Incheon International Airport is famous for its best service and its outstanding facilities, however, Incheon City offers much more beautiful attractions. I happened to miss my flight so I headed to downtown Incheon to look for what else Incheon could offer aside from its stunning airport. So if you ever found yourself stuck in the Incheon Airport (perhaps with a layover or happened to miss your flight like me), or if you’re looking for an easy trip to do outside Seoul, here is a half-day trip itinerary to Incheon that you can follow.
Let me give you a context of what happened to me first. So my flight from Korea going home was supposed to be on May 29th lunch time, I arrived at the airport at 11AM feeling so proud of being on time because I’m usually the girl running to catch her flight. When I checked in my luggage, the staff told me it was 16kg over my designated luggage weight and I was supposed to pay 400,000 KRW if I were to catch my flight. I looked online for a new flight and realized it was much cheaper to book a new flight and add on baggage instead of paying this amount.
So there, after letting go of my flight and watching it fly away, I was stuck in South Korea for an extra day. My friend and I decided to go to a trip to Incheon City since we were already here anyway. So I could roam freely, I left my luggage at the CJ Daehan Parcel Service (located at 3F Terminal 1, near Check-in Counter A). The storage cost for 24 hours of 1 large luggage is 8,000 KRW and 1 bag is 6,000 KRW.
Downtown Incheon City is actually quite far from Incheon Airport but is easily accessible by public transportation. We opted to take the bus route because it’s faster, cheaper, and easier to transfer. At the bus terminal at the Incheon International Airport, we took Bus #306 (another option is Bus #306A) and got off at 방축삼거리 (Bangchuksamgeori) station after 16 stops (46 minutes). Then at this station, we took Bus #15 and got off at Incheon Station (China Town) station after 10 stops (11 minutes). Both bus rides took us a total of an hour and 19 minutes for only KRW 2,250 from Incheon International Airport to Incheon Chinatown.
You may also opt to take the subway if you find it easier to understand. However, this route will take you two transfers and for a total of KRW 4,650. To take this, first take the Incheon Airport Line going to Seoul and get off at Geon Am station. At Geon Am station, transfer to Line 2 going to Unyeon station and get off at Ju An station. Lastly, at Ju An station, transfer to Line 1 going to Incheon China Town station and get off at the final station.
INCHEON CHINA TOWN
Incheon China Town is considered the first, biggest, and the only official China Town in South Korea. When the Incheon Port was opened on 1883, early Chinese settlers entered the area. And by 1885, the Chinese Settlement in today’s Incheon was established. Since then, with over 100 years of history, Incheon China Town offers various food, attractions, and activities from China.
Since we already ate lunch at the airport, we ate a snack and chose to go back to the area for dinner instead. We got this traditional Chinese sweet called Dragon’s Beard Candy (also called The King’s Dessert or 꿀타래 in Korean) for KRW 6,000.
Incheon China Town is pretty huge and is a very nice place to roam around, add to that the various food, drinks, and special things you can find. Within the area, there are also tourist sites such as: The Jjajjangmyun Museum, Korean-Chinese Cultural Center, Songwoldong Fairytale Village, Freedom Park, and many more.
We also passed by the Incheon Art Platform which showcased various interesting art displays on the street.
Our next stop is Wolmi Park which is at walking distance from Incheon China Town (takes around 10 minutes). Since it was about to rain, we took a bus instead: Bus #2 from the entrance of China Town which took around five minutes to the park.
Wolmi Park, redeveloped from a former military base, is a large park with sites such as a traditional garden, cultural street with structures that feature Korean War history, museum, and the Wolmi Observatory. There is also a monorail that visitors can ride to tour around and have a good view of the entire park and Wolmi Island.
WOLMI THEME PARK
Inside Wolmi Park, around five minutes walk from the entrance, lies the popular Wolmi Theme Park. I’m not a fan of amusement parks, I get scared very easily and don’t even mention horror houses because I would never willingly enter one. However, I’ve always wanted to visit this particular theme park as it has been featured in various variety shows such as Running Man, We got Married, Infinity Challenge, 1 Night 2 Days, and many more.
Entrance to the theme park is free but you’d have to pay a fee to ride the rides. Each ride costs KRW 5,000 and there is also a pass for all rides that cost KRW 14,000. However, do note that the rides are managed by different companies so the all-pass is not a guarantee that you can ride all rides in the park, it is just a pass for the rides from that company.
The first we rode was The Viking, which was very unexpected. I willingly rode this because back home, I didn’t get scared that much with this ride but I didn’t know it would go this high. It actually went as high as almost 180 degrees, I had my eyes closed, whole body shaking, and was on the verge of crying while shouting for my life. This ride made my hands tremble the whole afternoon haha.
We also rode this cute Octopus ride which was very friendly for a scaredy-cat like me. I really enjoyed this ride, it wasn’t scary but we screamed a lot because it was long and kept going up and down at random times.
Next ride we rode was Disco Pang Pang, a ride I really wanted to ride. It is the popular ride featured on the variety shows I mentioned earlier, and looked very fun. The DJ was really funny as well because of his comments and he really wanted us all to fall down to the point that I kept shouting ‘그만해요 ㅠㅠ (Please stop)’ to him lol. Aside from the bruises I got from holding on to the rail and the dizziness right after, I really enjoyed this ride and I’d recommend it to big group of friends.
My friend wanted a more adventurous ride so we went further up and challenged The Hurricane. As always, I had my eyes closed the whole time for this ride again. I was already expecting a whole round of 180 degree spins but I didn’t feel the heart pangs I was expecting to feel. After this ride, my friend suggested to try the ride that goes up and down (forgot the name lol) but after observing that ride I knew right away I could not handle it.
For five minutes it went up and down 23 times so I was already freaking out and throwing up with just the thought of it. Instead of this ride, I willingly offered to ride The Hurricane for the 2nd time around and this time without closing my eyes. I still did, however, but I was slightly comforted by the shouts of the guy beside me shouting ‘Help’ and his girlfriend who was just laughing at him.
CHINA TOWN: DINNER + COFFEE/DESSERT
After a very exhausting afternoon, we decided to go back to Incheon China Town for dinner. Since it was already raining and we didn’t have an umbrella on hand, we didn’t have a chance to look around much and just went to the restaurant we remembered from our stroll earlier.
We ordered the set that had two bowls of Jjajangmyun and one Tangsuyuk which cost KRW 15,000 in total. I’m not a fan of Jjajangmyun but I have to say that this has got to be one of the best ones I’ve tried so far in Korea especially given its cheap price. The Tangsuyuk was also very rich in flavor and was less floury and more meaty compared to the ones I’ve tried in Seoul.
After our dinner, we went to this cheesecake cafe which caught our eye because of its beautiful interior called 27 Cheesecake & Coffee. It was a good decision in the end because we needed to stay indoors until the rain stopped.
The cafe had five floors and each floor had different beautiful design and theme.
My friend and I shared a Lemon Cheesecake for KRW 8,000 which I found really good, however, the sour taste (perhaps because of the lemon) was too overwhelming. I also ordered a Cheese Latte for KRW 6,000 which I enjoyed very much until the last drop, the cheese was so distinct and matched so well with the coffee.
After the rain calmed down, we decided it was time to go back to the airport because my friend had to catch the last train to Seoul, too. We took the same bus route we took earlier and headed off back to Incheon International Airport.
AIRPORT: SPA ON AIR
After saying goodbye to my friend, I went to Spa On Air, a jjimjjilbang located at the basement floor of the airport and my hotel for the night. I was actually searching for a lounge to stay at but I opted to go to Spa On Air instead because it offered a sauna and hot tub which I was definitely looking for after a very exhausting day. I got a 12-hour pass for KRW 20,000 since it was already 9PM and my flight the next day was at 12PM so it was just enough time to get ready.
After paying, you’ll receive two small towels, a sauna outfit, an electronic wrist band which will be your access to your shoe locker and room locker, and a card which will be your key to enter the sauna or lounge area. I was very amazed with the electronic wrist band because the previous jjimjjilbangs I’ve been to usually gave key wrist brands.
Take note of the number in your wrist band as this will be your locker number. Leave your shoes in your shoe locker and enter the changing room. When you get in the changing room, don’t get too culture-shocked if you see naked women at the lockers because it is a must to remove all clothing before getting into the baths. I know this might be shocking as a foreigner (I was like that, too, when I first went to one) but this is a normal custom in jjimjjilbangs in Korea so no one would stare at you as you walk around naked.
Also, a good thing I liked with Spa On Air is that they have private shower stalls so it is less awkward as you wash up before going to the hot bath tub. Each shower stall also has two bottles of body wash and shampoo, unlike other jjimjjilbangs where you’d have to buy sachets separately.
I entered the hot tub after washing up. There were four in total and I had good timing because there was no other user aside from myself so I didn’t have to go through the awkward encounter of staring into the eyes of a stranger who is lying naked in front of me. After 10 or so minutes, I washed up again with a cold shower and went out to the changing room to get changed to my sauna clothes. In the changing room, there are body lotions, makeup cleanser, face toner & moisturizer, cotton buds, cotton, hair dryers, and hair brushes.
After getting changed, I went off to the lounge area to sleep. Don’t forget to bring your key wristband and card key. I was also expecting to have a cafeteria of some sort like other jjimjjilbangs because I was craving for some eggs and sik-hye (rice drink) but unfortunately they only had a vending machine. There are sleeping rooms segregated between men and women but they were already too full so I laid my mat at the general lounge area instead. Of course there was the occasional loud snores from other people but I had a good sleep nonetheless perhaps because of how tired I was that day and I got so refreshed from the hot tub.
The next morning, I didn’t want to miss another flight so I woke up early to get ready. I got my luggages from where I left it the previous day (make sure to not lose your receipt as you’d need this to retrieve your stuff later on), and checked in for my flight. Fortunately this time, everything was in order and I was able to successfully depart towards my home country.
I was so ready to leave Korea with so much emotional feelings from my four-month stay but I ended up spending an extra day in Korea. My missed flight was a waste of money but I got to spend more time with my friend and gained an experience I never could have experienced had this not have happened.
Have you ever had a similar experience? What do you think of Incheon and all the places I mentioned? If you have any questions about anything about staying in or visiting Korea, I’d be more than happy to help out. Let me know on the comments below!