If you are in Seoul and about to have an escape to somewhere more quiet, then Gapyeong is the perfect place for you. The city is surrounded by beautiful landscape, mountains and river. In winter, the city will be more beautiful as the snow covers. Gapyeong is not really far from Seoul, just about an hour train ride from the downtown Seoul. I went to Gapyeong to visit the famous Nami Island and Petite France.
For you the K-Drama lovers, you must be familiar about Winter Sonata. As for me, I remember this drama back when I was in elementary school, but never a fan. But I must be have take a look at this drama, because I remember that the drama’s screenplay was beautiful. Taken somewhere in the wintery South Korea and the location was just really dreamy.
As I grew up, I knew the drama was taken in Nami Island, South Korea. Now, Nami Island is now a popular tourist location in South Korea. So, when I was about to visit Seoul back in January, I know that I have to list Nami Island on my itinerary. Because I visited in winter, I really could experience the beautiful ‘winter’ Sonata.
Nami Island is located about 63 km from Seoul. It’s pretty far, but since public transportation in South Korea is very convenient, I prefer to took the train. From my hostel in Sookmyung Women’s Univ area, I have to take this route, Sookmyung Women’s Univ Station – Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station – Wangsimni Station – Mangu Station – Gapyeong Station. If I’m not mistaken, the trip was about 1.30 hr and I have to wait for the train in the freezing winter and trust me, it was really cold.
When I arrived in the Gapyeong Station, I immediately go to the bus stop and take the Gapyeong City Tour Shuttle Bus. The bus could take you back and forth to Nami Island, Petite France, The Garden of Morning Calm, and the other tourist spots. It cost about 6000 KRW. But if you just want to visit Nami Island, you could take the public bus or taxi.
Namiseom: The Romantic Island
After I hop off the bus in the Gapyeong Naru, I just go to the ticket box, or they called it Naminara Repulic Immigration. It cost 8000 KRW for foreigners and included round trip ferry fare. That day was pretty crowded, I have to wait about 10 mins to get on the ferry and didn’t find any available spot to sit inside. So, I just stand and enjoying the frozen lake view. Oh, a little information, if you an adrenaline junkie, you could took the zipwire from Gapyeong Naru to Namiseom Naru. It sounds really fun, right? But since I visited in winter, the zipwire isn’t really recommended, because you could freeze 😛
The ferry trip from Gapyeong to Nami was just about 15 mins and the view was amazing. After I arrived, I just walk around and explore the island. It was really cold, but I enjoyed my time there because everthing was just beautiful. I planned to take a bicycle, but I didn’t find any bike rental and no one was riding a bicycle. I took a lot of photos in the beautiful path surrounded by trees, in a colorful aisle, with traditional costume snowman, and so on.
I can’t even hold my inner child because there was an ice playground which consist of igloo and ice slide. It was so fun, sliding in the ice! I also play around in the frozen lake which had a lot of snow pile. So happy!
After walking around and playing, we decided to have some lunch in the Asian Family Restaurant. We choose the restaurant because it was halal and located in the center of the island. I had bulgogi with rice and rice with marinated beef, vegetable, and kimchi. It was freakin’ delicious!
I continue to walk around the island after lunch. It was even more beautiful as I walk. I found the Winter Sonato statue, the Ginkgo Tree Lane, and the Metasequoia Lane. If you visit the island, make sure to take a pic in those spots, okay? Nami Island for me was pretty and romantic.
Met Do Min Joon in Petite France
I spent a good 3.5 hours in the island and I realized that I have to move to my other destination, Petite France. Since I took the Gapyeong City Tour Shuttle Bus, I just have to show my ticket before to the bus driver. For about 15 mins, then I arrived at the Petite France.
I was so excited to visit Petite France, because I’m a fan of My Love From the Star drama and Petite France is one of their filming location. It is the location where Do Min Joon and Cheon Song Yi share their ‘alien’ kiss. Petite France is also known as the filming location of the famous Running Man series.
When I arrived, it was about 5 pm and there were not many people in there. As I entered, I immediately took a photo in front of the stairs where Min Joon and Song Yi kiss. They even have the couple photo banner! But if you don’t have any idea what My Love From the Star is, then Petite France is still a must visit place when you visit Gapyeong.
As I walked the place, I feel like I was in a village somewhere in the France. It was pretty and romantic. You could take a photo in front of the mini Eiffel Tower, pay a visit to traditional French house (it was really pretty with all the ceramics ornament!), meet the Little Prince in Saint Exupery Memorial Hall, and watch many special performances. Too bad, when I was there it was kind of late, so there were no performances.
I just spent a good one hour in this beautiful places, since it was late. My plan to go to The Garden of Morning Calm was cancelled, because I’m afraid the garden was close and I couldn’t catch the last bus to the station. Gapyeong for me was an amazing escape from the busy capital city, Seoul. If I have time to visit South Korea again, I should spent some more time in this city!