Here’s a quick post on one of my favorite spots in Busan. If you ever visit, be sure to check this place out; you won’t regret it!
There’s a lot to see in Busan. It rides South Korea’s coastline nestling it within beaches, there are mountains to hike, it’s South Korea’s 2nd largest city which gives an array of restaurants, bars, clubs and any other urban activity you can think of, conveniently within a short subway ride. But there’s a place we visited that drifts my thoughts now and again, as if making sure we don’t forget it’s place among our journeys. So much so, I had to write a post on this very special place…Gamcheon Village.
Side note: Why we came to Busan and how we found out about Gamcheon Village. 🙂
When planning our route, we knew we had to check out Korea after Japan. We also found out the sister of a good friend of mine lived in Busan, so, why not try to meet up. And mind you, I didn’t know her at all. I was aware of who she was but my extent of knowing her only went as far as seeing her walk through the halls in high school back in the states. Despite our very brief relationship, she was more than happy to meet with us after an awkward-ish message asking if she’d like to grab lunch or dinner, even though we had never met. When we finally got to Busan, it wasn’t after a few failed meeting attempts that we just so happened to run into each other in the subway.
Weird how that happens…
We finally had dinner and it was on our way back that we stumbled upon our intrigue. As we walked through the underground tunnels to our subway stop, there were posters/billboards along the tunnel walls boasting Busan’s tourist sites. One after the other, each popped out of the walls beaming colored lights from the LEDs fixed from behind each picture: Haehundae Beach, Beomeosa Temple, Jalgachi Fish Market…but there was one that seemed to shine the brightest–Gamcheon Village.
Gamcheon is indeed one of the more popular destinations to visit while exploring Busan, but it didn’t always have the glamorous repertoire it has today. Now and again you wonder how a place can be so interesting, and sometimes you gotta dig into its past. Unfortunately, a tragic one for The Gamcheon Village. It was a haven for families devastated by the Korean war and was also considered one of the poorest areas in South Korea. It wasn’t until the last few decades The Gamcheon Cultural Village started its transformation into what it is today. Through efforts from the Korean government, artists abound, and a good chunk of time, Busan now boasts one of the most charming neighborhoods in Korea. Remembering Gamcheon’s humble beginnings makes you appreciate it that much more; a strong backbone for what’s truly an amazing neighborhood. It was also inevitable for religion making its role in the village due to the influx of families. If you’re lucky enough, you might stumble across one of its beautiful temples. Making our way to the top of the hill we came across an entrance way leading to a stunning view and sure enough were greeted by the sweetest monks and given nectarines to eat amongst the view; an unpredictable allowance as any method of “adventurism” allows.
Once reaching the top, you’ll find yourself amongst the crowds due to its picturesque view points, cool vendors, and cute couple-ish stuff, all in good fun.
It’s easy to find too. When Laurie and I went, we hopped on the subway. If you decide to take this route, take line 1 to Toseong station and find exit 6. From here you can either take the bus or go by foot. If you do trek the hills, which I highly suggest, look for the Gamcheon Village signs, or, to keep it simple, just start walking uphill. If the walk sounds like a burden, I can assure you that it’s a brisk 20-30 minutes. The walk itself is really nice. You’ll stroll through narrow streets and alleyways eventually finding yourself atop the Gamcheon hills.
The Gamcheon Cultural Village, without a doubt, is a place I highly recommend when staying in Busan. There’s just something about it. The quaint homes draped upon the hills, the artwork displayed proudly like a badge of honor, the light that creeps in every crevice from the salty Busan sunsets. It all culminates for a really cool place and experience. Don’t miss it!