Namiseom Island, most commonly referred to as Nami Island, is a popular tourist attraction and somewhat of a curiosity just northeast of Seoul. It actually declared its cultural independence in 2006, has its own flag, passports and stamps and calls itself the Naminara Republic. You won’t need a passport though to visit the small, crescent shaped island in the Han River, but there is a small admission fee.
Nami Island offers a stunning scenery with chestnut, verdant and mulberry trees and big grassy fields where ducks, chipmunks, squirrels and peacocks welcome visitors. At night, all the lights are turned off to show the beauty of the stars and the moon and the inhabitants take care to recycle most waste. All in all, the tiny island could have been plucked straight out of an idyllic fairy tale dedicated to perfect harmony between nature and humanity. The picturesque setting led the producers of one of Korea’s most popular television dramas, Winter Sonata, to choose the island as one of the main filming locations. A fact that only increased the destination’s popularity, especially in winter.
Namiseom Island can be found about 55 kilometers northeast of Seoul in the Han River. It is easiest to get there by rail, a journey that takes roughly 1.5 hours and ends at Gapyeong station. Nami Wharf is only a short taxi ride away, from where you can either choose to zip line across the river or take the ferry. The alternative is a shuttle bus, which departs regularly from Insadong and Namdaemun, but needs to be booked in advance.