Monday, June 8, 2009

080101 – Romantic Retreat in Nami Island

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My Korean colleague, KS Choi promised to bring me and my wife to Nami Island in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province. So we decided to go on the New Year Day before I’m leaving Seoul in three days time. Choi brought along his wife, Marie. The weather that day was extremely cold, if I’m not mistaken it was below 5 Celsius. It took 2-hours drive from Seoul to Chuncheon. Since all of us are first timer to Nami Island, we followed the GPS to Gapyeong parking lot where we need to take a ferry to Nami Island. The admission and round-trip ferry ride is 6000won per person. The ride is around 10 minutes to the island.

Entrance to the ferry jetty

Waiting to onboard

Nami Island is one of the main shooting sites for famous Korean drama, Winter Sonata and it has made a popular tourist destinations. Too bad, I only followed few of the episodes. Tourists would flock here and visit the same scenes as the drama’s stars Bae Yong-Joon and Choi Ji-Woo were.

Posing next to the poster of Bae Yong-Joon and Choi Ji-Woo, do we look alike?

Another shooting scene of Winter Sonata at the nearby coffee cafe

No idea about this wooden fish. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

My wife favorites cartoon character, Astro Boy.

One of the masterpieces at the mini exhibition hall

The melted ice sculpture, Happy New Year 2008

At Nami Island, you will not see a single telephone/electric pole and all were built underground. I believe this is to ensure the landscape beauty is maintained without any of this disruption. This island is mainly filled with grass field, chestnut trees, poplars, ginkgo trees, birch trees, maple and etc, which is a good place to have a slow pace nature walks. Besides that, there are few facilities for recreation, low density resorts, chalets and museums. It’s a great refreshing getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.

All the trees here are planted in a way where it formed a tree lined paths. I believe the best time to visit Nami Island will be during autumn where all the branches are full with leaves. During winter, all the leaves were already dried up and fell off the branches.

The fragrance pine tree

Spectacular tunnel of tall meta-sequoia trees

Group picture of two lovely couples, me, my wife, KS Choi and his wife, Marie.

May this love shape sculpture blessed us till eternity…I’m starting to goosebumps.

Vicinity of Nami Island

In the old days, kimchi was placed in pots and dug into the ground to keep it “refrigerated”. The pots were then protected by a small hut like this one.

While on the island, Cheongpyeong Lake is visible through the trees and bushes

Chalets by the lake

A dried up grass field during winter

I have no idea why there is a railway track on this island

We went to the nearby toilet for a nature call and we amazed with the interior of the toilet. Each toilet cubicle is made of natural timber wood and it was well maintained. There was even having few selections of magazines for your view.

I’m impressed with the toilet cubicle interior.

You can even rent a four wheel bicycle for four persons if you do not intend to walk.

Feeling too cold outside, we decided to take a shelter at the Movieland Wax Museum. The entrance fee is 5000won per person.

Wax figure of Korea mega star singer, Rain

Wax figure of Albert Einstein

The famous Titanic scene

Shrek and Princess Fiona, haha.

Again, my wife’s favorite cartoon character, Astro Boy

Inside the horror section, werewolves in Korea, haha.

Predator vs. Andy

Darn, this is scary, Linda Blair in the movie Exorcist

Wax of famous sport stars, Beckham, Yao Ming, Hulk Hogan and Andy (future MU player in the making)

Photo taken at the entrance/exit gate of the Nami Island.

Before heading back to Seoul, we had our lunch at the nearby restaurant for Chuncheon famous dakgalbi. The chicken ribs dish is made by pan-frying seasoned boneless chicken, sweet potato, cabbage, vegetables, and rice cakes in hot pepper sauce. It’s a must try when you are going to Nami Island.

That was the huge lunch portion for four persons and it cost 43000won.

After lunch, it’s time to say goodbye to Nami Island and we headed back to Seoul with the fond memories we had. Thanks KS Choi and Marie for the hospitality.

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