Inside the beautiful Gapyeong Valley ( 가평) lies Nami Island ( 남이섬 ), one of Korea’s biggest tourist attractions.
Most people choose to do a day trip to Nami Island from Seoul. These tours include stops at the Garden of Morning Calm (아침고요수목원) and Petite France (쁘띠프랑스) in their Nami Island itinerary.
However, a simple search of Nami Island and how to plan your trip will leave you with more questions than answers.
How to go to Nami Island from Seoul?
What are the Nami Island ticket prices (and does it include the Garden of Morning Calm?)
How should I plan my Nami Island tour?
Well, this Nami Island itinerary and travel guide has got you covered.
I had the best time exploring the Gapyeong region and have included everything you need to know to plan the perfect Nami Island getaway.
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Overview: The best things to do in Nami Island
Below is my recommended Nami Island itinerary. I suggest spending 2 days in the area if your time allows for it.
- Day 1: Garden of Morning Calm, Nami Island, Petite France & Chuncheon Dakgalbi
- Day 2: Nami Island rail bikes
This guide details how you can visit Nami Island independently, just like I did.
But if you only have 1 day, it’s best to book a Nami Island tour like this which you can customize with stops at the Garden of Morning Calm and other attractions nearby.
Day 1 Nami Island Itinerary
One word of caution, Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm are two of Korea’s biggest attractions. They’re easily accessible on a Seoul day trip, and as a result, it can get very, very busy.
Be prepared for crowds, especially if you’re visiting Nami Island in spring!
Garden of Morning Calm
- Garden of Morning Calm entrance fee: 11 000 KRW
- Operating hours: 8:30 am – 7:00 pm
- Time Needed: 1 – 2 hours
No day trip to Nami Island is complete without a visit to the Garden of Morning Calm, a massive botanical garden boasting 20 different themed sections.
It’s filled with vivid greenery, lush trees, and beautifully arranged plants, all surrounded by gorgeous mountains. The voices of kids running through the gardens fill the air, and there are many families enjoying picnics on the well-manicured lawns.
You can spend hours wandering through the small paths and along the soft streams. This marvelous garden is so big, and you can easily get lost among all the scenic walkways and quaint bridges.
Unlike Nami Island, there aren’t any fun activities to do at the Garden of Moning Calm except admire the beauty. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Lighting Festival at the Garden of Morning Calm
During winter, the Garden of Morning Calm comes to life with illuminating colors lighting up the plants and walkways.
Be sure to visit between December and March to set your sights on this magical winter wonderland.
How To Get to Garden of Morning Calm from Seoul
Booking a tour like this that includes the Garden of Morning Calm is the easiest way to navigate here. But, if you prefer to travel independently, as I did, you can easily get there by public transport.
The Garden of Morning Calm is the closest metro stop to Seoul, so it’s best to choose this as the first destination on your Nami Island itinerary.
If you’re using the Seoul Metro, take the Gyeongchun Line and hop off at Cheongpyeong Station.
From here, take the Gapyeong City Tour Bus to the Garden of Morning Calm.
Expect traffic on the weekends, so give yourself about 40 minutes to get from Cheongpyeong Station to the Garden of Morning Calm.
- Nami Island Entrance fee: 10 000 KRW | Buy tickets here
- Time needed: 2 – 3 hours
After exploring the Garden of Morning Calm, it’s time to hit Nami Island. It’s the prize of Gapyeong and a must-visit on any Seoul itinerary.
Nami Island is a half-moon-shaped Island with beautiful paths lined with tall, majestic trees making it the perfect backdrop for any photo.
It’s famous for being the filming location of the iconic Korean drama, Winter Sonata, and attracts K-drama fans from across Asia.
Couples love Nami Island for its romantic atmosphere, so expect to see many tripods, selfie sticks, and semi-professional photoshoots during your visit.
Nami Island Ticket Prices: “Immigration”
Your Nami Island adventure begins when you purchase your “entry visa” and pass through “immigration” at the Nami Island Ferry Wharf.
Thereafter, you have two options to get to Naminara Republic:
Take The ferry to Nami Island
This costs 16 000 KRW ($12) and includes a return ferry ticket and Nami Island entrance fee.
Prepurchase your ticket online here. It’s the same price and will save you so much time as the queues can be long.
The ferry to Nami Island leaves every 15 minutes and only takes 10 minutes to get there.
Zipwire to Nami Island
You also have the option of taking a zip wire to Nami Island and then returning by ferry.
This costs 49 000 KRW ($38) and includes a return ferry and entrance.
If you’re planning on taking the Zipwire to Nami Island, it’s best to pre-purchase this ticket to avoid the long queues. You can purchase these tickets here.
What to do in Nami Island
Now that you know how to get to Nami Island, let’s get into all the main attractions.
Unlike the Garden of Morning Calm, I found Nami Island to be more interesting, with activities to keep you busy for hours.
If you have to choose between the two, definitely go with Nami Island.
Cycle around Nami Island
- Cost: Single bike – 8 000 KRW per hour | Tandem bike – 16 000 KRW per hour
The best way to explore Nami Island is to rent a bike and cycle around the island.
We got a tandem bicycle, and this was the highlight of my Nami Island itinerary.
Selfies, selfies, and more selfies
It’s no secret that Nami Island is an Instagrammer’s dream destination!
With its quirky sculptures, picturesque tree-lined pathways, and abundance of fun photo spots, you can’t help but fall into the selfie trap and take a few snaps.
Watch the animals on Nami Island
Nami Island has many animals, including rabbits, peacocks, and ostriches. These roam around the island and are a big attraction for the kids.
Take a boat on the river
- Cost: 40 000 KRW ($33) for a boat that can fit 5 people
If you’re visiting Nami Island in spring or summer, why not rent a water bike or a small boat and paddle out into the river?
I did find humor in watching couples out on their boats. The women sitting back taking selfies while the men frantically try to maneuver the boat in the right direction!
Check out the statue of Winter Sonata’s Couple
Nami Island boasts life-size figures of Kang Joon-sang and Jeong Yoo-jin. If you’re into K Dramas, you’ll know all about them!
Other Nami Island attractions
- Stroll down Merasequoia Lane
- Visit The Tomb of General Nami
- Ride the train
- Walk across the First Kiss Glass Sequoia Bridge
- Check out the Dodamsambong Garden
How to go to Nami Island
For this itinerary, Nami Island will be your second destination. You’ll need to get here from the Garden of Morning Calm.
Garden of Morning Calm to Nami Island
The Gapyeong City Tour Bus has a pickup point at the Garden of Morning Calm and takes about 1 hour to reach Nami Island Ferry Wharf.
Once you reach the stop, walk towards the bungee jump and zip wire, which mark the entrance to Nami Island.
Gapyeong Station to Nami Island
If you’ve come straight from Seoul to Nami Island, you’ll get off at the Gapyeong Station.
To get to Nami Island from here, it’s easiest to take a taxi from Gapyeong Station to Nami Island Ferry Wharf, which is your entry point to Nami Island.
This is a 5-minute taxi ride which won’t cost you more than 6 000 KRW.
Top tip: Transport around Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm can be confusing (and time-consuming). Personally, I enjoyed getting lost, and I feel that using public transport added to the experience
- Entrance fee to Petite France: 11 000 KRW | Purchase discounted tickets here
- Operating hours: 9:00 am – 6 pm
- Time needed: 1 hour
Petite France is a small, charming village with French-styled buildings and a European ambiance.
With its bright colors and quirky sculptures, it’s a hit for Instagrammers and couples in matching outfits wanting to get those fun, cute snaps.
As with Nami Island, Petite France is also the filming location for many Korean dramas which adds to its popularity.
Is it worth including Petite France in your Nami Island itinerary
The Gapyeong region was extremely busy during my visit. If you plan your trip to Nami Island in spring or fall, you can expect the same sort of crowds
If I included Petite France in my Nami Island itinerary, I would’ve spent more time waiting in the queue for the shuttle bus than exploring the actual village.
I was quite happy to miss Petite France as I had done a lot of research and found that the biggest attraction here is the architecture and cute buildings.
It’s also smaller than most people expect, so it wasn’t something I was particularly interested in.
Because of this, I chose to spend more time on Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm instead.
One way to avoid these queues is to book a tour package like this which will include entrance to these leading attractions, and so you’ll be able to fit in all 3 of the top destinations in your Nami Island itinerary.
READ MORE: WHAT TO PACK FOR KOREA
Indulge in Dakgalbi
If there’s one thing you need to include in your Nami Island itinerary, it’s Dakgalbi.
This region is famous for the mouth-watering dish which I’ve feasted on numerous times.
There are many Dakgalbi restaurants around the Nami Island Ferry Wharf, and if you’re visiting on a day trip from Seoul, it’s best to grab this dish here.
However, I highly recommend you extend your stay to Nami Island and spend the night in Chuncheon, which is only a few stops away on the Seoul metro.
Chuncheon Dakgalbi Street
I was expecting a bustling street with bright lights and hundreds of tourists.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Chuncheon Dakgalbi Street is a small, narrow alley lined with restaurants where Dakgalbi takes center stage.
And yes, it certainly lives up to its high expectations.
Day 2 Nami Island Itinerary
Unfortunately, most people only have a day to explore Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm.
But, it’s best to plan a weekend trip to Gapyeong Valley so that you have more time to explore the attractions besides just Nami Island.
Rail Parks near Nami Island
If pedaling along a discontinued rail line sounds fun to you, then make sure you include this activity in your Nami Island itinerary.
These rail bikes offer a unique way to explore the Korean countryside with picturesque views of the Bukhangang River.
There are two railbikes near Nami Island, including Gapyeong Rail Bike and Gangchon Rail Bike.
Both are extremely popular and have a limited number of seats available, so tickets need to be purchased at least a week in advance.
Gangchon Rail Bike
- Cost: 30 00 KRW ($25) for a 2-seater bike | Purchase discounted tickets here.
- Operating hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Time Needed: 2 hours
Gangchon Rail Bike is slightly further from Nami Island than Gapyeong Rail Bike, but it’s arguably the best rail bike near Nami Island.
The 8.6 km one-way route takes you through themed tunnels and runs alongside a river. I did this bike rail on day two of my Nami Island itinerary, and it was absolutely incredible!
Gapyeong Rail Bike
- Cost: 30 00 KRW ($25) for a 2-seater bike | Purchase discounted tickets here.
- Operating hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Time Needed: 2 hours
Gapyeong Rail Bike is conveniently located just a stone’s throw away from Nami Island. It’s easy to include in your Nami Island itinerary if you only have one day in the area.
The downside of Gapyeong Rail Bike is that you turn around at the halfway mark and return via the same route as you started with. So it does lack diversity in comparison to the Gangchon alternative.
Other activities near Nami Island and Garden of Morning Calm
There are other activities around Gapyeong, such as ATV (quad bikes), go-karting, paintball, and of course, many hiking routes through the gorgeous mountains.
During Winter, Gapyeong offers some of the best skiing in Korea as well, so don’t miss out on that if you’re planning to visit Nami Island in Winter.
How to go to Nami Island from Seoul
Gapyeong Station is the closes station to Nami Island.
If you choose to visit Nami Island independently, you will first need to get to Gapyeong Station from Seoul.
From there, you can continue on to Nami Island, Petite France, and the Garden of Morning Calm.
There are three ways to get to Nami Island from Seoul.
1. ITX (Fast Train)
- Station: Yongsan or Cheongnyangni to Gapyeong Station
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Cost: 5 200 KRW ($5)
The ITX Train is the quicker, more convenient option to get from Seoul to Nami Island.
You can take the ITX train from either Cheongnyangni Station (40 minutes to Gapyeong Station) or Yongsan Station (60 minutes to Gapyeong Station).
However, these tickets sell out fast. I experienced this first hand as there were none available when I tried to book.
If you’re visiting Nami Island over a weekend or school holiday, I recommend booking your seat in advance, but you can also look at the below options, which is what I ended up doing.
2. Seoul Metro
- Station: Seoul Metro (Gyeongchun Line) to Gapyeong station
- Duration: 90 – 120 minutes
- Cost: 2 350 KRW ($2)
Getting to Nami Island from Seoul by subway is simple, and you don’t have to worry about tickets selling out.
However, it’s a popular route, so you could be standing for the entire 2-hour train ride.
After arriving at Gapyeong Station via either the ITX or Metro, you can make use of the local Nami Island city bus.
3. Seoul to Nami Island Shuttle Bus
- Cost: 25 000 KRW (return ticket)
- Time: 2 hours
You can also purchase a direct shuttle bus from Seoul to Nami Island. These buses depart from Myeongdong and Insadong for your convenience.
This is another convenient way to explore Nami Island, as you can use the Nami Island City Bus to get between The Garden of Morning Calm, Nami Island, and Petite France.
Nami Island shuttle bus/city bus
- Cost: 8 000 KRW for a day pass, which can be purchased from the bus driver. Make sure you keep this bus ticket to show at every pickup point.
Once you’ve reached Gapyeong Station from Seoul, the easiest way to get to Nami Island, Garden of Morning Calm, and Petite France is with this Nami Island City Tour Bus.
The Nami Island Shuttle Bus (also known as the Gapyeong City Tour Bus) is a hop-on hop-off bus that takes you to all the leading attractions around Nami Island via two routes: Route A and B.
There are also metered taxis available throughout Nami Island and Garden of Morning Calm. However, if you’re traveling on a budget, the shuttle bus is your best option.
Nami Island Tours
As you can see, getting around Nami Island is not easy!
For foreigners (and those who cannot speak Korean), the journey is more difficult. You’ll spend quite a bit of time trying to find your way around Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm.
If time isn’t on your side, and if you don’t have the patience to sit around and wait for shuttle buses (or if missing the train will totally ruin your mood – as it did mine), I suggest you plan your Nami Island itinerary with an organized tour operator.
This is the easiest and most convenient way to visit Nami Island as your transport from the Myeongdong district in Seoul and entrance fees will be covered. And you’ll have English-speaking guides.
The Best Nami Island Day Tours
Nami Island, Garden of Morning Calm, and Gangchon Rail Bike Tour: This tour includes the two must-do activities in Gapyeong – Nami Island and Gangchon Rail Bike. You also have the chance to replace the Garden of Morning Calm with Petite France if you’d prefer. If you only have one day to explore, this is the perfect tour package!
Mount Seorak and Nami Island Tour: Seoraksan Mountain and Nami Island are arguably two of the most iconic locations in Korea. There’s no doubt that you’ll be exhausted after this full-day tour as it’s jam-packed with hiking and outdoor activities, but if you really want to tick two bucket list destinations off your Korea bucket list, this is for you!
Alpaca Pasture, Nami Island, and the Garden of Morning Calm Day Tour: If you have kids, they’ll love this tour which includes a visit to Alpaca Pastures where you’ll set your sights on the cute Alpaca’s which reside here. Afterward, you’ll head to Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm before returning to Seoul.
Where to stay in Nami Island: Chuncheon or Gapyeong
If you want to stay near Nami Island, I recommend either Gapyeong or Chuncheon.
Whilst there is accommodation available on Nami Island itself, this is an expensive option.
Gapyeong is the closer of the two to Nami Island and has a nice selection of restaurants and reasonably priced accommodations.
Chuncheon, on the other hand, is about 30 minutes away from Gapyeong but is closer to the Gangchon Rail Bike. It’s a small town specializing in Dakgalbi with its own street dedicated to the famous dish.
I stayed in Chuncheon and loved my quick visit to the Dakgalbi capital of Korea!
Accommodation in Gapyeong
If you’re traveling on a budget, Jarasum Guest House is conveniently situated in Gapyeong, very close to Nami Island. It’s the cheapest place you’ll find and even comes with breakfast.
If luxury is your first choice, then check out Gapyeong Hotel Suiteian. Not only does it have large, spacious rooms, but it also has a pool and outdoor terrace.
Accommodation in Chuncheon
Budget travelers will love Sh Guesthouse in Chuncheon. Situated in the middle of Chuncheon, you’re only a short walk from restaurants and shops. The price includes breakfast and the hosts are super friendly,
Is Nami Island worth visiting
Yes, Nami Island is worth visiting, especially if you’re a K Drama fan! It’s a fun way of getting to see and learn more about Korea.
I recommend spending 2 days near Nami Island, but if your time is short, you can visit on a day trip from Seoul.
However, if you don’t have much time in South Korea, you may want to consider skipping Nami Island in favor of an extra day exploring Seoul.
Best time to visit Nami Island
Nami Island is a year-round destination. Each season brings with it something unique.
From March to May, it’s spring on Nami Island.
The flowers begin to bloom, and the Garden of Morning Calm and Nami Island are filled with beautiful bright colors. The weather is cool, and it’s a great time to be outdoors.
Spring in Nami Island also brings cherry blossoms that attract a large crowd.
The summer months, from June to August, are extremely hot and humid in Korea.
A tour to Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm involves being outdoors, and unless you can handle the heat, it’s better to visit during the cooler months.
September to November are some of the best months to visit Nami Island.
Autumn brings along pleasant weather in contrast to the scorching hot summers and freezing cold winters. The beautiful color leaves attract many tourists, and it’s a great time to visit Nami Island.
During winter, it’s pretty chilly in Korea. You’ll need to dress warmly with boots, jackets and warm hats.
But the beautiful snow-covered landscapes offer a unique visit to Nami Island and the entire Gapyeong valley.
How long to spend in Nami Island
You only need a few hours to explore Nami Island. It’s best to pair your trip with one of the other many attractions nearby, including Garden of Morning Calm and Gangchon Rail Bike.
How long is the boat ride to Nami Island
It’s a quick ferry ride to Nami Island and only takes 10 minutes from the Gapyeong wharf.
Thoughts on a Nami Island Tour
I’m glad I finally got to see what all the hype is about. My highlights were the delicious food I ate, the rail bike, and of course, Nami Island!
Personally, I found all the attractions far too crowded, and the Gapyeong City Tour Bus was always filled to capacity. Booking a Nami Island tour package would’ve been so much easier, but luckily I had two days to explore, so my days didn’t feel too rushed.
However, if you’re unable to visit during the week, you’ll just need to come to terms with the fact that it will be chaotic on weekends.
- Recommended tour: full-day tour from Seoul
- Distance from Seoul: 2.5 hours
- Time needed: Full day | 2 days if you have time
- Best time to go: During spring or fall, preferably during the week when it’s less busy
Have you been to Nami Island and the Garden of Morning Calm? What were your highlights? Let me know in the comments section below!
Looking for more Korea travel information? Check out my other posts!
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- Why Naksan Beach is Korea’s Perfect Beach Getaway
- 24 Strange Things About Life In Korea
- How To East A Korean BBQ (Like a Korean)