Events and Festivals
- Shinjeong - means New Year's Day, on the 1st day, January. Shin(신) is a Korean word that means 'new'. January 1st is named 'Shinjeong' because after Korea adopted the Gregorian calendar it became the new way to mark the New Year.
- Seollal - Lunar New Year, also known as "Korean New Year", or "Gujeong." Families gather together, eat traditional foods-especially Ddugguk (떡국) and perform an ancestral service. The public holiday lasts for 3 days, which includes the eve and second day. Many shops and restaurants close for the 3 days, so this might not be an ideal time to visit.
- Sameeljjeol - 1st March, in commemoration of the March 1st resistance movement against the invading Japanese Imperial Army in 1919.
- Orininal - children's day on the 5th May
- Buchonnim osinnal or sawolchopa-il - means Buddha's birthday, 8th day of the 4th month in the lunar calendar.
- Hyeonchung-il - means memorial day, 6th June. In commemoration of the people who gave their lives to the nation.
- Gwangbokjjeol - Korea's independence day on the 15th of August. This day is actually the end of the second world war with the official Japanese surrender to the allied forces, which also meant Korea gaining her independence after many decades of Japanese colonialism.
- Chuseok - often translated as "Korean Thanksgiving", this holiday is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the year (usually September-October). Koreans celebrate by eating traditional foods, notably a rice cake called songpyeon (송편) and playing folk games. The public holiday lasts for 3 days and much like Lunar New Year, everything shuts down which makes visiting rather boring.
- Hangeulnal - 'Hangeul Proclamation Day' anniversary for the Korean alphabet system on October 9th.
- Gaecheonjeol - 3rd October. In commemoration of the first formation of the nation of ancient Korea.
- Christmas - a significant holiday in South Korea, although it is mostly celebrated by young couples spending a romantic day together. Since a significant proportion (approximately 30%) of the country is Christian, there are no shortages of celebration in the thousands of churches whilst everyone else takes a well deserved rest at home.
Gyeonggi has cold but relatively dry winters, averaging around zero degrees Celsius during the day and around -8 degrees at night, but dropping as low as -22 degrees sometimes. Most of the precipitation during this time is in the form of snow. Summers are tropical with hot and humid conditions. Temperatures average between 26 and 31 degrees from June to September with nights around or above 20 degrees. This is also the wet season with July topping at almost 400 mm of rain. The best times obviously are spring and autumn with much less rain and agreeable temperatures.
Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN) serves as the gateway to Seoul and South Korea. It is one of the busiest airports in the world, located around 70 kilometres west of the capital and has been ranked one of the best airports in the world, together with the ones in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Korean Air serves dozens of destinations in Japan and China, as well as other cities and countries in Asia. It also has connections to about a dozen cities in North America and even more to European cities. It has flights to Australia, Sao Paulo and Pacific destinations like Fiji and Guam on top of that.
Another big airline is Asiana Airlines with just slightly less destinations further away but even more in both China and Japan.
Getting to/from the airport:
- Rail: The Incheon International Airport Railroad (A'REX) started operations in 2007. The station is located in the Transportation Center adjacent to the main terminal building. From 2007 onwards, only the first phase of the construction was opened to the public (Incheon International Airport - Gimpo Airport). The remaining phase of the construction is expected to be completed by 2010 (Gimpo Airport - Seoul Station). Until then, from the old Gimpo airport there are connections to the Seoul Metro Lines 5 and 9.
- Car: Link to the main land is provided by the Yeongjong Bridge and an expressway. Tolls are collected at the bridge. A second expressway on the Incheon Bridge connects the island with central Incheon. Parking and rental cars are available at the airport.
- Taxi: both white (cheap) and black (expensive) taxis are available at the airport.
The old Gimpo International Airport now mainly functions as a center for domestic flights although there are services to Tokyo, Osaka and Shanghai.