Tag Archives: weekend tips seoul

Secret Incheon… Part 2 – Once upon a time in Fairytale village

This is the second of a 2-part series covering little know secrets about Incheon. If you like this, check out its companion piece: Part 1 – Chasing Dragons in Chinatown

Impressive transformation of an old residential neighbourhood, Songwol-dong Fairytale Village provides a colorful collection of the best fairy tales and comics characters. Great fun with younger kids!

Incheon Songwol-dong Fairytale Village, 인천 송월동 동화마을

Incheon Songwol-dong Fairytale Village occupies a few blocks west of Incheon Chinatown. It is only a short walking distance away and can be easily reached through Jayu park or starting directly from Incheon Station. The Songwol-dong village community approved a striking renovation project to revive the dilapidated district and run-down old houses. This is still a work in progress with some back alleys under development yet the result is already stunning.

There is a rainbow arch-shaped gate with a colourful “송월동 동화마을” (Songwol-dong Fairytale Village) sign marking the entrance to the village. You may navigate along the main street and several back alleys in any order you wish. There are several themes developed by the community when remodelling houses, which makes it fun to explore in each block. You’ll come across Disney-inspired characters, all-time classics like Hansel & Gretel, Red Riding Hood or the Wizard of Oz, traditional Korean stories, animals murals and more.

There is no major landmark there but we definitely had a blast walking around the small streets discovering all the cartoon characters and taking pictures. The tour took us about an hour and is a great addition (especially with young kids) to the more cultural Chinatown visit. You can also find a few coffee shops to take a rest or enjoy the local souvenirs stores.

We love the fact that this is a real village, with real-life residents still using the premises. Buildings were carefully repainted, adding cartoonesque artefacts and colourful murals. This is a fantastic redevelopment project and we wish to see many more similar endeavours to revive local neighbourhoods instead of the usual demolition-high-rise-construction options we see way too often in big cities.

How to get there:
[Subway] Incheon Station (Seoul Subway Line 1).

Admission: Free

Address: Songwol-dong 3(sam)-ga, Jung-gu, Incheon / 인천광역시 중구 송월동3가
For localisation, see our Seoul Map for Kids and Families

Incheon Songwol-dong Fairytale Village, 인천 송월동 동화마을

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Cheongpyeong Temple (청평사) by boat across the Soyang Dam Reservoir (소양강댐)

Arguably one of the most impressive day trip from Seoul, Cheongpyeong Temple and the Soyang Dam area combine beautiful vistas, boat trip, gentle hiking, magnificent mountain panorama, waterfall and the delicious Chuncheon spicy speciality: Dakgalbi.

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Known as Korea’s Lake Country, Chuncheon region is a wonderful getaway from busy Seoul. Whithin 2 hours drive (or also reachable by public transportation), you will first reach the Soyang dam parking area about 15 km away from Chuncheon center. From there, walk uphill for a few hundred meters, until reaching the Dam itself. Be warned: this is the largest rock-filled dam in the whole Asia ! Absolutely impressive and worth the many pictures you will want to take from above!

After the dam, head towards the Ferry pier and hop on a boat for Cheongpyeong Temple (청평사). The short ride itself is both fun and beautiful. The trip will take you to one of the Soyang Reservoir branches, which reminded us of a Scandinavian fjord.

Once you arrive on the other side of the reservoir, walk across the restaurants-filled alley and continue uphill towards the temple. The walk is medium level with scenic views such as the beautiful Guseong Waterfall, the Yeongji pond and other mountainous panoramas.

Cheongpyeong Temple itself was first built in 973 AD; it has been damaged several times over the centuries but luckily magnificently restored in recent years. We enjoyed a lot the whole experience: the harmonious layout of the temple buildings, the streams and fountains, the autumn-colored forests and the rocky cliffs of the mountain!

In the Chuncheon Region, you may also check our other posts: Nami Island, Jaraseom Island, Jade Garden and Elysian Ski Resort.

Admission Fee:

Ferry (Soyang Dam → Cheongpyeongsa Temple dock)
Round-trip: Adults: 6,000 won / Children: 4,000 won

Temple: Adults: 2,000 won / Youths: 1,200 won / Children: 800 won

How to get there:

Across from Chuncheon Station, take Bus 11 or 12 to Soyang Dam (소양강댐).
From Soyang Dam Dock, take a ferry to Cheongpyeongsa Temple (청평사).
Cheongpyeongsa Temple (청평사) is a 30~60min walk from the dock.

For localization, go to Seoul Map for Kids & Families.