Today is 2012 November 13 Tuesday, and Singapore / Malaysia are celebrating Deepavali, popularly known as the “festival of lights,” is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in Hindus families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. It is also a 1-day public holiday in Singapore / Malaysia.
Day 9 – 이천 십이 년 시월 일 일 [월요일] 2012 October 01 [Monday]
It was still holidays season and Koreans and tourists alike were out in crowds, especially the tourist spots! If you could enjoy quietness and peacefulness within city skyscrapers, Seoul was wonderfully calm and quiet. But things were really different once you stepped out of Seoul…
As we would be going visiting both Nami Island (南怡島, 남이섬 or Hanja 南怡섬) and Petite France (쁘띠 프랑스) on the same day, we decided to start our day early. Breakfast in Namsan Guesthouse 3 was simple… they provided cup noodle (to get from their reception area 1 cup for 1 guest), bread and coffee. Unfortunately, this morning, there was a inconsiderate family who hoarded one of the breakfast table at the common area while the remaining 2 tables are occupied. The rest of the guests had to have our breakfasts standing. Guess these people thought the breakfast area is a ‘hotel lounge’?! We left the guesthouse at 0850hrs, did a stop at the convenience store for YSL to get her T-money pass.
Then we took the subway to Gangbyeon aka. Dong Seoul Express Bus Terminal to take bus to Gapyeong. We managed to get the bus ticket from Dong Seoul to Gapyeong, which costs ₩5,900 and departed at 1005hrs. We reached Gapyeong at 1130hrs but we had missed the connecting Gapyeong Tour Bus that would bring us either to Nami Island or Petite France. (X_x)lll One of the person-in-charge at the Gapyeong Bus Terminal told us the next bus is at 1300hrs, and sensing that we were kind of lost with what to do for the next 90 minutes, he suggested us to go for our lunch and come back later. As the town seems quiet due to the holidays, we were not hopeful but we were pleasantly surprised that we could find a real decent restaurant serving really nice pork-chop with rice.
We were still undecisive whether to visit Nami Island or Petite France first when we boarded the bus. The ticket for the bus costs ₩5,000 and allowed you to hop on and hop off at each stops, just have to show the ticket again when you board the bus. But since the first stop was Nami Island, after clearing the massive traffic jam, we thought it was better to alight and covered Nami Island first, just in case we could not covered both spots due to the traffic condition.
The name of the Nami Island (南怡島, 남이섬 or Hanja 南怡섬) derives from the fact that it is home to the tomb of General Nami (1441-1469), who was appointed Minister of the Military Board at age 25 after suppressing Lee Shi-ae’s Revolt during the reign of King Sejo of the Joseon Dynasty but was later branded a traitor and executed at the age of 28. [Extracted from http://www.namisum.com/english/]. I think it should be a really beautiful island if there was lesser crowd but we could not really appreciate its beauty with the huge crowd everywhere! Entrance to Nami Island costs differently for Koreans and foreigners. It is cheaper for foreigners! ₩8,000 per person for the ferry ticket and entrance to the island.But the crowd was really making enjoying Nami Island quite an impossible task, and we took the ‘easy’ way out by taking a ride in the electric car which do a round-about trip in Nami Island. We did say to ourselves that we did not do justice to Nami Island and should be back to enjoy it at slower pace when it is out of tourists season! We left Nami Island in ‘record time’ and went back to take the bus to Petite France. Admission to Petite France is ₩8,000 per person <was wondering if there is a demand if Tour Agencies would consider drafting an itinerary to enjoy both Petite France and Nami Island with the option to stay 1 night either in both places>.
Bus was delayed due to the traffic conditions and there were a large crowd waiting to board the same bus towards Petite France. Journey from Nami Island to Petite France was winding and would be ideal if you could secure a seat in the bus >> really challenging at certain turns of the road. Surprisingly, there were lesser crowds in Petite France as compared to Nami Island when we reached around 1610hrs… As Petite France was relatively small, we could cover it within 1 hour and had time to enjoy a cup of coffee before making our way back to the bus-stop to wait for our bus back to Gapyeong. * Really glad we bought the ₩5,000 day-pass bus ticket because it was the last bus of the day and priority were given to people with the day-pass. There was still quite a lot of them left ‘stranded’ as the bus could not accommodate all of us. Maybe those who drove there, could have ferried some of these fellow travelers to the nearest train station?! We were back in Gapyeong around 1905hrs, waited for a short while before taking the bus back to Dong Seoul Express Bus Terminal. We reached Dong Seoul at 2025hrs, bought our bus tickets for Jeonju at Level 2 Express Bus Counter and headed out for our dinner (2 bowls of noodle soups and 1 plate of tteokbokki for a total of ₩10,000) right outside of Dong Seoul Express Bus Terminal Building. Back to Myeongdong around 2120hrs, walked up to N Seoul Cable Station, with the intention to visit N Seoul Tower but looking at the crowd again, plus the cable station will stop its daily operation at 2300hrs, we dropped the idea and went back to our guesthouse to rest and get ready for our next day bus journey to Jeonju.