Incheon is a major port city in Korea and home an International Airport. As a free economic zone, Incheon plays a pivotal role in logistics, business and leisure sports in Northeast Asia. Songdo, part of Incheon is a smart city specializing in international finance, trade, and knowledge-based industry. One of Incheon’s biggest strengths is its proximity to Airports and to Seoul.
- 1st in Asia to receive LEED Certified Convention Center – In 2010, Songdo ConvensiA became the first in Asia to receive an LEED NC 2.2 “”certified”” rating from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Since receiving the award, Songdo ConvensiA has been receiving praises for its dedication to promotion of environmental awareness.
- Main Gateway to Korea and Center for Free Trade – Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ), which attracts global companies to Korea, is composed of four hubs for business, logistics, IT & BT, and leisure and boasts of having the world’s best infrastructure and business base, including the Incheon International Airport, Songdo International Business complex, and more.
- Host of Korea MICE Expo 2018-2011 – Korea MICE Expo (KME), Korea’s top business events trade show for MICE professionals, is set to be held annually in Incheon from 2018 – 2022. With 21.6% increase in attendance in 2017, KME has consistently been successful with increasing numbers of international buyers and sellers attending the event.
- Songdo ConvensiA – Located at the gateway to Northeast Asia, Songdo Convensia consists of a premier ballroom for up to 2,000 people, and various small and medium-scale conference rooms. The premier ballroom has a mobile stage set and is equipped with facilities, including a 4-language simultaneous interpretation system, a state-of-the-art sound system, and video facilities. There are small/medium conference rooms of various sizes suitable for all manner of events. All the equipment is installed on the ceiling or fitted into the walls to maximize spatial utilization.
- Gyeongwonjae (Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Incheon) – Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Incheon portrays a beautiful scene of elegant Korean traditional architecture set amid a forest of modern buildings in Songdo, offering five-star hotel services. The hotel features 30 comfortable rooms, suites and villas, 1 restaurant and 2 banquet halls with free WIFI. The hotel is surrounded by numerous attractions, including Songdo Convensia (Convention Center), Jack Nicklaus Golf Club and Shopping mall. The hotel has the added benefit of being close to the Incheon International Airport (only 25 minutes away by car) and Subway station (3 min walk). Songdo Central Park, which consists of attractive green spaces and waterfront areas, encircles the hotel like a folding screen, creating a picturesque view. The antique-looking wooden columns and the layers of the tiled roof exhibit the style of an elegant traditional house. Gyeongwonru is a majestic banquet hall ideal for holding diverse events such as conferences and seminars. Arirang Hall is a large banquet hall that can accommodate up to 300 people. It features a modern, refined interior and is equipped with state-of-the-art screen and sound effect equipment. Youngbingwan, a multi-purpose hall located on the 2nd floor, was built in a traditional architectural style to provide a unique banqueting space. Notably, it has a wood-floored porch that can be used as an outdoor terrace space and can accommodate as many as 80 people. The front courtyard of Gyeongwonru can accommodate up to 500 people and is ideal for various outdoor events and traditional wedding ceremonies against the attractive backdrop formed by Gyeongwonru. The 2015 International Sports Relations Foundation Forum, 2016 Asia Amateur Championship, Korea-China KJ Symposium were held here.
- Grand Hyatt – Facility Information: Housing two large ballrooms, myriad meeting areas and dramatic outdoor spaces, Grand Hyatt Incheon offers venues of all sizes to stage and orchestrate memorable events, from a small meeting to a large scale convention. The East Tower houses a Ballroom that can accommodate 540 people in a banquet setting, as well as eleven event rooms, two hospitality suites and three boardrooms. A covered Sky Bridge connects the Ballroom and meeting space of the East Tower with the event deck of the West Tower, featuring a Grand Ballroom with a capacity of 830 people in a banquet setting, augmented by a large pre-function foyer with a built-in bar. The West Tower also houses two large conference rooms; two drawing rooms; four meeting rooms; and the Garden Event Deck and Pool House Terrace.
- Embracing the Future with Songdo – Songdo embodies the future of Incheon. A trip to Songdo can start at the Central Park, a natural oasis in the city. Past the promenade, along a field of reeds are an array of innovative buildings, creating an avant-garde yet peaceful ambiance.
- Compact Smart City
Compact Smart City is an exhibition center that explores the past, present, and future of Incheon. In the Ancient and Modern History exhibition hall, visitors can learn about Incheon’s ancient beginnings as the town of Michuhol, the Jemulpo Port, the Suinseon railway, and narrow gauge railway in modern history. At the 5D theater, visitors can travel through time from ancient Incheon to the future with a movie containing state-of-the-art effects like wind and water jets. The second floor features a large hall with a miniature model of Incheon. Next to the Compact Smart City is the Incheon Tourist Information Center, where visitors can get information on travel in Songdo and Incheon.
Tri-bowl was built in 2009 to commemorate the Global Fair & Festival Incheon. The name is a combination of the words triple and bowl. The bowl symbolizes Incheon and the three items represented are the sky (airport), sea (port), and land (wide-area transportation network), as well as the districts of Songdo, Chengna, and Yeongjong, which together form the Incheon Free Economic Zone. The building features a multicultural space with an event hall, multi-purpose hall, and a digital library.
3. Techno Park Get Pearl Tower
Get Pearl Tower can be reached in just five minutes by car from Central Park and is only three bus stops away from Central Park Station on Incheon Subway Line 1. It is a landmark building of Techno Park, overlooking Songdo. The restaurant Noul on the twentieth floor gives a splendid view of Songdo International City and Incheon Bridge.
4. Michuhol Park
Named after the ancient name of Incheon, Michuhol Park creates an ambiance where the futuristic Songdo International City meets old traditions. Inside the park, the traditionally-constructed Daryewon building, serves as a place for learning traditional ceremonial rituals and how to cook dishes used for ancestral rites. Various hands-on programs are offered all year round. In front of the Get Pearl Culture Center, inside the park there are traditional swings for visitors to enjoy.
5. NC Cube Canal Walk
The NC Cube Canal Walk is a European-style shopping arcade with a length of 740 meters. The space features outstanding architectural aesthetics as well as dynamic cultural elements. The architecture invokes the four seasons, and the canal running through the building is quite impressive.
6. Incheon Bridge Observatory
Incheon Bridge Observatory offers excellent views of the city, with the view of the sunset over the western coast being exceptionally beautiful. At 21.38 kilometers long, Incheon Bridge is the longest bridge in Korea. It serves as a gateway between Songdo International City and Incheon International Airport.
7. Sunrise Park
Sunrise Park was built to highlight the opening of the port of Incheon and the beginning of the city’s modernization. From Songdo Hill, one can get a bird’s-eye-view of the park. The park is part of a pleasant and systematic green network connected with other existing green areas of the city. The park has wind power generators as well as an ecological pond using recycled wastewater and serving as a habitat for various flora and fauna.
8. Songdo Miraegil
Songdo Miraegil, meaning future road, is 7 kilometers long. The road connects the major tourist attractions of Songdo, allowing visitors to explore the city on foot. The course takes 3 hours and traverses the lakeside of Central Park. The walk passes by Tomorrow City, Compact Smart City, Tri-bowl, Incheon Bridge Observatory, NC Cube Canal Walk, Central Park, and Songdo ConvensiA.
- See Most in limited time – Whether you are stopping over in Incheon or looking for a short trip to nearby Seoul, a visit to Yeongjong Island or Eurwangni Beach (the largest beach in Incheon) is a must. They are economical and convenient; just two hours away by public transportation and ideal for one-night, two-day getaways.
- Eurwangni Beach just 20 minutes away from the airport
Eurwangni Beach (을왕리 해수욕장) is one of the best known beaches in the Seohae (West or Yellow Sea) region. Along with an expansive sandy beach, it affords visitors a wide-open view of the sea. The beach gets even longer and wider at low tide and is a great place to take a leisurely walk. There are numerous restaurants located along the crescent-shaped coastline, which not only offer a variety of tasty seafood dishes, but also a great view of the sunset. To get to Eurwangni Beach, take a local bus or the Incheon City Tour Bus from the airport.
2. ORA, a cafe with a view
Just a 5-minute walk up from Eurwangni Beach takes you to the hilltop café, ‘Ora.’ The café is housed in a gorgeous building with a uniquely-shaped, angular terrace (second and third floors) that dominate the café’s exterior design. The building’s interior and exterior designs have been so well-executed that the café even received the 2009 Korean Architecture Culture Award. Inside, visitors are greeted by a spacious interior that is vaguely island-themed and very classy. Visitors are treated to a beautiful view of the Seohae Sea through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The café serves up freshly brewed coffee, cakes and pasta.
3. Sugi Beach, a pleasant getaway in a small island
There are many islands near the Incheon International Airport. Among them, is the cluster of small islands ((Sindo – Sido – Modo), which are only an hour away from the airport by bus and boat. Though small, the islands are great spots to soak up the sunshine and relax. Sugi Beach (수기 해수욕장) in Sido island is where the drama ‘Full House’ was filmed, making it a favorite among drama lovers. The small beach with its quality sand is a terrific place to dig your toes or take a walk along the shoreline. Next to the beach is a small grove of trees; follow the walking trail along the ridge to catch a panoramic view of the sea from the nearby observatory. The walking path is not strenuous and only takes an hour round trip.
4. Baemikkumi Sculpture Park and cafe in Modo Beach
Modo is the smallest of the three islands. Here, you will find a sculpture park along the coast, which became significantly more popular after its appearance in the Korean movie ‘Time,’ by internationally-acclaimed director Kim Ki-duk. At the island café, visitors can have a drink and enjoy the view of the sea and the surrealist sculptures on the café’s front lawn crafted by artist Lee Il-ho. The entrance fee to the sculpture park is only 1,000 won.
- Gateway to Korea – The very first and largest port city located on the west coast of Korea, Incheon, was first port to open to Western nations. The Street of Culture on Wolmido Island, Chinatown, the Jayu Park, Sinpo Market, which formed in response to the influx of foreign trade and culture; Heungryunsa Temple, which provides great views of the sea and the Incheon Bridge; are some of the must see sites when visiting the city.
- Wolmido Island
Wolmido was once an island of four kilometers long and located one kilometer from the coast of Incheon. In 1989, the area between Wolmido and Incheon was reclaimed and turned into a Street of Culture. The street is formed along the sea and is lined with various coffee shops and restaurants from which visitors can enjoy a view of the sea. This area also holds historical importance for its role in the Incheon Landing Operation during the Korean War.
2. Incheon China Town
Chinatown was formed after the opening of the Incheon Port in 1883, as throngs of Chinese entered the country through the port. In the past, the area was lined with shops selling goods from China, but today the area is dominated by Chinese restaurants. Chinatown and its surrounding area exude a uniquely Chinese culture that has lasted since the era of port opening.
3. Jayu Park
The Jayu (Freedom) Park was the first western-style park in Korea. Located on high ground, the woods are dense and pleasant to walk through. At the summit is a memorial tower commemorating the centennial relationship between Korea and the United States and a statue of General Douglas MacArthur, who led the Incheon Landing Operation. The park features a pavilion and chairs where people can rest. The summit overlooks a splendid view of the Incheon Port and Wolmido Island, so the park is popular among young couples.
4. Incheon Landing Operation Memorial Hall
This is a war memorial built to commemorate the Incheon Landing Operation led by General MacArthur. On display are weapons used in the Korean War, military uniforms of South and North Korea during that time, and miniature dioramas of the operation. The memorial also contains an outdoor exhibition space, performance stage, and observatory. From the Freedom Tower, there are views of the sea and the sunset.
5. Sinpo Market
Sinpo Market was the first daily market to open in Korea. It was formed after the opening of the Incheon Port in 1883 as new goods and foreign visitors began arriving from overseas. Various foods are sold at the market, but the most popular is the dak-gangjeong (fried chicken pieces coated with a sweet and sour sauce). It is common to find throngs of people lined up to buy a bowl of dak-gangjeong at the market.
6. Heungryunsa Temple
Heungryungsa Temple is ideally located in a spot overlooking the Incheon Bridge, the sea, and Songdo International City. The temple site has existed there since the end of the 16th century. A small hermitage was built in the mid-1900s, and the temple has expanded further since then. There are many relatively new buildings and Buddha statues in the temple, but many people visit because of the great view the temple offers. It takes only thirty minutes by car to get there from the Incheon International Airport, and there is also a two-hour transit tour available.
- Indulge with Incheon, Food & Festivals – Because it is a port city, Incheon has many foods made of fresh seafood, offered at specialized streets. Jajangmyeon and jjolmyeon are famous as well as dak-gangjeong in China town and Sinpo Market respectively. There are also several festivals including The Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival, the Soraepogu Festival, and the Ganghwa Dolmen Festival draw large numbers of tourists from other regions.
- Haemul-tang (Spicy Seafood Soup)
Haemul-tang is a spicy hot pot of seafood. In Incheon, it is made with blue crab, baby octopus, clams, mitra squid, squid spawn, and vegetables. The hot pot dish is mounded so high with ingredients it is often difficult to cover with the lid. The Bupyeong-dong Haemultang Street is lined with specialized restaurants serving this dish. They offer a rich broth and plentiful seafood.
2. Samchi-gui (Grilled Spanish Mackerel)
Samchi is a sea fish like mackerel. It is usually grilled with a sauce or just salt and eaten as a side dish or as an accompaniment to drinks. The Samchi Street in front of Dong Incheon station has many restaurants serving this grilled fish, which has become a popular signature menu item. The grilled fish goes well with makgeolli (Traditional Korean Rice Liquor). The taste differs slightly depending on how it is grilled and the type of sauce it is dipped in.
3. Baendaengi hoe muchim (Spicy raw large-eyed herring with fresh salad)
Baendangi is a sea fish like herring. Baendaengi hoe muchim is a salad-like dish where slices of the fish and vegetables are mixed together with vinegar and red chili sauce. The fish is at its best in March and April, when its flesh gets fatty. The Street of Baendaengi in Incheon is lined with fresh raw fish restaurants. Here, the herring can be eaten in a spicy sauce, grilled, or in a hot pot, all at an affordable price.
4. Regional Jajangmyeon
Jajangmyeon is a Korean-style Chinese food. It is a noodle dish topped with a black sauce of vegetables and pork stir-fried in a Chinese bean paste called chunjang. The first jajangmyeon restaurant was opened in 1905 in Incheon China Town. Today, it is a popular dish throughout Korea. Though jajangmyeon can be eaten in any town in Korea, the Street of Jajangmyeon in Incheon China Town is where you will find the original version of the dish.
5. Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival
The Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival is a mega-scale music festival held at the end of July every year. The festival features outstanding and talented rock bands from Korea and abroad in a three-day concert. With the full support of the Incheon government, which aims to develop Incheon into a major city in Northeast Asia, this event has grown into an internationally renowned festival that draws rock fans from all over the world.
6. Incheon Soraepogu Festival
Held every October, the Incheon Soraepogu Festival is held in the Soraepogu Inlet and Ecology Park. Various events take place, including a ceremonial ritual to wish for an abundant fish catch off the West Coast, crab catching, and the cooking of seafood. During the festival, specialties of Soraepogu such as salted shrimp, blue crab, fresh raw fish, and dried fish can be purchased at affordable prices.
7. Ganghwa Dolmen Culture Festival
The Ganghwa Dolmen Culture Festival is held every October to celebrate the dolmens of Ganghwa, which are listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. Tourists can take part in a variety of hands-on programs like participating in a reenactment of dolmen making, making a fire from scratch, throwing stone axes, and participating in a hunting competition.
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Featured Image Source: Central Park from the I-Tower #2 *Flickr EXPLORED 22/05/13*, Justin Howard, May 16, 2013, www.flickr.com