With the help and recommendation of the staff at my hostel (they were the owners actually), I went on a guided tour to Nami Island and Elysian Gangchon Ski Resort. Normally, I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of getting a package tour, because I know that I could come up with an itinerary for half the price, but I just didn’t have time for it. I was already in Korea when I changed my mind. So what made me decide to get the package tour?
TWO BIRDS, ONE STONE
For starters, it gave me an extra day to roam around Seoul city. It allowed me to see both Nami Island and Elysian Gangchon in one day so I was able to maximize my stay in Korea. It also helped that my hostel owners called KTourStory up and did the talking for me. They were able to get me slot so I could join the group tour the following day. I paid 48,000 KRW (which is around 43 USD) for everything. I’m assuming that’s the total cost of transportation, Nami Island tickets and entrance fee to the ski resort.
There are two ways to get to the island. The normal route involves taking a leisurely ride on the ferry, while the other one is a bit more adventurous as it involves taking the Nami Skyline ZipWire ZipRider. The zipline package costs 38,000 KRW (quite expensive, I must say) but that already includes your entry fee to the island and a return ferry that will transport you back to the mainland. Do take note that zipline operations may be discontinued in case of snow, rain, or strong winds.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY ABOUT THE ISLAND
Nami Island, now known as Naminara Republic, declared itself as an independent nation in 2006. And just like any other independent nation, it has its own flag, national anthem and currency. Everyone who visits the island is required to purchase an “entry visa” worth 8,000 KRW and have to pass through immigration. Nothing serious, just for formality sakes. They won’t ask for your passport as the immigration officers will simply ask where you’re from. 😉
Since I’m part of a group tour, we were given 3 hours to explore the island. That already gave me enough time to look around and see all the attractions there. Sometimes I wish I had rented a bicycle so I could have made use of the extra time, but I’m also thankful that I didn’t because I wouldn’t have been able to fully appreciate the place. I’d rather take my time exploring than just pass through an area.
Nami Island is so beautiful. The scenery here is breathtaking – away from concrete jungle we’re all used to. You will definitely enjoy the greenery that surrounds you. It’s definitely a nice place to visit with friends, family, and loved ones regardless of season.
Although I bet the island would look more magical with snow. By the way, did you know that Nami Island became a popular tourist destination and it’s all because of a wildly successful Korean drama called Winter Sonata? It even said to have started the Hallyu fever! Here’s a picture of the statue they put up to commemorate the importance of the drama.
After taking the ferry back to the entry port, I decided to have lunch in one of the nearby restaurants since I still had about 30 minutes left before call time. I was told that Chuncheon is famous for its chicken stir-fry or Dakgalbi as they call it in Korean. So I went to the restaurant closest to our tour bus (my fear of getting left behind got in the way haha). It was a good choice though because not only it had an excellent view of the Bukhan River, but the food they served was great as well. 🙂
ELYSIAN GANGCHON SKI RESORT
Not a lot of people know that there’s a ski resort nearby Nami Island. It takes about 15-20 minutes to get there by car. I had to skip Petite France for this one since I have long wanted to go (you’d understand my frustration if you have lived all your life in a tropical country like the Philippines). I, however, ironically didn’t avail of the full package tour where you have to pay extra 33,000 KRW for the rental fee of the gears and ski equipment. That’s because I didn’t come to ski or snowboard. The only reason I decided to come was to see snow. To be honest with you, I couldn’t even care less if the snow was artificial or man-made. As long as it’s there, it’s good enough for me.
When we arrived, we were given a short orientation by our designated tour guide. He told us that we had 3 hours to spare and do whatever we want. Those who availed of the full package will be given free basic ski lessons, while the others can freely look around the resort.
Here’s how I spent my time there: Half of the time I was inside the cafeteria, keeping myself warm thanks to the heater and 4 layers of clothing. It was just too darn cold outside! Then the other half, I was out playing in the snow trying to make snow angels and snowballs. It was pure bliss there, seriously. We only have wet and dry season where I come from.
To be clear, this is not a sponsored post. I am neither recommending nor discouraging you to book with KTourStory. I only blogged about my overall experience. By the way, they have other tour packages that can take you to places like Termeden Outdoor Hot Spring Bath, Mt. Seorak, and Naksansa Temple if you like the convenience. It’s best you get in touch with them.
All photos are mine unless stated otherwise.