Incheon South Korea is one of the major cities in Korea, next to Seoul and Busan. Incheon is known for its beautiful sceneries due to its location facing the East China Sea, historic sites that tell many interesting stories, and having one of the largest Chinatowns in South Korea. This city has an international reputation being home to major international airport, sea port, and large scale international conferences in the country.
This August 2023, I was able to visit Incheon South Korea for a business trip, in fact for only 4 days. I met many people from various universities, mainly in Asia, as part of establishing relationship between my university in the Netherlands and the universities in Asia. (On a side note, if your are curious what are the differences between the Dutch and Asian universities, check out this link to my blog.) It was a solo trip and I could have stayed longer to tour around Incheon South Korea, but I rather come back with my husband and kids to experience Incheon, and South Korea as a whole. Luckily I had a one whole day spent for touring around the city during my stay. So in this blog, I will discuss a one full day itinerary when in Incheon. Below are the places that you could visit.
Incheon South Korea one day itinerary
First our trip began with breakfast in the hotel. We stayed at the Bridge Hotel Incheon Songdo (previously Skypark Hotel). And from there, we had an organised tour. If you do not have an organised transport, Bridge Hotel Incheon Songdo is still an ideal location for public transport since it is just 50 meters from the sub-way station, where you can reach many destinations.
1. Wolmido island
Wolmido is small island in Incheon, which can be reached via subway, bus, or taxi. But if you are on tight travel, then I suggest to join an organised tour or take a taxi. Wolmido has a walking path that faces the Yellow Sea and allows you to admire the view and beauty of Incheon city from a distance. There is a nice amusement park, seafood restaurants, cafeteria, and some food stalls in the area. In addition, you can also find a Korean Traditional Garden in the Wolmi Park, after the army based that was staying there for 50 years, were relocated.
2. China Town Incheon South Korea
The China Town at Incheon South Korea, similar to many China Towns in the world, is a place where many affordable Chinese trinkets and items can be bought. The China Town is filled with many (Chinese) restaurants and shops offering handmade sweets or specialities on the street. However, the shopping in China Town of Incheon is not the only main selling point to tourists, but also the history of this place. The China Town has the Jjajangmyeon Museum and the Incheon Open Port Museum. On one hand, the Jjajangmyeon Museum shows the evolution of the popular Koreanized Chinese noodle dish including the 19th century lifestyle and general eating habits of the Chinese of this port area. The Open Port Museum, on the other hand, explains the historical development of Incheon as a port city during the 19th century. According to our tour guide, Incheon was a closed city before. It was only during the 19th century that the international trade happened, when countries such as China, France, and Japan knocked on the door of Incheon made a “forceful” way of doing business with the locals. The influence of these international traders, more particularly the Chinese, can be seen in this area.
3. Sinpo International Market Incheon South Korea
Even though the word “international” is attached to its name, Sinpo International’s Market offers many local Korean dishes and delicacies. This is the place to go to if you are craving for the popular Korean street foods including the famous spice coated fried chicken, which is good to match with its Soju. The nice prices and fresh food makes this place an ideal destination for budget travellers.
4. Songdo Central Park
Songdo means “island of pine trees” in Korea. The city of Songdo was a reclaimed piece of tidal flats in the Yellow Sea, to serve as a short getaway for travellers coming from Incheon airport (Songdo is just 30 minutes away from the international airport as compared to Seoul which is more than an hour travel distance. Being a business district, Songdo also has central public park which is close to many establishments such as hotels, restaurants, and malls. Going to Songdo Central Park is a nice way to relax in the nature, even though the park is 100% man made. You can find in the park some water ays, with the view if sky scraper buildings, boats that are also available for hire, to row or paddle along the waterway, and some nice monuments, sculptures, and replica of many historical buildings throughout the park. Entrance to the park is for free.
5. Incheon bridge
The Incheon bridge is a master piece showcasing the Korean’s engineering know how’s. This 21 km long bridge is considered the longest in South Korea and connects the mainland and the airport island. Travelling the Incheon bridge takes about 20 minute, and requires a payment for toll gate of 5,500 Korean won (4-5 USD). The bridge gives you a picturesque view of the sea and sky on one side, and the skyscraper buildings from a distance.
6. Heungryunsa Temple
The Heungryunsa temple (formerly known as “Cheongnyunsa” mountain) is a hidden attraction located on the hilly side of Songdo. This Buddhist temple is established around 1372 AD (about 613 years ago) by Preceptor Naong, a monk of King Gongmin during the reign of King Wu of the Goryeo Dynasty. During the Imjin war in 1592, the temple got burnt down. Only in 1938 that a new temple was built, which was again torn down in 1966. Eight buildings were built instead, with a big Buddha, and a big bell with striker that’s not cordoned off so you can go right up to it. The way to the temple is steep, but once you reached the top, you get a clear view across the Songdo.