I’m back! Life does get a bit in the way of blogging (sometimes – haha). Nevertheless, I am here to continue with the fun (mis)adventures and some bloops we’ve had in Korea during our trip last November. (2017)
Any itinerary for Seoul or Korea is not complete without the ever famous Nami Island and the nearby attractions in Gapyeong. Made famous by the Korean drama Winter Sonata, Nami Island has enjoyed a continuous stream of tourists whatever season it is in. Personally, I think this place is best in early autumn, with all the reds, oranges, and yellows of fall foliage. Many other K-dramas have been filmed in its surrounding areas (as included in this itinerary), and so there is definitely no shortage of *kilig* feels (there’s no other word for it – I suppose in English, it’s that feeling of being excited and a certain familiarity with the location).
DAY 4 ITINERARY: GAPYEONG DAY TOUR (NAMI ISLAND, PETITE FRANCE)
First off our day 4 itinerary is Nami Island (Namiseom – 남이섬). Make sure to start the day early because this is already outside of Seoul, and allowances have to be made for traveling. The train, “tour” bus, and ferry leave at specific times (for the bus, it is normally with 30 mins-1 hour gaps) so be ready to wait if you miss any of them. Plus, if you don’t want to miss the Garden of Morning Calm (supposedly the last destination in our day 4 itinerary), either be early or make that the first in your itinerary.
From Gangnam, we took the subway and got off Gapyeong Station on the Gyeongchun line. Outside the train station is a bus stop, which offers a “tour” of the surrounding areas in Gyeonggi-do. Bus tickets are at KRW 6,000 for the entire day – meaning you only have to buy the bus tickets once for the day as long as it is for this “tour” – no matter if the next bus you’ll be getting on is a different one. Nami Island is the second stop of the trip (first stop is the rail bike).
Travel tip: Take note of departure and arrival times for this bus! Better yet, take a photo of the posted schedule on the bus stop, sync your watch, and make allowances for the boat ride and walk to the bus stop so you won’t miss it. Korea is also famous for being on time – so is their public transportation, so make sure to be there on the dot. We missed the bus by about 5-10 mins going to our next destination, because we forgot to take a photo of the schedule and was so sure it will be leaving at the time we remembered. Boy, were we so wrong.
It’s a few minutes walk to the ferry when you get off the bus. If you did get here later in the day (or after you explore Nami Island, while waiting for the next bus to take you to the next destination), there are many restaurants where you can have your fill of delicious Korean food! I was not able to take a snap of the restaurant where we ate, but I got the next best thing – a photo of our food (LOL)!
The ferry was quick, taking about 5 minutes from departure to arrival points. Ferry price is at KRW 8,000 per head and paid in a counter before boarding. There’s no mistaking that you’re in Nami Island when you get off the boat. There are welcoming signs at various points in the entrance. Feel free to roam around the island, and make sure to come back with time to spare for the next destination in our itinerary.
Remember when I said to take note of the time when the bus arrives and leaves? Yes, that’s because we missed it by 5-10 minutes! The next bus arrives less than an hour later, but we don’t have enough time left to cover the rest of our itinerary if we wait (and are running out of sunlight) so we decided to take a taxi to our next destination: Petite France (쁘띠프랑스). We hailed a cab, asked how much it will cost to take us there and got in the taxi when we agreed with the price. The driver wasn’t wrong with his estimated cost (we initially thought it was a bit too expensive – a common experience in our home country), and drove us well to our destination. Funny though, that the bus we were supposed to take was still unloading passengers by the time we arrived.
In case you follow our itinerary and are able to take the bus (hopefully you do – don’t do it like we did and spend more Won than necessary!), Petite France is the next stop from Nami Island (approximately 20-25 minutes travel time).
Petite France is a small village-like attraction, inspired by The Little Prince thus, all the French-themed references. Petite France is open all year round, from 9 am to 6 pm on Sundays to Thursdays, and 9 am to 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Entrance fee is at KRW 8,000 for adults. (its price has been changed to KRW 10,000 from 2018)
When we were done exploring Petite France (and it was already dark), we lined up at the bus stop to take us to another stop in our itinerary: Garden of Morning Calm. We got on the bus, which ultimately stopped at Cheongpyeong Station (second stop from Petite France). The bus driver asked us where we intended to go, and when we said Garden of Morning Calm, he informed us that the garden is already closed for the day. We got off the bus and went into the station. When I checked our planned itinerary notes upon entering the train station, I was able to confirm that the garden does close upon sunset.
Travel tip: DO NOT FORGET to check the opening and closing times of the places you intend to visit. We had a number of lapses on this day, including checking the time the garden closes.
Sadly, our Gapyeong day tour concludes here. While it was not the most number of places we have been to in a day (you have read our Kpop day, right??), we were able to get beautiful photos and have a breath of fresh air!
ADDITIONAL ITEM FOR ITINERARY:
As I have mentioned earlier, Garden of Morning Calm is definitely a must see when touring the Gapyeong area (I was really looking forward to this). If you are able to get here, there is a KRW 9,000 entrance fee according to my research. Next time, we will definitely be there earlier and be able to see the garden!
That’s it for day 4. Stay tuned for the next post, although I am sure it will be quite short like this one. Hopefully, though, it won’t take me another month to finish. 😉 As always, thank you for reading until the end of the post, and for the continuous stream of encouragement. Until next time!
Story by Justine Lim from J Day in a Life