Sunday, April 07, 2013

Trying to find Chinatown ... and found it, in fact two, in South Korea

Being familiar with the giant Chinatown in San Francisco and the petite Chinatown here in Washington (as well as a few others here and there, such as Vancouver, Portland and Seattle), I wasn't quite expecting to see such "American" Chinatowns in South Korea.

On a day trip to Incheon (just 28 subway stops from Seoul) I ran into my first Korean Chinatown. The Incheon Chinatown  (some better information here) was the first in Korea and still probably the largest. Lots of typical shops and bubble tea spots; it was a week day, so not all that crowded. We hung around there for a while before heading off to see some of the other sights of Incheon (the MacArthur Memorial and the boardwalk by the waterfront).

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And then, travelling south to Busan, was another Chinatown (see Busan Chinatown). A little on the more, uh, sleazy side, there were lots of shops catering to Russians (not that Russians are sleazy), just had a more "sailor port" air to the whole thing. In fact, there's even a blog post that says it's more Russiatown! Some nice artwork and a "modern" gatej (in fact a number of gates, or archways that marked the entrances from the main street), but not a place I wanted to linger in.

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