Tuesday, March 19, 2013


My one-day itinerary for Gapyeong (가평, 嘉平) includes visit to Nami Island, Petite France and the Garden of Morning Calm (아침고요수목원). Getting around Gapyeong is quite easy. Its various places of interest are served by city tour bus which operates between Gapyeong Bus Terminal (first bus 9:00am) and the Garden of Morning Calm at an hourly interval. A one-day bus pass, which costs 5,000 won, can be bought from the bus driver when you board the bus. Besides Gapyeong Bus Terminal, you can also board the bus at Gapyeong Station (가평역, 嘉平驛), Cheongpyeong Bus Terminal and Cheongpyeong Station (청평역, 清平驛). Of course, the bus also makes stop at Nami Island and Petite France. Each bus comes with a tour guide but it will not be of any help if you cannot understand Korean. The bus route, with an end-to-end travelling time of 1.5 hour, is shown below:

Gapyeong Bus Terminal → Jara Island → Gapyeong Station → Nami Island → Geumdaeri Community Hall → Petite France → Cheongpyeong Bus Terminal → Cheongpyeong Station → Yim Elementary School → Garden of Morning Calm

The Garden of Morning Calm usually holds its lighting festival from early December to early March the following year. The scale of its lightings is of several magnitude bigger than those you would see at the garden in front of Lotte Duty Free Store Myeongdong. Lights are switched on at 5:30pm. I arrived at the garden at 4:30pm which was quite a good timing. The next bus would only reach at 6:30pm and it would be a bit too late especially when you have to catch the last city tour bus leaving the garden at 7:30pm. I have about one and a half hour to enjoy the lightings but I don't think it is enough. Probably three hours would be good but that would only be possible if I have my own vehicle.

I left on the last bus and alighted at Cheongpyeong Station and from there, I took a train back to Seoul. It is quite convenient travelling around Gapyeong on its city tour bus. If you understand Korean, you may even enjoy the jokes and stories which the tour guide tells along the way. The detailed bus schedule is attached at the end of this posting.

A small chapel at the end of "Road to Heaven"

Magic forest came alive upon nightfall

Almost heaven

Shimmering cool white lights along the "Road to Heaven"

Flower lights in "full blossom" in the dead of winter

You ain't see anything yet. The Garden of Morning Calm's Lighting Festival is about a whole arboretum in lights
Love theme is a must

Dazzled by lights
White snow and colourful lights

Overwhelmed by lights at "Sunken Garden"

Lights makes winter night lovely

Gapyeong City Tour Bus Schedule - From Gapyeong Bus Terminal to Garden of Morning Calm

Gapyeong City Tour Bus Schedule - From Garden of Morning Calm to Gapyeong Bus Terminal


  1. Wow, wow. So lovely! Thank you for the pictures.

  2. Fall at the Garden of Morning Calm is also quite beautiful. A lot of beautiful chrysanthemum flowers ^^

  3. Oh, thanks for the info. I will try to include this place in my trip. Thank you for the directions too.

  4. Could you list some good accommodations that you have stayed in Korea? Would like to have some reference for affordable ones. Thanks.

    1. I don't really have preference. I normally stay where it is most convenient. But my bias in Seoul is Guesthouse Korea. I guess all other guesthouses are equally fine - affordable, well-equipped with home-like atmosphere.

  5. Hi! Just happen to chance upon your post while I was searching if it is possible to visit Nami, Petite France and the Garden within a day. Sadly I will be in Korea this summer so I will be missing the winter lighting festival at the garden. Would you still recommend visiting the garden in summer? Because I think it closes earlier and I am afraid I wouldn't be able to fit everything into a day (I will be travelling from and back to Seoul). Also, is it better to go Garden -> Petite France -> Nami or the other way around? Thank you!! :D

    1. Of course it is possible to visit those three places in one day if you observe strict time discipline. For e.g. Nami (2hrs), Petite France (1-2hrs), Garden (1-2hrs). But that is assuming you are taking the 1st city tour bus (9:10am) to Nami at Gapyeong Station. If you want to spend more time at each place, you may have to leave Seoul early at 6:00am. The city tour bus won't be operating when you reach Gapyeong Station at 7am but you are free to take a cab or a 15-20 mins walk to the ferry terminal. The first ferry to Nami is at 7:30am and after that, at half hourly interval until 9am (touch-and-go for the rest of the day). This is what I would propose:

      6am-7am: Take train from Cheongnyangni to Gapyeong Station
      7am-8am: Find your way to Nami ferry terminal, Breakfast
      8:00am: Take ferry to Nami
      8:10am-10:50am: Nami Island
      10:50am: Take return ferry
      11:15am: Take city tour bus (opp side of terminal) to Petite France
      11:40am: Arrive at Petite France
      11:40am-1:40pm: Petite France, Lunch
      1:40pm: Take city tour bus (same side as maingate) to Garden
      2:30pm: Arrive at Garden of Morning Calm
      2:30pm-5:00pm: Garden of Morning Calm
      5:00pm: Take city tour bus (at carpark) to Cheongpyeong Station
      5:25pm: Reach Cheongpyeong Station for train back to Seoul

      Garden of Morning Calm has a different theme for each season and it is worth a visit regardless of season. To see how it looks like currently, you can visit the following link:


      Of course you can start from Garden and end at Nami but the design of the city bus tour route and timing assumes tourists will start at Nami and end at Garden.

  6. Hi! Your post is very informative! Thank you!
    I like how you suggested the journey between Nami Island, Petite France and Garden of Morning Calm. It really helped plan my journey.
    But I have a question: When should I buy the ticket for the city tour bus if I am boarding from Nami Island? Should I buy it when I reach Gapyeong Station in the morning by train or can I buy it when I board the bus from Nami Island?

    1. If you are boarding the city tour bus at Gapyeong Station for Nami, then you should buy the 1-day ticket from the bus driver when you board the bus. You can use the ticket for unlimited trips on the same day.

      If you are only boarding the city tour bus at Nami, then buy the ticket when you board the bus there.

  7. Hi... Yes, your website is very informative regarding the Gapyeong Tour Bus..

    Originally, I think I would follow the Red Schedule instead of the Blue Schedule.

    06:00 – 08:06 Mangwon Station – Cheongpyeong Station
    08:25 – 08:50 Journey to Petite France
    08:50 – 11:40 Petite France
    11:50 – 12:15 Petite France to Nami Island
    12:30 – 12:45 Ferry to Nami Island
    12:45 – 15:00 Nami Island
    15:15 – 16:15 Nami Island to The Garden of Morning Calm
    16:30 – 18:15 The Garden of Morning Calm
    19:00 – 21:10 Cheongpyeong SMRT – Mangwon SMRT

    Is that possible, or yours would be better?


    1. I guess you can follow your schedule. You only incur an extra 25 mins travelling time which is not a big deal. I think 3 hours at Petite France may be a tad too long but if you really like the place it's ok.

  8. Hi, where can I board the city tour bus from Cheongpyeong Station? Is it the bus stop just outside the station? Thanks.

    1. There are two exits, 1 and 2. I can't remember which one I used, probably exit 1. The bus going to the garden is probably at the opposite side of the station. Sorry, I don't know for sure since I did not take note of the surrounding when I got off the bus at the station at night.

    2. Thanks. And do you know if the winter lights are switched on every night or only during weekends in winter?

    3. Every night throughout the light festival.

  9. Hi, Thanks for the introduction of the Garden of Morning Calm. As foreigner, we only hear about the Nami Island! I intend to visit Nami and Sorak Mt. Taking advantage of your knowledge, can you give me your opinion on which route I should follow.
    Seoul --> Nami (+Gapyeong) --> Sokcho,
    That is, I'll arrive Sokcho in the late evening and go hiking the next day.
    Sokcho --> Nami (+Gapyeong) --> Seoul
    leaving Sokcho in the early morning (after hiking the previous day) and reach Seoul in the late evening.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Rachel, you can treat Seoul and Nami as one. Nami is about an hour train ride from Cheongnyangni, Seoul. In my opinion, you should complete Seoul and Nami and then move on to Sokcho. BTW, the train to Sokcho is also at Cheongnyangni Station.

  10. If you're going to the garden of morning calm directly from nami island, should we still ride the city bus tour or is there another way to get there?

    1. I think only the city tour bus plies between the two destinations.