Incheon is an historically and economically significant place for Koreans. During the Korean War, the city was the site of the Incheon Landing by American forces. Today, it is a metropolitan city with the population of about 2.8 million, politically independent from Seoul. Also, the city serves as a transportation hub by air and sea, with a massive harbor and a major international airport. Several beautiful islands, such as Yeongjong Island and Ganghwa Island, are also within city limits.
The status of the area is set to increase as various national projects are in development here. The New Songdo City plan, the most expensive real estate development in Korean history, is in progress. One of the world's tallest twin tower buildings, 151 Incheon tower, is under early construction and Korea's current tallest building, the Northeast Asia Trade Tower, is already finished. It is planning to launch further independent mini-cities for shopping, housing, and education. Added to this real estate development, and will also invite a large number of visitors for the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. Despite these developments, the Songdo area of Incheon is currently unfinished and largely uninhabited, not yet a viable destination for tourists. Travelers are more likely to enjoy the bustling eastern side of Incheon which blurs into the vast expanse of Seoul.
Incheon International Airport is South Korea's main gateway. The AREX train connects the airport to Gyeyang (20 min), where you can transfer to the Incheon subway line. Alternatively, the limousine bus line (50 min) is always available to go to many places in Incheon, or you can take a taxi (25 min) to get into the city.
The largest operator is now Weidong, but passengers can look at full listings on the port's website (only in Korean). These ferries are similar to miniature cruise lines and provide karaoke rooms, console games, and DVD rentals (private rooms only).
The trip can take as long as 24 hours, so if you have an economy ticket, request a sleeper bunk for a comfortable trip. If they are all taken, however, the only other option for an economy ticket is the sleeping deck where everyone will stay like sardines in a can. Arrive at the terminal 2–3 hours before departure to ensure there is availability for the bunks.
Kyeong-in line called Metropolitan Line 1 (for less than USD3) links Seoul to Incheon. Also, the line often provides express trains that skip some minor stops between Dong-incheon station and Yongsan station. By using the express trains (for the same fare), passengers can save up to 30 minutes depending on where they go.
As of summer 2012, a new commuter rail line started operation. The name of this line is Suin line. Currently, the line starts from Oido station in Siheung and terminates Songdo station in Incheon.
From Seoul, there are some express bus routes which mainly exist for commuters. Most of them connect Incheon from Seoul station, Shinchon and Gangnam station. For example, route 1400 links Seoul station, shinchon, Hongdae and Bupyeong.
There are several ways to get around in Incheon.
Thee Incheon Rapid Transit Corporationoperates a single subway line. The subway line passes through many famous places, such as Bupyeong and Arts Centre.
For visitors who want to visit more places in Incheon, local bus lines could be another great option. There are currently about 2,000 operating buses; therefore, a visitor can go almost everywhere by using the transportation.
There are a number of taxis.
- Bupyeong. There are many restaurants, designer shops, and bars, so the district is excellent for both shopping and eating. Visitors may get lost in Bupyeong because of the crowding and traffic; the best area to go is located directly across from the large Bupyeong station building.
- Arts Centre. An arts and entertainment venue located in Guwol-dong (with which it is loosely synonymous). There are several large department stores, cinemas, designer shops, restaurants, and a central square named Rodeo Street. Sporting events are sometimes shown on a screen in the central square. Also, the place has a couple of stadiums for professional baseball and soccer games.
- Chinatown. This is the only official Chinatown in South Korea. Chinatown is full of Chinese restaurants and souvenir shops. Of course, many Chinese people reside there, so Chinese schools are there too. The area is located at the end of Metropolitan Line 1 that directly connects Incheon with Seoul. The main entrance to Chinatown is in front of the Incheon station. Especially, there are so many tourists during the weekend, so visitors should avoid staying in the place over the weekend if they do not want to confront any crowds.
- Liberty Park. Liberty Park is located next to Chinatown. For most Incheon citizens, the park is well known for General MacArthur's statue and the memorial of the Centennial Anniversary of U.S. and South Korea relation.
- Independence Memorial Hall. This was built to celebrate the Korea's independence from Japan. There are a monument of General MacArthur and several other statues that symbolize the country's independence.
- Songdo International City. It is a multi-billion dollar planned city where Korea's tallest building, the North Asia Trade Tower, is located. In addition, the world's tallest twin tower buildings, 151 Incheon Tower, are in the early stage of construction. As part of the Free Economic Zone, Songdo represents the bright future of Incheon. This area is still very much in development, however, and not currently recommended for visitors.
- Incheon Islands. There are several islands accessible by ferries. Most islands provide comfortable environment with fresh air and various cuisines that allow visitors to stay away from city life for a while. Also, islands have great hiking roads and beaches. Here are several islands people can easily visit: Daecheongdo, Yeonpyeongdo, Ganghwado, Yeongjongdo, Muuido, and Deokjeokdo.
- Wolmido. It was a major harbor in Incheon until Yeonan Budu appeared. However, visitors can still do many things in Wolmido. There is a small park, surrounded by a nature walk road. There are also many seafood restaurants and cafes with a great ocean view. What is more, a small harbor that can bring visitors to several islands is still operating.
In Incheon, there area a large number of quality restaurants, but do not expect the staff to be able to speak English.
Bupyeong and Arts Centre are two main areas for food and drink. A variety of genres are available. Korean food generally offers a delightful and exciting experience. If someone is not familiar with Korean food, there are also many American and Italian restaurants which could be a safe bet for foreign visitors. The vast majority of bars frequented by foreigners are to be found in Bupyeong, including:
Chinatown has been a very popular place, for especially Chinese food. In fact, many Chinese restaurants in Chinatown owned by Chinese; therefore, both languages, Korean and Chinese, will be available to make an order for original Chinese cuisine.
SongDo also has many great restaurants. The place is specialized in serving Korean and Japanese restaurants. Famous restaurants are Kyungbokung, Nagoya, Sapporo, etc. Also, if someone gets around the place, one can meet a variety of bars to drink.
- Cheap Shots, Bupyeong, ☎ 010-7168-1874. Closed Monday. Opens at 6 Tuesday through Sunday. A fairly new foreigner-owned bar with weekly trivia nights and other events. Owner Tommy is very friendly and also makes good food.
- N's Pub, Bupyeong. Small but good atmosphere. Very cheap drinks and beer (but no soju); a recent favorite for both foreigners and Koreans.
- The Shine, Bupyeong. A high-class atmosphere for budget prices, The Shine is a traditional bar in that you have to buy anju (안주, appetizer or meal) with your drinks, but the food is quite good. Drinks are reasonably priced and beer can be purchased in towering dispensers which shoot dry ice through a tube and out a chimney on top.
- Mad Max, Yeonsu Dong. Western Style bar, serves a good rum & coke.
- O'Malley's Irish Pub, 1474-3 Guwol-Dong, Namdong-Gu, Incheon, Top Plaza 4th Floor (Across the street from Shinsegae Dept Store, Near Woori Bank), ☎ 032-424-3006. A truly western-style pub/sports bar on the outskirts of the lively "Square" in Guwoldong. They have reasonably priced drinks and great western-style-pub-food (burgers, club sandwich, chicken wings, etc.) Great atmosphere and hang out for mostly westerners but Koreans are usually there, as well.
- Chunnyue Sarang (천년의 사랑) (Songdo hilltop hotel street.). Korea's original tea & wine, snack. The master's dress is oriental Korea costume and interior is Oriental culture style.
- Rio's Western Bar, Guwol-Dong Square (Arts Center). Perhaps the only 'Western-style' bar outside of Bupyeong regularly packed with foreigners. The pub is quite well hidden and therefore tends to attract the same local English teachers rather than wandering tourists. Located on the 3rd floor in the same building is the massive (and rather infamous) King Kong Hof, also frequented by Westerners on weekends.
- Goose Goose (Bupyeong). Innocuous enough from the outside, Goose Goose is perhaps the largest and busiest westerner zone in town on a Saturday night. The "pub jukebox" is an open desktop computer running iTunes. Excuse the Canadian's playing Celine Dion. And the Brit obsessed with Adele.
- Who's Bar (Bupyeong). A cosy western bar great for catching up on English football. The owner is a very friendly young fellow who'll offer a free drink to new ESL teachers.
- G7 Pub (Bupyeong). A western-style pub with a stage. Beers are ₩2,500 for 500cc and ₩12,000 for a 3 liters, and they serve excellent fresh kiwi Soju.
- Rock Bar (Bupyeong). Very cheap beer, ₩6,000 for 2 liters.
- Woodstock (Bupyeong). The original Woodstock is small (about 2 dozen seats) but is comfy and has nice bartenders. The newly opened second location (also in Bupyeong) is much bigger.
There are a variety of hotels in the city.
- Hotel Pai, 169-3 Ganseok 3(sam)-dong, Namdong-gu, ☎ .
- Paradise Hotel, 3-2 Hang-dong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, ☎ .
- Sheraton Hotel, 6-9 Songdo-Dong, Yeonsu-Gu, ☎ .
- Hotel Sky, 2790-2, Incheon Airport Town Square, Jung-gu, ☎ .
|Routes through Incheon|
|END ←||W E||→ Yongsan → Seoul|
|END ←||W SE||→ Suwon → Cheonan|