Type: Domestic, Artificial

Good for: if you are a fan of the K-drama “Winter Sonata”

Worth it?




Ah, Nami Island: The Disneyland of Korea, without the charm or the iconic mouse ears. Look, I’ve got nothing against Nami Island—been there, done that, dodged the Instagram Couples™ on their pedal-powered chariots of narcissism. But if you’re visiting Korea for the first time, let me lay it down for you: You’ve got better options, people!

First off, Nami Island is an artificial paradise, born after some dam flooded a hunk of land. Its origin story is as manufactured as some K-Pop bands’ personalities. Sure, there’s a historic tale tucked in there somewhere, but let’s be honest: Are you really going for the history? Nah. You’re going for the ‘Gram, aren’t you?

So, you’re in for folk art galore, which is basically code for “weird stuff you can’t explain but makes for quirky photo ops.” Ever seen an art installation made of recycled soju bottles? Yeah, Nami’s got that. A toast to sustainable alcoholism, I guess?

Look out for bike trails, but not for the exercise or the lovely scenery—more to avoid the assault course of rent-a-bikes swerving around while their riders try to capture that perfect candid shot.

Remember the Korean drama “Winter Sonata”? No? Well, too bad because half the island is an ode to it. And yes, that’s a Korean drama so old it probably has its own place in Korean folklore by now. It’s like going to a ’90s nostalgia cafe but without the good music or Pogs.

In a nutshell, Nami Island is basically a big garden that managed to slap a zip line onto it and call it an “attraction.” You’ll have to haul yourself all the way to Chuncheon to experience this bucket-list item that should never have been on your bucket list. People who’ve made the pilgrimage usually say, “It’s nice, but I don’t get what the big deal is.”

Spoiler Alert: There isn’t one.

Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

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