I don’t normally take a packaged tour but as Hubbie only had 1 free day, to maximize our time it was better to book a packaged tour day trip which took care of all the transportation. If we went by ourselves we wouldn’t be able to visit all the 3 places in one day. I bought our day trip from Trazy.com
Morning in Dongdaemun
Our Tour didn’t offer hotel pick up so we went to one of their meeting point in Dongdaemun. There was a clear instruction about the meeting point so it was hard to be missed.
There was a lot to see in Dongdaemun such as Heunginjimun Gate, the all-time favorite Cheonggyecheon Stream, as well as the notable landmark of this district, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). Dongdaemun area was also designated as Dongdaemun Fashion Town Special Tourist Zone in 2002. In Dongdaemun you can enjoy a unique experience of shopping in both traditional flea markets and modern shopping complexes.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore Dongdaemun in our itinerary. Hopefully we can explore this area in our next trip to Korea 😄
Soon we were picked up by mini Bus and ready to go. Our guide, Kelly was a cheerful and communicative girl. She told us the information about the places we were going and told us to wear safety belt because the road was going to be winding.
We were soon snoozing until Kelly woke us up and told us we were approaching Petite France. She briefed us the layout of Petite France and where the instagramable photo spot were before leaving us to explore for good 2 hours.
The concept of Petite France encapsulates ‘flowers, stars, and the Little Prince.’ The village contains a memorial hall dedicated to Saint-Exupery, the author of the celebrated French novel, Le Petit Prince (1943) and as such it is called the Little Prince theme park. It also has a gallery displaying sculptures and paintings of le coq gaulois (the Gallic rooster), the national symbol of France; Orgel House where a 200-year-old music box plays a sweet melody; a shop that sells herbal and aromatic products; a souvenir shop; and many other locales where you can experience French culture. The village can accommodate up to 200 visitors with 34 guest rooms that hold four to ten people each.
We took many cute pictures while we were there
From Petite France it was a 10 minutes drive to Nami island. We stopped first for lunch in one of the restaurant before crossing to Nami island using a ferry. To my delight, the restaurant have one halal dish: Chicken BBQ
Crossing to Nami only took 5 minutes but boarding the ferry required more time. So total time needed was almost 20 minutes.
Namiseom Island was formed as a result of the construction of Cheongpyeong Dam. It is a half moon-shaped isle, and on it is the grave of General Nami, who led a great victory against the rebels in the 13th year of the 7th king of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejo (reign 1455-1468).
Namiseom Island is 63 kilometers away from Seoul in the direction of Chuncheon, and is famous for its beautiful tree lined roads. The island is 30 minutes away from Chuncheon and an hour away from the suburbs of Seoul. Since it is not far from Seoul, many couples and families come to visit.
A special feature of Namiseom Island is that there are no telephone poles. This is because all electric wires were built underground to keep the natural feeling of the landscape. The island is 553,560 square yards with chestnut trees and poplar trees throughout.
In the middle of the isle, there is a grass field about 316,320 square yards. It features education and training facilities and camping sites. The island also has a swimming pool and water-sports facilities for motorboats and water skiing, as well as a theme park with a merry-go-round, shooting range, and roller skating rink. Lodging facilities such as resort villas and bungalows are available for visitors to stay on the island.
We had 3 hours to explore Nami island including ferry in and out. 3 hours was about enough for us. But if we’re bringing Achita we would probably need the whole day because she would want to play in the playground and the play area. There was also Halal Restaurant in the island and a moslem praying area, next to the kids club.
I could imagine Nami island will be the most pretty in autumn and winter.
Gangchon Rail Park
From Nami island, the bus drove us to Gangchon rail bike. Built on the discontinued train line, Gangchon Rail Park is the largest rail bike course in Korea. It is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can pedal on a 2/4 seated rail bike along old railroad tracks while enjoying the lovely Bukhan River and mountainous scenery.
This was another fun activity for the family. Kids would be most excited with the prospect of biking in a railway. I really liked the concept and the Korean people made it entertaining with music and various fun themed tunnel (disco, bubble, romance) we had to bike thru. We biked for 30 minutes in a quad bike while enjoying the view and then we took the train to the finish point.
We arrived back in Seoul around 8pm as the traffic coming back to Seoul was jammed. We asked to be dropped off in Hongik university station as we wanted to explore Hongdae night life.
Hongdae is situated right in front of Hongik University which is well known for its fine-arts program. Its history started 30 years ago when the property prices were low. Students from the Hongik University set up their ateliers around this area. The creative vibe was enough to attract even more students in the area and soon small clubs and bars started to open. The area became extremely popular among young people. Even though these days, the art ateliers were almost completely replaced by shops, clubs and pubs the creative vibe is still in the air. Now Hongdae is known for its urban arts and indie music culture, clubs and entertainments.
Hongdae has similar vibe to Harajuku. We stayed in Hongdae until almost midnight and even then the restaurant and shops were still open. There were also halal restaurants in the area.
This is our last night in Seoul. Tomorrow we still had half a day to stroll around before leaving for late afternoon flight.