By Alvin S – When most people think of visiting South Korea, they think of exploring Seoul and all the shopping the city has to offer. But if you have the time and want to get more in touch with nature, you can always take a short train ride out from Seoul to Gapyeong/Nami Island.
While it’s possible to visit the key areas in a day, we would personally recommend staying there for 2D1N if time permits so visiting these tourist attractions wouldn’t feel as rush as it would. If you have the time, this is our recommended itinerary for a 48-hour trip to Gapyeong/Nami.
Nami Island 48 Hour Itinerary
About Gapyeong and Nami Island
How to Get to Nami Island
If you are departing from Seoul, we would recommend starting your day early as you would have to take the subway to either Cheongnyangni or Yongsan station and change to the privately run ITX trains to get to Gapyeong station (appx 60mins).
Once there, you can either board the tourist shuttle bus that covers various key attractions to get around Gapyeong, or if you’re looking for convenience, taking a taxi is also a viable option as one destination to the next isn’t very far.
There are plenty of beautiful pension houses located in Gapyeong, and if you do decide to do a stayover, it would be a good experience to stay one night in one of the pension houses.
One such example is the Chouette Pension, which offers an affordable cosy living environment. They offer you the opportunity to live like a local and it is located near several of our key attractions in our 48hrs itinerary, which included Petite France, Garden of Morning Calm, Nice Bowling alley, and more!
Once you have checked in and placed your luggage safely in the room, you are now ready to explore the beautiful area of Gapyeong.
Nami Island – Day 1
Morning: Petite France
If you are familiar with the story of the Little Prince (Le Petit Prince), you will fall in love with this little French cultural village inspired by the story of the Little Prince! Located atop a hillside, Petite France portrays an elegance of French themed houses, surrounded by beautiful flowers and stellar French artworks and musical boxes.
There are galleries that showcase various artworks and items relating to the French culture. You may also find gift shops that sell French souvenirs, and they even provide accommodations in the premise.
There is an Amphitheatre in the middle of Petite France, where they have periodic performances such as a French Puppet show or Mime acts. However, the show schedule is dependent on the weather as it is situated outdoors (So pray for good weather before you head over!).
Before you leave for the next destination, stop by the restaurant for a light snack or brunch.
Afternoon: Gangchon Rail Park
After exploring Petite France (which wouldn’t take more than 4 hours), hitch a cab and make your way to Gangchon Rail Park.
It is a pretty popular attraction for both locals and tourists alike. This one of a kind attraction lets you travel on the tracks of 70 year old railroads via a self pedaling rail bike. Tiring as it may sound, the trade off for a picturesque view of the Bukhangang River would make it all worthwhile.
CC 2.0 / RICO Lee
You start off at Gimyujeong Station and the entire journey consists of approximately an hour of pedaling on the rail bike. At the end of your self-paddling ride, you have a 20mins stop over to rest at the transfer station before boarding the romantic train that brings you to your final destination at Gangchon Station. From there, take the train to Chuncheon Station for your well deserved dinner!
Evening: Chuncheon Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street
When you arrive at Chuncheon Station, take Bus #63 and alight at the most famous shopping street in Chuncheon, the Chuncheon Myeong-dong Dakgalbi Street. Chuncheon is famous for its Dakgalbi and given the fact that there have always been plenty of poultry farms around the area, all the restaurants have access to fresh poultry. This makes the food prepared by the stalls really fresh and you definitely have to try the Dakgalbi before you leave!
CC 2.0 / Nagyman
Nami Island – Day 2
Morning: Garden of Morning Calm
CC 2.0 / Weli’mi’nakwan
Head to Gapyeong Station to board the tourist shuttle bus for the Garden of Morning Calm.
The Garden of Morning Calm sits on an amazing huge area, and is a very popular destination for photographers.
The garden was opened back in 1996, and it is the oldest private garden in the country. In there, you can imagine beautiful pathways decorated by carefully curated grass and flowers of magnificent colors, as well as various themed sections. There are also garden houses that showcases different variations of flowers and plants from around Korea.
Throughout the seasons, they have changing activities in the garden which you can check on the Korea Tourism Organization website. The peak periods in the garden would be between March to November where the flowers are in full bloom.
Stop by at the Good morning Café for a quick pick me up, and head back to the shuttle bus and make your way to Nami Island.
Afternoon: Nami Island
When you arrive at the Nami Island bus-stop, you can choose to take the ferry into Nami Island or if you’re more adventurous, take a zipline in! Either way, you’ll be taking the ferry out at the end of the day.
Nami Island, also known as Naminara Republic, is situated in the middle of the Han river and it was named after General Nami, who is a key figure in Korean history. If you are an avid Korean Drama fan, you would definitely know that this place is famed for its feature on the drama, Winter Sonata.
That aside, there are plenty of activities one can do in Nami Island other than exploring the island and taking photos of the famous tree lanes. There are museums and special performances during the weekends by the locals.
First, you can choose to explore the island either by renting a bicycle/motorized Segway or by foot on the nature trail for the budget conscious travellers.
You can find plenty of tree lanes planted with different types of trees all around Nami Island but the most famous tree lane would be the Gingko Tree Lane situated on the South side of the map, near the Happy Garden.
There is a fair selection of restaurants on the island but we personally recommend dining at Seomhyanggi for lunch! It has an outdoor setting Korean BBQ and it’s best to dine there during winter. However, do be prepared to squeeze with hoards of tourists and locals if you are visiting during the weekends!
Other interesting activity and must try is the 50 meters Bungee Jump situated right outside the Nami Island ferry terminal. Another highly raved dining place is Kko Kko Chuncheon Dakgalbi, which is located near the Nami Island ferry terminal, where you can get delicious Dakgalbi, if you missed visiting Chuncheon.
In addition, if time permits and if you’re looking for a group activity to do in the evening, you may consider heading to Nice Bowling Alley for a few games after dinner before heading back!
Tips for Visiting Nami Island
Book ITX tickets early
Tickets for the ITX have a fixed timing and can be sold out during the peak seasons. Hence, tickets to board the ITX may be difficult to purchase, so it is recommended that you book your tickets ahead of time and plan your journey accordingly.
Tourist Shuttle Bus
The tourist shuttle bus operates periodically on fixed timing, and if you purchase the ticket for one day, you get to ride on the bus for unlimited number of rides. Hence, with reference to our proposed 2D1N in Gapyeong, it is recommended to take a taxi to travel around for Day 1 and travel around by the shuttle bus on Day 2 instead as the bus covers The Garden of Morning Calm all the way to Nami Island directly and back to Gapyeong Station.