I didn’t know about Wolmi Island during our first visit to Korea, or I would have dragged my fam there in an instant! It’s basically a BOARDWALK, you guys. WITH RIDES. It’s also a seafood lover’s Mecca, if that matters to you.
The only way to reach Wolmi from Chinatown in Incheon was either to walk (which Henry said would only be “like 20 minutes”), take a taxi, or take a bus. Now for some reason, I am still terrified of public buses. I don’t know why! Ok I do know why–it’s because I’m always worried my transit card won’t work when I tap it and unlike on the subway, you’re face to face with the bus driver and everyone on the bus is getting all huffy and surly because you’re holding everything up.
I write this like it’s from personal experience and it is NOT. I have only ridden the bus in Pittsburgh once in my whole life and that was in 1998 waaaay before the days of transit cards, and the times we rode a bus last year in Busan, we had zero problemo.
So Henry did his thing, found out which bus would take us there (um, nearly all of them) and we waited at the stop right across from Chinatown, then got on the EMPTY BUS with some old man and that was it! Success!
Also, after riding there on a bus, I can now tell you that it would have been one fucking bitch of a walk there through mostly industrial areas, so…dodged that bullet.
The bus ride was only about 10 minutes and not scary at all. It is still highly unlikely that I will ever willingly board a PAT bus in Pittsburgh though.
So here’s a nugget of history about Wolmi Island, which I only recently learned: “On September 10, 1950, the U.S. Army began five days of bombing Wolmido Island, which contained North Korean Army soldiers. Several hundred civilians were killed in the dropping of 93 napalm bombs. The battle was inspiration for the North Korean Propaganda Film Wolmi Island produced in 1982.”
Yikes. Thinking about that, and knowing I walked all over this place is goosebump-inducing.
And yet, now it’s a big tourist spot full of restaurants, bars, and amusement parks!
It had stopped raining by the time we made it to Wolmi, but the gray skies kept most people away. Wolmi Theme Park was open, and the ride operators were busily squeegee’ing the rides of puddles.
But were the only people strolling around, so it gave it a mildly sinister feel. Later though, some people were riding the pirate ship and hearing their screams made it less creepy, somehow.
The famous Tagada! Or, also known as Disco Pang Pang. So this ride is popular in various Asian countries but it’s not something you would ever see in the States, what with, you know, safety regulations and whatnot. But the ride operator essentially tries to catapult the riders off the ride. And there are no seatbelts or anything! So you have to grab on to the rails with all your might and give it to God, I guess.
(No one actually gets flung off but I have seen videos of people sliding around all over the place!)
Taemin and Key from SHINee were actually on this ride during an episode of “We Got Married”! It’s the very beginning of the video, so just watch it:
I mean…I was attacked by our family’s pet rabbit Rudy when I was 15 so just glancing at this ride was enough for me.
Across from the entrance to Wolmi Theme Park is the Wolmido Lighthouse.
It didn’t even feel like we were in Korea while we were here. It could have been some small town on the Jersey Shore, to be honest. It was nice to have a slower pace and hear all the seagulls squawking as people fed them squid snacks. Chooch and I got drinks from a little cafe run by the most adorable and pleasant older couple (Chooch was on a major bubble tea spree, and I mostly opted for iced Americanos everywhere we went).
We stumbled upon another little park that had not one but THREE pirate ships. They love their pirate ships in Korea!
I can definitely imagine this being a major hotspot during nicer days and it probably is a madhouse during summer nights.
Before we headed back to Seoul, I was adamant that we ride the ferris wheel, which cost us like $18 I think but it was worth it not because yay, family time, but because TAEMIN RODE THIS FERRIS WHEEL.
Also, Henry smiled once.
Chooch was tired of hearing me complain about my eye woes.
Eye drama and intermittent rain showers aside, this day trip was actually pretty great. However, the highlight for me when we were sitting on the subway on the way back to Seoul and Chooch created an Instagram account for Cheetah Girl – the imaginary stripper girlfriend we invented for Henry – and I was fucking laughing so hard that I thought my bum eye was going to shoot out, and Henry was like, “WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING” so Cheetah Girl sent him a friend request BUT HE DENIED IT.