Visiting Nami Island & Petite France, South Korea

If you’re searching for a day trip to do from Seoul, visiting Nami Island is sure to come up in your search. Located about 1.5hours to the east of Seoul, this small island has declared cultural independence from Korea, calling itself the Naminara Republic. This island is actually man made when a dam inundated the surrounding land in 1944.

On this particular day, we joined a day tour from Seoul which is great at taking away all the fuss with public transport. Upon arriving at the Nami Island Wharf, we had time to get lunch first. Our guide recommended a place which was chicken galbi- a chicken and cabbage grilled dish.

After lunch, we boarded the frequent ferry that runs between the wharf and Nami island. There were little seats inside and more of a standing ship. The trip was only about 5 minutes.

Nami Island is really just a day out in nature. Walking through the tall pines that lined the middle of the island, I could just imagine what it would be like in fall with the autumn leaves and ginkgo trees. Nami Island featured in a k-drama called Winter Sonata and has become one of those places to visit.

In winter, there were campfires dotted around to warm yourself up. On this particular day, it was about -9C so these camp fires were very welcome. There were restaurants, souvenirs stores and even a hotel on the Island. It is a nice day out and away from city life. We had about 2 hours on the island which was enough (particularly with the cold) but we didn’t stop to eat at any of the restaurants, just a snack.

Our next stop after Nami Island was Petite France, which as it is named, is a French themed cultural village. We had 1.5hrs here to walk and look around. The part I liked most was the sunset and area that Petite France is located, near a lake and mountains!

There were small museums to look into on puppets, miniature town, an old French residence and 2 or 3 cafes. There is some weird fascination with Le Petit Prince here (here and in Busan particularly). There was also an exhibit on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Does it look like France? Hmmm not really.

Nevertheless, it was very pretty with the Christmas lights and winding streets. To my surprise, there was no actual place selling the book The Little Prince. A lost opportunity, I thought!

There is an Italian Village next door but this was not included on this particular tour (I haven’t seen it included on any day tour actually!).

Our next stop was to see the Lights Festival at the Garden of Morning Calm which you can read about here.

Verdict: I think Nami Island would be nice if you made a day of it and had time to eat there and enjoy the outdoors in Spring and Autumn particularly. Petite France would be a miss for me unless you had kids, in which case it might be fun for them. Most of the people on our tour came back to the bus early at Petite France. On tours, these are often coupled together as they are in close proximity of each other. I would definitely recommend the Garden of Morning Calm though.

10 thoughts on “Visiting Nami Island & Petite France, South Korea

  1. What a charming little place, especially festive during the Christmas holidays! Petite France looks cute, and even if I’m not a kid (haha), I’d still love to check it out! Putting it on my list of places to go when I visit Korea!

  2. Seems like the perfect day trip to escape from the capital for a bit! It’s true that Petite France doesn’t look that much like France, but I bet it makes for a very enjoyable walk around its little streets and cute buildings. I was also surprised by the fascination with Le Petit Prince and I remember a picture of a mural you shared that had the little prince on it (was it Busan?)! Thanks for sharing!

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