Written and photographed by Molla Korea Content Partner
Robert Koehler of Robert Koehler Travel Photography
Incheon has served as the world’s gateway to korea for more than a century. Even today, it is korea’s primary port of entry, with more than 20,000 travelers passing in and out of Incheon International Airport every day. The city’s old town played host to a heady mix of races, cultures, religions and languages as the adventurous, ambitious, desperate, and devout arrived on Korean shores in search of fortunes and souls. This heritage of cultural exchange has left an indelible imprint on the city. Stroll about Incheon’s old town and you’ll come across Chinese townhouses, Japanese banks, colonial-style saloons and Christian churches, all embraced in a Korean setting.
Korea’s oldest and largest Chinatown was born in 1884, when immigrants from China’s Shandong Province settled down in Incheon as traders, importing sundries, salts and cereals and exporting alluvial gold. It is a colorful place that has undergone a renewal in recent years and is home to Korea’s best Chinese food, shops, Chinese townhouses and a wonderfully exotic atmosphere found nowhere else in Korea.
While you are there, try Korean Chinese Food! Sampling Chinatown’s outstanding Chinese cuisine is a highlight to any trip to Incheon. Incheon’s Chinatown is, in fact, the birthplace of one of Korea’s favorite dishes, jjajangmyeon.
2. Old Japanese Concession
The Treaty of Ganghwa of 1876 opened up the port of Incheon to international trade. Possessing imperial ambitions regarding korea, the Japanese were quick to move in. The old Japanese concession, spread over several blocks in front of today’s Jung-gu office and separated from Chinatown by a landmark flight of stone steps, has a distinctively colonial feel with planned grid-like streets, stately Renaissance-style offices, Japanese-style residences and old brick warehouses. It is a good place to learn about the beauty and
history of old Incheon.
3. Western Concessions
Unlike Korea’s other so-called “open ports” which are inhabited almost exclusively by Japanese, Incheon was home to a significant Western community of missionaries and traders. And there is the statue of General Macarthur.
4. Wolmido Island & Harbor Cruises
Wolmido is translated as “Moon tail Island,” and at one time – until recently, in fact – it was an island that resembled the tail of a crescent moon. And it has amusement park, including Viking and disco pangpang which is the most famous amusement ride.
You can also catch ferry cruises of Incheon Harbor from Wolmido, too. The cruises, which take you from Wolmido past Yeonjongdo(home of Incheon International Airport) and Incheon Bridge befor returning to Wolmido, live at noon, 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm. Cruises take an hour, 30 minutes, and cost 15,000 won per person.
- From Incheon station, take Bus No.2, 23 or 45 and get off at the las stop, Wolmido.
- Likewise, you could just take a cab from the station – It’s just a 5minute ride.
- Fortunately, most of what you’ll want to see is within walking distance of Incheon Station. Chinatown is located just across from Incheon Station, in fact, and most of the historic downtown can be explored as a walking tour from the station.
- The resort area of Wolmido, too, can be reached on foot from Incheon Station, but you may find it easier to take the short bus there.
Thank you to our Molla Korea Content Partner
Copyright 2014. Robert Koehler all right reserved.