Gamcheon Cultural Village – also known as “The Machu Picchu of Busan” or “The Santorini of Korea.” I’d call it the “Korean Rio de Janeiro” but you get the gist. It’s a multicoloured village full of charming little houses stacked in a staircase fashion, built upon a hill overlooking the ocean. As you can imagine, it’s pretty picturesque. Explore Gamcheon Cultural Village, and enjoy the scenery.
A bit of Backstory
Another nickname given to Gamcheon Cultural Village is the “Taegeukdo Village.” Taegeuk is the Korean spiral symbol that represents Taoism philosophical values, as well as Korean Shaminism. This representative symbol is the design on the national flag and is seen throughout the country through art and cultural artifacts. After the war, people following this philosophy settled on the hillside and moved into these lego houses.
The village has preserved it’s original appearance over time. However in 2009 students in the area decided to brighten up the underdeveloped district, and created amazing visual creations throughout the village. With a fresh coat of paint, murals on the walls, installations on rooftops and staircases spiralling through the mountaintop and beautiful artwork. The quirky image of Gamcheon represents a vibrant community, and one that attracts many visitors all year round.
Why it’s Awesome
It’s great fun walking through the narrow streets and steps, getting lost and digging deep into the roots of the country. Finding subtle artistic work scattered throughout your walk keeps you engaged and inspired for hours.
If you’re a weirdo, and get sick of the views or the artistry then there are also eccentric shops, cafes and restaurants to enjoy. There are also workshops available here, and they made a great idea of creating a scavenger hunt for people that want to collect stamps along there walk, with the reward of two postcards when you complete the hunt.
The village isn’t far out of town at all, only a few stops from Nampo-dong it is very easy to get to. There is a reason why you’ll find so many posts and pictures of this place, it should be on everyones Busan bucket list, if not Korean list at that!
- Take subway to Toseong Station (line 1)
- Take exit 6
- Turn right at the intersection, and walk straight up the hill.
- After the bridge, across from the elementary school is the cultural village. Follow the people walking that way, or the signs that say “Gamcheon Cultural Village.”
Take number 2, or 2.2 and get off at the top of the hill, directly in front of the entrance.
If you can speak Korean, the name of the village is “감천문화마을”. If not, just say “Gam chon moon hwah ma eul.” Well done you can speak Korean 😉
If you have any questions drop a comment and lets discuss this funky place together. Have fun on your trip and happy travelling!