Songdo Smart City

Incheon, South Korea (Songdo)

 

Incheon encompasses one of the busiest airports in the world and the Songdo district, which is one of the most futuristic urban centers of the moment.

In March of 2017, I prepared the backpack again and left Guarulhos on a flight by AirChina, purchased in a promotion several months in advance for 2,175 reais (roundtrip with taxes).

The company provides reasonably good service in relation to food and entertainment. Even the (popular?) Yanjing rice beer was served, although the taste is not the best.

Lata de cerveja de arroz chinesa Yanjing

Before arriving in Incheon (Seoul), the endless flights had connections in Madrid and also in Beijing, where the immigration took a long time. I watched 2 nights pass inside the plane due to the sun going in the opposite direction.

Finally, I landed at Incheon Airport, the largest in the country. Immigration in South Korea was easy, as Brazilians (and most of Europe and Americas) do not need a visa. So after that, I took some cash at an ATM and went straight to the bus stop at the terminal, where I boarded the bus 303, paying 1,650 won (1.3 euros) to go to Songdo. The path is through the Incheon Bridge, a 21.4-km bend bridge!

Incheon Bridge

Songdo

Songdo is a futuristic place, developed to be a smart city, through a network of sensors that allow to manage every aspect of the urban part. Officially called Songdo International Business District, the world’s largest private (but open-access) enterprise is not yet complete. However, it already has very sophisticated systems, such as the waste one, which is channeled underground and recycled, burned or buried automatically, as well as traffic control, the distinction between clean and non-potable water, and much more regarding energy efficiency and sustainability.

Families gather at the weekends, especially around Central Park which sits on an artificial, clean and beautiful canal, full of attractions.

Central Park de Songdo em Incheon

Apart from this part and the main avenues, the rest was somewhat empty, despite the modern skyscrapers that rise on the flat artificial island.

Songdo Smart City

I stopped for lunch at Lotte Mart, a Korean hypermarket chain, where I ate the vegetarian version of bibimbap, a mix of vegetables, rice and egg, for 6,000 won. To be honest, the taste was just so so, especially since I clogged it with pepper sauce thinking it was ketchup or tomato. Other unrecognizable Korean and Japanese foods were available for similar prices.

Incheon International Airport

It was already cold at sunset when I left the shop, so I went back to Incheon International Airport, one of the busiest in the world. Later, I boarded the AirAsia airplane to Cebu, Philippines. The flight cost 132,000 won (103 euros), with taxes and meals.

At the time I did not know, but Incheon airport offers many free tours around Incheon and Seoul to those who make connections of up to 24 h between different countries. More information and reservations can be made on the Incheon International Airport website. Another place that can easily be visited on your own by taking an airport subway line is Masian beach, a tidal plain in front of Yongyu station.

My trip then continued through several countries, until almost a month and a half later, when I returned with the airline Peach from Okinawa (Japan) to Incheon for 6,420 yen (47.4 euros). At that time the tension with North Korea was at its peak, so I could only pray not to get a missile over my head.

All right with the flight and immigration, then I crossed the very clean and modern terminal – there is even a Maglev line!

Maglev do Incheon International Airport na Coreia do Sul

I boarded the stopper train to the Digital Media Center station in Seoul. The combined journey with another subway was 4250 won. There was an express train for 8,000 won, but besides stopping after my station, it was obviously a lot more expensive.

Anyway, three days after getting to know the modern Seoul, it was time to go home, by the same way is I first came to.

Map of Incheon points of interest

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