Sunday, January 5, 2014

Korea Travelogue Day 2: Namiseom Island

I hope you enjoyed my post on our first day in Korea. I was unprepared for the cold (even with 3 layers of clothing plus thermals, it was still super cold!) but I survived thanks to the bubble jacket that Kari loaned me. My sister told me that I should prepare myself for Nami Island the next day because the temperature there will definitely be lower. But, I wanted to look more fashionable so I wore my dark blue coat. Read on to find out how it fared in the chilly -11 degree Celsius weather...

the parentals all suited up!
The tour guide picked us up at 8:30 am and we rode the bus to Namiseom Dock where we were to take the 5-minute ferry ride to Nami Island.

We were all given a map of the complex which was 553,560 square yards (!), and were instructed that we can wander around for 2 hours before heading back to the dock for lunch.

crossing the Han River
thanks, Alex, for the fur stole
For posterity, I had to bribe my sister to take this shot because no one wanted to remove their gloves and operate the iPhone. It was too darn cold! I forgot to mention that within 15 minutes of leaving the hotel, I started to get runny nose as I forgot my wool scarf (best to use this to cover your nose) and bonnet. How stupid of me, right? Runny nose is normal in winter weather; sometimes I'd randomly ask Tish, "Do I have sipon or am I just imagining it?"

We have now arrived in Nami Island! Nami Island is the famous location where many scenes of the teleserye "Winter Sonata" was shot. "Winter Sonata" was launched in January 2002 and was THE Korean Drama that launched the Korean Wave throughout Asia and worldwide.

I was trying not to fall over in this photo because snow is slippery. Also in less than 20 minutes, the cold started to creep into my boots, my socks, my thermals and my toes were starting to become numb. But hey, we love the snow so tiis-ganda!

Nami Island is beautiful no matter what the season. Lush greens during summer, flowers during spring, and the lovely fall colors during Fall. And don't forget, the Cherry Blossoms bloom during April. Even if the area was covered in snow, the view was still breathtaking :)

snowball fight, anyone?
warming ourselves up
It's advisable to ride a bike since a leisurely walk around the island usually takes 2-3 hours, you can rent the bikes for free at the administrative office.

Korea is so OOTD-friendly :)
Nami is home to several galleries and is the site of the Song Museum, which also houses a collection of international ethnic musical instruments. There are indoor and outdoor stages, facilities for seminars and workshops in addition to a 46-room modern hotel and 10 cottages. 
Naminara is unique in other ways, also. At night, all the lights are turned off on the island so that visitors can harmonize with nature under the light of the moon and stars. Most of wood and bottles generated by visitors to the island are recycled and re-used. Nami has a very open hiring and retirement policy so people can work until they are 80 years old if they wish. (source)

You'll also find a small farm area with many ostriches. I read online that they're free to roam the island on days when there aren't many visitors. 

After about an hour of walking in the freezing cold, we chanced upon a Korean restaurant and decided to have some hot soup to warm up.

there's a heater! we are saved!
Onwards! There's more exploring to do...

Nami Island is dedicated to improving the mental and physical well being of children throughout the world. As such, it serves as the main sponsor of the Hans Christian Andersen Award and contributes regularly to UNICEF. 
Dad found the bear too comfy...
and couldn't stand up anymore! Hahaha!
It's a must for me to bring my Morbie Dolls every time I travel. In the photos below I'm trying to stage a "Winter Sonata" scene featuring Ballerina Kira as Chae-rin and Crybaby Tisha as Yu-jin.

propping up the Morbie Dolls
a little birdie passed by
After walking around for 1 1/2 hours, we were only able to explore half of Nami Island. The cold was slowing us down tremendously. At -11 degrees Celsius it was impossible to explore the whole island in only two hours so we took the parentals to a nearby Cafe to chill (pun intended). Cafes are huge in Korea now, and coffee shops are literally sprawled everywhere (I spotted so many Holly's Cafe and Starbucks during my stay in Seoul).

Cafe Mocha and Cappuccino -- pretty darn good!
And then it was time to bid the island adieu. We got on the ferry and watched as we drifted farther and farther away from Nami Island....

We had lunch at a nearby restaurant and then headed to Petite-France, the French cultural village set in the Korean countryside. It's also known as The Little Prince theme park :) 

And oh before I forget, so how did my blue coat fare today? Well, let's just say that the bubble jacket was way more comfy and warm ;)

Stay tuned for my next post on Petite France!

Related posts:

Korea Travelogue Day 1: Jogyesa Temple, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Insadong, and Namdaemun Ginseng Market


  1. We'll also be going on a Korea tour, December-ish next year. OMG. I can barely survive in 11 deg C, I can't imagine -11!!!!! The blue coat is very posh. Kate Middleton-ish. Tiis ganda :P

  2. Good luck with the tour! It's super fun :) Just make sure you're well dressed, and wear leather gloves if you can :)