Wondering and not sure where to go in Incheon? Have you heard about Chinatown located in Incheon? We found a place that has a little bit of everything, including authentic food, local history, and splendid Chinese architecture. Well, if you are a fan of murals and Chinese foods, here is your favourite place
Situated approximately 30 Kilometres west of Seoul, the Chinatown own its colourful aesthetic and numerous attractions. It is not in Seoul, it’s in another city of South Korea, Incheon. You just need to hop on the subway line one (blue) and ride to the very end, until you reach Incheon Subway station. You can spend a day not only wonder in Chinatown, but also enjoy the free-time with the sea-view and enjoy better seafoods.
A bit of History
As a matter of fact, Incheon’s Chinatown was established around the time of the opening of Incheon Port in 1883. It is when Chinese immigrants made their way to the area in search of work. Over the years, the district fell into a state of urban decay, with many of its residents living in poverty. Until it was recently redeveloped and polished to attract tourists.
Today, most of the residents here in Chinatown you will find are second- and third-generation Chinese. While the district was home to a variety of stores that traded goods imported from China in the past, currently most of the Chinese businesses in the area are restaurants. While the traditional culture of the first generation may have been somewhat lost, the area still retains many of the flavours of China.
Their history stems back centuries. Hangeul (한글) is now Korea’s official language. But, before Sejong the Great, Koreans used Chinese symbols-Hanja- as a way to communicate. This means you will find a bunch of these symbols a lot when you wander here. And it will excite you to know the meaning of each of it.
Where to start?
As soon as you walk out from the Incheon Station, you will find a huge Chinese written gate with gold and red architecture. (refer picture) that obviously will make sure you are in the right place. Back in the late nineteenth century, Chinese migrants stood at this gate offering prayers and chants to ward off invading ghosts and spirits. Although you won’t find anyone chanting now, it’s fun to imagine people offering rituals when you stand next to the imposing structure.
Just to make you noted, Chinese migrants back then used to build a small shrine. This to inherit the traditional culture of their homeland. Therefore, you will find a lot of these while you are walking around this area. It was built for the people of Chinatown, with hopes of bringing prosperity and luck to the hundreds of Chinese already living in Incheon. The shrine has a yellow exterior and a large colourful mural that decorates very uniquely and eye-popping.
Besides the attractive building and shrine architecture, heads up for a little alleyway. The famous Samgukji Mural Street is a most visited attraction in Chinatown. The 150-meter long road boasts a fantastic selection of colourful murals that tell the fictional tales of the: Three `Kingdoms. Even though it is written in Korean and Chinese, do not let that stop you from being excited to admire the beauty of the murals. Or even better, you can always find about the information of the mural on the internet along the way.
However, if you want to find some peace and quiet or some shade to escape the burning sun, I think you should check out Freedom Park. You can walk up to the top of the park and come across a statue of General McArthur. It was built in 1957 to commemorate McArthur’s leadership during Incheon Amphibious Landing Operation. Of course, you can take the opportunity to unwind and breath fresh air!
Where to eat?
Generally, you can find a lot of Chinese restaurants with various choice of Chinese foods here. Locals say there is a restaurant the was the first to make the famous jjajangmyeon but I did not manage to experience it, yet. Nevertheless, it is the Chinatown’s most famous restaurant and people are enjoying their jjajangmyeon since 1908. Legendary!
Besides that, there a lot of dumpling restaurant too that is famous for its mouth-watering dumplings. Uniquely, they are baked in Chinese pottery. With various fillet of meat or sweet potatoes, or red beans. You can easily see people queuing a long way just to get them dumplings. I bet it is worth it!
If you want to enjoy more of the seafoods (since Incheon is famous for its beach), you can easily hop on blue bus with number 47 from outside of the Incheon Subway station. This bus will bring you to Wolmido Beach. Here, you will enjoy most of your time wandering by the seaside and enjoy your time with your partner or family. Besides, there are plenty of restaurants serve seafoods that you can try. It will always be worth it with the amazing view.
Just to add about our trip to Wolmido the other day. We had a set of seafood that includes oysters, scallops, sea snails, and bunch of prawns. Of course it was never disappointed and even cheap compared to what we had in Seoul.
Read more: Wolmido Island
I hope you will find this post interesting and give you a best vision on planning a trip here in Incheon. It will going to be fun here!