NAMI ISLAND, GANGWON, SOUTH KOREA: Treasures Untold - Rakso Travel

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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

NAMI ISLAND, GANGWON, SOUTH KOREA: Treasures Untold


It has been a while when the pandemic has halted our most awaited trips. Adventurers like you should have been hunting some bargains on the busy night market, mapping out the best restaurants around the hidden alleys, or merely locating some off-beaten tracks there are in a foreign land.

As we cope up with this situation, why don’t you come on treasure hunting with me? Yes, you read it right! Let me share some undisclosed treasure in the famous artificial island in Gangwon Province, the Nami Island.



While Nami Island seems to be a familiar tourist spot, only a few people know about the tidbits of riches this place has to offer. From random sculptures you could see around the area to the smallest of the campfire fuel, it holds valuable information, making it a treasure of the island. 

A ferry boat going to Nami Island (Image by Sachi Dollesin)

Most foreign visitors of the island coming from Seoul take either a train from Yongsan Station to Gapyeong Station, and from there, you may either take a cab or walk towards the ferry wharf.  Another way is to take a shuttle bus from Insadong or Sungnyemun Square bus stop to Gapyeong wharf, which usually takes about 2 hours. The ferry leaves every 30 minutes from 7:30 am to 9:00 am and 6:00 pm to 9:40 pm and an interval of 10-20 minutes from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. It only takes about 5 minutes from the ferry wharf to Nami Island.

Entrance of Nami Island (Image by Sachi Dollesin)

Nami Island is famous for its Instagrammable Metasequoia Lane road or the shooting place of the Winter Sonata series. Before it became an iconic tourist destination, it was regarded that General Nami, royal blood and also a controversial person during the Joseon Dynasty, was buried in a pile of stones on the island. According to folklore, if someone took even one stone or rock from the pile of his burial will bring misfortune to his home. Be careful as you might be picking some gravel from the site. You might not want to bring bad luck to your abode. 


As you disembark at the ferry, you will come to see the “Namimaid,” a beer producer who donated this sculpture. During the admin clean-up on the island, they don’t know where to put this statue, and even one male employee boldly suggested, “Since she doesn’t have a place here, let’s throw her into the river!” And that’s why she ended up in the wharf. Later on, the chairman of the island had made an official fairytale with Namimaid as the narrator. See, from being discarded to becoming an icon, now Namimaid greets you with a longing gaze.
 

The island also has its hotel with 46 rooms, and each room has a distinct theme to its decoration. To fully experience the hotel, you have to stay for 44 nights, with the two rooms being reserved.
 
One of the most exciting things I have uncovered about Nami Island is how the fallen leaves from a neighborhood in Seoul became the island's PR. During the autumn month of the year 2006, the gingko leaves from Songpa have been transported to Nami Island, particularly in the Gingko Tree Lane reusing and producing a magnificent vivid yellow pathway creates a lovely autumn ambiance that is impressively baffling.

Instagrammable and vivid Songpa Gingko Tree Lane

 
After the leaves have been used for the majestic autumn view when the winter season comes, did you know that the dried-up leaves are being used to fuel campfires that’s warms the tourists during the cold season?

Campfire during winter season with Nami Island’s mascot

Whenever I visit this lovely island, one of my favorite scenes is the animals running wild and free with nature. You'd be lucky enough to find squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits hopping from places. With a hundred rabbits involved from an event held in Nami of a church group in 2003, thousands of people gathered to create rabbit huts or "Rabbitats." After two days, these fluffy creatures were released on the island's grounds, and they ended up making their own homes, like digging caves underground. After a long while, they also started eating grasses, flowers, and even nibbling trees' roots. With this incident, employees of Nami and even visitors were engaged in a campaign of arresting the rabbits with KRW 2,000 reward for every live captivated rabbit. Now the island maintains a dozen numbers of rabbits.
 
A cute squirrel spotted on the island grounds.
 

Another exciting points in Nami Island are the Winter Sonata protagonist statue, and it is said that Nami Island became famous because of this Korean drama series. A relative increase in visitors was reported when the drama became a hit across the continent. If you wish to get a photo with this, before you enter the Meta Lane, on the right side, there you will see sculptures standing and gazing with each other lovingly.

Winter Sonata main characters statue located near Meta Lane (Image by Genelyn Bonto)

 

On the left side of Meta Lane, you will come to see this giant witty-looking sculpture Yangtze River and Yellow River, by Yu Qing Cheng, a world-class artist. The sculpture is a bit awkward given the nakedness and exaggeration of this massive statue. However, this has a meaning; the mother herself symbolizes nature, the earth, while the mother’s breasts embody China’s two primary rivers, the Yangtze and Yellow River, thus the name. Despite being gawky, this sculpture was being loved by many tourists and even took picture close to it.

Witty giant sculpture - Yangtze River and Yellow River, Yu Qing Cheng (Image by Genelyn Bonto)

Nami Island is always included in most of our Korea tour packages. You may likely want to check our recommended tours like Best of Korea and Affordable Korea
 
Why not challenge yourself to find a favorite hidden gem yourself. Happy hunting, and don’t forget to share untold treasures with us when you come to stumble upon this beautiful island of Nami.
 
Blog contributed by: Sachi Dollesin
Photos by: Rakso Travel 

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For more information about Nami Island, South Koreavisit Rakso Travel's website at www.RAKSOTRAVEL.com, send an email to support@raksotravel.com, or call 8651-9000.
 
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