South Korea Day Trip: Nami Island, Petite France and Morning Calm Garden!

South Korea is a country that has a little bit of everything, from sprawling tech-savvy metropolis to the beautiful scenic countryside.

Located just 2 hours away from Seoul, Gapyeong County is a rural province in South which is the home of 3 of the most famous and picturesque destinations in the country.

A place that has been attracting a lot of Korean drama fans because some of the iconic scenes from famous K-dramas were shot here.

Whether you are a K-drama fan or not, this place is perfect for everyone to enjoy! Join me as we visit 3 of the most famous destinations in Gapyeong in 1 day!

South Korea Guide (2018 Blog Series)
 Ultimate Guide to Seoul, South Korea!
 Winter Korea: Here is what it’s like to go skiing in South Korea!
 Trout Festival at the Winter Wonderland in Pyeongchang, South Korea

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Out of the three spots, the beautiful Nami Island is probably the most visited tourist attraction in South Korea.

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Every year tons of locals and tourists visit the island because of its half-moon-shaped and different types of trees scattered around the place which makes it a romantic destination.

It is not surprising that a significant number of the visitors on this island are couples or lovers.

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Yes! ISLAND! And there are two ways to get to this tiny island; you can either take a ferry for about 5mins (the ferry leaves every 30mins) or zip line across the island.

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Nami Island is a small piece of land in the Han River that has gotten its cultural independence many years ago and became known today as the Naminara Republic.

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Formed with only pebbles and sand, there are no mountains on the island, but comes well equipped with restaurants, museums, installations and lots of parks.

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There are tree-lined roads on the island that are notably known as the filming spot of the romantic drama series, Winter Sonata (2002).

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There are also many free-roaming animals on the island, but since its winter most of them are hiding.

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I visited the island right after winter so most of the trees have withered and the snow is just starting to melt.

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Not the best time to visit but still a beautiful sight to witness. It was nice to walk and explore the island with the cold breeze.

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and lucky for us, even winter has come to an end there are still some winter art pieces and installations all throughout the island. Picture time!

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A couple of snow slides for the kids.

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They say the best time to visit the island is during spring when the entire trees bloom into vibrant colors.

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You can explore the whole island in less than half a day, so if you have more time, you can visit other nearby destinations like Petite France.

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A small French-inspired village with colorful houses that was popularized by the K-drama TV series, “You Who Came from the Stars.”

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Petite France is a cultural village where European-inspired houses are located and where you can buy various European items like dolls, random vintage items, and furniture.

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Upon entering the small village, you will immediately feel like you are being teleported to a different country in a different year.

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Everything was designed to look straight out a fairy tale book!

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You can go inside most of the houses, and they each have their unique items to showcase. Like this museum that showcases the paintings of local artists.

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There are also hourly performances and events throughout the village, and if you wish to catch them all, you can get a schedule of activities from the reception.

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While you’re at it, you can also buy a stamp collector cloth and collect all the hidden stamps inside the village.

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There are a total of 6 stamps carefully hidden within the village, and if you manage to collect them all, they will send a postcard message to anyone in a year after you dropped it in the mailbox.

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Tip: there is a stamp box hidden near the garden.

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Plus, you can also see an excellent view of the frozen lake while you’re there.

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Aside from picture taking and leisurely strolls, there really isn’t much left to do in this tiny village.

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An hour or two is more than enough time to explore this small slice of Europe.

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And just before you end the day, you can also visit another quintessential k-drama shooting spot, the “Morning Calm Garden.”

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Made popular by the K-drama “love in the moonlight” last 2016.

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Garden of the Morning Calm is a picture-perfect themed garden famous for its colorful flowers and tree during summer.

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But when winter comes and the snow hits, the garden transforms into something even better.

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What used to be a colorful display of flowers and fauna is now replaced with a dazzling array of lights and sounds that brighten up the whole place.

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Inside the garden, you’ll still see a variety flowers and trees that thrive even in the harsh cold winter. Like this century-old tree that is said to be over a thousand-year-old.

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It may not be as beautiful as the colored flower during autumn or spring, but these brilliant displays of lights certainly make up for it during the cold winter lights.

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Also, there are plenty of light installations that are intricately shaped into different art piece that would keep most guests entertained.

Overall, I really enjoyed all the places that we visited despite not having any knowledge about all the k-drama references. Regardless, I still enjoyed looking at the different beautiful scenery on every destination.

This place is perfect, if you are the kind of traveler who wants to pose and take lots of memorable photos during your trip. Visiting all these three destinations in a day will surely make your South Korea vacation more worth it.

Not to mention, being only 2-hour drive away from the city makes it the perfect day trip for you and your family or group of friends.

And if asked, would I recommend and revisit it? Surely I’ll recommend it and will be back! But it would be probably best to save it for autumn, spring or the start of winter.

South Korea Guide (2018 Blog Series)
 Ultimate Guide to Seoul, South Korea!
 Winter Korea: Here is what it’s like to go skiing in South Korea!
 Trout Festival at the Winter Wonderland in Pyeongchang, South Korea

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Facebook: @juanworldphilippines
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Live an Awesome Life,

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NICO of Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Our tour in South Korea was courtesy of Juan World Philippine & Starway Korea. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.

P.S. Note: I highly suggest that you join an English tour package, not only is it hassle free, but you also save time, effort and money. Not to mention that fact that it’s hard to get around Korea without knowing the local language.

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