Incheon, Korea: A One Day Guide From Street Art To China Town
When most people think of Incheon, Korea, it’s the international airport which is stunning and always gives travelers a good trip that probably comes to mind. There are other attractions out that way though and when it came time to plan a little weekend away, I decided it was high time we saw what was fun in Incheon. We stayed at the Nest Hotel, a great spot just 20 minutes from the airport and then headed inland to mainland Incheon to see everything from China Town to the Incheon Art Platform and more.
Head to Incheon for a day or a weekend, but head there and see all of these awesome things in one day to get the most out of Incheon and really enjoy your time out there.
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Stop 1: Songwol-dong Fairytale Village (송월동 동화마을)
When things start to get old and run-down in Korea, they’re either torn down and something new is built, or someone has a bright idea to remodel it. Luckily for the Songwol-dong area, remodeling was the idea. This run down neighborhood was given new life when the houses were revived with vibrant colors and fairy tale character decorations. There isn’t a nook or cranny that isn’t painted some bright color or with some smiling character. Alice in Wonderland is sliding down a building to jump out to catch the white rabbit and Rapunzel’s hair is draped nonchalantly down the side of a “castle”. Characters from western fairy tales and Korean fairy tales alike are everywhere you turn making for some fun photo-ops. This is a fun way to start out a day in Incheon and only takes about an hour to cover.
38 Donghwamaeul-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 동화마을길 38 (송월동3가) 일대
Directions: Take Seoul subway line 1 out to Incheon Station and take Exit 1 (the only exit available). Across the street, you’ll see the entrance to China Town. Head through the China Town gate and walk up until it dead ends and turn left. On this road you’ll see the Fairy Tale Village welcome archway and clearly see where all of the vibrant colorful buildings and paintings begin.
Time Needed: 1 hour
Stop 2: Incheon China Town (인천 차이나타운)
Opening in the Incheon Port area in 1883 and becoming an extraterritoriality of the Ching Dynasty the following year, this neighborhood is now home to the 2nd and 3rd generation Chinese residents who are descendants of early Chinese settlers. The iconic red Chinese decor is everywhere you look from hanging lanterns to doorways but the area is most famous for the Chinese-Korean fusion dish known as jajangmyeon, or black noodles. The original building that served up the dish is now a Jajangmyeon Museum, an easy and interesting short stop to learn about the history of the dish in Korea and while this dish is popular here and loads of restaurants are selling it, the good restaurants also have lines hours, yes with an “s”, long. Instead of eating the dish here, I would recommend partaking in the numerous but oh so delicious street foods in the area. From lamb skewers to mooncakes, Chinese dumplings and more, there is so much to eat on the streets, you wouldn’t want to wait hours for one dish of jajangmyeon anyway.
China Town Address:
Seollin-dong / Bukseong-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon
인천 중구 선린동 , 북성동 일대
Time Needed: 2-3 hours
Directions: From the Fairy Tale Village, head back into China Town the way you came and b sure to walk up and down and all around to see everything.
Jajangmyeon Museum Address:
56-14, China town-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon
Admission: Adults: W1,000; Teens: W700; Children: W500
Time Needed: 20 minutes
Stop 3: Incheon Art Platform (인천아트플랫폼)
This complex of buildings is a collection of remodeled buildings from the 1930s and 1940s. They have been artistically decorated and revamped to house artist studios, a library, an exhibition and performance halls. The buildings, of which there are 13 now, are the start of what is hoped to be a huge street museum of preserved historical establishments that display the historical aspects with a modern interpretation. The complex is free to walk along (galleries and experience programs may warrant a fee) and we found it fun to see what history looked like in Korean architecture with some brightly colored artistic touches here and there too.
Address: 3, Jemullyang-ro 218beon-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon
Directions: While the Fairy Tale Village was just north of China Town, the Incheon Art Plaza is just south, so you’ll walk away from the Fairy Tale Village to get there. If you head back to the China Town main gate and then turn left and walk around the main road, you’ll come to the platform easily.
Time Needed: 30 minutes (unless going in to peruse art)
If you’ll be heading to Incheon and want to stay the night, check out the Nest Hotel, a fabulous design hotel just 15-20 minutes from the Incheon International Airport. If you’d like to stay a bit closer to the stops mentioned in this itinerary, check out the Benikea The Bliss Hotel which is right outside of Wolmi Park.
Stop 4: Sinpo International Market (신포국제시장)
Sinpo Market dates back to the 19th century when vendors began selling to the settlers from Japan, China and other western countries. Officially registered in 1970, there are now 140 vendors serving up both traditional and modern Korean dishes. One popular dish in the market is dakganjang, or a crispy chicken dipped in a chili and sweet sauce. Visitors hoping to get this dish may expect to wait up to 30 minutes to dig in, but it’s worth it. Get a bite to eat here and then head on for some fun.
11-5, Uhyeon-ro 49beon-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 우현로49번길 11-5 (신포동)
Directions: From the Incheon Art Platform, you’ll continue walking away from China Town. The market is just down the main road and follow it as it turns slightly left and you’ll see the entrance. You might also see signs for Sinpo Market Subway Station. You’d want to follow exit 4 out if you find that station.
Time Needed: 1-2 hours
Stop 5: Wolmi Park & Theme Park (월미공원) (월미테마파크)
The Wolmi Traditional park is an area that was redeveloped from military barracks grounds in 2001. The development opened up the area to welcome tourists and provide locals with a relaxing natural park to spend the day in. From a traditional garden area with curated plots of land to a glass observatory and deer to feed from your hand, this park is a great place to take a rest outdoors before heading to the vibrant and loud Wolmi Theme Park. Formerly known as “My Land”, Wolmi Theme Park opened in 1992 and has various rides like the Hyper Shoot Drop, Tagada Disco, a Viking Ship, Ferris Wheel and more. The park became a bit more famous after it was used as a filming location for the shows “We Got Married”, “Two Days and One Night”, “Running Man” and a few more so expect some crowds. This theme park also has a large indoor children’s playground with water activities and other facilities so adults and children alike can enjoy the pier area.
Wolmi Park Address:
329, Wolmi-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 월미로 329 (북성동1가)
Directions: From the entrance to Sinpo Market, you’ll want to cross the road to find the bus stop. Buses 23 & 45 and get off at the park approximately 15 to 20 minutes away.
Time Needed: 1-2 hours
Hours: March ~ October: 5:00am – 11:00pm; November ~ February: 5:00am – 10:00pm
Wolmi Theme Park Address:
81, Wolmimunhwa-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 월미문화로 81 (북성동1가)
Time Needed: 1-2 hours
Hours: Weekdays: 10:00am – 10:00pm; Weekends: 10:00am – Midnight
All five of these spots are near each other, the first four within walking distance and the last requiring just a 15 minute bus ride. Spend a day in Incheon and see some great sights!
Check the map below for the locations of all of these awesome spots to check out in Incheon and remember to wear some good walking shoes because these areas are hilly and require a bit of a walk to get a good look around.