Trip To Incheon With Hana Tour
Incheon is very close to Seoul, but it has many under-explored tourist attractions. Last week, we had the opportunity to take a private tour to Incheon and Ganghwa Island with the Hana Tour.
We enjoyed a day packed with fun, exciting, historical, and cultural activities. Since it was a cold day having a van dedicated to us was very convenient. At the end of the day we were exhausted and sleepy but thanks to our lovely tour guide, we arrived in Seoul safely in time for dinner.
Currently, because of the ongoing health crisis, private tours are becoming more popular. We were glad we could take a trip while taking measures to stay safe!
What is Hana Tour?
Hana Tour is a Korean Inbound tourism agency that provides different travel packages and convenient services. They are also big supporters of promoting interesting South Korean travel destinations and helping visitors discover Korea.
Incheon & Ganghwa-do One-Day Tour Itinerary
On our one-day trip, we visited Incheon and Ganghwa Island. Here’s a brief overlook of our day:
- Picked up at 9:00 near the Insadong area.
- Had a scenic Luge ride in Ganghwa Island.
- Enjoyed a footbath fortified with Ganghwa specialty mugwort.
- Had Korean style lunch.
- Visited the historical Incheon Open Port area.
- Experienced Hanji crafting.
- Dropped off near the Insadong area at 18:30.
Ganghwa Island is a scenic island located in the Hangang estuary. The island is considered a strategically important one as it has been historically used to control the access to the Han river and currently is close to the North Korean border.
For those of you who love history, the island is also home to Ganghwa Dolmen which are registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
1. Ganghwa Luge & Ganghwa Seaside Resort
We kicked the day off with the most exciting activity, a luge ride. Ganghwa Seaside resort is a recreational park that has the largest luge course in Asia.
Upon arriving, we took a Gondola ride up the mountain. We were there on a cloudy day but we could not suppress our amazement at the beauty of the scenery; the mist and the clouds added a certain allure to the view of the sea.
Here you can begin the luge ride, but we decided to visit their revolving observatory first. The observatory has a cafe where we had sandwiches and coffee while sitting down and gazing upon the landscape.
We then headed out to begin our luge ride. The luge ride has two courses (the Ocean Course and the Valley Course) and you can choose whichever suits you best. We took the steeper route and really enjoyed the ride!
2. Ganghwa Mugwort Foot bath
Ganghwa Island is famous for its mugwort, locally referred to as the lion-foot mugwort. Mugwort has a special place in Korean culture and is widely used in food, health products, skincare, etc.
We headed to Ganghwa Mugwort Center for a mugwort footbath. Since it was a cold day, we were eagerly looking forward to it. I didn’t think much of it at first, but when I was putting on my shoes after the experience was done my feet felt very pleasant and fresh.
Housing the biggest airport in Korea, Incheon is known to most visitors. But I think not many have explored the city well.
Incheon is a historically significant city, especially after the Incheon port was opened in 1883. The port was first opened to help the exchange and trade with the western world and the opening of the Incheon Port marks the start of Korea’s modern history.
1. Incheon Open Port Area
The Incheon Open Port area is a historically significant area sitting next to Incheon Chinatown. The Open Port is brimming with museums, cultural facilities, and cultural activities.
There are many interesting buildings here such as the Daebul Hotel which is the recreation of the first western-style hotel in Korea. From the Daebul Hotel, you can also head into the Jung-gu Life Center where you can learn about the way of life in Jung-gu (a district in Incheon) around the 1960s and 1970s.
You should also take a look at the Incheon Open Port Modern Architecture Museum which was formerly a branch of Japan’s 18th Bank as well as the Incheon Open Port Museum which was formerly the Incheon Branch of First Bank of Japan.
Thanks to the proximity of the area to Chinatown we were able to take a quick detour and visit a Chinese bakery to buy some delicious moon bread.
2. Hanji Experience
It was time for the final stop in our one day tour which ended with a cultural experience. You probably have heard of Hanji, Korean traditional paper. Nowadays it is widely used in arts and crafts.
We stopped by a Hanji cafe where you can sit down and make Hanji crafts. It’s a colorful place, decorated with Hanji mirrors, lights, trays, etc. We used Hanji to make a “magic wallet”. It’s a type of wallet that can be flipped about in the same direction twice.
Looking for a pretty Korean souvenir? They also sell beautifully designed pre-made Hanji crafts.
Hana Tour organized a van driven by our tour guide for the trip. We were picked up at 9 AM in Insadong. I was traveling with 3 of my friends and so having enough space in the van made the trip more comfortable. In addition, I feel much safer traveling in a smaller group since the pandemic started.
Our tour guide was a kind and funny man who took the utmost precautions for our safety during the trip. He guided us through Incheon and Ganghwa Island and explained interesting facts about the sites we visited.
We were also provided lunch, oyster bibimbap with fresh vegetables, which came with many different side dishes.
At the end of the day, our tour guide drove us back to Seoul and dropped us off at the starting point.
Hana Tour also runs other tours to Incheon which will take you to the BMW Advanced Driving Center, PARADISE City, Gyeongwonjae Hanok Village, Songdo Central Park and G-Tower Observatory. You can find more info about this trip here.