On Sunday, June 7th, Nabi and I went along with another amazing friend of mine (who has been a huge help and like a big brother to me) to a couple of fun spots in Incheon! Jin Haeng also brought along his fur-sister, Mango! We went to Wolmi Island Theme Park and Incheon’s Chinatown. ***Language note! In Korean, Wolmi Island is “Wolmi-do”. The suffix “-do” [-doh] means island!
Incheon is another city located about an hour west of the heart of Seoul. This city is most well-known for being the location of Korea’s biggest international airport, Incheon Airport (and if you read our previous posts, it’s where we landed in May). Aside from being at Incheon Airport a handful of times, I had never gotten the chance to explore the area outside until Sunday. We drove first to Wolmi Island where there is a theme park which, being a Jersey Girl, kinda reminded me a bit of the boardwalks at the Jersey shores of Seaside Heights and Wildwood Crest. This is probably what made this trip even more refreshing for me since it made me feel a bit more at home driving to the shore for the day. As soon as we stepped out of the car with Nabi and my friend’s adorable, bite-sized Pomeranian, Mango, the ocean breeze and fragrance hit and we let out a collective sigh of happiness. My friend is also a fan of the ocean. Ah~ just smell that salty, fresh air.
Although house pet culture is growing and evolving exponentially, it is still a new concept here. Unfortunately, you still need to do a bit of digging as a pet parent here (no pun intended) to find places where dogs are permitted to enter. (other than dog parks, cafes, and pet stores). They are definitely a bunch here- they just aren’t advertised very much it seems. At Wolmi Island Theme Park, my friend had looked up a restaurant that would allow Mango and Nabi to enter. Thanks to my friend, we ate a very delicious and very refreshing seafood stew. We sat at a table at the front of the restaurant so it was as if we were still outside. Take a look at the photos below.
In traditional Korean culture, like with many other countries, dogs were typically used to serve as guard dogs or to be served in a stew delicacy believed in Eastern medicine to hold health benefits, especially for men. These two traditional uses for dogs are quickly dying out with younger generations of Koreans on average believing that they are horrendous and inhumane. There are now a plethora of animal shelters and rescue organizations working to shut down and officially put an end to these practices; more specifically, the practices of dog meat farms. Thus, these days, these two traditional uses for dogs are not very common in the major cities here and can really only be seen out in very rural areas of South Korea; rural towns in South Korea are also where the majority of Korea’s elderly populations live. So in the cities, there are over-the-top fancy puppy boutiques with high-end products and apparel for your pooch, and then you have the opposite feeling in more rural areas. Also, so far, I have had a mix of people either shy away from Nabi when we’re walking down a street or I have also had multiple people of various ages walk right up to Nabi smiling while saying hello to her and reaching out their hands. I think right now It’s a mix of polar opposites really, but I think it is all moving in a positive direction. Hope you enjoyed that little culture/history lesson, now let’s get back to our main feature! 🙂
After lunch, we explored the rest of the theme park. In the next area, there was a good amount of rides and games to play too and all packed into a handful of city blocks! It definitely had more of a carnival feel. One of the popular rides you’ll see below. It is quite amusing just to watch! There is even a DJ who controls the ride and acts as a sort of comedian cracking jokes and using the riders as victims of his friendly jests and banters making every laugh (riders included!).
After checking out the ride and games area, we went for a stroll on the Wolmido Lighthouse Road. This may have been my favorite area other than the little pockets along the main shopping area where you could go down to water level. After walking back from the lighthouse at the end of the Wolmido Light house road, we followed some live oldies music back to the parking lot and I made us stop and listen for awhile. I am a big fan of oldies music pretty much no matter what country it is coming from, hehe in fact, I am listening to some Frank Sinatra as I type this post! 🙂
The four of us got back in the car and drove over to another tourist attraction of Incheon. Chinatown. Also at Chinatown is “Songwol-dong Folktale Village”.
Especially after being inside for 14 days on mandatory quarantine, a day trip to the seashore was definitely a refreshing experience. I’m so thankful to Jin Haeng (and little Mango too!) for choosing to show us this place! On Tuesday, Nabi and I took a morning stroll at another nearby park and on Wednesday (today!) we played at Bong Brother’s Dog Cafe! Stayed tuned for posts on both of these places~! (Check out Nabi’s corner for the Bong Brother’s Cafe post! She’ll be telling you all about that!)