letters to my younger self

I Get It Now Why Nami is a Constant When You Go to South Korea

If you are exhausted and tired of all the city life and the skincare shops and clothing stores and restaurants around Seoul and you just want nature-tripping then this trip is for you.

After walking around in Hongdae the whole real first day in Seoul – we decided to go to Nami the next morning and we just decided that night (make it as we go, right?) to DIY by following this guide:ย https://preparetravelplans.com/nami-island-guideย and I tell you it will save you bucks! ^_^ And also because we weren’t really sure of what we want to do that’s why we didn’t buy any Nami tour beforehand.

Imagine after eating dinner that night, there we were- researching on how to DIY in Nami – actually my friend did most of the job about 90%, I was just there washing clothes using the washing machine in our room which didn’t entail to much.

And then in the morning – off we go to (but we ate breakfast hurriedly first) from Hongik University station to Cheongnyangni and it was so close – I mean we were walking/running so fast because we might miss our pre-booked ITX train to Gapyeong station. Look at us racing on our own because transferring from the subway station to the train station – maybe you should allot like 15 to 20 minutes walking.

But we made it! And I even slept for the hour-long ITX ride to Gapyeong and true enough, once you reach Nami – there will be a lot of kababayans –ย lol – it was just nice to finally hear conversations from strangers that you do understand. And it was even colder than in Seoul!

Initially we wanted to go to Nami Island and Garden of the Morning Calm so we bought tickets to Gapyeong City tour bus but if you are planning to visit Nami alone you would buy a different ticket – the people there will tell you actually.

So, we rode the city tour bus and got off at the Jetty station but before boarding the ferry we had an early lunch again. Great – if you’re seeing the pattern here – we are not going someplace unless we eat first (not counting the breakfast).

We ate at this restaurant at the ferry station and it was so good – it was tteokbokki and chicken and leaves and spices and lettuces and banchan and I love the food – even if there is no rice – come to think of it – I can’t remember when was the last time we ate rice?

And then after eating early lunch we bought the visa to enter Nami Island. And here is where it gets confusing to me because all along I thought that it is only an entrance to Nami Island – but it isn’t! Naminara is actually a micronation and declared its independence from South Korea last 2006 – that’s what I read online. And the what I thought entrance fee is actually payment for visa to enter!

And then off we went to the ferry. We stayed inside because it was freezing cold and maybe about 20-30 minutes we had finally arrived into Nami Island!

And the first thing I thought of is to get away from the crowd! ๐Ÿ™‚

No, actually we just walked along with no pattern and no aim and we crossed a lot and then we got to a bridge and this little child was playing on the water because the water turned into ice already! Winter is here! ๐Ÿ™‚

And then after, we searched for the bike rentals and I didn’t know how to bike. But my friend does and we rented the ones for couples. Haha.

The bike was heavy and we just searched for this clearing with some benches on the side. Nami Island is actually a very huge. There can be a lot of people there but it won’t feel crowded. And yep – without my balancing skills – we were able to bike around and around this clearing. For like 30 minutes.

And then we went to this Booxafe (or Bookcafe) and drank coffee for me! I swear South Korea turned me into a coffee lover. ๐Ÿ™‚ And my friend ordered the ice cream! On a cold weather! But actually – the ice cream is delightful and they had those ice cream toppers reminiscent of the Winter Sonata fame. ๐Ÿ™‚

Because we still didn’t feel most of Nami Island we still walked further on the far side of the island and here is where I felt truly in touch with nature. And here is also where you can sing: “are we out of the woods are we out of the woods are we out of the woods are we in the clear yet are we in the clear yet are we in the clear yet?”

If you really had time to spare just walk around Nami and you will be able to find your spot. And it turns out that Nami Island also offers accomodation – it would be so nice to stay here overnight!

On the far side was the trees and the river and it is not me if I didn’t get in touch with the water so we go down to where the water is – even if it is cold – the place is very serene – I wouldn’t have minded to be still for a couple of minutes.

I guess sometimes that’s what you needed in this busier that busy life – to just think of nothing and stare into space – at this time to stare into the open wide river and you realise how magnificent the world is and it just gives you strength to fight another day.

After that we walked back but not after we just sat down in this bonfire. Look for it – maybe during winter or autumn – it was so nice just to sit around a bonfire because it was cold and word has it that it will snow on the next day and I didn’t know which is better: to visit Nami Island a day before the first snow OR visit Nami Island when it is snowing?

And then we bid Nami Island goodbye but not before we ate this bean bun and taking a lot of pictures. It was nearing sunset when we rode the ferry back but we still stayed inside because it was cold.

Our next target should be the Garden of the Morning Calm so we rode the tour bus but imagine our surprise when it took us back to Gapyeong station. We asked when will the next bus came and they said that it will be for the next 30 minutes as I remember?

So, we went to the Cafe Storyway convenience store and bought sweet potato latte.

Did you notice that all we did this day was to explore and eat and just hang around? I can’t make it seem interesting when I write it but when I was there it was nice. It just felt nice I don’t know about you but I am the kind of person who enjoys passing time – those times when I experience every second of every minute and it feels like time is not slipping by because I can taste every second of it. It’s like I am not cheated by the 24 hours a day because I feel it not rushing past me. Maybe one of the side effects of living a fast-paced life.

And then after that we realised it was already getting darker and no bus was in sight and we think that maybe we were on the other side so we went over there and after like 20 minutes there was a bus again on the other side and that’s when we rushed back and hopped in and we were the only passengers so the driver spoke to us in Korean to which we don’t understand but after what seemed like a really not understandable conversation – we’ve come to the conclusion that we can no longer have a bus ride going to the Garden of the Morning Calm and because our ITX ticket were booked near Garden of the Morning Calm – the driver asked the ITX representative to change our tickets.

Luckily – it was allowed – just that we were on standing and we got the two/three hours earlier ticket. ๐Ÿ™‚

So I guess that’s it. Our supposedly trip to Nami Island and Garden became Nami Island solely but it was enough because we got to enjoy it fully.

Afterwards – we just went to Myeongdong shopping street to eat but the hotteok was so much tastier in Busan and to meet our friends who’ll be departing to Manila the next day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Before we went back home we bought ramyeon and kimchi and radish side dish for our dinner but we were so exhausted we didn’t realise we had fallen asleep before eating that dinner. >.<

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