Looking for a little adventure during your stay in Korea? Then look no further and check out my newest article “My Nami Island Day Trip” and learn about this amazing island nation and some of the other nearby attractions.
Day Tripping in Korea
One of the best things about living in Korea is the ability to take these amazing day trips and explore all of the interesting sights Korea has to offer. With its impressive public transit system, it is pretty easy to get to where you want to go, whether or not you have your own transportation (automobile). Tour companies also provide transportation to some of the more remote destinations.
If you are like me, you probably have a few friends that may want to come and visit you when you move away. Some places are easier to get to than others and when my friends make that little extra effort to come and see me (specially here in Korea), I feel like I also need to put forth a little extra effort to make it worth their while.
So what can you do when YOUR friends make that extra effort… Two words come to mind… Can you say “DAY TRIP!”
For me, the best entertainment ideas provide fun and excitement for the whole day!!! Sure, you can schedule a hundred small activities like dinner, movies, shopping, parks etc… but too often this gets very expensive and your guests is so tired when you are done that they don’t feel like they’ve even been on vacation.
So what’s the answer? A day trip. A day trip allows your friend to take a vacation from their vacation… hehehe… and for me, their is no better way to do this than to book a local tour.
Booking a Tour
The best thing about booking a tour is that you get to take a vacation too. Whereas planning a hundred events in a day can take an incredible amount of energy and effort, when you are on a tour, the company does everything for you and therefore, you get to enjoy the adventure as well.
So, I would like to think I came up with this idea all on my own, but the truth is, I have had some great teachers along the way. When I was in the U.S., my Sister-in Law constantly had someone visiting her, and I watched how she always had their entire stay planned out so that when someone visited, it always went so smoothly. She never seemed stressed out…
In addition, when I went home to the Philippines, my family is always planning trips and things to do. The really cool thing about a day trip strategy is that it doesn’t matter where you are. If you look, there is always something exciting to do, you just have to find it.
So, in the U.S., when we took our visitors on tours, it usually started with horse drawn carriage rides through downtown Charleston. Back home in the Philippines, it was often someone my Uncle or Dad knew taking us to some off the grid spot that provided us with a new adventure and some great photo opportunities… But here in Korea, for me, it’s the Trazy Travel Company.
Trazy offers a number of different travel experiences, but I love their day trip packages, specially the ones from Seoul. Regardless of your interests, Trazy will have a tour for you, and they typically provide transportation there and back and often you will see multiple attractions. One recent experience I had was with a friend visiting her son who was stationed here in Korea.
My friend went out of her way to come visit us and knowing that she was an avid Korean Drama fan, their was really only one place we needed to see. That’s right… Nami Island.
The Nami Island Tour
So, Trazy offers many different Nami Island Tour packages and they typically include a stop or two at some of the other nearby attractions. While I very much wanted to see the Petit France and Italian Village, for some reason, we were unable to choose this option. So instead, we took the Nami and Garden of Morning Calm tour and boy, was it fun!!!
About Nami Island
So, where is Nami Island and what makes it so special? Nami Island was formed when the Han River was damned in 1944. The Island is naturally shaped like a crescent moon and it while mainly served commercial purposes early on, in 2001, famed children’s author Kang Woo Hyun was appointed Chef Executive and began to transform the Island into the amazing fairy tale land that we all know today.
To that end, in 2006, the island declared itself independent and the “Naminara Republic” was born. The newly formed “Island Nation” was designated a UNICEF Child Friendly Park in 2010 and hosts many events and festivals throughout the year.
In addition, the island was the home of one of the country’s most beloved dramas Winter Sonata. It is this Attachment to K-drama that helped me choose this particular day trip adventure as my friend is an avid fan of the show.
Home of Winter Sonata
Our trip to Nami Island started near Myeong-dong, the famous shopping district in Seoul. There, a Trazy bus picked us up and drove us to the Nami Island Ferry. We then boarded the Ferry a struck out across the river to Nami Island… home of the K-drama Winter Sonata…
For us, Winter turned out to be the perfect time to visit, there was snow on the ground and the island was turned into a winter wonderland. Because of the K drama connection and our friends love of all things Korean… January was the perfect time to visit.
Cold Weather Hot Coffee and Desserts
The Bad News- When visiting in the winter time, the weather is very cold there… no… really… it is VERY COLD… My husband who truly loves the Winter, sorely underestimated the temperature and was beyond freezing the whole day. While Korea can be cold during the winter anyway, Nami seemed to be about 5 or 10 degrees colder than Seoul, specially with the damp river air.
The Good News- Although the weather was difficult, the coffee and hot chocolate were out of this world. And the desserts… OMG… nothing like piping hot Hotteok, a Korean Sweet Pancake filled with Brown Sugar, Honey and Nuts… to warm you up on a cold day. In addition, there are plenty of spots to grab a quick meal and get in out of the cold.
As I said above, Nami was a winter wonderland. Although the weather was cold, the beautiful scenery definitely stole the day. We took so many pictures and videos I thought our camera was going to go on strike. Whether it was the Central Pine Tree Lane or one of the many picture friendly vignettes set up for your convenience, the opportunities to take great profile pictures for your social media accounts are endless.
Unfortunately, every good thing must come to an end and after a couple of hours, so did our trip to the island. While a couple of hours did not seem long enough at first, there was still plenty of time to do everything you wanted to do before it was time to go. Leaving the Island also happens by Ferry and the ride back to the main land is peaceful and serene. Also, it provides one more chance at some amazing pictures of the river.
Once back on land, the bus provides you with time to check out a little shopping and to have some dinner at one of the many restaurants that line the ferry station. We enjoyed some wonderful BBQ Chicken before boarding the bus and heading for destination two.
The Garden of Morning Calm
After a long day of walking around the island, the bus ride was a great chance to recharge our batteries before setting out on the second act of our Day Trip extravaganza. The trip to The Garden of Morning Calm was very relaxing, though also very bumpy, be prepared if you get car sick.
Once there, you are let off the bus and brought into the park to marvel at the amazing light displays and beautiful garden. The garden was founded by Professor Sang-kyung Han from Sahmyook University and was named after famed Indian Poet Rabindramath Tagore’s poem about Korea called the “Land of the Morning Calm”
When visiting, stop by to view the Millennium Juniper which is estimated to be nearly 1000 years old. Also, take advantage of the gift shop which sells some amazing souvenirs. For us, the magnets were a must buy for friends and family back home.
As with Nami Island, the lights provide so many opportunities to take profile pictures for all of your favorite social media platforms and will leave you with enough memories to last a life time.
All in all, this was truly one of my favorite days here in Korea…Not only did we get to spend some quality time with a great friend, but in the process, we explored a part of Korea we had yet to see. When it comes to finding ways to make those everyday moments more fun, taking a day trip and exploring with your visitors is certainly at the top of my list.. Well that’s it for now…
I hope you enjoyed reading and I can’t wait to hear in the comments about your day trips wherever you live… After all, it doesn’t matter where you live when you find the best ways “To live Life One Moment at a Time!”