This is the first of a 2-part series covering little know secrets about Incheon. If you like this, check out its companion piece: Part 2 – Once upon a time in Fairytale village
The only official Chinese-influenced neighbourhood in current South Korea, Incheon Chinatown offers a great exotic adventure visiting either from Incheon International Airport or from Seoul. Dragons, red-and-gold temples and Chinese food to make you feel like Chinese in Chinatown!
If you have lived in Korea for a while, you may have heard that Incheon city – on the mainland, not the island where the Incheon airport is located – boasts a real Chinatown district! A unique feature in a country where relationship to China has often been lukewarm at best.
Development of Incheon Chinatown stems from the late 19th century, in a period of trade development which brought in a number of immigrants in the port’s vicinity. With the exodus of most Chinese from Korea during the early 20th century, the district lost gradually its authenticity until a successful revival plan was completed in 2006.
Today, the neighbourhood boasts a great number of Chinese restaurants and shops, temples, dragon-ornamented stairways and massive Chinese gates. You will also find multiple cultural venues such as the Korean-Chinese Cultural Center or the Incheon Art Platform. We recommend to check the great Korea blog’s post Incheon’s Famous Chinatown for a comprehensive review of options.
Visiting with young kids, our tour at Incheon’s Chinatown was a fun adventure. We strolled around the alleys and streets with antique shops and traditional Chinese houses painted in gold and red colors. There are countless photo opportunities where you would have a hard time recognising you are still in South Korea. We entertained children with a dragons-spotting challenge, which kept them running and looking around for all sighting of the mythical creatures! They liked as well the impressive 150m-long Three Kingdoms Mural Street, which connects to nearby Jayu park.
Feeling hungry after the walk? Make sure to taste the local varieties of mandu (dumpling), gonggalbbang (large crispy bread) and jjajangmyeon (noodles in black bean sauce). There are dozens of great restaurants to choose from… just follow your intuition or where the locals go which usually is a solid guarantee for yummy and fresh food.
How to get there:
Incheon Station (Seoul Subway Line 1).
Incheon China Town is located within 3-minutes’ walking distance of the station.
For localisation, see our Seoul Map for Kids and Families