I’ve heard Nami Island is touristy and it certainly is. However, my theory is if a place is pretty and I enjoy being there, I don’t care how popular it is. Some places are well-known for a reason.
I took the train to Gapyeong station, which is the closest station to the ferry pier to Nami Island. You can take the local trains all the way from Seoul to Gapyeong station, but I went for the 40 minute ride on the ITX train instead.
You can take a bus or taxi to the pier from the train station, but I ended up walking because the buses don’t come frequently and I didn’t want to spend the extra money on a taxi since I was by myself. It only took 20 minutes of walking along the main road.
Once you arrive at the pier, you buy a “visa” to the island. Part of the tourism scheme (is scheme too harsh a word?) is the idea that Nami Island is its own country. You can buy a passport for more money that allows unlimited access to the island for a set amount of months. The visa costs 10,000 won but since I am a foreigner, I got a visa for 8,000 won.
The ferries run often and the ride is short. There is a sitting area on the ferry or you can stand on the deck. A round-trip ferry ride is included in the price of the visa.
The weather switched between cloudy and sunny throughout the day. I got there in the morning and left after eating lunch. It was fairly crowded in the morning but I could still walk around without running into people. As the day went on, the tour buses came rolling into the pier parking lot and the island was packed.
I liked seeing all the gardens and snowmen statues. It was nice to put my phone away and breathe in some fresh air.
The island had several gift shops, restaurants, a few hotels/cabins, and a wild peacock that scared every small child with its terrifying chirping. Peacocks are loud.
There were several restaurants and coffee shops around the pier parking lot. When I came back from the island, I crashed in a coffee shop just to decompress and stay out of the hot sun. This day trip was worth getting up early.