Korea

How to Spend a Day in Gapyeong

With monsoon season now in full force, one of our biggest challenges each week is trying to find somewhere in the country where it isn’t raining. While winter is much kinder to us in the southern provinces, we definitely pay for it in the summer when walking to work feels like going on a multi-day rain-forest hike. To escape this stifling summer humidity we headed North to a place we’ve been wanting to go to for a while- Gapyeong.

Located just 40 minutes outside of Seoul, Gapyeong has a lot to offer weekend day-trippers. For such a tiny area there is so much to do and see. Really, you could spend a few days there and without getting bored. However, for those of us who are pushed for time in our precious weekends, here’s how to see the best of the area in just a day!


Nami Island

How to Spend a Day in Gapyeong

Of all the attractions in Gapyeong, this is probably the most famous. Nami Island is well known as the filming location for the popular K-Drama, Winter Sonata. All over the island, you’ll see cute references to the films and young couples in matching outfits queueing up to take romantic pictures together.

For those of you who aren’t quite as romantic as that, or who don’t really have a clue about anything K, don’t worry! The island is the perfect place to spend the afternoon, cycling through the tree-lined paths and admiring the perfect scenery. We really didn’t want to leave!

Check out my 5 Reasons to Visit Nami Island here!

Time Needed:

Nami Island is much bigger than I expected- you could easily spend at least 2 hours here if you want to see the whole place. You can even stay the night here! We only stayed for 3 hours as we wanted to move on, but we could definitely have made a day of it.

Admission Fee:

8,000 KRW for Foreigners/ 10,000 KRW for Koreans

Note:

If you want to go to all the spots on my itinerary in a day, I would suggest getting lunch at one of the many restaurants near the Nami Island ferry terminal. There aren’t many places around the next 2 stops so you’ll be forced to either eat inside the attractions (expensive) or feast on snacks at the convenience store to keep your energy up (like we did.) I wouldn’t recommend either!


Le Petite France

How to Spend a Day in Gapyeong

While this definitely wasn’t my favourite stop of the day, Le Petite France is still somewhere worth seeing if you’re in the area- especially if you’re a big fan of The Little Prince. Wander through the colourful streets and enjoy the beutiful lake views from the top. You can even catch a puppet show if you’re lucky!

Time Needed:

Don’t spend more than an hour here. There’s not a whole lot to see, but it’s a nice place to stretch your legs nonetheless.

Admission Fee:

8,000 KRW

To be honest, this did feel overpriced to us so if you’re on a really tight budget you could easily miss it out without losing too much sleep.


Garden of the Morning Calm

How to Spend a Day in Gapyeong

Saving the best till last here! Garden of the Morning Calm is one of the loveliest places I’ve ever visited in Korea. It sounds weird to say but one of the things I miss most about home is the abundance of green spaces. This definitely filled that grassy void in my life!

Walking through the gardens, you will come across a huge range of flowerbeds as well as ponds, streams, pavilions, pagodas and bonsai trees. The air here is some of the freshest I have experienced in Korea. I would definitely recommend a trip here as a remedy for anyone really needing to escape their city.

Time Needed:

We spent about 2 hours there, both relaxing by the stream and wandering around the gardens. You could easily spend more or less time than this. I could easily have spent a half day enjoying the park-like atmosphere in the sun. If you’re not that way inclined you could rush through it in under an hour.

Admission Fee:

8,000 KRW


Chuncheon Dalk Galbi Street

How to Spend a Day in Gapyeong

It would be a shame to come to Gapyeong without having a taste of the region’s most famous dish- Dalk Galbi. Jump on the ITX to Chuncheon and head to the famous Dalk Galbi Street. This small alleyway is full of competing dalk galbi restaurants- you’ll definitely have a hard time choosing one! Take your pick and don’t forget to order a bowl of the region’s other famous dish, mak guksu (buckwheat iced noodles with spicy sauce and vegetables.)

Cost:

The standard price for dalk galbi is about 11,000 KRW per person- cheese dalk galbi is only slightly more expensive. We paid under 30,000 KRW for cheese dalk galbi and mak guksu between 2 people.


Getting Around

Gapyeong City Bus

The Gapyeong City Bus picks passengers up at Gapyeong Bus Terminal, Gapyeong Station, Cheongpyeong Station and Cheongpyeong Bus Terminal.

An all day ticket for the bus costs 6,000 KRW and will take you to all the major attractions in the area. I’m usually a bit wary of tour buses but this one is hop-on-hop-off so you are free to do your own things and spend as much time as you like at each site. The bus comes every half an hour.

City Bus Route

Gapyeong Intercity Bus Terminal → Gapyeong Station → Jaraseom Island → Gapyeong Rail Bike → Namiseom Island → Petite France →Cheongpyeong Bus Terminal →Cheongpyeong Station (Sin Cheongpyeong Station) →  The Garden of Morning Calm

Buses run from 9am- 6pm

Getting to Gapcheon

The most popular way to get to Gapyeong is via the ITX from Seoul Yongsan station. The ITX only takes 58 minutes and costs around 6,000 KRW.

It’s also possible to take a bus to Gapyeong Bus Terminal from Seoul, Incheon and other cities in the Gyeonggi and Gangwon area.


Gapyeong is definitely one of the most underrated places I’ve been to in Korea so far. There is so much to do and I feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface!

If you’re looking to escape busy city life, or just experience a new place in Korea, Gapyeong is definitely worth considering as your next weekend trip!

 

Gapyeong

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P.S- Looking for more weekend trip inspiration? Consider these fab places:

Let me know, have you ever visited Gapyeong? What was your favourite attraction?

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Samantha | There She Goes Again
    14th July 2016 at 2:14 pm

    This is awesome! I only got to see La Petite France last time I went, and I’m dyin’ to see the Garden of the Morning Calm and Nami Island. Going to keep this pinned for my next trip!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      14th July 2016 at 4:06 pm

      Nice! You’re gonna have a busy few months 😊 The Garden of Morning Calm and Nami are both well worth the long journey North!

  • Reply
    Megan Indoe
    14th July 2016 at 2:36 pm

    We love love love this area! We weren’t big fans of Petite France either, I felt like it was really expensive for what it was. The view was gorgeous though! Our favorite has to be the garden of morning calm, no matter what time of year you go it’s just beautiful! Also, dak galbi is our favorite korean food! So that’s always a plus! I really hope we can make a day trip there before we leave!
    Megan Indoe recently posted…Road to 42K Month 11My Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      14th July 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Yeah, the view totally made up for it! Would love to go back to the Garden of Morning Calm in a different season. Dak Galbi is so yummy, and the mak guk su was good too! When are you guys leaving?

  • Reply
    Wendy
    15th July 2016 at 9:58 am

    This is always a go-to area. Beautiful always. My favorite time is Fall. All those various colors of the leaves, just breathtaking! And yes, who leaves Chuncheon without eating Dak Galbi hahaha. Intimidatingly big but sans leftover… all the time!
    Wendy recently posted…Iloilo: Suman LatikMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:25 am

      I would love to visit in Fall to see all the leaves, must be beautiful. If only I lived closer!

  • Reply
    Emre
    16th July 2016 at 11:53 pm

    I’ve been in the area right next to Nami Island in a gorgeous pension, but haven’t been to the island yet. Maybe I should go back in fall. Le Petite France would be cool if you bring people who want to model in a photoshoot or something. Otherwise, I would skip it I think.
    Emre recently posted…Bojeongdong Cafe StreetMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:24 am

      I imagine that Nami Island would be beautiful in fall with all the changing leaves. Hope you get the chance to visit!

  • Reply
    Hanani
    17th July 2016 at 1:14 am

    Great post! I’ve been wanting to visit these places, so this is definitely a great tip. Petit France looks lovely, but maybe I might just give it a miss. Will definitely pay Garden of the Morning Calm a visit!!! 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:25 am

      Hey Hanani!

      I would definitely recommend the Garden of Morning Calm 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura Nalin
    17th July 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I LOVE GAPYEONG. My boyfriend and I used to go there all the time, though I find that house they just built to be a bit too kitschy. I’m all about the nature there, though! I also don’t really like Le Petit France and wouldn’t recommend it. I do recommend Nami Island which is near! Thanks for sharing!
    Laura Nalin recently posted…The Best Pizza in Southeast AsiaMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:23 am

      Aww lucky, I wish I lived close enough to visit all the time! I loved the nature there, was so nice not to be in a polluted city anymore. And totally agree- yay to Nami Island, nay to Petit France!

  • Reply
    Shirgie Scf
    17th July 2016 at 7:47 pm

    I have made an itinerary on how to visit these three amazing places in Gapyeong in just one day via the Gapyeong Tour Bus. I posted it on my blog including the time frame and the cost. Since Gapyeong is far from Seoul, I think it’s really best to recommend people to make the most out of their stay there by visiting all three places. Some people just go to Nami Island as it is I think the most popular one.
    Shirgie Scf recently posted…Beach, Train Station, Rail Bike, Sunrise Park and More at JeongdongjinMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:22 am

      Thanks Shirgie, I’ll check out your post! 🙂

  • Reply
    Alla Ponomareva
    18th July 2016 at 8:32 am

    Never been to any of these places, but will definitely keep them in mind. Especially Dalk Galbi Street in Chuncheon, since it’s one of my favorite dishes.
    Alla Ponomareva recently posted…If you find yourself in Libby, MontanaMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:21 am

      Dalk Galbi is soo good! I find it hard to find good restaurants so I felt spoiled having a whole street of them!

  • Reply
    Gina
    18th July 2016 at 10:01 am

    I’ve been wanting to go to Le Petite France for so long! I love the story of The Little Prince and my favorite Kdrama, My Love From the Star was filmed there! <3
    Gina recently posted…Teaching at an English Village in KoreaMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:20 am

      Aww you should definitely go and take loads of cute Little Prince pictures! 🙂

  • Reply
    Izzy
    18th July 2016 at 11:58 am

    My hagwon took us on a staff excursion to Gapyeong and I got to see the Garden of the Morning Calm and Nami Island. I remember Megan and Scott did a great post on Le Petite France. They were also unimpressed with the place too. I loved Nami Island though. All the sculptures plus biking around the island made it such a fun trip! 🙂
    Izzy recently posted…Wanderlist: VietnamMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:19 am

      That’s so lucky you went on such a cool trip with your hagwon! Nami Island is great, I wish that we had rented bikes out too 🙂

  • Reply
    Liz
    18th July 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Gapyeong sounds fantastic! I’ve fallen in love with Busan and the south in general, but this is a pretty good reason to fly into Seoul again next time I’m in South Korea. Garden of the Morning Calm sounds like an absolutely wonderful place. 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:18 am

      Hey Liz!

      Busan and the South are so different from the rest of the country- it’s much more laidback and there are a lot more natural places to explore. Saying that, outside of Seoul there are so really great places with similar vibes. I would recommend you to visit the Gangwon province- so many mountains and national parks! The Garden of Morning Calm is lovely. I hope you get a chance to visit one day!

  • Reply
    Roxy Hutton
    18th July 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Hi Nicole! You have a beautiful blog!
    I also LOVED Gapyeong! There is so much to see and do there, Nami Island must be one of my favourite places in Korea.
    I also love how you’ve included how much time to spend in in each place as that’s something one doesn’t think about when traveling to places.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:16 am

      Hey Roxy!

      Thanks so much, that’s so sweet 🙂 Nami Island is such a nice place, I kept saying to my boyfriend that I didn’t think I was in Korea anymore! Really want to go back there and see all the other things that we missed this time round!

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    Chelsea Brady
    19th July 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Nami Island and Petite France look wondrous! Although I live a ways away (Busan), these images motivate me to make the day trip. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:07 am

      Hey Chelsea,

      I live in Changwon, just outside of Busan, so it was a bit of a trek for me too! It was well worth it though 🙂

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