Exploring Nami Island, Petite France

Exploring Nami Island, Petite France & More: A Day Tour from Seoul, South Korea

Without a doubt, there is more to South Korea than its bustling city of Seoul. For instance, there is the stunning county of Gapyeong which has attractions that are not too far away from the capital, namely: the charming oasis of Nami Island (Namiseom), the cultural village of Petite France, the magical expanse of The Morning Calm and the picturesque tracks of the Gangchon Rail Bike.

The best part? You can explore these destinations in just one day at a very affordable price — thanks to KKday’s packaged day tour from Seoul!

If in case you want other packaged tour combinations, see the following list:
– (1 stop) Gangchon Rail Bike
– (2 stops) Nami Island + Petite France
– (3 stops) Nami Island + Petite France + Garden of Morning Calm
– (3 stops) Nami Island + The Garden of Morning Calm + Gangchon Rail Bike
– (3 stops) Garden of Morning Calm + Gangchon Rail Park + Edelweiss Swiss
– (4 stops) Nami Island + Petite France + The Garden of Morning Calm + Gangchon Rail Bike

I had the chance to go through the 4-stops day tour listed above and it was one of the most memorable experiences that I did when I was in Seoul! Besides, the whole ordeal surely took the hassle away when transiting from one location to the next and we even had enough time when exploring each of the stops. That being said, it’s a really great option for those who want the added ease — and also great for those who might be pressed on time whilst exploring South Korea.

With all that said and done, if you want to get a better idea of how the whole day trip goes, do continue reading below.

Great news! With this code, you can get 10% off on this travel tour with KKday!

*The promo code covers the following countries: Philippines, United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France, Greece, Hungary, Denmark, Italy, Australia, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, and Papua New Guinea
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Where to Stay in Seoul?

Come and check out my list of the ‘Best Hotels in Seoul‘ which features the top recommended choices for cheap to luxurious accommodation choices.

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Day Tour to Nami Island, Petite France, and More!

» PRE-TRAVEL GUIDE

South Korean currency: South Korean Won (KRW / ₩)
₩1,000 = USD$0.90~ = €0.70 = Php 49.00~ (as of May 2018)

What does this KKday day tour entail and how much is it?
For only ₩99,500 (or US$92~ / Php 4,800~) — which can be further discounted if you use my 10% promo code IAMAILEEN — you will get…

  • Round-trip transportation (including parking, toll fees and fuel) from Seoul to the 4 attractions
  • To access Nami Island, Petite France, The Garden of Morning Calm, and Gangchon Rail Bike (admission fee already included in price)
  • An English-speaking professional tour guide

The only things that are NOT included are personal expenses, insurance, meals, and drinks.

If in case you want other packaged tour combinations, see the following list:
– (1 stop) Gangchon Rail Bike
– (2 stops) Nami Island + Petite France
– (3 stops) Nami Island + Petite France + Garden of Morning Calm
– (3 stops) Nami Island + The Garden of Morning Calm + Gangchon Rail Bike
– (3 stops) Garden of Morning Calm + Gangchon Rail Park + Edelweiss Swiss

Where is the meeting place for this KKday day tour? How long will it last?
There are 3 meeting places that you can choose from and they each have a corresponding meeting time:

  • 07:20AM: Hongik University Station, Exit 4
  • 08:00AM Myeongdong Station, Exit 2
  • 08:10AM Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, Exit 10

Duration = Approximately 12 hours
Return time to Seoul = Approximately 7:30PM
Return place = You can choose from any of the 3 aforementioned meeting places
Vehicle  type = Bus or big van depending on the number of people booked for that day’s tour

When is the best time to visit Seoul in order to do this tour?
I suggest coming during autumn, but of course, if you want to witness cherry blossom season then spring is a considerable option too.

  • Spring: (March to May) The city becomes a hit what with all the flora that start to bloom and bud. And of course, much like Japan, the city has cherry blossoms which tourists often seek. Given this demand, there tends to be a slight increase in costs, but the weather and season is quite desirable.
  • Summer: (June to August) This is arguably the peak season in the city so things get busier and costlier. It doesn’t help either that this is the vacation month of schools and Korean companies so everyone is out and about. That’s why if I were you, you should avoid these months — also because the weather can get quite humid with occassional downpours.
  • Autumn: (September to November) This is the best time to visit Seoul because weather is pleasant, prices are more affordable, and crowds are thinner. However, do take note to avoid Chuseok or Korea’s autumn harvest festival.
  • Winter: (December to February) As the temperatures drop, prices and airfare also drop. Take note though that it can get very chilly; but, supposing you’re not that sensitive to the cold, this can be a fun time given all the amazing ski resorts and festive atmosphere.

What are other things that I can do while I’m in Seoul?
I wrote a comprehensive travel guide for this and you can read my Taiwan itinerary here: [click


Where to best stay (for accommodations) in Seoul?
To search for the best hotel accommodation in Seoul at the best prices, I suggest checking out Agoda and Booking.com. But if you’re rather interested in renting comfortable houses or apartments, check AirBnB.

As for ‘where’, these are the top 5 districts in the city: Myeongdong (best for shopping), Hongdae (best for a hip youthful scene), Insa-dong or Jongno (best for culture), Gangnam (best for luxury shopping), and Itaewon (best for nightlife).

If you want particular hotel names per district, I prescribe that you read my ‘Best Hotels in Seoul article.

Should I get a visa to visit South Korea?
If you’re NOT a citizen of any of South Korea’s exempted countries, you are then required to avail a visa beforehand.

If you’re from the Philippines, you can read my guide on how to get a South Korea visa in Manila here.

Helpful Korean phrases
Hello (formal): Annyeong haseyo
Hello (informal): Annyeong
Thank you: Gamsahamnida
You’re welcome: Cheonmanyeyo
Yes: Ye/Ne
No: Aniyo
Goodbye (to person leaving): Annyeonghi gaseyo
Goodbye (to person staying): Annyeonghi gyeseyo
Goodbye (informal): Annyeong
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Excuse me (getting attention): Sillyehamnida
I’m sorry: Joesonghamnida
Is there someone here who speaks English?: Yeogi-e yeong-eoreul hasineun bun gyesimnikka?
Help!: Dowajusipsio!
Cheers!: Geonbae!

Stop #1: Petite France

This is a pastel-colored village that serves as both a cultural center and a youth training facility with over 16 French-styled buildings where visitors can lodge or experience French food and culture. Petite France is also recognized as a top filming location for Korean dramas like ‘Secret Garden’, ‘Running Man’, and ‘My Love from the Star’.

With its European ambience, it is also somewhat of a tribute to Saint-Exupery, the author of the famous French Novel: ‘Le Petit France’. During your stopover here, I highly suggest doing any of the following:

  • Performances. Watch out for the daily marionette shows and puppet play performances at the outdoor theater smacked in the middle of the village.
  • Saint-Exupery Memorial Hall. This is where they display his life as a distinguished French author, as well as record his overall writing process for the famous ‘The Little Prince’ novel.
  • Pond de Fabre. Head to the Observatory and then to the Butterfly Park via the Pond de Fabre, a 130-meter bridge that goes over the village and  offering grand views not only of Petite France but also of Cheongpyeongho Lake in the distance.

MY VERDICT: This was a small yet charming attraction which had ample picturesque architecture and spots that can be seen in less than an hour. Even if you’re not a K-drama fan, this is still an enjoyable place to stroll around in — and it becomes even more memorable for you if you haven’t witnessed a European city yet since this will already give you a taste of it.

TOUR STOP DURATION: 1 hour

If you want to travel to Petite France on your own, you can take the ‘Gapyeong Circle/City Tour Bus’ from Gapyeong Station or Gapyeong Bus Terminal for only ₩6,000 (which also makes stops in the destinations mentioned in this packaged tour) — the downside though is that these buses run only once every hour, and with the crowds that go to all of these places, it’s likely that the spots get filled quickly. (This is why I suggest going on a guided tour instead.)

~ NOTE: From Seoul’s Yongsan Station, you can reach Gapyeong Station in just less than an hour for around ₩5,200 via ITX with a Korail Pass.
~Entrance fee: ₩10,000 adults / ₩5,000 children (included in the KKday tour)

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Stop #2: Nami Island (Namiseom)

A half-moon shaped island nestling inside an artificial lake known for being the filming grounds of the well-known K-drama ‘Winter Sonata’, Nami Island is home to rows of majestic trees, free-roaming animals, and art exhibits — and a sought-after South Korean destination in every season!

TRIVIA: Back in March 2006, Nami Island declared its “cultural independence” from the Republic of Korea and called itself as the “Naminara Republic”. As an ‘imaginary country’, it even developed its own passport (akin to an annual theme park pass), currency, stamp, and more!

Nami Island Seasons

Upon your arrival, you might be overwhelmed at first but rest assured, there are free map guides given upon your entry; therefore, navigating around the island will be extremely easy (it’s a small place after all!). For the top ‘must-do’s’ in Nami Island, it would be…

  • Zipwire. Ride the ‘Zipwire’ for a thrilling entrance to Nami Island! So instead of riding the ferry from Gapyeong Wharf, you can ride the zipline instead fo ₩38,000 (inclusive of admission to the island and a ferry ride back) and it will only take 2 minutes.
  • Redwood Trees. Don’t miss out passing through paths like Metasequoia Road, Ginkgo Tree Lane, and Central Korean Pine Tree Lane to admire the towering redwood trees. Naturally, these become even more magical as the seasons change — in fact, Nami Island becomes a coveted destination when the redwood trees go through autumn or winter time. (TIP: In Autumn, drop by Baekpungmilwon Garden because it has over 300 maple trees planted there!).
  • Winter Sonata show spots. A fan of the famous K-drama, ‘Winter Sonata’? A lot of photo spots were made in the island to pay homage to the famous Korean TV show, such as the “First Kiss Bridge” and “Couple Snowmen” (which are both just beside one another). You can also find a statue of the couple at Gongsaengwon Garden.
  • Bike Center. I urge you to bike around Nami Island because it’s the best way to fully enjoy and explore the entire place in just an hour! To rent a bike, head to Nami Island’s Bike Center. Per 30 minutes, single rider bikes cost ₩4,000, tandem bikes (for 2 people) cost ₩6,000, and family bikes (quadruplet) cost ₩10,000.
  • For families and kids. Ride the UNICEF Charity Train (₩3,000 one way), the Story Tour Bus (₩7,000) or the Motorboat Tour (₩40,000 for 5 persons).
  • HotteokFor a filling snack, try this well-known red bean pancake at the Nami Island Sonata Cafe for only ₩1,500.
  • Lunch. I advise getting lunch after you explore Nami Island because there is a great restaurant by the ferry terminal named as Kkokko Chuncheon Chicken Ribs that serves delicious dak-galbi (stir-fried chicken) at an affordable price. I absolutely loved this meal and I bet you will too! (If you rather want to eat somewhere inside Nami Island, go for Korean BBQ at Seomhyanggi).

MY VERDICT: I arrived here in pre-spring time so the trees looked quite dead (haha) — still, I absolutely enjoyed my time here! And I can just imagine that happiness being multiplied by 10 if I had visited the island in full spring, autumn or winter. All in all, this is the beauty of Nami Island: it offers a different experience in every season, making it a great respite from the bustling metropolis of Seoul.

TOUR STOP DURATION: 3 hours

If you want to travel to Nami Island on your own, you can take the ‘Gapyeong Circle/City Tour Bus’ from Gapyeong Station or Gapyeong Bus Terminal for only ₩6,000 (which also makes stops in the destinations mentioned in this packaged tour) — the downside though is that these buses run only once every hour, and with the crowds that go to all of these places, it’s likely that the spots get filled quickly. (This is why I suggest going on a guided tour instead.)

~ NOTE: From Seoul’s Yongsan Station, you can reach Gapyeong Station in just less than an hour for around ₩5,200 via ITX with a Korail Pass.
~Entrance fee: ₩13,000 (included in the KKday tour as well as the ferry ride)

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Stop #3: Gangchon Rail Bike

Built on a discontinued trail line, Gangchon Rail Bike is a fun attraction where you can pedal through old railroad tracks while taking in the amazing Bukhangang River scenery! Rest assured, it doesn’t require much effort to pedal the makeshift carts because the rail lines are slightly slopping downhill.

FYI: There’s actually another Rail Bike park in the vicinity called as Gapyeong Rail Bike; however, it is said that Gangchon Rail Bike is a better choice given that the views are nicer (and yes, it was) and that it goes through 3 tunnels (Gapyeong Rail Bike only goes through one).

Gangchon Rail Bike

MY VERDICT: I gotta admit, I didn’t expect much from this ride at first — so you could imagine how I felt when I realized how much fun I was having after just a few minutes on the track!

TOUR STOP DURATION: 1.5 hour

If you want to travel to Gangchon Rail Bike on your own, you can take the ‘Gapyeong Circle/City Tour Bus from Gapyeong Station or Gapyeong Bus Terminal for only ₩6,000 (which also makes stops in the destinations mentioned in this packaged tour) — the downside though is that these buses run only once every hour, and with the crowds that go to all of these places, it’s likely that the spots get filled quickly. (This is why I suggest going on a guided tour instead.)

~ NOTE: From Seoul’s Yongsan Station, you can reach Gapyeong Station in just less than an hour for around ₩5,200 via ITX with a Korail Pass.
~Entrance fee: ₩30,000 for a two-seater (included in the KKday tour)

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Stop #4: The Garden of Morning Calm

The Garden of Morning Calm is a grand 30,000sqm property composed of 26 themed gardens that are open all year round. Regarded as the oldest private garden in Korea with an artistic space that’s sure to leave anyone in awe, the gardens become even more magical during winter (December to March) when they set up hundreds of multi-colored lights to create themed gardens.

  • Spring. Expect to see a pinkish scene given the full bloom of azaleas, cherry blossoms and magnolias during the ‘Spring Garden Festival’.
  • Summer. Flowers like roses and blue hydrangeas will be in bloom.
  • Autumn. Bask in a sea of red with the surrounding chrysanthemums and maple trees.
  • Winter. Enjoy a colorful winter wonderland when they put up the aforementioned multi-colored lights across the gardens during the ‘Lighting Festival’.

Garden of Morning Calm

MY VERDICT: You’re sure to find yourself snapping away (non-stop!) given the amazing landscapes that comprise the Garden of Morning Calm. A lot of foreign travelers only seem to consider this place during winter season (as per the ‘Lighting Festival’), but I say: visit this underrated attraction during the other seasons too!

TOUR STOP DURATION: 1.5 hour

If you want to travel to The Garden of Morning Calm on your own, you can take the ‘Gapyeong Circle/City Tour Bus‘ from Gapyeong Station or Gapyeong Bus Terminal for only ₩6,000 (which also makes stops in the destinations mentioned in this packaged tour) — the downside though is that these buses run only once every hour, and with the crowds that go to all of these places, it’s likely that the spots get filled quickly. (This is why I suggest going on a guided tour instead.)

~ NOTE: From Seoul’s Yongsan Station, you can reach Gapyeong Station in just less than an hour for around ₩5,200 via ITX with a Korail Pass.
~Entrance fee: ₩9,500 adults / ₩6,000 children (included in the KKday tour)

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Overall

Nami Island

This day trip definitely gives you the chance to see the highlights of the nearby Gapyeong Country through a tour that gives you the utmost ease and comfort.

…So what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on this amazing deal via KKday! And don’t forget to use my promo code IAMAILEEN to save 10% off. Enjoy!

BOOK THIS KKDAY TOUR NOW!

How about you?

  • What do you think of this Seoul day tour from Kkday?
  • Which of the 4 would you like to see the most? Why?
  • Or have you been to any of these places before? How was it?

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33 comments

  1. Beautiful places! I'm KDrama fanatic and loves to travel..South Korea is one of my bucketlist..hope to have it soon..love this post..

    Reply
  2. Thank you for the coupons and discounts. I love following your travels, and as usual you didn't disappoint.

    Reply
    1. Aww thank you so much!

      Reply
  3. What a fun trip to take!! I love your photos and it sounds like you were super busy!!

    Reply
    1. Thank you! It was a packed activity but still quite chill actually :D

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  4. Wow! These are like fairy tale pictures! They are absolutely gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you! It was easy since the places were amazing :D

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  5. I am so amaze with the view i, South Korea is on top of my list. Hopefully very soon I can go back to Asia and explore the close-by country. I am so inspired the way you travel and I amaze by you as solo traveler. I am married and on my part I enjoy sharing it with my spouse.

    Reply
    1. Thank you, I hope in time you can get to explore here!

      Reply
  6. Wow, what a unique and beautiful place to explore! You have so many great tips for travel here. It would definitely be a memorable place to visit!

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    1. That's for sure! It's a must to see this :D

      Reply
  7. This is all really helpful! I have never traveled this far but I definitely want to start travelling more. Having the inside information on destinations is amazing!

    Reply
    1. I wish you do! You'll love Korea :D

      Reply
  8. I love that you are giving away discount coupons. Your travel guides always helpful and detailed. I always refer to your site everytime I go abroad.

    Reply
    1. Thank you, I'm happy to hear that! :D

      Reply
  9. Wow, these photos are beautiful! These tips are great advice too. I love to travel, it probably my favorite thing

    Reply
    1. Then I hope you can check this place off soon!

      Reply

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