After our eventful (and fattening) days in Seoul, we took the train down to Busan. Going to the Gamcheon Culture Village was on our tourist list and after doing some research (AKA a quick Google Image search) we just had to check this place out. With its brightly painted rows of quaint houses, unique artwork all over, and an interesting history to go along with it, you need to add this place to your to-see list if you’re ever in Busan! Getting lost in this maze of houses and alleyways was one of the highlights of my time in the city.
Quick history on the Gamcheon Culture Village:
The origins of this village (though it resembles nothing of what we would typically refer to as a village) date back to the early 1900s with the Taegeukdo religion. These people believed in stark opposites; the yin and yang.
In the mid 1950s, after the Korean War, this area was being rebuilt so the government sent many families to go and live up along the hillside. And the rest is history (clearly this is the extremely short version).
“By building the houses in tiers so that no house blocks any house behind it, the architectural layout of the village adheres to the Taegeukdo teaching of allowing others to prosper,” says Kim Kye-young, a local representative of the Taegeukdo religion. (From CNN News)
The locals of the village had always painted their homes in various shades of pastel, but it wasn’t until 2009 that works of art began appearing throughout the village and Gamcheon was “put on the map”.
How to get to the top of the mountain:
Hop on the Metro Line 1 and head to Toseong Station, Exit 6. Turn right after you get outside until you see a bus stop in front of a hospital. You’re going to want to catch bus 2 or 2-2 and get off when you see a little blue tourist information center on the top of the village (you can also try asking the bus driver to let you know when to get off, but it all depends on their level of English).
Once off the bus, you can walk down the larger road into the village and make your way around the narrow alleyways that lead either nowhere or in five other directions. Inevitably, you will get lost. Just embrace it and spend a few hours roaming around and exploring the various artworks, cute little houses, and whatever else you might come across!
Off the beaten track:
What I loved most about the Gamcheon Culture Village was how completely unique it is – you can walk through the various levels of housing for hours and on each tier you will find different forms of art, colors, and other small details that make this village so appealing for locals and tourists alike. The village is just so, un-Korean.. it literally felt like I was on some little beach-side hippie island in the middle of the Mediterranean. I do wish we had more time to explore all the way down to the water, but the sun was going down and it was freezing so we packed it in after a few hours.
Artwork around Gamcheon Culture Village:
All the little houses: