1 Day in Incheon – What to do in Songdo Korea
Before arriving in Changwon, South Korea (where I will be living for the next year) I spent some time in Seoul. But before I even got to Seoul, I took a sort of pit-stop in Songdo. Originally my plan was to stay in the airport spa, the hour drive to Seoul didn’t sound appealing after a 16 hour flight. But certain circumstances precluded me from doing so and I went for plan B – to stay in Incheon. Specifically Songdo. And really, what a weird little place. This is what to do in Songdo Korea!
Now, maybe you searched “what to do in Songdo Korea” and came up with 1-2 posts from well over 4 years ago. Me too. Each person describe the oddity of the city, owing, seemingly, to a lack of people. I did not find it so empty as they did, it certainly seems to have become more populated, but it still feels strange. The entire city is a planned city. You would think Korea would have given up on those after the abject failure to make Sejong the new capital, but apparently they gave it another go. Songdo is meant to be a “green” environmentally friendly city. And they do seem to have acheived this….while being built on top of endangered marshland. Cool.
But Songdo is weird. While it’s not nearly as empty as previous posters have said, it does feel…sparse. The population of a small village seems to inhabit a giant city. A city that looks so new and clean it feels like alians simply dropped it en mass onto the earth. Buildings coordinate in style, rivers flow in orderly, beautiful paths. I felt like I was in a sci-fi novel. But I’ve also go to say, it felt like the baby boom was happening in Songdo. Everywhere else I’ve been in Korea, I rarely see more than one or two children in a day (other than school, obviously). But in Songdo there were quite a few young children running about in the evening.
But let’s get back into what to do here.
This is the area that I stayed in. And what a cool area! It is more precisely known as the NC Cube Canal Walk. Something I am noticing in Korea is that they are expanding their appreciation for art into the everyday sphere. The same holds true of Seoul, Busan, Nami, and to some extent Changwon. Just walk down your average street and see painted walls, sculptures, and intriguing architectural features. Art Center in Songdo exemplifies all of that. This seems to be a great area to walk around, shop, and snack in. Water fountains and lights, and still never crushed with people.
Although odd, the extent of the green spaces in Songdo is wonderful and beautiful. It’s bizarre because you somehow feel distanced from the city even though you are inside it. Unlike Central Park in NYC which feels like a forest shrouding you from the outside, the foliage doesn’t block the city of Songdo. But these towering buildings feel…far away, hazy. If you want to experience this from up above, the G Tower has an observatory. I didn’t do this personally, but it is an option 🙂
The cafe scene in Songdo is much the same as anywhere else in Korea. If you don’t like coffee, your drinking options will be relegated to the same 5 medicinal-y teas. Cafe Arte was a very pretty, cozy, and so I enjoyed that. Tom n Toms is a chain in Korea but that means they will have slightly more options and be open before 10 in the morning. I picked up a pretty delicious strawberry smoothie and a pretzel they opted to chop into tiny bite sized pieces for me.
Things I Didn’t Do
As I was only in Songdo for around 12 hours I didn’t have the chance to do everything. If I had the money (and a couple friends to split the bill even then) I would have stayed in the Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Incheon. It is super gorgeous and well located. Even just walking by the place was a treat! It utilizes traditional Korean architecture. For Korean food, I probably would have gone to Gyodongjeonsunseng for some Korean pancakes. But Kodari Naengmyeon gets great reviews as well, I’m just not a cold noodle kind of person. For something not Korean (when you are living here you tend to want something new occasionally) Swagat has seemingly excellent Indian cuisine.
And I would have liked to go to the Compact Smart City museum, because the look at Songdo from a past/present/future point of view sounds interesting and different. A cool way to learn about the city you are staying in! Honestly, I think most of the enjoyment of Songdo is walking around. If I had the time I would have gone to another park, Michuhol, which has a mesh of traditional architecture with the modern and futuristic Songdo.
But that’s all for Songdo from me! I’ll have a post on my 1 day whirlwind in Busan soon! In the meantime, check out my other posts 🙂