Lost in Colors of Gamcheon Culture Village
No one does art villages better than South Korea; this country’s penchant for transforming poor neighborhoods into must-see attractions is truly remarkable. Gamcheon Culture Village is a real testament to that. This vibrant multi-tiered village is not just rich in art and colours but in history as well.
Before becoming this aesthetically masterpiece of a village, Gamcheon was once a hilltop slums and a community for members of Taegeukdo religion. The layout of the village apparently follows the religion’s teaching of allowing others to prosper, which is why the houses are built in rows so that no house obstructs the view of any house behind it. The village also serves as a refuge during the difficult times of Korean War.
One can say art has saved this village. Gamcheon’s vivid and quirky Alice-in-Wonderland-esque look is a result of Government’s beautification program that started on 2009. Interesting artworks had been installed, several murals had been created, empty houses has been turned to pretty coffee shops and galleries and all the houses were painted in crayon colors.
You’ll do a lot of walking in this postcard worthy of a place. Instead of aimlessly wandering around, I suggest you buy that KRW 2,000 guide map from the Information Center. The guide not only provides the villages’ nits and grits, it will also lead you into a mini adventure. Follow the map as it leads you to significant artworks and strategic viewpoints as you collect stamps for a reward, something Feb and I had failed to do. Lol.
We started the quest excitedly and smoothly. Feb and I were confident we will complete nine stamps, but things started to go south as early as our third stamp (Lol). The artsy-fartsy sights and instagramable pathways easily distracted us. With Gamcheon’s labyrinth of colorful alleyways, there’s no way to fight the call of wanderlust.
Coffee breaks and even random bathroom breaks are so scenic.
Santorini of Busan (a tad bit much), Korea’s Machu Picchu (quite far-fetched), Busan’s Favela (closer but way livelier) are some of Gamcheon Villages’ nicknames. However, in respect to the effort of the people that made this village one heck of a colorful astounding place, Feb and I refused to call it any other names. For us, it is just Gamcheon Culture Village, an incredible place that has its own color(s), character and magic. A must visit place in Busan.
Toseong Station (Busan Subway Line 1), Exit 6.
Take local bus Saha 1-1, Seogu 2 or Seogu 2-2 to Gamcheon Elementary School Bus Stop.