Thanks to its bustling port, Incheon is the driving force behind South Korea’s transformation into one of the most industrially rich and modernised places in the world. Which rather makes it like ‘the little city that could’. Is it a good place for a holiday, though? You better believe it...
Shopaholics and connoisseurs of cuisine need to hit up Incheon’s underground Bupyeong Market for kimchi galore and bargains that will make you wish you’d brought an extra suitcase just to get everything back home. In the mood for Chinese? Head over to Chinatown for great eats and cool architecture. And for those who just to chill the heck out, go and laze amongst the blooming cherry blossoms in Jayu Park.
Incheon’s Top 10
10. Chamseongdan Altar The founder of Korea (Dangun Wanggeom was his name) performed sacrifices here. A little spooky, yes, but a very cool and historically unique spot nevertheless.
5. Bomunsa Temple This little gem is surrounded by incredible nature, including a 600-year-old juniper tree.
9. Mt. Manisan The annoyingly fit will enjoy the steep tracks. The not-so-fit will like the simple walking trails. Stunning scenery abounds.
4. Incheon Landing Operation Memorial Hall This war memorial takes you on a historical journey.
8. Jeondeungsa Temple Visually stunning. Bring your cameras for this one.
3. Arts Centre Catch amazing theatre and cool concerts. BYO translator.
7. Jayu Park The best place to get some R&R after a long day of exploring.
2. Wolmido Island Go for the stack of seafood restaurants (drool) and Play Hill, one of SK’s best theme parks.
6. Ganghwasanseong Fortress Built to repel Mongol attacks in the 13th century and now just plain cool to explore.
1. Bupyeong Underground Market With over 1,500 shops to get through, bring stamina and plenty of wons.
- Incheon Landing Memorial Monument Hall – Dedicated to soldiers who died in the Incheon Invasion during the Korean War.
- Incheon Dohobu Cheongsa – The oldest government complex in the city being inhabited since 1424 AD.
- Site of Goryeo Palace – A historic site where several kings resided during the 39-year resistance against Mongol invaders.
- Ganghwa Peace Observatory – Once a restricted military facility, it is now accessible with a photo ID and an entry permit, where through a high-performance telescope an unobstructed view of the North Korean flatlands is enjoyed.
- Yonggungsa Temple – A must-visit spot, as the scenic beauty and architectural splendour coupled with the melody of the chanting creates an unforgettably magical place.
Incheon Art & Culture
- Full House On Set – Take a ferry trip to the set of the popular 2004 K-drama’s modern-style house.
- Tomorrow City – Equipped with the latest gadgets and technologies located in Songdo.
- Incheon International Airport Traditional Culture Workshops – Participate in a traditional Korean culture program while you wait for a connecting flight.
- Chinatown - The only official Chinatown in South Korea.
- Incheon Ceramic Village – Where traditional Korean ceramics since the Joseon Dynasty are produced.
- Ganghwa Folk Flea Market – Located on Kanghwa Island, enjoy fresh fish and price bargaining.
- Sinpo Market – Open-market shopping for clothing and enjoying the local culinary delicacies.
- Bupyeong Station – Massive underground shopping mall selling inexpensive merchandise.
- Air Joy Shopping Mall – Three-floor complex inside the airport for shopping, dining and entertainment.
- Lotte Duty-Free, Incheon Airport Branch – Selling everything from more than 200 brands of perfume to brand-name clothing and food.
Incheon Gay & Lesbian
- The One – KTV (karaoke television) pub located in the Bupyeong-gu division of Incheon, owned by a friendly couple who are kind to foreigners.
- Sauna & Bathhouse – Located in the Buoyeong-gu division of Incheon.
- Hyatt Regency Incheon – A sauna is part the health club and spa package with a spacious indoor swimming pool.
- Pyeongyangok – Try the famous maeuntang (spicy catfish hot pot), with fresh fish delivered daily from a Gimpo fish farm.
- In Spa World – A leisure complex with all-natural baths, complete with a water slide and swimming pool.
- Sudokwon Landfill Site – One of the best-managed landfills in the world, with appropriate treatment of urbane waste and methane gas to fuel generators.
- Wolmi Traditional Park – Originally a military barracks, it is now an ecological centre with beautiful gardens available for all to enjoy.
- Masian Beach – Experience the unique wetlands and sandy beach while sampling grilled shellfish and soju.
- Pentaport Rock Festival – Held in July at Songdo Park, rock groups from around the world perform concerts.
- Jayu Park – Home to landmarks such as the Incheon Meteorological Observatory.
- Stroll and enjoy the spacious parks and gardens in Incheon.
- Take a hiking course while on Muuido Island at Mt Horyonggoksan.
- Play a round of golf at SKY72 Golf Club.
- For adrenaline addicts, climb on the challenging mountain faces.
- Watch the batting practice at Munhak Stadium.
If you’re in the city in late-May, head along to the Incheon Bupyeong Pungmul Festival, a celebration of traditional music.
Incheon Marine Festival in early August hosts concerts, markets and various watersports and activities. Plus, try to beat the locals at the watermelon-eating contest!
Chinatown and Jayu Park come alive each August for the China Festival. Indulge in yummy food and enjoy some top-notch performances and colourful parades.
Incheon is noted for ceramics, so visit the Incheon Ceramic Festival in September/October for workshops, exhibitions and goodies to take home to Mum.
October’s Ganghwa Dolmen Culture Festival is one of Incheon’s most unique festivals. Come and enjoy folk performances, games, markets, concerts and even make your own dolmen! (FYI: Dolmens are burial monuments/tombs. A little odd, we must say.)
When To Go
Lovers of the big, bright thing in the sky should visit in July and August for warm days and balmy nights.
While the summer months are warm, they also bring on plenty of rain, so be prepared.
Temperatures from December to February are below freezing, so bring your thermals and be captivated by the city’s snowy beauty.
Incheon’s subway system is fast and has routes to most of the city’s major attractions.
A variety of buses trawl the city and fares are pretty cheap. Jump on a Gosok bus for an express trip to your desired destination.
Taxis are cheap but some are hard to spot as they’re only marked with a simple blue box on the roof. If you’re in a pickle, ring and order one for a small fee.
The 2014 host of the Asian Games has transformed rapidly into one of the most modern and dynamic cities in South Korea. With over 2.7 million people, Incheon is nowhere near ready to eclipse neighbor Seoul. The seaport city, however, is a dynamic metropolis hellbent on securing foreign investment by the billions. Everywhere you turn in Incheon, there are myriad signs that the city is open for business.
Though not a traditional tourist attraction per se, New Songdo City enthralls visitors. The sheer ambition of the international business hub, located in what is known as the Incheon Free Economic Zone, is staggering. At $40 billion, the multi-use planned city is the largest private development in history and is Dubai-esque in scale. Other points of interest in Incheon include Korea's only official Chinatown, Jakyakdo island and Jayu (Freedom) Park. Wolmido beach and amusement park is worth a visit as well and offers several superior restaurants.
Attractions & Activities
Restaurant & Nightlife
Incheon has a typical humid continental climate, with four distinct seasons.
- Winter (December to February) -7-4°C
- Spring (March to May) 1-20°C
- Summer (June to September) 17-28°C
- Fall (October to November) 3-19°C
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