Happy Feet

South Korea: Namiseom Island, Petite France & The Garden of Morning Calm

One of the many reasons I wanted to go to Korea was because of Nami Island. While others knew about this place through the Korean drama series, Winter Sonata (which I have yet to watch), I have come to know it through my facebook friends’ posts. I was so jealous of their posts that I put Nami on top of my bucket list! Forever inggitera!

So, when Ralph and I finally decided we’d push through our Korea plans, I made sure to include Nami Island on our itinerary, which I scheduled on our second day. I also included Petite France and The Garden of Morning Calm along with our Nami trip since they are just a few minutes away from each other and are all part of the Gapyeong City Tour.

Aside from those 3 that I mentioned, there are also other places you can visit on this tour – Jaraseom Island, Gapyeong Rail Bike and Interactive Art Museum – but a whole day isn’t enough to visit all of them at once. Just pick those places that interest you the most and you are all set.

gapyeong
source: Visit Korea

 

Gapyeong City is far from Seoul but I’m telling you, it’s really worth the long travel! You can either take the bus or the train. But of course, the only way I can teach you how to go there is through the latter. Hehe!

  • Before you go, here are a few useful tips to consider: 1) go on a weekday to enjoy the sceneries with a lesser crowd, and 2) leave early to give allowance to your travel time; you’ll never know when you’ll get lost nor get confused with directions.

No matter what station you are coming from, you should end at Gapyeong Station. In our case, we started from Euljiro 3(sam)-ga Station (green line) to Wangsimni Station (multiple lines) and then we transferred to light blue line going to Sangbong Station. From there, we took the Gyeongchun line going to Gapyeong Station (14 stations away).

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this handy map came with the T-Cards we bought from the airport

Right outside Gapyeong Station, you will find a taxi and a shuttle bus terminal. You can take either of the 2 but I strongly suggest taking the bus as it is cheaper, especially if you are planning to visit other places in Gapyeong. Do note that there is a 20-minute wait time in between buses.

  • Taxi Fare: ₩8,000 roundtrip from Gapyeong station and the wharf only.
  • Shuttle Bus Fare:  ₩6,000 “a hop on hop off bus” that can be used at multiple stops. This is a very good deal if you are spending the whole day there. (tickets can be purchased from the driver upon boarding)

The bus ride to the wharf takes about 10 minutes.

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Right before you hop off the bus, you can already see the sign, “Welcome to NAMI ISLAND” from afar, which I wasn’t able to picture because of too much excitement to get there. Haha!

Purchase your ticket at the booth and take the 5-minute ferry ride.

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NAMI ISLAND

Address: 1 Namisum-gil, Namsan-myeon, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do

Station: GAPYEONG – light blue line to Gyeongchun

Entrance Fee: ₩8,000 (₩5,000 entrance fee + ₩3,000 ferry)

And finally… HELLO, NAMI! We instantly fell in love with the island as soon as we stepped on its grounds. We couldn’t contain our happiness then. See those faces? Hahaha!

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After so many years of imagining myself walking through those beautifully lined-up trees, I was there at long last! My whole me was there! And it turned out better than I imagined it would be because I was with Ralph!

Nami Island Jed Aquino Ralph GalfoNami Island Jed Aquino Ralph Galfo

Lucky there were no people around when we took these shots…

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It was a little past noon when we realized we hadn’t eaten anything since early breakfast. We were hungry! There were a few restaurants around but we might take long so we just grabbed snacks we can eat on the go: Steamed Buns ₩1,000/each (no picture), Fish Cakes ₩2,000/cup, and a Hot Chocolate ₩5,500/cup. Yummy!

 

Last few shots before we finally said goodbye to this beautiful island and hopped on to our next destination.

Hello, handsome!

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Ay. Hindi na pala handsome!

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Nami Island Jed Aquino Ralph Galfo

We went back to the stop where we first got off when we arrived in Nami and waited for a few minutes for the bus that will take us to Petite France, which was around 25 minutes away from Nami.

 

PETITE FRANCE

Address: 1063 Hoban-ro, Cheongpyeong-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

Entrance Fee: ₩8,000

I have only discovered this place just a few weeks before our trip while researching about Korea. Although there were just a handful of positive and even negative reviews about the place, those colorful French-inspired buildings as well as the statue of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince on pictures were enough to make me want to go there.

Petite FrancePetite France Jed Aquino Ralph Galfo

It may be small but Petite France surely offers great photo spots. And it’s too beautiful to ignore.

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We only strolled around for awhile, took pictures, grabbed a snack, and then left for our next and last destination.

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On our way back to the bus stop, a puppet show started just in time we were about to leave, like it was saying “don’t go yet!” Haha! We watched a little as we passed by it.

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And then off we went to The Garden of Morning Calm.

 

THE GARDEN OF MORNING CALM

Address: 432 Sumogwon-ro, Sang-myeon, Gapyeong-gun , Gyeonggi-do

Entrance Fee: ₩8,000

The Garden of Morning Calm is the last (and the farthest) stop of the Gapyeong City Tour. It is believed to be the oldest private garden in Korea that houses thousands of trees, plants, and flowers of different kinds, beautifully landscaped along scenic walkways.

As we walked around the garden, I was imagining how it would look like in Spring, which is in full bloom around end of March until April. It would have been more beautiful then. Unfortunately, we were 2 weeks early for Spring when we visited. Most trees were still dry. There were just some that was about to grow at the time.

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Nevertheless, the garden was still very dreamy. It gave me that certain feeling I (we) was in a fairytale!

Garden of Morning Calm Jed Aquino Ralph Galfo

We stayed a little longer than planned just enjoying our time in nature. Besides, we were waiting for the light display that the garden is known for. We were told they start to light up around 5:00 PM.

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We still had an hour and a half until the light display. It was only then that we started to feel tired from too much walking and taking too many pictures. We thought… Oh, wait… Did I mention we hadn’t had lunch yet? We were so pre-occupied we forgot about food! Haha! So, while waiting, we had lunch at one of the restaurants there.

Their food was quite disappointing but very filling.

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At exactly 5:00, the whole garden started to light up right before our eyes. We hurriedly finished our food and went out before it gets too crowded for a photo op.

 

Ahhhh it was such a beautiful sight! The whole garden was filled with vibrant colors! ❤️

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panorama taken by Ralph

 

The Garden of Morning Calm exceeded my expectations! I couldn’t exactly tell how I was feeling at that time but I somehow felt like I was out of this world just by looking at the scenery in front of me. It looked so magical!

Garden of Morning Calm Jed Aquino Ralph Galfo

I must say this place truly lives up to its name as it gave us a sense of tranquility. We didn’t worry about anything at all! Oops… Sorry… Just one thing… We were thinking if, in case we stayed until the sky turns dark, we could get through without freezing.

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In the end, we decided to not risk it. As much as we wanted to see the garden at night, we didn’t think we could survive the 3 degrees weather in just 3 layers of clothing! But surely, I will visit this place again the next time I come to Korea!

We left around 5:45 PM just in time to catch the bus that will take us to Cheongpyeong Station, nearest station from The Garden of Morning Calm. We went back to Seoul the same way we went to Gapyeong.

We arrived at the hotel around 8:30 in the evening, cold and exhausted but extremely happy. 🙂

March 16, 2017

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One thought on “South Korea: Namiseom Island, Petite France & The Garden of Morning Calm

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