A small, narrow-gauge train used to connect Suwon south of Seoul to the western port city of Incheon from 1937 to 1995. The train was originally built to transport salt from Incheon to Japan, and women selling salted seafood were the main customers along with laborers who toiled on the salt flats. Seventeen years since its final journey, the rickety cars have been revived with electric power for tourists to enjoy.
The new train runs from Songdo to Oido in Incheon via Sorae Port, where visitors can take a journey back in time at the Sorae History Center.
The center appears on the way to the pier. Opened in June, it contains an authentic replica of the waiting room at the old Sorae Station and a narrow-gauge train. A sign reads "W25" for a ticket to Incheon harbor and "W50" to Suwon (US$1=W1,087).
There are also exhibits showing the mud flats and salt farms of the region and an old fish market.
"You can get a taste of what life was like back then," said Kim Choon-shik at the center. "Children can learn about history, while older people can just reminisce."
Another 50 m past the history center is the fish market, an ideal place to get a sense of life in Korea. If you're not sure how to go, just follow the crowd since it's the area's most popular destination.
Next to the fish market is Sorae Rail Bridge, a clear sign of the changing times. Narrow-gauge trains used to clatter across the structure years ago, but now it's a pedestrian walkway, though the old tracks are still largely intact. A new railway bridge now towers over it.
Though it's been 17 years since the operation of the classic trains stopped, Sorae Port still boasts the ambiance brought by them –- and some new attractions as well.