Gapyeong can be used as a base to explore some touristy but aesthetic attractions in South Korea. It is a short bus or metro ride ride away from Seoul. On the downside, they can be a little expensive and your trip can be quite hurried if you try to squeeze in all the attractions in a single day. This travel guide to Gapyeong will be helpful in picking out the attraction/s most suited to your taste.
Gapyeong Rail Ride
Two seater bike: ₩ 25000
Four seater bike: ₩ 35000
I was fascinated by the idea of a scenic bicycle ride on a railway track and wanted to try this out. I was unable to ride it due to lack of a riding partner. The bicycles are available only as two seaters and four seaters and there were no other tourists there to ride it that day.
Entrance fee: ₩13000
You will be issued tickets in the form of passport so that you can pretend to be citizens of the Nami Island. A boat from Nami Island with staff dressed as sailors from Navy ferry passengers from the ticket office to the island.
The island is beautiful with groves of trees. It has several eating joints, sculptures and artworks. Calming music plays in the background in the starting, also the most popular part of the island. You can rent a bike and complete the 15 km trail that runs along the edge of the park, with a view of the Han river and cliffs on one side and the forested island on the other. It also makes for a beautiful walk and you can have a small picnic by yourself on one of the many benches lined along the bicycle/walking track.
You can spend an entire day at the island just taking in the views and that would justify the entrance fee. You can also visit Nami Island from Chuncheon, but as the shuttle bus runs from Gapyeong, I have included it in travel guide to Gapyeong. If you plan on covering all the attractions in a single day, you will find yourself rushing to get on the shuttle bus that takes you from one attraction to the next.
The ferry between the island and the ticket office doesn’t have a fixed time so take waiting time into account if you have a tight schedule or if you have to take the shuttle bus.
Le Petit France
Entrance fee: ₩10000
This is a theme park based on The Little Prince and incorporates elements from French architecture. You can walk around this cute little toy town in beautiful surroundings but I don’t think that it was worth the price. The kids are more likely to appreciate it. Every hour or so, a short puppet dance takes place in the stadium. Personally, I wish I had skipped it to spend more time at the Garden of Morning Calm which was my favorite.
Garden of Morning Calm
Entrance fee: ₩9500
My travel guide to Gapyeong would be incomplete without mentioning the garden of morning calm. It is a horticultural garden, with elements of nature harmoniously blended in with each other. There is a hanging bridge, a tree house that offers aerial view of the garden, flower gardens, a traditional Korean garden, tree house, a herb garden and conifer forest.
The garden is very calming to the senses. As I visited all the three attractions in a single day, I didn’t have enough time to sit and breathe in the calmness. I wanted to visit all parts of the garden because they were all so beautiful and enticing while wishing for stillness at the same time.
There was also a small art gallery, exhibiting beautiful paintings at the entrance of the garden. Do walk through it if you have time.
Outside the garden, several aesthetically decorated shops sell teas, herbal infusions and hand made beauty products which can be bought as souvenirs. Given the location, they might be priced higher though. I can’t comment on the same as I visited the shops without making any purchase.
How to reach?
These attractions can be visited from Seoul and from Gapyeong.
I stayed at Gapyeong for a night because I wanted to visit the Gapyeong Rail Park the afternoon before. The hostel at Gapyeong was more expensive than the one at Seoul. The Gapyeong Rail Park is just five minutes away from Gapyeong bus station.
A day trip from Seoul is a better option. You can travel to Gapyeong from Seoul by metro or by bus.
Shuttle bus from Gapyeong
Ticket cost: ₩6000
The shuttle bus runs from Gapyeong bus station. I visited Nami Island first because it is farthest from Gapyeong and the Garden of morning calm last because it is the closest stop. You will get the bus timetable with the ticket. Reach the bus station at least 5-10 minutes before the bus timing.
To read more about South Korea, rad my blog post things to do in Gyeongju, South Korea here.