent territory called Naminara Republic. It's like entering a separate country altogether.
3rd visit: The ferry to Nami Island
2nd visit: The sign greeting you at the entrance
2nd visit: The entrance gate of Nami Island
To get there, you can either take a tour, higher a driver, take shuttle buses or travel yourself by train. The first and last time I went we followed a tour so it was all taken care of. The 2nd time I took the liberty of riding the train as we didn't want to waste a whole day there. Taking shuttle buses does have that limitation. You go at 9.30am but can only go back at 4pm. Riding the subway/train, you need to go to Gapyeong Station on the Gyeongchun Line. From there you could take a 5 minit taxi ride to Nami Island. Once at the dock, you'll need to purchase tickets for 10,000 won which includes the Ferry and entrance fee.
My first visit was at the end of January so you can imagine how cold it was. We even opted to hang out outside of the ferry to look at the surrounding. In the winter months, you'll probably won't get to see the beautiful leaves on the trees that lined all around the island. The 2nd and 3rd visit was at the end of Autumn so there were still colorful leaves to see although scarce. From the entrance, you'll need to walk a bit to go to the center of the island where most of the attractions are. There's lots of shops there as well. For muslims, there are prayer rooms available. There used to be a halal restaurant that serves Kimchi Fried Rice in tin boxes that you shake to mix the ingredients. However, now it has been turned into a TV studio by MBC. You can try your hands at being a news reporter there though.
3rd visit: The path leading to the center of the island
3rd visit: NaMBC studio. Have a go at being in front of the camera and
interview Yoo Jae Suk!
3rd visit: Some of the provocative statues decorating the island
The highlight of the island is of course the Metasequioa Lane (Hope I got that right). It's a pathway with trees lined straight on both sides. I guess it was one of the main location for the drama. Other locations include the table and bench where the main leads kiss, a statue of the main leads, a memorial for one of the main actors who passed away and a variety of museums and galleries. Walk around and take pictures. It's probably enough to go there once unless you want to see the color of the leaves during different seasons.
3rd visit: Winter Sonata Photo Gallery
3rd visit: An open library?2nd visit: Postcard worthy picture
3rd visit: Metasequoia Lane and I
Here's a short video:

I covered my first visit in my post here.

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