8 Things to do in Incheon: South Korea’s Hidden Gem

Whether you’re having a layover at Incheon International Airport or looking to explore the city with a day-trip from Seoul, there are plenty of places to visit in Incheon.

Many of the things to do in Incheon are free, making it an ideal option for short trips and to squeeze in some sightseeing. If you’re looking for something a little less busy and fast-paced than the popular city of Seoul and its suburbs of Gangnam, Incheon is a fantastic alternative.

With a city this steeped in history, it’s no surprise that the once-famous Incheon port is so interesting. This article shares exactly what you can do in the city and activities to add to your Korea itinerary.

temple in incheon south korea

About Incheon, South Korea

If you’ve ever travelled to South Korea, chances are that you’ve arrived at Incheon Airport. Incheon is the main site for the Airport of Korea and often used for transferring between destinations. But the truth is, Incheon is just as incredible as the rest of the destinations in East Asia.

The city is most recognized as being a port. But there’s an array of cultural museums, rich history, adventurous activities and island hopping to be enjoyed.

Many parts of Incheon South Korea are all within walking distance, with exciting restaurants, outdoor excursions, Incheon tourist attractions and family-friendly entertainment close by. While you’re adventuring around the area, you’ll simultaneously be soaking up all the culture and history of this Korean city.

South-Korea_Incheon_temple-3

Where is Incheon and How Do You Get There?

After Seoul and Busan, Incheon is the third-largest city in South Korea. It’s situated just 32 km from the south of the demilitarised area between North and South Korea, in the north-western part of South Korea.

To get to Incheon, you can either fly directly into the city or arrive by public transport from the popular cities nearby.

Flights to Seoul

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If you’re travelling from Seoul or Busan, you can opt for a train ride (the AREX railway), journey on a bus or taxi, or travel in a booked car.

The other options for getting from Incheon airport to Seoul are the Limousine City Bus which takes 70 minutes or the Express Train (45 mins) or All Stop Train (60 mins). Personally I took the Express train from Incheon Airport to Seoul and this was an excellent option.

⇒ Check out my posts on the best Seoul Day Trips, 8 fantastic Things to do in Incheon, 13 things to do in Myeongdong, my Seoul Itinerary 5 Days, 7 Fantastic Seoul Boutique Hotels and the best things to do in Gangnam.

South-Korea_Incheon_sunset-on-sea

Things to Do in Incheon

There are many fascinating, beautiful places to explore in Incheon such as the Grand Park, peaceful beaches and vibrant markets.

You’ll find 8 exciting Incheon things to do below.

1.    Fairytale Village of Songwol-dong

Songwol-dong is Incheon’s own unique twist on Disneyland. No matter how old you are, a trip to a Korean fairytale village will entice your inner child.

Instead of leaving dilapidated houses to crumble away, the government stepped in to transform the streets into a world of colour in this fairy tale village. Murals and Disney inspired decor run along the walls, climb up the street lamps and hang upon balconies in this Incheon village.

streets of fairy tale village in Incheon south korea

Along with the whimsical appearance, Disney characters wander along the streets. It is ideal for those of you travelling with younger kids and one of the top Incheon attractions.

  • Opening hours: The streets are open 24 hours a day
  • Things to note: Songwol-dong is only a short train ride from the airport. If you’re strapped for time or don’t have much time in Incheon, it’s great for a short visit.

2.    Incheon Chinatown

Well over a hundred years old, Incheon’s Chinatown is situated just 30 km from the popular city of Seoul. It’s also the only Chinatown in Korea, and well worth the visit. With numerous activities and a colourful aesthetic, it makes for an adventurous and memorable day in Incheon.

Wander along the Samgukji Mural Street, where you’ll be exposed to a vibrant display of artworks that represent significant events from the Three Kingdoms Period.

building in Chinatown in Incheon South Korea

As well as being a renowned history hub, Chinatown Incheon is known for its Korean and Chinese infused cuisine. There is no shortage of restaurants and street food. Firepot dumplings and black bean noodles are some of the tasty foods you’ll come across.

  • Opening hours: Chinatown is open 24 hours a day
  • Things to note: To further your understanding of the diverse culture, visit the Korean-Chinese Cultural Center.

3.    Incheon Korean Jeondeungsa Temple

Clearly, Incheon is a city that is rich in culture and history. Which is precisely why I’d recommend a visit to Jeondeungsa Temple. Built over 1000 years ago, the religious temple is found in the Samrangseong Fortress.

Incheon South Korea city view

Not only will you be visiting a temple, but you’ll have the opportunity to marvel at the impressive ancient architecture and great structures. The entire area around Jeondeungsa Temple Incheon is surrounded by colourful flowers and indigenous trees.

  • Opening hours: 8:30 – 18:00
  • Things to note: Upon entering the temple you’ll find the names of hundreds of soldiers who fought against the French Navy. The inscriptions are said to be prayers of luck and protection for their humble city.

4.    Incheon Grand Park

Located in Jiangsu-dong, Incheon, the nature park is an easy activity to include during your stay in the city. With views of Sangasan and Gwanmosan Mountains, Incheon Grand Park offers visitors the chance to enjoy the natural landscapes and rural forest away from city life.

Incheon Korea man walking in Grand Park

This Incheon park also has a botanical garden, peaceful lakes around the park and light hiking trails. If you’re travelling with children, the park is a great outdoor option. There’s a children’s zoo and artificial playground for kids to enjoy.

  • Opening hours: 5:00 – 22:00 (November – February)
  • Things to note: Take this chance to grab some fresh air on a cycle, jog or relaxing stroll beneath the towering trees.

⇒ Plan your trip with my Korea Itinerary

5.    Sinpo International Market

Given that Sinpo was once a hub for international trade, traders from all parts of the world would sell their best merchandise there. And so Sinpo International market gradually started forming, and that same market still exists today.

korea street food vendor

The traditional feeling of the Sinpo International Market makes it very appealing for travellers and is one of the most popular Incheon tourist spots.

Although it was once popular for selling crafts and general supplies, this Incheon market now thrives off of its delicious Korean street food. Sinpo market is especially famous for a dish called “Dakgangjeong”, a type of juicy fried chicken.

  • Opening hours: Open all week from 10:00 – 21:30
  • Things to note: Some of the other great things to eat at this South Korean market are spicy rice cakes (tteokbokki), Korean pancakes (Nokdujeon) and fermented cabbage (kimchi).

6.    Ganghwa: An Incheon Island

For a longer venture, planning a day trip to Ganghwa Island from Incheon is worth a day of your travels. This South Korean island lies to the northwest of Incheon downtown, and you can get there fairly easily by bus.

South-Korea_Incheon_Domen-Ganghwa Island
dolmen in ganghwa island, one of UNESCO World heritages

Be sure to set aside a whole day for a visit to Ganghwa Island South Korea, because there are a number of important sites to be seen on the island.

Below are some fantastic things to do on Ganghwa island:

  • Jeondeungsa Temple: Aged at 1,700 years, this temple is the oldest on the island. Nestled in the thicket of trees, this Korean temple follows classic Korean layouts and architecture.
  • Ganghwa Dolmen Park: Ganghwa Dolmen Park is famous for the scattered giant stones that date back to the Bronze age.
  • Chamseongdan Altar: The Cheomseongdae Altar is said to be the place where the founder of Korea, Dangun, gave sacrifices to the gods.
  • Chojijin Fortress: This Korean fortress was built in 1656 to serve the purpose of defending the island from outside sea invasion. The fortress will transport you back in time and reveal parts of history that now seem so far away.
South-Korea_Incheon_fields

⇒ Planning on travelling beyond Seoul in Korea? Check out my posts on the best things to do in Daegu , where to stay in Busan, the best things to do in JeJu Island and plan your trip with my Korea Itinerary, Jeju Itinerary and Busan Itinerary.

7.    Incheon Beach: Eurwangni

The warm weather in Incheon starts in July. And when temperatures increase, more and more people prefer to spend their days at the beach.

Eurwangni Beach is located relatively close to the city centre, which is why it’s often a hub for local university students and families.

South-Korea_Incheon_beach

Although it’s not the largest beach, there’s plenty of activities to get involved in on this beach in Incheon. Visitors can rent boats and take trips out on the water, partake in a variety of watersports, lounge on the beach or go fishing at Eurwangni beach Incheon.

  • Opening hours: Open all-day
  • Things to note: The beach grounds are complete with a large lawn area and campsite that can be used for summer vacations and outdoor activities.

⇒ Beautiful Japan is one of my favourite countries to visit. Check out my posts on One Day in Tokyo, the best things to do in Kanazawa and what to expect on the Nakasendo Trail.

South-Korea_Incheon_azalea-festival
Incheon, Korea – April 19, 2017: Goryeosan azalea festival, which is held at the end of April every year. Goryeosan is a highest mountain in Ganghwa island.

8.    Incheon Metropolitan City Museum

With a city oozing with history, a museum trip can really enlighten your knowledge. It can open your eyes to seeing why the city is the way it is.

Incheon Metropolitan City museum is also famous for being one of Korea’s first public museums. It houses a collection of pottery and artworks from the Three Kingdoms period, as well as significant historical displays.

A Little Language Goes a Long Way
Knowing even a small amount of the local language can add a whole new level of enjoyment to any trip. Why not learn some basic Korean before you leave home?

This Incheon museum is located next to the Incheon Memorial Landing Museum, which is perfect for combining a visit to the two museums. These museums in Korea aren’t large, so you’ll easily have enough time to visit them both.

  • Opening hours: 9:00 – 18:00 (Wednesday – Monday)
  • Things to note: Both museums in Incheon are easy to get to, as most bus and train lines stop within walking distance to the entrances.

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incheon grand park fall foliage view. Rows tall of tree line up the bike roads in incheon grand park, in south korea
incheon grand park fall foliage view. Rows tall of tree line up the bike roads in incheon grand park, in south korea
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Why Visit Incheon South Korea?

Incheon City hosts a collection of unique, must-see attractions that are absolutely perfect for travellers of all ages. Whether you’re touring the city with a group of friends and hopping from island to island, or planning a trip with the family, Incheon South Korea won’t disappoint you.

The laid-back attitude, delicious cuisine, gorgeous outdoors and colourful street art are some superb things you can look forward to. Many visitors to South Korea are keen to leave the airport and head to Jeju Island, Daegu or Busan.

However, Incheon offers many wonderful attractions to visit before exploring the rest of South Korea. It’s the perfect destination for either longer trips or day layovers. And with the efficient public transform system, you’ll easily be travelling from one spot to the next.

South-Korea_Incheon_buildings

Where to Stay in Incheon

For a great value stylish option you won’t do better than the Nest Hotel in Incheon. This Incheon hotel is the first Design Hotels property in Korea. The design theme is modernist meets cubanist.

South-Korea_Incheon_Nest-hotel

All of the rooms of this boutique hotel in Incheon have been designed to maximise views of the pine trees and calming Yellow Sea. Nest Hotel Incheon also has a mini theatre, infinity pool and world class dining.

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Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Incheon has been built in line with traditional Korean architecture. The rooms feature traditional Korean style beds and underfloor heating.

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For a more Western-style option Incheon has a Grand Hyatt. Grand Hyatt Incheon is the nearest 5-star hotel to Incheon International Airport. This Incheon hotel has all of the amenities that you would expect from a Grand Hyatt as well as a generous happy hour.

⇒ Read more Reviews on TripAdvisor Book Now

Korean lanterns

When to Visit Incheon

Incheon summers are long, hot and muggy and Incheon in winter is dry and freezing. Annoyingly summers tend to be cloudy and winters clear so it can be frustrating for photographers!

The ideal times to visit Incheon for comfortable weather are late May to early July and from late August to early October.

⇒ Working out where to go in Asia? Check out my Hong Kong Travel Blog, Hoi An blog in Vietnam, One Day in Singapore, Where to Stay in Bali, Kamalaya in Thailand, and Kuala Lumpur in One Day for some travel planning inspiration.

Do you need a Visa for your Korea Trip?

It can be a real pain trying to figure out if you need a visa for a country and then all the hassle of figuring out how to apply, how long you can go without your passport, when the embassy is open etc.

Colored Paper Lanterns

iVisa has completely revolutionised this process and put it all online and make it super simple and paper and hassle-free! Using iVisa is one of my top travel tips!

NB: Citizens of the United States, Great Britain, Australia and Canada do not need a Visa for Korea if they are staying less than 90 days. Do double check that this still holds when you book your airfares.

Check if you need a Visa for Korea

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street food market
Market Food ready to go!

Who Paid for What in this Post?

I covered all of the costs associated with putting together this Incheon travel blog post. However, this post does includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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12 thoughts on “8 Things to do in Incheon: South Korea’s Hidden Gem

  1. Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad says:

    Wow, Incheon looks so interesting, and that fairytale street is so, so cute! When our flights to Japan were cancelled in February, we were considering re-booking flights via Incheon… luckily we didn’t considering what happened after, lol. But this has made me really want to go when we do re-book!

  2. Earth To Katriona says:

    Love love love Korea! Thank you for such a great guide, you have got me dreaming about Korea again! I didn’t get to visit Incheon on my last visit but there seems like there is a lot to do there 🙂

  3. Nichole says:

    South Korea looks beautiful! I hope to explore it one day and will be saving this pin for when I do!

  4. Jackie says:

    I appreciate these well-researched suggestions for an Incheon itinerary; it’s so very different than I would have expected. I love the look of the Nest boutique hotel, and as a foodie, you can be sure I’ll be checking out the International Market. (Juicy fried chicken? Yes, please!) I also found the “things to note” particularly helpful. I’m bookmarking this post for future reference when I’m ready to plan a trip to Incheon. Thanks!

  5. Portia Jones says:

    I have always wanted to go to South Korea, it looks like such an interesting place to visit. What do you think would be the best time of year to visit? x

  6. Teresa says:

    Incheon looks amazing! Those autumn colours are unreal! Would love to visit so I’m adding it to my list. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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