We intentionally scheduled our trip in October hoping that the trees would have turned crimson by that time. I was kinda disappointed that the autumn foliage will come later in the area. Nevertheless, we had so much fun that we didn’t really notice how green the trees are even during this time. It was my second time to visit the place. I was there during the summer to tour my mother on the island made famous by the Korean drama/telenovela “Winter Sonata” starring Bae Yong Joon, Choi Ji Woo and Park Yong Ha.
We met at Cheongnyangni station at around 8:30. I bought tickets for six to Gapyeong, the station nearest to Namiseom. A standard seating ticket is 3,500 KRW ($3.50) but we had standing tickets for 3,000 KRW ($3.00) since the train had been fully booked two weeks earlier. The line goes straight to Chuncheon, another popular Korean destination. We arrived in Gapyeong an hour and 15 minutes later, just on time. We were so excited that we just had to take a picture of us together at the station.
We took the taxi from Gapyeong station to Namiseom port. It was less than a 10-minute ride which cost us 3,420 KRW. The flagdown rate for taxis here is more expensive at 2,340 KRW compared to Seoul’s 1,900 KRW.
At the entrance of the Namiseom port are restaurants serving the province’s specialty foods… dalk galbi (Korean style grilled chicken with a very spicy sauce) and makguksu (wheat noodles prepared like “naeng myeon“). Jan and I would have loved the dalk galbi but the girls weren’t hungry yet and they said it was too spicy for them.
Entrance to Namiseom costs 5,000 KRW including the ferry ride to and from the island. It took just about ten minutes are less since the distance was really short.
the ferry ride
The first thing you’ll notice about the island is that it is flat, no mountain or hill on the island itself. That makes it special considering that 75% of Korea is mountainous. The center and longest road on the island is lined with tall pine trees. Our first activity was lunch since everybody was hungry. Lots of picnic tables are in the area so we just had to choose a cleaner one, since it rained heavily the previous day and most of the tables were wet. Anna Banana, the doting “mother that she is brought us food. She prepared “yubuchobap” (a kind of sushi), sausages and chicken nuggets while Jan brought three rolls of “kimbap” (just like the Japanese “maki”). Katie served us “chocnuts” and “boy bawang.”
map of the island
welcome to namiseom
After lunch, we went to the UNICEF center where Anna bought Christmas cards and we spent some time posing beside a Lee Byung Hun-stand up poster (Lee Byung Hun is Song Hye Gyo’s ex-boyfriend and the star of “JSA” and “Everybody has a Secret”). The most “natural-looking” pose was Jan’s here.
jan and lee byung hun
We went to the motorboat area but only rowing boats were available. So the girls just decided to ride the bikes for half an hour. I stood and waited for them at the “Winter Sonata Bikes” since I was dizzy (I had a bout of diarrhea the night before the trip!). Ordinary bicycles are available for 3,000 KRW for 30 minutes. Electric bicycles (like the one Anna rode) is 5,000 KRW while the “standing” porter that Jan had is 10,000 KRW.
jan on the standing porter
We took a lot of pictures on the metasequioa-lined road on the east side of the island. It is where the statue of Choi Ji Woo and Bae Yong Joon is located.
the metasequioa-lined road
US with the stars of Winter Sonata (Bae Yong Joon and Choi Ji Woo)
Our last stop was the site of the “first kiss”. Remember that scene in “Winter Sonata” where Choi Ji Woo and Bae Yong Joon made a snowman and had their first kiss on the table? You can find a replica of the snowman and the miniature snowmen as well.
solo ko naman
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to explore the southern tip of the island where the beautiful lodging houses are located. We had a fun time though that after arriving in Seoul, we headed to a noraebang (singing room) and sang to our hearts’ content. Katie had an appointment though and didn’t join us (she went to a Shinwha concert). I remember one of my companions kicking a chair when I sang “Bohemian Rhapsody”!