Brr… Let me tell you how cold it was that morning. We experienced our first snow. We were in Mapo-gu, the snow was itty-bitty flakes falling over the city, so there wasn’t enough snow to cover the ground; however, it was enough to freeze our noses.
On our way to Nami Island
I swear, we were not lost. I just wanted to double check where we were, and what’s the next station to get off to. 🙂
Going to Nami Island was the longest train ride we had during our stay. We had to pass 26 stations from Hongik University Station (Hongdae) to Gapyeong Station. It was an almost 2-hour train ride, but time flew by too fast, and there were so much to see along the way. I’ve never seen an all-white scene in real life. I just took it everything. I didn’t even thought about taking photos; everything is stored in my head. 🙂
There’s a cafe where you can have a hot drink and eat hotteok, a traditional Korean pancake with red bean filling. It’s tasty and it warms you up during winter.
Operating Hours: 7:30AM – 9:45PM, all year round.
Entrance Fee: ₩8,000 for foreigners, ₩10,000 for locals (this includes the ferry ride to the island)
Click here for more information
How to get there:
Ride the subway and alight Sangbong Station (Gyeong-Chun Line) to transfer trains; Mangu direction. After 14 stations alight at Gapyeong Station. From Gapyeong Station, we took a cab to Nami Island ferry port; 4 people on a cab cost ₩3800. (Please take note that we came from Hongik University Station. If you’re coming from Seoul Station, you have to alight at Gajwa Station; after 14 stations, alight at Sangbong Station to transfer trains) For other ways to get there, please click here.
If you watch a lot of Korean TV series and movies, you should be familiar with this stream. In the early days, it used to be occupied by post-war settlers. Now, depending on the season, there are different themes that are exhibited here.
If you’re a history buff, there are secrets hidden in the open along the stream. There’s a painting of King Jeongjo’s Grand March on one of the walls, and it depicts the journey of the king and his servants to visit his father’s(?) grave. If you can find the king, take a photo!
Another hidden secret is Madame Gang’s tombstone below one of the bridges. It was placed there upside down to mock the late queen. It’s part of Korean history, so I am not fully familiar with it, but I just found it very interesting.
No entrance fee.
How to get there:
Ride the subway and alight at Gwanghwamun Station, Exit 5.
As a book lover, I had to pass by a bookstore. I wanted to get the Korean versions of some books to further my self-study on the Korean language.
To make it easier for you to find the book, get the ISBN number along with the title of the book in Korean in advance. I always make notes on my phone, so I just showed the staff inside the bookstore what I was looking for, and they found it for me.
If you’re looking for traditional items and trinkets to bring home, this is the place to get them. There are so many handicrafts around this area, and this is where you can buy copper/brass chopsticks and spoons. There is a place where you can rent a Hanbok for 30-minutes and go around Insa-dong. We didn’t get a chance to do this because it was already nightfall, but we will try next time.
Insa-dong is also where I got my dojang (도장) or Korean seal/stamp. I got mine for $30USD, but if you look around more, there are much cheaper ones.
If you want a taste of candies that the old folks had, there’s a store in Insa-dong that sells them. There are a lot of these stores, so check them out!
We went here during night time, and I think it’s best to come here during the day, as more shops are open, and you can explore the place more.
How to get there:
Ride the subway and alight at Anguk Station, Line 3, exit 6; or Jonggak Station, Line 5, exit 3.
- It is best to go to Insa-dong early in the day. Some of the stores were already closed at night, so we weren’t able to explore some of the traditional stores. This is where you can buy copper and brass chopsticks and spoons.
- When buying a dojang (도장) or a Korean seal/stamp, shop around. There are more locals who offer a cheaper price for a great design.
- Don’t forget to stop by Ssamziegil (쌈지길). It’s a mall that you can’t miss when in Insa-dong. It’s filled with unique items and gifts that you can take home.
Our South Korea Adventure:
- Day 1 : Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, N Seoul Tower
- Day 2 : Nami Island, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Insa-dong
- Day 3 : Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), K-Live/Lotte Fitin, Myeongdong, Trick Eye Museum @ Hongdae