I had been wanting to visit Nami Island for a while now. My goal was to visit last fall, because Nami Island in autumn is supposed to be a spectacularly beautiful place, but due to weather and competing activities, I didn’t make it. So I decided to wait until peak spring bloom season and combine a trip to Nami Island with the Morning Calm Arboretum, which is located not that far from the island, so it makes for a full and satisfying day trip from Seoul.
So the first Saturday in May, I decided to take advantage of the sunny and beautiful weather to make it happen. I hopped on the ITX train from Yongsan Station to Gapyeong and was soon at the dock for Nami Island. I always planned on taking the zipline to Nami Island. I love zipline rides, and this particular ride is the longest in South Korea. The zipline is over 3,000 feet long and it goes over the river from the dock to Nami Island. The zipline tower is located right next to the dock, and it’s the tallest structure in the area, so it can’t be missed.
I arrived at the dock around 0930, and was ready for the 1000 zipline departure. It was good I arrived when I did, because the crowds started growing shortly afterward. The view of the surrounding areas was really beautiful .
The zipline ride itself is a lot of fun. The ride only lasts about 90 seconds, but it is very peaceful. It’s not exceptionally thrill seeking, just because it’s not very fast or dangerous, though people who are afraid of heights would probably be very nervous.
Once I got to the island, it was pretty easy to walk around. Nami Island is only about 3 miles in circumference, so you can cover the island in a relatively short period of time, depending on any stops you want to make. There are only a few vehicles on the island, vehicles that support the hotels on the island, plus the electric vehicles that provide tours of the island. There are some paths, with parks and gardens to enjoy the area, have a picnic, relax and play. There are some art exhibitions, restaurants and stores. Nami Island is the setting of the TV show “Winter Sonata” , and it’s not that far from Seoul, so it is packed with tourists on the weekends, particularly in the spring and the fall when it is the most beautiful.
There wasn’t much else to do on the island, particularly since I was on my own. Most of the people there are in groups who were just up there to play and relax, and not necessarily see any particular sights. I walked around, I saw the sights, and I was ready to leave after about a couple hours. I can absolutely see why this would be a photographer’s paradise in the fall when peak autumn color hits.
It is actually very easy to reach Nami Island from Seoul. The quickest way is to take the ITX train from Yongsan or Cheongnyangi Station to Gapyeon Station. Both Yongsan and Cheongnyangi are off subway line 1. The ITX train departs approximately once a hour. An alternate way is to take a metro train from Sangbong Station (line 7) to Gapyeong. The ITX train from Yongsan takes approximately 45 minutes, while the metro train takes a bit over an hour. From Gapyeong Station, you can easily take a taxi, the Gapyeong Tourist Resort shuttle bus (departing once an hour) or city bus 33-8 to the Nami Island dock. The two options for arriving at Nami Island are the ferry (approximately every 15 minutes during the day), or the zipline (costlier, but way more fun). Admission to Nami Island is 10,000 won, and that includes the ferry rides to and from the island. The zipline costs 38,000 won, is open from 0900-1800, and includes admission to the island and a ferry ride back.