The most populous province in South Korea, "Gyeonggi" means "near the capital", an apt description of this province wrapped around Seoul. However, it is not without its natural attractions. Ironically the DMZ (the northern border), which is the most heavily armed area in the world, has become an ecological paradise. Gyeonggi province, which is split in two by the majestic Hangang river, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It contains a significant number of ancient relics, and due to its proximity to Seoul it’s also home to several important historical sites dating from the Joseon era.
Incheon International is Korea’s largest airport and is served by over 70 airlines. It’s known as the gateway to Korea. Gimpo International Airport in Gimpo is a smaller airport with some international flights as well.
The Seoul subway system links to some of Gyeonggi’s towns, such as Incheon and Suwon, as well as areas like Goyang, Bundang, and Namyangju. The Gyeongchun mainland line runs from Seoul to eastern destinations such as Cheongpyeong and Gapyeong and is known as one of the country’s most scenic rail routes. The Jungang line runs southeast from Seoul and stops at Yangpyeong station. Should the border re-open then the Donghae Bukbu line will once again connect Gyeonggi with North Korea.
Red commuter buses run from the center of Seoul out to the suburbs. Other destinations can be reached by a large number of express buses that mainly run from Dong Seoul and Nambu bus terminals. From Incheon International Airport, airport limousine buses also run to many destinations in Gyeonggi.
History fans should be sure to check out Suwon’s UNESCO designated Hwaseong fortress and the nearby Korean Folk Village for a taste of Joseon dynasty life. The wetlands of Sihwaho Lake offer a peaceful retreat from the region’s urban sprawl, as do the vast mud flats on the west coast. For those looking for something more modern, the excellent Nam June Paik Art Center in Yongin introduces the founder of video art.
For hundreds of years Icheon has been one of the centers of the world’s pottery industry, and travelers here can take part in a ceramic making program. For thrill-seekers Everland Theme Park in Yongin has the world’s steepest wooden roller coaster and during wintertime there are several ski resorts open in Gyeonggi. Unwind at some of the region’s hot spring resorts, where the water is highly regarded for its medicinal properties.