Imagine a river island in the heart of Korea where flowers, gardens and fairy tales create the sense of being in an independent country.
Nami Island offers lovely visits during any season. Located in northern South Korea, the island declared itself the Naminara Republic, culturally independent from the Republic of Korea. Come see why this place of fairy tales and songs was designated a UNICEF Child Friendly Park in 2010.
In 2006, Minn Byeong Do founded Nami Island, which has become one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Arrive by zip line to spend the day sampling delicious cuisine, exploring nature and strolling along tree-lined paths.
General Nami’s Tomb honors a young warrior falsely accused and executed. Naminara Republic celebrates alliances with other Korean cities, emulating their sites, such as the Hampyeong Butterfly Park and Samcheok Paddy Field. Fairy Tale Village, Song Village and Imaginary Playground are popular with young kids.
Rent bicycles or an electric cart to get around the island. Visit ostriches, ride Sky bikes or try tubing, waterskiing and other river water sports.
Visitors familiar with the Korean movie Winter Sonata will recognize filming locations, such as Metasequoia Lane, lined with tall trees. Look for the First Kiss Spot, one of the movie’s romantic settings. Stop at the K-Pop music museum.
At the island’s southern end, Hotel Jeonggwanru offers accommodations with rooms designed by visiting artists. The hotel also operates the Water Garden Swimming Pool during summer. Stop at other restaurants and cafés scattered the length of the island.
Nami Island celebrates its nationality with stamps, commemorative coins, a unique flag and its own national anthem, The Island in the Sky. To enter, pay a visa fee, which includes both island admission and round-trip ferry fare. Pay extra for one-way zip-line access. Alternatively purchase a passport, allowing unlimited annual access.
The island is open year-round, with colorful spring flowers, soothing summer shade, brilliant autumn leaves and pristine winter snow.
Shuttle buses from Seoul are available daily, sometimes including admission to Nami Island. Alternatively, ride the subway to the Gapyeong Station from Sangbong, Chungcheon or Yongsan to the Gapyeong Station and then ride the bus or walk to the Nami Island Dock for the 5-minute ferry ride or zip-wire entry.