Nami Island and Petite France

Photo credits: namisum.com

Nami Island is a half-moon shaped island located in Chuncheon,Gangwon Province in South Korea, 63km from Seoul and in the middle of Han River. It was formed after the construction of the Cheongpyeong Dam in 1944. Indeed, as the North Han River started rising, the land around was inundated, leading to the creation of the island. The island now covers an area of more than 430.000 square meters

It was named after the General Nami, who died at 28 years old after being falsely accused of treason. He lived during the reign of King Sejo, seventh king of the Joseon Dynasty in the mid 1400s.

Many dramas were shot on the island, but the one you’ll most likely heard off is Winter Sonata that was filmed in 2002. A lot of visitors come every year to take pictures at the most famous spots where the drama was shot.

On March 1st 2006, the island declared its cultural independence and therefore re-named itself the Naminara Republic. It is now a micronation and it has even invented its own passport, currency and stamp.

On the island you can walk around many different tree-lined paths, such as the Ginkgo tree lane, Cherry tree lane or Maple lane, only to name a few. There are also various garden to visit and if the weather allows it, it can be nice to ride a bicycle around the island or have a picnic in one of the many garden. If you want to save your energy, you can also tour the Nami Island on the UNICEF Charity train for 3000won.

Photo credits: Korea Tourism organization

From Nami Island, you can go to Petite France, a place named after the novel of Antoine de Saint Exupéry “Le Petit Prince” (The Little Prince). If you are a fan of the Korean drama “My love from the stars” you will probably recognize this place where some scenes were shot. Other popular drama such as Beethoven Virus and Secret Garden were shot there too.

In the village there are various activities, most of them related to France, such as visiting a model of a historically conventional French home, or an European-style garden. One of the highlights there is to visit the mini museum dedicated to Le Petit Prince. That makes it an ideal place to visit with children.

Even if it is possible to spend a day at either Nami Island or Petite France without getting bored, most people enjoy to visit both in the same day, as it is not too far from each other. As it usually takes around two hours to get there from Seoul, these are perfect destinations for a day-trip away from the city.

Directions:

There are multiple ways to go to Gapyeong, where Nami Island and Petite France are both located.

One of the options is to take a train (ITX) from Seoul to Gapyeong Station, then you have to go to the ferry wharf (by shuttle bus or taxi). Once you arrived at the ferry wharf you can buy tickets to the island which costs around 13.000won (covering entrance fee and roundtrip ferry fare). If you want to save some money and do not mind about time, you can also take a subway from Seoul and stop at Gapyeong Station. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can also get on a zipwire to reach Nami Island instead of the ferry.

You can take a shuttle bus from Seoul (Myeongdong or Namdaemun) to Gapyeong in the morning too. The easiest and fastest way is still to go by car if you can.

Once you are in Gapyeong, you can freely navigate between the sites by riding the shuttle bus. You only have to pay the shuttle bus once for the day.

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