Welcome to Nami Country! Nami Island is a cute little island about an hour and a half from central Seoul. After a riding a train, bus and a ferry I arrived at Nami Island. The trip is quite pleasurable and is very manageable.
My initial reaction to the island was less than ideal. My thoughts kept rotating back and forth between cheesy and corny. Between the commercialized and artificial nature of island and the child-like nature of the attractions, I was less than pleased. The cheesiness and corniness ranged from Soju Christmas Trees in June to mock-ups of ancient human tribal life. The island is novel to say the least. Furthermore, the island was heavily populated with tourist from Japan to Mongolia. The human diversity was interesting but the lack of genuineness was off-putting.
Fortunately there were positives. And the positives grew exponentially the more I traveled the island.
The island had a beautiful landscape and an amazing view of the bay and surrounding mountains. The life on the island was diverse and not as regulated as I would have imagined. I saw everything from wild snakes to several free roaming OSTRICHES! There was a few musicians on the island blowing their trumpets and saxophones to some very relaxing jazz music. There were countless platforms to relax and have lunch or nap on. The nature on the island was extremely beautiful, well-kept and a much needed escape from the concrete jungle that is Seoul. One of the most amazing aspects of the island was the art. The island was filled with paintings, sculptures, makeshift construction, books and so much more. And the art came from artist from all over the world. As time drew on and the sun began to set, the tourist also vanished rapidly.
After a relaxing walk around the island I decided to take a nap on a picnic platform. The birds chirping and the squirrels rustling was a nice tranquil melody to close my eyes to. Upon waking, I went to the opposite side of the island took was able to see more beautiful artwork. I was shocked and impressed by the quantity of quality works of art. The sculptures truly stood out and were remarkable. There were pillars made from books, statues made up of 1 pound stones and walls made of cans. The feel of the island reminded me of a Korean nature oriented miniaturize Disney World.
After my initial bad impression, I am so in love with this cute little island. It seemed rather fake at first, but as time went on my opinion dramatically change. I started to realize I have never seen a place as diverse and unique. Between the animals, the art and the beautiful scenery, I can see why this destination is such a popular get-away. The surprising aspect of the whole island is that it WORKS! Everything has its place and everything works together to create a genuine experience. Nami Island is a little piece of heaven on Earth!