Good Food, Breathtaking Sunsets at Islands Near InchonWolmido and Songdo are two well-known attractions of Inchon city which used to be popular for romantic dates. In recent years they have gone through a number of changes that have made them the center of leisure activities in the area. Here are some of the incitements of the islands.
Wolmi island was given its name because of its shape which is like the tail of a half-moon. The Chinese characters mean moon and tail respectively.
Despite the street performances by young people showing off their dances or unknown musicians singing and playing guitars, the island is generally quiet during the day. There is some noise from the amusement rides set up in the streets but apart from these slight disturbances, the island is a peaceful place to walk around to enjoy the views of the ocean.
It comes to life as the sun sets. The streets are illuminated with colorful lights and crowded with couples heading to their favorite cafes. There are over 20 cafes and restaurants on the island, many of which look like summer villas in Europe.
The exotic atmosphere and huge windows facing the sea attract people who want great views while they eat or drink. Some visitors time their meals around the sunset, and will forgo available seats to wait for a window seat.
According to Kim Yang-su, who works at a restaurant on the island, most of the guests to the restaurant are men who try to impress their girlfriends with the marvelous views. "At sunset, the view of the ocean from the restaurants is like a landscape painting," he said.
The busiest street on the island is the 770-meter by 20-meter "Street of Culture." It is full of improvised concerts, exhibitions and singing and dancing contests. During the weekend, it fills up with crowds of people performing, watching or strolling. Tourists can have their portrait drawn by one of the many artists or have their fortune told.
Visitors should also take a trip on an excursion boat that tours nearby islands while visiting Wolmi Island. It takes about an hour to cruise around Palmi island, Incheon International Airport and Jakyak island. The fare is 10,000 won ($8) for adults and 5,000 won for children.
Song Island was once known for its amusement park, but with over 300 restaurants, is now known as the best place for dining out around Incheon. Many kinds of cuisine, including Korean, Japanese, French, Italian and Chinese, are offered at the island's fashionable restaurants. Some of these are considered to be as good as restaurants in Seoul, and they are all located in an area across from Songdo beach.
Surrounding Songdo beach is a huge camping ground and an amusement park where you can take your family for a spring picnic. Although the amusement park may seem a bit outdated compared to those on the scale of Everland or Seoulland, it is still a popular spot for families with children.
Other interesting places to visit in Songdo are the Incheon Landing Memorial Hall, Incheon Municipal Museum and Mount Cheongryang.
The memorial hall was built to commemorate the landing of the United Nations army on the Incheon coast during the Korean War. There are about 800 exhibits on this historic landing in the memorial hall, including pictures and military equipment.
Not far from the memorial hall is the city museum, which opened in 1946. It has four exhibition halls including an outdoor area where you can appreciate over 4,000 works of art such as dolmen and stone axes from prehistoric times, paintings, calligraphic works and ceramics from the Choson dynasty era.
Cheongryang mountain offers a great view of downtown Songdo and the ocean.
For more information about the islands, contact the city's Web site at tour.metro.inchon.kr (English version available).
by Chung Young-jin