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New Songdo City

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New Songdo City (송도신도시, 松島新都市, [1]) is an international built business city in Incheon, South Korea. As of 2014 it is nearly complete, though construction is continuing.


Central Park, Songdo

New Songdo City is an international business city located 40 miles southwest of Seoul and is being developed on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land along the waterfront of Incheon. It is designated as a Free Economic Zone with benefits such as international schools and universities, hospitals, golf courses, and more. The center of the city is also referred to as the Songdo International Business District, Songdo IBD. The city imitates a North American style infrastructure and has untypically wide roads and large city blocks by Korean standards. Like most Korean cities, residential housing is mostly apartment towers. While Songdo "opened" in 2009, and presently is basically complete, as of 2014 its population is still low as people continue to trickle in.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Songdo is connected to Incheon International Airport by a 13.3 mile (21 km) long highway bridge (20 minutes drive). Express limousine buses [2] travel to hotels in central Songdo in about 30 minutes and cost 7,000 won (about US$7). Public airport buses are about 2,100 won but don't allow large luggages to be carried on board. Taxis are also plentiful at the airport.

By train[edit]

Incheon Subway Line 1 runs through Songdo and connects with the Suin Line (Ansan, Suwon in 2016) and with lines to Seoul branching at Bupyeong Station. Travel time is about 70-80 minutes to Seoul. Line 1 also connects to the AREK [3] airport train at Gyeyang Station, for a slightly quicker route into Seoul.

A high-speed train from Songdo to Seoul has been proposed for completion in 2016/2018 [4]. Plans have been delayed at least until 2023. [5]

By bus[edit]

City buses also travel from Songdo to Incheon and Gimpo Airport, Seoul, and other destinations, though they tend to be slower than the subway.

Get around[edit]

Taxis are easily available now that population has grown. The central IBD zone has several bicycle and walking trails. Be careful of food delivery bikers, they tend not to stop when the lights are red.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Central Park compromises over 10% of the total acreage and has a seawater canal powered by wind turbines. Water taxis can take you on a cruise or transport you to the Government Center located at one end of the park.
  • New Songdo National Ecotarium located in the Central Park is to be one of the most modern and innovative in the world.
  • Songdo International Museum is located in Central Park and is designed to establish, preserve, and document a permanent art collection.
  • Incheon Bridge Observatory, on the southwest tip of Central Park, offers a view of the new bridge, though the distance of the bridge makes visibility poor on hazy days.

Do[edit][add listing]

Sightseeing at the new skyscrapers and the downtown district is one attraction, and shopping malls, parks, and churches are beginning to fill in the city and give it a less Matrix-like feel of emptiness.

Eat & Drink[edit]

Being a new city it can be difficult to find restaurants and bars in Songdo. Side streets have the typical chicken-and-beer pubs and bakeries. Downtown is one of the main areas for food and drink. Songdo Downtown is a small area of the city located in the blocks surrounding the Coast Guard Building (해양경찰청). Here is a list of several prominent places for meals and entertainment:

  • Bornga (본가), Downtown. a Korean BBQ restaurant known for its beef BBQ and large platters of vegetables. They also serve the traditional Pork BBQ known as Samgyupsal. Try also the restaurant's other specialty, the Cha-Dol Jigae, a spicy fermented bean stew.
  • The Three Fish (나무물고기), Downtown, a newly-opened western-style bar/cafe with many cocktails, beers and house wine. They also serve nice bar food such as chili nachos, fries, or chicken.

The new Canal Walk area [6], near Central Park and its subway stop, has fountains, shopping, and outdoor cafes for eating and sightseeing. The canal area is substantial with four lengths (each assigned to a season) and has a good variety of Korean, Thai/Vietnamese, and Western restaurants.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

The Central Park area has a Sheraton and a few upscale Korean hotels. Low-cost stays are more likely to be found north in Incheon or in the small district near Incheon Airport, though as Songdo develops more choices will probably follow.

Stay safe[edit]

As with most of Korea, Songdo is safe, and with the normal commonsense precautions danger is minimal. Language can be an obstacle, but Songdo residents tend to be more affluent and educated and will usually speak a little English. Korean drivers are aggressive and can sometimes run lights; care should be taken by bicyclists and pedestrians at crosswalks.

Get out[edit]

Seoul is of course the most popular destination, but Songdo is also near Suwon and Daecheon Beach-Boryeong with its yearly mud festival. The airport island also has some enjoyable beaches. Near Incheon Station there is a Chinatown district.

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