About a decade ago, Songdo was underwater. But a reclamation project in 2003 created a modern city, designed for a free economic zone modeled after Dubai, Shanghai and Singapore. Today, a canal bisects the city, running between ultra-modern skyscrapers and high-rise buildings.
Songdo's one-of-a-kind story offers a glimpse into what makes Incheon special. It makes up one part of a long story chronicled at the Incheon Metropolitan City Museum, which opened in 1946 as the nation's first public museum. Its collection dates from the prehistoric period.
Directly next to the museum is the Incheon Landing Operation Memorial Hall, built to commemorate the historic military operation from the Korean War. Its 825 artifacts, such as weapons and military uniforms, provide vivid details about the war.
Visitors can also enjoy outdoor activities at Songdo Central Park, which is a lake park created using seawater and offers an exotic view.
Paddleboats and water taxis offer exciting ways to look around Songdo. Taxi service operates every hour between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. except for Monday. A 25-minute ride costs W6,000 or W3,000 for children (US$1=W1,009). Canoes and water bikes are available at the boathouse for the more adventurous soul.
Visitors cannot miss the shopping mall at Canal Walk, where European-style buildings stand according to the themes of spring, summer, fall and winter along the central waterway. Under the theme of the seasons, the mall features plenty of items and shopping facilities.
Songdo is especially well-known for its freshly caught seafood and blue crab stew. When the season comes, people pack more than 20 restaurants that line a single street. People come all the way from Seoul or elsewhere to enjoy the food.
Lastly, the sunset over the West Sea is the perfect way to end a day's activities in Songdo. At dusk, visitors can make their way to the Incheon Bridge Observatory, where they can gaze at the bridge and nearby skyscrapers. When the sun starts to dip, it bathes everything in a magical glow.