If you are planning to visit South Korea, a destination you wouldn’t want to miss is Incheon, the nation’s third largest city. Just 27 kilometres away from Seoul, the coastal city is fast becoming the country’s cultural, economic, and tourism hub.
The home of the world-renowned Incheon International Airport, the world’s best airport, Incheon has hosted its fair share of international events in the past decade, earning a reputation as a leading global player when it comes to hosting high-profile events. Some of the major international events held in Incheon include the 2014 Asian Games, the 2011 Global Model United Nations Conference, as well as the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting in 2010.
As a tourist destination, Incheon offers some of the best things to do and places to see in South Korea. When it comes to tourist attractions, Incheon won’t disappoint and practically has everything, from cultural, historical, to modern and contemporary.
Finally decided to spend some time in Incheon? Here are the top ten places to visit in the city.
1. South Korea’s only official Chinatown
Yes, the Chinatown in Incheon is the country’s only official Chinatown. Established in 1884 and located in Jung-gu, the area is filled with souvenir shops, restaurants, tea houses, and buildings owned by locals of Chinese ancestry. The enticing smells of Chinese food coupled with traditional Chinese music can easily make you forget that you are in South Korea.
Incheon Chinatown is the birthplace of jjajangmyeon, the most popular delivery food in South Korea. The Korean Chinese dish is made from noodles, black bean sauce, diced pork, and vegetables. While there are many restaurants serving jjajangmyeon in Chinatown, the best place to have it is at Gonghwachun, a restaurant that has been serving the delicious noodle dish since the early 1900s.
2. Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village
Another popular tourist attraction in Incheon is Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village. A project of the Korean government, it is hard to imagine that the colorful and nicely decorated houses in the village once looked tired and dilapidated. The local government took great pains to turn the district into a charming family-friendly attraction. The village is just a short walk from Chinatown.
3. Wolmido Island
One of the most enjoyable things you can do in Incheon is visit Wolmido Island. Accesible via highway from the main island, Wolmido Island was once a major harbour in the city. Presently, it features an amusement park, nature park, and an esplanade lined with seafood restaurants. The Wolmi Amusement Park has a Ferris Wheel and other adrenaline-pumping rides while the traditional park, with its well-maintained gardens and ponds, is a haven for relaxation.
4. Independence Memorial Hall
Situated near Songdo Resort, the Independence Memorial Hall, opened in 1987, was built in honor of the Korean fighters who stood up against the Japanese in long armed struggle for independence. Also called the Landing Memorial Hall, the historical attraction features a memorial tower, a museum, and several exhibition halls. On display at the Independence Memorial Hall are photographs, documents, and artifacts pertaining to Korean’s independence movement.
If shopping is your thing, you should never miss going to Bupyeong District. The area is popular for its huge collection of shops and stalls selling clothes, footwear, bags, mobile phone accessories, electronics, makeup, and even eyewear. It is also home to some of the biggest underground shopping centers in the country. In addition, the district has many cafes, restaurants, and bars, as well as various entertainment options.
6. Sorae Fish Market
For those who are wondering what it is like to buy fresh seafood from a traditional market, the best place to visit is Sorae Pogu Traditional Fish Market. At the market, you will find all kinds of seafood, like fish and blue crabs. Once you pick out and pay for your choices, you can bring them to any of the restaurants and eateries in the fish market and have them cooked immediately.
7. Buam Galbi
Located in Namdong-gu, Buam Galbi is the most popular Korean barbecue restaurant in Incheon. Established in 1978, the restaurant has been serving the finest Korean barbecue for over 30 years. Favoured by locals and tourists alike, Buam Galbi offers a selection of fresh quality meats like pork, chicken, beef, as well as seafood.
If your idea of rest and relaxation is spending a few hours at the spa, then your Incheon itinerary should include a trip to Spasis, the city’s largest jjimjilbang or public bathhouse. Boasting of a plethora of top-notch facilities such as saunas, cold rooms, swimming pools, massage chairs, fitness equipment, karaoke booths, computers, children’s room, restaurants, and even a movie theatre, Spasis certainly makes for the perfect bonding activity for the whole family.
9. Korean Traditional Cultural Experience Center
The Korean Traditional Cultural Experience Centre, situated in the Incheon International Airport, is definitely a must-visit for those who want to learn and understand Korean culture. The educational facility offers a lot of interesting and informative activities for its visitors, including traditional craft classes, performances, and various exhibitions. There are also booths selling handmade souvenir items.
10. Jeondeungsa Temple
One of the most popular attractions in Incheon, the Jeondeungsa Temple is a Buddhist temple that dates back more than a thousand years ago. Known for its ornate Joseon Dynasty architecture, the temple complex, located in Samrangseong Fortress, houses several buildings and structures. The main building, Daeungbojeon, is adorned with exquisite carvings and statues.
Travelling to Seoul and Incheon? Visit Travezl.com for the most exciting tours and offers.
By: Brendelyn Balaga