SEOUL: Holiday travels in Asia might sound very daunting during the pandemic. It is especially so when the rules set by each country differ and might change overnight. However, once South Korea and Singapore announced the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL), it didn't take us long to decide we want to holiday there again. We are more than willing to meet all the necessary requirements to satisfy our wanderlust.
Despite all the negativity of COVID-19 and how it has impacted businesses, there is actually a silver lining. Popular tourist destinations are no longer crowded. Nami Island is one such example.
Nami Island has always been a stop for fans of Korean drama, Winter Sonata. This drama had captured the hearts of many young girls back in 2002. Until today, it is still unforgettable for those who were swept off their feet by the lead actor, Bae Yong-joon.
Nami Island is about 63 km away from Seoul, located in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, South Korea. If you are taking the metro, it will be about 90 mins to get there depending on which part of Seoul you are in. We stayed in Myeongdong, and from Myeongdong Station, we had to get to Gapyeong Station along the Gyeongchun Line. The trip costs about 4000 won
If you don't mind paying double the price, you get an ITX ticket to Gyeongchin from selected stations too. This train is faster (only 60 minutes) compared to taking the regular metro.
At Gapyeong Station, we hopped onto a taxi to get us to the ferry terminal. The 10-mins ride is 4500 won.
There is not a tourist in sight when we arrived at the ferry terminal. With so many restaurants around, I wonder how they managed to survive after two years of the pandemic. I can imagine how crowded this place used to be before all the travel restrictions.
For you thrill-seekers, you might find the ferry too boring, you can zipline across the water straight onto the island. Not only you don't have to wait for the ferry, but you will also actually get there in less than a minute. However, I am pretty sure it will be a long wait during the non-winter seasons.
For those who like their feet to be firmly on the ground, the ferry is pretty fun too. The ticket for an adult is 13,000 won.
The ferry took about 15 mins to get across to the ferry terminal on Nami Island.
Nami Island (Namiseom 남이섬) is home to the tomb of General Nami (1441-1468), who is famous for his bravery. However, he was falsely denounced as a traitor and executed together with 25 others including his mother. It is not until 1818, that false evidence was used to convict General Nami and his official positions were restored and he was given the posthumous name of "Chung-mu".
If you can only do one thing on Nami Island, it will be taking photos along Metasequoia Lane where Winter Sonata was filmed. It is the most famous spot on the Island.
Also not to be missed is the status of Bae Yong-joon and Choi Ji-woo, where their eternal love is frozen in time.
Walking along the tranquil paths made me feel like time has slowed down. There was hardly anyone around and all I could hear were the chirping of the Oriental Magpie.
For art lovers, there are many artworks located all over the island. We have taken a lot of photos which is simply not possible to post everything on this blog.
Hotel Jeonggwanru is the only accommodation on the island if you want to spend a night there.
Address: 1 Namisum-gil, Namsan-myeon, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do