On my first full day in Korea, I stayed in a part of Incheon called Cheong-na. When I first placed the reservation for my Airbnb, I clearly did not know what I was signing up for.
It was a rainy morning. I woke up in a bedroom that wasn’t mine, and remembered quickly that I was in a different country, a different continent now. Rather than feeling excited, I was actually dreading my day ahead a little bit. Since the moment I got on the plane, I felt pressured to have the literal “best time of my life” on this vacation. However, my day was slow to start.
The streets of Cheong-na were empty. With brand-new streets all lined with giant condominium complexes, I only saw a handful of people when I went out for a walk. The streets were so quiet and car-less that it felt weird to wait for the passenger signal to turn green. The visuals I was getting were so different from what I pictured a Korean city to be. Incheon is by no means a small city or anywhere in the countryside. I thought it would be bustling, but it only left me puzzled and scared.
Although my plan was to stay in Incheon and pick up my friend at the airport in the afternoon, I decided to leave for Seoul early to check-in at our place in Hongdae. The eerie-ness of Cheong-na still stays with me. I walked on the streets and breathed in the fresh air after the morning showers. I felt refreshed taking a walk in the quiet neighbourhoods, but I did not want to stay.
I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I was not alone.
Tips for booking a place in Incheon:
Incheon is not a small city. There are many districts and also islands that fall under Incheon. My friend’s Korean friend who lives in Incheon later let me know that Cheong-na is always like that regardless of the time of day. So when it comes down to it, it depends on the neighbourhood. Research the area before you decide to stay in a certain part of Incheon!