If you did not get a chance to travel during summer vacation, why not take a small vacation to Nami Island some weekend? It is not that far from our school! If you take the Kyungchun line from Sangbong station, it takes about 50 minutes to Gapyeong Station where it takes only five minutes by cab to get to a ferry which will take you to Nami Island. Since Nami Island is well-preserved, you will be able to take in fresh air and take your mind off of your difficult university studies.
Nami Island is located on the Bukhan River. It was named Nami Island because the grave of General Nami is on the island. On Nami Island, you can have diverse experiences like walking on beautiful trails, riding a bike or speed boats, making eco-friendly accessories, decorations, bags and much more.
There are two ways to get to the island: taking a ship or by zip-line. The Nami Island zip-line is the longest zip-line in Asia. If you want a thrilling experience, I recommend that you take the zip-line to the island.
Since Nami Island is located on a river, some of you might underestimate the size of the island. However, if you try to see the whole island by walking, it will take too long and you will get tired very easily. Bicycles, electric bicycles or hand-made cars are available for rent. If you ride a bicycle along the outskirts of the island, you can feel the cool breeze and all your stresses will be forgotten. If you do not like any of these modes of transportations, you can take either the UNICEF train or the electric car, where the guide gives you a tour of the island.
Many people know about Nami Island because it was the setting of the famous Korean drama “Winter Sonata.” There is a Winter Sonata Photo Gallery and the place where the characters in the drama first kissed. Not only this, but the island is very famous for romantic trails that couples can walk on.
There are several trails: Central White Pine Lane, Metasequoia Lane, Reed Woods Lane, White Birch Lane and so on. On the Central White Pine Lane, you can see many Eurasian Red Squirrels running up and down the trees, dropping pine cones from above. The squirrels drop pine cones regardless of where people are standing, so be careful! The squirrels come down to the ground to peel the outer shell to get the pine nuts. Since the squirrels are so focused on their pine nuts, you can get close to them to take pictures. The best trail to walk with your boyfriend or girlfriend is Metasequoia Lane. At the end of the lane, you can see the river glowing, which makes the trail more romantic. The trees reach so high that it looks as if they are going to touch the sky.
You can have unique experiences on the island. At the art handcraft studio, you can make glass objects such as a vase, a necklace, a thumbprint sealing or a candlestick. You can also participate in many programs at the ‘Nami Ecoschool.’ There are wood-crafts that can be made: wood doorplates, wooden frames. Moreover, you can take part in fabric crafts: making pouches, bags, or decorating handkerchiefs. Additionally, you have an opportunity to make natural herbal soap and a natural mosquito repellent.
There are many different kinds of restaurants on the island including Chinese, Japanese, Italian, and Korean restaurants. ‘Restaurant Gomok (Restaurant Ancient Tree)’ is the oldest restaurant on the island and makes specialties from Gangwon Province such as potato pancakes, buckwheat noodles, boiled barley rice, dongdongju (suspended rice-wine) and more. The potato pancakes are very crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The buckwheat noodles have a very chewy texture and a spicy flavor. ‘Drama Cafe Yonga-jiga’ is a famous restaurant to foreign visitors, especially Chinese and Japanese tourists. It is famous because pictures from “Winter Sonata” are displayed here. One of the specialties of this restaurant is an old-fashioned kimchi lunch box.
There are many souvenir shops on the island, but one specific store is ‘Herb World.’ The store sells many things related to herbs. When you go into the store, you can have a sample of an herbal tea. The type of herbal tea for sampling changes every day. On the day I visited, they were sampling the Hibiscus herbal tea. It tasted like pomegranate juice but it was much sweeter. The Hibiscus herbal tea is full of vitamin C and is known to prevent the flu. It is also good for skin care and fatigue recovery. One of the employees sprayed some herbal spray on the back of my neck. She told me its effects were to cool down one’s body temperature and relax the body. The store also sells ostrich-shaped pens. Ostriches are the symbol of Nami Island. There are many different themed ostrich pens; wedding, Halloween, feather, magician pens and much more.
You may have been reluctant to visit Nami Island because you might have thought that there was nothing to do there. Do not hesitate! There are even more attractions on the island that I did not mention in the article. The leaves on the trees of the Nami Island are beginning to turn red. It will be great to go to the island to enjoy the start of autumn with your friends or even by yourself. If you are at a loss ever since the fall semester started, just go to Nami Island and take a break^^