I visited Korea last May with my family. It was my first time going to Korea and because we did not really want to use travel agency, we decided to just go by ourselves.
It was quite an experience for me. I am not able to speak Korean fluently, I can read hangul without knowing the meaning and I can only speak up to certain degree (like.. how to order my food and asking something, but not enough to communicate).
My flight was from Haneda to Incheon and from Incheon Airport I took the limo bus to our hotel at Myeongdong area.
The next day, we rent a car for 2 days and we went straightly to Sokcho – north east part of Korea, around 3 hours car ride from Seoul. The itinerary for those 2 days are as follow:
- Hiking Mt. Seorak (day 1, then spent a night at Sokcho)
- Day 2 – go back to Seoul and drop by Namiseom and it’s surrounding.
We wanted to stay at Hanwha Resort at first, but that place is just a bit far from Sokcho central. We find a good hotel at central Sokcho and the owner Judith, she lived in Indonesia before and she’s able to speak our language a bit. She’s so nice, she even brought us to a famous seafood restaurant for lunch (FYI, Sokcho is famous for its seafood). I don’t remember the name of the hotel, but if I super recommended that hotel!
You can go to Sokcho and Namiseom by bus but we wanted a little bit flexibility in our schedule then, we decided to rent a car.
It was a bit windy when we arrived at Mt. Seorak (around 2 PMish). We wanted to ride the cable car to the top, but it was stopped due to strong wind. So we did a little walk around there.
There was a huge Buddha statue around the entrance. You can pray and give offering. If you walk a bit further, probably around 20 mins, you’ll find a temple.
The weather at Korea in May was not that cold, but it’s still windy and it might rain a lot. Bring some cardigans or sweater with you.
Around 4 PM ish, we check the cable car receptionist and guess what, the cable car is re-operated! It means we can go up there. The cable car will cost you 10000won round trip, but it’s the best and fastest option if you only have limited time at Mt. Seorak
After you reached the top, you can hike for a bit (20mins) to Gwongeumseong to get a bird-eye view of Oe-serok.
I did reached the Oe-serok but it was so windy. And you know what? I was not wearing hiking clothes (in my defence, I did not know we were gonna hike).
After hike, we went back to our hotel and grab dinner! YAY for Korean BBQ!!!
We started our second day early. The driver drove us to Gapyeong.. Nami island is not accessible by car. You need to go to Gapyeong. If you don’t drive, you can:
- Take the train from Seoul Station to Gapyeong station
Take ITX from Yongsan Station or Cheongnyangni Station
and from there, you can take the shuttle bus that can take you to Nami and other places of interest. The bus itself will only cost you 5000won.
Namiseom is around 2 hours drive from Sokcho.
All cars have to stop at the Gapyeong. From Gapyeong, there are 2 ways to get to Nami Island from Gapyeong Wharf:
- With the ferry boat
I actually want to try the Zipline because the boat is really crowded, but it’s impossible to let my parents zipline too. LOL
One of the reason why Nami Island is famous is because the hits drama Winter Sonata was filmed here. When they gave you the tix to board the ferry, they’ll give you the map of Nami Island, also you can find the filming spot and the places to take photos. Like this one:
They even have the bronze statue of Yoon-sama (lol, or that’s how they call Bae Yoon Joong here in Japan).
Namiseom is not a super super big island. You can stroll around, but if you’re tired of walking, they rent bike too. And there’re plenty of restaurant inside.
From Nami, we drove again to Petit France. Personally I really want to go here because one of Running Man episode was filmed here (I’m a huge Running Man fans).
Petit France is supposed to be the miniature of France. However, if I ask my French friends, they’ll be like “no, France does not look like this” hahaha whatever, it’s still pretty. I guess it’s inspired from The Little Prince book since I can find a lot of character reference inside the place.
Entrance Fee: 8000Won
Some of famous drama are also filmed here. I think Who you Came from Stars also filmed here. But I’m not sure.
There’s some food vendor inside (yay!! More food) and there’s a stage in the middle of the place and you can see some performance.
And from there we went back to Myeongdong, Seoul.