Central Park And The Tri-Bowl in Incheon, Korea
The Songdo area of Incheon is a rather up and coming district and I’ve made my way out there a few times over the past few months to see how things are coming along.
The Songdo International Business District is a new smart city built on reclaimed land along Incheon’s waterfront and it’s filling in quite nicely. Also a part of the Incheon Free Economic Zone which aims to transform Songdo, Cheongna and Yeongjong into hubs of logistics, international business, leisure and tourism, the area is meant to be a self-contained living and business district. This means that, for me, while I’m not going down there to work, there’s still plenty for me to do.
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This past weekend, along with my friend Arielle from Soju4Two, we decided to spend the day around Songdo Central Park, the centerpiece of Songdo IBD’s green space plan. To start the day off, we headed to Zen Zen, a brunch cafe just two blocks from the park to enjoy some of the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever had. We opted for one sweet dish and one savory and they hit the spot so so well and got us quite ready for a day around the pond. (Make sure to check out the map at the end of this post to see where everything is I point out in this article.)
From the name you can gather that the park was inspired by New York City’s Central Park and is pretty popular with families and couples coming out from Seoul and people that live in the area. The waterway is serene and there are canoes and motorized boats available for rental. There are deer that will eat from your hand and an island solely populated by bunnies out in the water. If that doesn’t make you want to go, this will…Not only is the natural beauty spot on, but there are some pretty amazing marvels of design as well.
What first drew us in was the Tri-Bowl installation which is actually more than just an artistically beautiful design piece. The Tri-Bowl is a culture and arts center built to appear as if it’s floating on water. The water beneath the Tri-Bowl is just 2 feet deep or so, so if it really was floating, that’d be pretty astounding. It is pretty impressive to look upon though. The three bowls are meant to symbolize Incheon, a city in harmony with the sky, the ocean and the earth. While it’s not always open, and wasn’t when we went, I would recommend checking out their website to see if there are upcoming programs as it just seems like it’d be such a cool space inside too. Even if it’s closed, you can still meander around the outside of it and walk beneath it and just take in the design from all angles outside. At night, it also seems to light up, though we didn’t stay that late.
The waterway and canals, which everything else in the area is wrapped around, are home to an array of differently designed bridges and statues. The paths also lead up to some look out points and different plots of flowers. When we visited we found a large plot of sunflowers and it didn’t seem like many people even realized it was up there. Be prepared to walk, take it all in and see what you can see. There are hidden spaces around each corner. Also, though we visited on a Saturday, it really wasn’t all that busy or overwhelmed with people. We also got REALLY luck with our boat rental as we walked up, got one and waited a matter of minutes before embarking and taking our ride. When we returned just a half hour later ready to disembark around 1pm, the docks were PACKED! Seems taking a ride while everyone else is eating lunch is the way to plan that bit. Our “Family Boat” that could seat 4 cost W35,000 for 25 minutes which was enough time to get from the docks, out to the bunny island and back again with a couple minutes to spare.
If you’re headed to Incheon and want to make it weekend trip, check out Hotel the Designers Incheon for a lovely boutique stay. If you want luxury in a Korean traditional way and set RIGHT ON the Central park waterway, try the Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Incheon.
Check out these other posts to plan a great trip out to Incheon:
- Incheon, Korea: A One Day Guide From Street Art To China Town
- Incheon ChinaTown: A Guide To The Area
- A Day In Incheon: From Moraenae Market to GTower Sunsets
- Cafe Valor: K-Drama Filming Location, Coffee & More!
While I had a toddler that was in need of a nap at this point, if you’re planning to head out, I’d also recommend visiting G Tower situated at the western end of the park. The building offers an impressive view from the top floor. You can see planes coming in for landings and taking off from Incheon Airport and get a great view of the iconic Incheon Bridge spanning the ocean.
Take advantage of the weekend and head out to Incheon for some fun outdoors with ample modern design to peruse too. What’s better than that?
Zen Zen (젠젠)
Address: 21-13 Songdo-dong Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, Korea
인천광역시 연수구 송도동 21-13
Hours: Wednesdays – Mondays: 9:00am ~ 10:00pm
Songdo Central Park (송도 센트럴파크)
Address: 24-5 Songdo-dong Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, Korea
인천광역시 연수구 송도동 24-5
Amenities: canoe/boat rental, bike rental, restrooms, convenience store
Address: 24-6 Songdo-dong Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, Korea
인천광역시 연수구 송도동 24-6
Address: 24-4 Songdo-dong Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, Korea
인천광역시 연수구 송도동 24-4
Directions: By subway: Central Park Subway Station, exit 3. Make a u-turn out of the station and then walk about a block back. Look up to see the tall building with GTower on the top.
Hours: Weekdays: 10:00am ~ 8:00pm; Weekends: 10:00am ~ 6:00pm
Incheon Metropolitan City Museum Compact·Smart City (인천시립박물관 컴팩스마트시티)
238, Incheon Tower-daero, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 연수구 인천타워대로 238 (송도동)
Hours: 09:00-18:00 (Last admission: 30 min before closing)
Mondays (If Monday is a national holiday, it will close on the following day.), New Year’s Day, the day after national holidays