Korea

5 Reasons to Visit Nami Island

Nami Island

When Veeran and I went on a day trip to Gapyeong last month, Nami Island was the highlight of the day. Originally we were a little bit apprehensive about visiting since Nami Island is extremely famous for being the filming location of the popular K-Drama, Winter Sonata. Regular readers will probably know that I’m not the biggest fan of busy attractions in Korea! However, despite the crowds, we ended up absolutely loving it! We both felt like Nami Island was totally unique to anywhere that we’ve visited in Korea. Here’s why.


It’s an Independent Country!

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When you arrive at the ferry port to take you to Nami Island, you’ll notice that there is an immigration counter. Don’t worry, you don’t need your passport! To help boost tourism, Nami Island declared itself a republic state and the island now has it’s own passports, currency and national flag! You can even send a postcard home with the national “Nami” stamp on it. Although this isn’t enforced very strictly, it’s still a cute little unusual quirk.


Beauty & Nature

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I absolutely love Korea’s cities. But let’s be honest. The heavy pollution isn’t exactly pleasurable. And they’re not exactly the most picturesque places in the world either….

The rich nature in Nami Island provided me with a much needed escape from Korean city life. I loved chilling out near the lake and wandering through the sequoia lined streets. Plus, there was not a single overground electricity wire in sight! This might not sound like a big deal but, if you’ve lived in Korea for a while, you’ll definitely notice this! I felt like I was ACTUALLY in another country.


Romance

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When I told one of my co-workers that I was visiting Nami Island the first thing he said was- “ah, there are many couples there.” Jeez, he was not wrong! I’ve not seen that many couples since the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival! This is a bit of a creepy thing to admit but I really love observing Korean dating culture. It’s so different to what we’re used to in The UK and I find lots of the practices both cute and intriguing.

Nami Island was the perfect place for “couple watching.”I spotted so many couples in matching outfits (awwww!) queuing to get their photos taken where the main characters from Winter Sonata had their first kiss. I loved all the little references to Winter Sonata around the island. Even though I’m not familiar with the drama, the message was still the same.


Inclusiveness

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One of my favourite things about Nami Island was the feeling of inclusiveness and acceptance for other cultures. Having a sign saying welcome in various languages, and different countries flags on display might not seem like a bit deal to most people- but it’s a rare sight to see in Korea.

Nationalism is a complex issue that I won’t talk about in too much detail here. (See here instead.) The people of Korea are extremely proud of their country, and they have good reason to be, too. Korea has developed really quickly since its days as a third world country. However, sometimes these feeling of pride are manifested in messages of hate. I know that for the majority of foreigners, this is one part of the culture that can be difficult to deal with.

It would be really amazing if the message of love and inclusiveness that I witnessed on Nami Island could spread to the rest of the mainland. I really hope that, with all the money that’s being invested into educating today’s youth, this could be a sign of things to come for Korea.


Creativity

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Art lovers and photographers will have a field day at Nami Island. I’ve talked before about how I love finding little pockets of creativity in Korea, and I was definitely satisfied at Nami! Everything on the island seemed to have been thoughtfully designed and have an aesthetic purpose. Every corner I turned around I was surprised by statues, murals and quaint little tea houses. It actually took us so long to walk around it because we wanted to take photos of everything! Make sure you charge your cameras. 🙂


Even though Nami Island isn’t officially it’s own country, it definitely feels like it’s own unique little utopia, barely a stones throw away from busy Seoul. For anyone wanting to escape busy city life and enjoy some nature and creativity, I highly recommend a trip to Nami Island.

If you’re going to make a weekend of it, don’t miss my guide on all the other attractions in  Gapyeong. Why not squeeze in a day in Suwon too?

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think is the most romantic place in Korea!

Nami Island

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Megan Indoe
    5th August 2016 at 7:38 pm

    We absolutely LOVE Gapyeong! It’s seriously one of our go to places on the weekends we have no plans. We are actually contemplating going the day before we leave Korea! We love Nami and Garden of the Morning Calm the best! I want to go back just for the dak galbi alone! My ONLY pet peeve with Nami would have to be that stupid ferry. It seems so wasteful, not only does it waste my time to have to wait in a line to ride a boat a distance that I could doggy paddle in 3 minutes, but I mean it’s such a short distance it seem very environmentally friendly haha. They really should just build a foot bridge! All three times we’ve been to Nami we always end up in a 40 min wait to take the boat back…. haha anyways other than that boat I freaking love the place! Thanks for sharing, perhaps it will inspire us to go back right before we leave!
    Megan Indoe recently posted…17 Stories about Random Acts of Kindness from All over the WorldMy Profile

  • Reply
    Shirgie Scf
    5th August 2016 at 8:46 pm

    6. The statue of the lovers in the Korean Drama Winter Sonata
    7. BIKING

    Ok fine, I understand it’s just 5, but there are a lot more reasons why we have to visit. After all, you’ve never been to Korea unless you’ve been to Nami Island. I want to go back to this island soon, at least before I go home.

  • Reply
    Cate
    5th August 2016 at 9:20 pm

    This is really cool! Do they have nice beaches?

  • Reply
    Meagan | HappilyEverExpat.com
    6th August 2016 at 2:55 am

    Nami Island is sooo dreamy in the fall too. The fall colors are amazing. I’m with Megan. Nami Island and Garden of the Morning Calm are definitely worth the trip to Gapyeong.

  • Reply
    Laura Nalin
    7th August 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Great post! I loved visiting Nami Island. My boyfriend and I did a Nami Island/Gapyeong/Chuncheon long weekend and had a great time. I found it a bit hilarious that so many people flock to the site of the K-drama, though!
    Laura Nalin recently posted…A Guide for Expats Moving to New ZealandMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      12th August 2016 at 8:47 pm

      Thanks! That island is a fab place to visit, I wish I lived closer so that I could go more often. Hahaha yeah all the winter sonata stuff made me laugh- folk love a good K-Drama location!

  • Reply
    Samantha | There She Goes Again
    7th August 2016 at 11:51 pm

    SO cute! I’m dyin’ to go to Nami Island in September or before I leave (basically a whole weekend out in Gapyeong!). I’ve always vaguely known of it via K-dramas, but the more pictures I see, the more I’m dying to go!
    Samantha | There She Goes Again recently posted…20 Photos to Make You Fall in Love with Traditional KoreaMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      12th August 2016 at 8:43 pm

      I could easily have spent a whole weekend in Gapyeong, it’s a beautiful area! Nami Island is so much cuter than I expected it to be! Hope you have an amazing time. I can’t wait to see all your pics when you do go! 🙂

  • Reply
    Alla Ponomareva
    8th August 2016 at 7:10 am

    If only Nami and Gapyeong were a little closer to Daejeon…As a photographer, I’ll definitely keep this post in mind during a free weekend – looks like a perfect getaway! Thanks!
    Alla Ponomareva recently posted…Smyrna, Delaware breweriesMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      12th August 2016 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks Alla! I live in Changwon, outside Busan, so it was a bit of a trek for me. Well worth it though. We made a weekend out of it and visited Suwon as well- we really enjoyed both areas. Most of the times that we head up north we go to Seoul, so it was good to see some other cities in the area!

  • Reply
    don
    8th August 2016 at 9:04 pm

    I really like Nami island. It’s a very nice place to relax and enjoy the scenery!
    It definitely is a nice break from the city.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      12th August 2016 at 8:37 pm

      I agree, it’s a lovely place! Totally different vibe from the city!

  • Reply
    Jackie
    9th August 2016 at 1:37 am

    Great post! Surprised you didn’t include the biking though and the famous chicken. That’s usually my first reasons to go there haha 🙂
    Jackie recently posted…A Bilingual Korean’s First Day in a Chinese-English KindergartenMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      12th August 2016 at 8:37 pm

      Thanks Jackie! We never ate dalk galbi in Nami Island, it seemed kinda overpriced at the restaurants- we decided to head for Chuncheon Dalk Galbi Alley instead- you should definitely go there! It’s like chicken heaven lol. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

  • Reply
    Wendy
    13th August 2016 at 1:13 am

    Nami is ♥! I am fascinated with the marketing success of the island. It’s now beyond the Winter Sonata influence for it has evolved into a brilliant tourism strategy. I’ll keep going back. I’ll nake sure that the next time would be middle of Fall to see all those golden, yellow and reddish leaves.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      23rd August 2016 at 6:49 pm

      Me too! I love Autumn in Korea, I think that would be the perfect time to visit Nami Island! 🙂

  • Reply
    Matt Collamer
    30th August 2016 at 10:32 am

    Nice! I didn’t even know about this place…it seems like and awesome spot to visit. I liked what you said about the inclusiveness…I think that can be an issue in Korea. Also, the couple culture here is crazy! I can’t really get behind the matching outfits haha…creeps me out a bit but different strokes for different folks, I suppose. Awesome article!

  • Reply
    How to Spend a Day in Gapyeong - Wee Gypsy Girl
    13th January 2017 at 10:15 am

    […] Check out my 5 Reasons to Visit Nami Island here! […]

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