Since I was working full time in Tokyo last year and only had a limited amount of time to travel, I wanted to see as much of Korea as possible in the 7 days that I had for Golden Week. I found a great tour package deal on GetYourGuide that included visits to Petite France, Nami Island, and Garden of the Morning Calm for $72 USD, which is not bad a bad deal at all. You can go to all of these places individually by yourself, but trying to hit all of them in a single day would be very difficult without a tour bus. I found that this package was the most cost and time-efficient way of getting around so I would recommend it to fellow backpackers. The entrance fee to each place was included with the total tour price.
I will be writing my impressions of the three places I visited so you can decide if you want to check them out too!
“I slept on the tour bus and woke up in Paris!” is what I initially thought, but as its name implies Petite France is a miniature version of the city based on the book “The Petite Prince”. Adorned with bright buildings, small art galleries, shops, and a nice forest path you can walk through to see a beautiful view of the mountains, this city definitely has a French flare. There is an Eiffel Tower statue at the entrance of the park for those looking for the perfect photo op. Though the park is small, it’s a nice day trip outside the city of Seoul. I mostly listened to music and did photography here which I found to be quite relaxing. Walking through the forest and finding a statue of the Prince that said “Love You” was my favorite part. I would really like to read the novel that this theme park is based on in the future to see what it’s about!
Nami Island is known as one of the most romantic places in Korea, but as a solo traveler, I found it to be an even better place to get drunk and explore the unique scenery by the beach. The island is crescent-shaped and can be easily accessed on foot or by bike. You can even zipline from the ferry port to the island if you’re feeling adventurous enough! Many people admire this island because it was featured in the Korean drama “Eternal Sonata” (which I have never watched, but will assume it’s amazing). You can find romantic statues placed all around the island, but you can also find really strange works of art too. I loved the naked statue of the woman by the beach, the troll fighting the snowman, and the tribal carvings in the forest. While I was venturing around, I befriended an ostrich and also tried a delicious Korean red bean pancake from one of the food stalls here. The lights, gardens, and trees on this island really make it one of the most beautiful places in Korea. Whether you come here with someone or by yourself, there’s really something for everyone to enjoy.
Garden of the Morning Calm
The Garden of the Morning Calm is by far one of the most expansive nature parks in Korea. There are 5,000 species of plants and beautiful architecture to see. There is even a small cathedral built with in the park and many little streams where you can see fish swimming. The garden is so big it’s quite easy to get lost! Fortunately I made a friend from the Philippines while I was on this tour and we helped one another get around and take pictures. I came here during April, but during the winter they have beautiful illuminations. You can check their official tourism website to see what flowers are in bloom and what events are occurring.
I am extremely happy that I booked this tour package and had the chance to see all of these beautiful places. The time given at each place was more than adequate, and most of the people on the bus were my age (in their 20s). Though these places are a bit touristy, they each have their own charm and are worth checking out if you are an adventurer or someone with a creative mind. Please go see them if you have the chance!