It started with a drama series.

Like most of us, I learned about Nami Island when it was used as a setting for Winter Sonata, a Korean drama that became a phenomenal hit in many Asian countries, adding more fuel to the already unstoppable Korean wave that took the world by storm. But injecting another Korean dose to global pop culture wasn’t the only thing this romantic flick has done. It has also sparked interest in Nami Island as a major tourist destination, with the number of tourists skyrocketing from 270,000 in 2001 to over 650,000 in 2002 to over 3 million in 2014.

But what is Nami Island really? Other than its lanes of metasequoia and ginkgo trees, what else awaits in this cinematic piece of paradise?

Understanding Nami Island

Although part of Chuncheon’s territory, Nami Island or Namiseom is most easily accessible from a wharf in Gapyeong County, its main gateway and jump-off point.

Before it became most famous as a Winter Sonata filming location, it is best known as the final resting place of General Nami, a controversial historical figure in the Joseon Dynasty. He rose to fame in the mid-1400s when he led a victorious campaign to crush a massive rebellion. At age 25, he was honored by King Sejo, who gave him a top position in the government. But when King Sejo died, his successor falsely accused him of being a traitor, which led to his and his family’s execution. It wasn’t until almost 400 years later when he was exonerated.

Winter Sonata in Nami Island
Winter Sonata in Nami Island
Namiseom Korea
Walking around Nami Island
Tomb of General Nami
Tomb of General Nami

Nami Island covers an area of 430,000 square meters. This half-moon shaped island in the middle of the Han River was an almost barren patch of land with only a handful of chestnut trees. But when retired Bank of Korea governor Minn Byeong-do purchased the island in 1965, he reforested and transformed the island into the resort town that it is today. Over the past decades, it has hosted many events promoting art, culture, and environment-related causes.

Because of its proximity to Seoul, Nami Island easily became a popular day tour destination.

How to Get to Nami Island from Seoul

Nami Island Ferry
Nami Island Ferry

There are many ways to reach Nami Island, but these are the most popular options.

Seoul to Nami Island by Train

  1. Travel by train to Gapyeong Station.
  2. Walk or take a cab from the station to the ferry wharf.
  3. At the wharf, buy tickets to the island, which costs ₩13,000.

The 13,000-won fee already covers both the entrance fee and roundtrip ferry fare.

There used to be a discounted rate for foreigners, ₩8000 per person. But the rate increased in January 2018 to ₩13,000.

Seoul to Nami Island by Bus

  1. Reserve a bus seat by emailing or calling +82-2-753-1247. Roundtrip fare is ₩15,000.
  2. Catch the shuttle bus in Insadong (near the West Gate of Tapgol Park) or Sungnyemun Square Bus Stop in front of Namdaemun Market. Bus leaves at 9:30am. This will take you to the wharf in Gapyeong.
  3. Board the ferry to Nami Island. Entrance Fee: ₩13,000.

Where to Stay Near Nami Island

There are no hotels in the island itself. The closest is Gapyeong, where the Nami Island ferry picks up passengers. In my personal opinion, however, one day is enough to experience most of what Nami Island has to offer. Hence, if your main destination is Seoul, you might want to visit Namiseom on a day trip. Whatever your decision is, below are the top budget hotels in Seoul and Gapyeong.

Winter in Nami Island
Winter in Nami Island

Top Budget Hotels in Seoul Under $60 (P3000)

Staz Hotel Myeongdong II

Top Hostels in Seoul

YE4 Guesthouse

Search for more Seoul Hotels

Top Hotels in Gapyeong (near Nami Island)

Egg House Namisum Guesthouse - Hostel

Sample Nami Island Itinerary and Expenses

If you’re visiting Nami Island on a day tour as part of a bigger trip to Seoul, below is a sample 5-day/4-night itinerary with breakdown of expenses. This assumes the following:

  • You are a group of two.
  • You will be staying in a twin room at a hostel.
  • You will be using a T-Money card (T-Card) in exploring Seoul.
  • Your meal allowance is limited to only ₩5000 for breakfast and ₩15000 for lunch and dinner. It’s actually too much for me considering that you will find a bowl of delicious bibimbap for only ₩5000. But I think it’s better to overestimate so let’s leave it at ₩15,000. I’m not a breakfast person, either. But fine, let’s still include breakfast for good measure.

Just make necessary adjustments to suit your needs.

Nami Island Statue
Nami Island Statue

Pre-trip expenses
Hotel booking – ₩116,000 (₩58,000 x 4 nights divided by 2pax)

01:00pm – Airport to Jongno-3ga – ₩4150 + ₩1250
02:20pm – Check in at hostel
03:00pm – Gyeongbokgung Palace – ₩3000
06:30pm – Cheonggyecheon Stream
08:00pm – Gwangjang Market – ₩15,000 budget
10:30pm – Sleep!

08:00am – Wake up
09:00am – Grab breakfast – ₩5000
09:30am – Bukchon Hanok Village
11:30am – Lunch – ₩15,000
01:00pm – Changdeokgung Palace – ₩3000
06:00pm – Subway to Myeongdong – ₩1250
06:20pm – Dinner – ₩15,000 budget
09:30pm – Back to Hotel

07:00am – Wake up
08:00am – Grab breakfast – ₩5000
08:30am – Subway to Gapyeong Station – ₩2250
10:00am – Taxi to ferry wharf – ₩3000
10:20am – Buy Nami ticket – ₩13,000
10:50pm – Explore Nami Island
01:30pm – Lunch – ₩15,000 budget
02:30pm – Continue exploring Nami Island
04:00pm – Ferry back
04:30pm – Taxi back to Gapyeong Station – ₩3000
05:00pm – Subway back to city – ₩2250
06:30pm – Dinner – ₩15,000 budget
09:00pm – Sleep

09:00am – Wake up
10:00am – Brunch + Insadong – ₩15,000 budget
01:00pm – Subway to Ewha Women’s University – ₩1250
01:30pm – Ewha Women’s University
02:30pm – Subway to Hongik University – ₩1250
02:45pm – Seoul Trick Eye Museum – ¥15,000
05:00pm – Explore Hongdae
08:00pm – Dinner – ₩15,000 budget
10:30pm – Back to hotel – ₩1250

Train back to Airport – ₩5400

This itinerary will cost you ₩292,000 (USD 256, EUR 226, SGD 355, PHP 13,700), excluding the airfare.

You can still bring down the cost by staying in a dorm (and there are great options in the city), skipping the Trick Eye Museum (it’s not really unique to Seoul), or cutting down on your food budget (Please don’t. Korean food is awesome!)

If you’re coming from Manila and you’re able to snag PHP7700 fare, the total cost of this trip is PHP 21,400.

For my first trip, I got my plane tickets from a SEAT SALE and paid only PHP 6000, hehe. Add the travel tax (which was being collected separately at the time) and the total is pretty much the same.

Seoul South Korea

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Yoshke Dimen

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Yoshke is a part-time digital marketing consultant, part-time travel blogger, and full-time dreamer. He has three passions in life: social media, travel, and --- wait for it --- world peace. Yoshke has won 3 PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS and received 9 nominations. Learn more about his personal journeys at
Yoshke Dimen


  1. Anthony Sanchez says:

    Hi! Good day! Great blog. Very helpful and informative, anyways just want to ask about your I.T in nami island,
    Where does the Nami island entrance fee here in the budget computation?
    Secondly, The 8000 won ferry ticket is back and forth?
    thank you. Hope for you response.

    Day 3: NAMI ISLAND
    07:00am – Wake up
    08:00am – Grab breakfast – ₩5000
    08:30am – Subway to Gapyeong Station – ₩2250
    10:00am – Taxi to ferry wharf – ₩3000
    10:20am – Buy ferry ticket – ₩8000
    10:50pm – Explore Nami Island
    01:30pm – Lunch – ₩15,000 budget
    02:30pm – Continue exploring Nami Island
    04:00pm – Ferry back
    04:30pm – Taxi back to Gapyeong Station – ₩3000
    05:00pm – Subway back to city – ₩2250
    06:30pm – Dinner – ₩15,000 budget

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Anthony, the ₩8000 ferry ticket already covers entrance fee. It was discounted for foreigners.

      HOWEVER, this was written last year. Apparently, the entrance fee + RT ferry ticket already changed this year. It’s now 13,000.

      We’ll update the post. :D

  2. Jam says:

    Hi Yoshke,

    15,000 won po ba talaga ang descent price per meal sa Sokor? That is around 675 pesos per meal.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Jam, meron kang mahahanap na mas mura pero pinad lang namin to be safe.

  3. Anna says:

    Hi when would be the best date in october to see the peak foliage of nami island?

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