While most people would flock to Seoul City if on a holiday in South Korea, its provinces also hold many gems for tourists. One province, called Gyeonggi, has a county that has so much to offer that it has been frequented both by locals and tourists alike. This small county houses the famous Nami Island. Aside from that, you can also visit Petite France and the Garden of Morning Calm. All this for a day in Gapyeong County.
Not convinced yet to include this in your South Korea trip? Then let me share with you some info and experience during our visit.
How to go to Gapyeong:
By Train: There are two options when riding a train to Gapyeong. You may take either the normal train or the ITX. The ITX is like an express train and cuts off the time by stopping only to a few stations compared to the normal train.
If you choose the normal train, make sure you are headed to the Gyeongchun Line and alight at Gapyeong Station. You may refer to South Korea’s subway map to find the best route for you as directions would differ depending on where you are staying. Remember though that it takes almost 2 hours to get to Gapyeong Station from Seoul.
If via ITX, head to Yongsan station and purchase a ticket there or you can also book ahead online. Since this is an express train, it would naturally cost more compared to the normal train.
By Bus: You can reserve a ride through specific buses going to Gapyeong via Klook. You may check this out:
Going around Gapyeong:
By Gapyeong circulation bus: You can easily go around Gapyeong county using the Gapyeong Tourist Bus which costs only 6,000 KRW for a whole day pass. Note the bus schedules so you can easily plan how long you’ll spend in one area. Be sure to keep your tickets as you will be showing this everytime you hop on a bus.
By Taxi: Taxis are available immediately outside the train stations and at tourist sites. The best part about riding a taxi is you own your time. The downside is you have to pay more.
By local bus: Unfortunately, I do not have much information about this but I did saw a few local buses passing by the route we took. As far as I know, you can also use your t-money card to pay the local buses.
If you want a hassle free trip, you can book your tours via Klook:
The Garden of Morning Calm
Entrance Fee: 9,000 KRW for adults | 6,500 KRW for teenagers | 5,500 KRW for kids
The Garden of Morning Calm was our first stop in Gapyeong. It’s a 3 hectare garden that houses 5,000 specie of plants. This garden was inspired by a poem written by Sir Tagore that describes South Korea as the Land of Morning calm.
This spot easily became my favorite in all the places that I’ve been in South Korea. This garden has beautiful pathways and landscapes, hanging bridges, picnic areas and beautifully decorated cafes. It would not be hard to find inspiration for your photos as every area is just photo worthy.
The garden is also a perfect place for family outings. We saw families having picnics, kids playing in the stream and just enjoying their time together.
While you’re here, spend a good 1 to 2 hours around the garden. Enjoy nature and feel yourself rejuvenated. Take in the smell of the flowers. Feel the fresh, cool breeze of the wind. Enjoy the moment that you are out from the concrete jungle and just allow nature to do it’s wonder.
Korean Drama (KDrama) trivia:
Did you know? The Garden of the morning calm was a shooting location of the popular Kdrama “Love in the Moonlight” which stars Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo-Jung. Below, you can see one of the most pictured spots in the garden as this area was also where the korean drama was filmed.
Tip: If you want to start your tour here in the Garden of Morning Calm, alight at Cheongpyeong Station as it is much closer to the garden compared to Gapyeong Station. It will save you so much time as the distance between Gapyeong Station and the garden is approximately an hour.
Entrance Fee: 8,000 KRW for adults |6,000 KRW for Seniors and Students | 5,000 KRW Children
Petite France is a french inspired cultural village just 15-20 minutes from Nami Island. The little village draws inspiration from the popular book “Little Prince”.
The place also has cafes, galleries, art exhibitions, sculptures, paintings, shows at designated times, and a memorial hall for Saint-Exupery, the author of the book “Little Prince”.
We honestly didn’t spend so much time here as you can basically go around the entire village within half an hour. Despite this, the place is still popular among locals since the view from the hillside is breathtaking.
KDramas were also filmed here in Petite France. The list includes My Love from the Star starring Kim Soo Hyun and Jun Ji Hyun, and Secret Garden starring Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won.
Entrance: 10,000 KRW for adults | 8,000 KRW for seniors, students, foreigners
Nami Island is probably the most popular destination among the Gapyeong Bus Circle tour. The name “Nami” came from General Nami who led a victory fight against the rebels during the Joseon Dynasty. In the island is where the grave of the general lies.
To get to the island, you have two options. You either ride the 5-10 minute ferry boat or go through the zipline (at an additional cost).
When we arrived at the island, it was a bit packed since it was on a weekend. So I suggest, if you want to have less photobombers, come here on a weekday. Despite the number of people, I was still stunned while in the island. It was somewhat a dream come true kind of feeling for me where once it was just in pictures but now you are actually in it seeing it for real.
You can do more than site seeing here in Nami Island. They also have a number of activities (at an additional cost) which includes biking, UNICEF train ride and a motor car tour. Also, there is no need to worry when you’re hungry as there a number of snack stores, cafes and restaurants inside the island that will surely satisfy your appetite.
You can spend a good 2 to 3 hours here in the island. But before leaving, make sure to take a picture in what Nami is famous for- the Gingko and Metasequioa lanes.
The island drew much attention when the popular KDrama “Winter Sonata” was filmed here. Don’t forget to look for the statue of the famous Winter Sonata couple in Nami Island.
Enjoy your trip and I hope you find that Gapyeong County is worth a visit 🙂
All pictures taken by my friend Yang. Give her a shoutout at her Instagram account here.