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Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan is the place you have probably seen online with all the colourful buildings on the side of a hill and it’s a must-visit place when visiting Busan. In fact, it’s now Busan most popular tourist attraction, but don’t let that put you off.
Depending on where you’re staying in Busan, Gamcheon Culture Village is a bit far out however it makes sense as to why when I tell you the history in a minute.
I stayed near Haedundae Beach in Busan at Maya Guesthouse. I didn’t see the point in visiting Busan – this City full of Beaches, and not staying near a Beach. In my opinion, Haedundae is one of the best places to stay in Busan so if you’re still looking for accommodation, have a look around Haeundae Beach and Maya Guesthouse if you’re looking for a hostel/guesthouse with dorm and private rooms!
To SEE my trip to Gamcheon Culture Village, have a look at my YouTube video:
The metro in Busan is really easy to use and very cheap. If you’re going to be in Busan or South Korea for a while make sure you buy a T Money card from 7/11 or another little supermarket (or you can buy one online in advance for the same price), once you have this you can top it up and I found that the metro is much cheaper using it and the T Money card can be used in most South Korean Cities.
The nearest metro station to Gamcheon Culture Village is Toseong, near the end of Line 1.
To get from Haedundae to Gamcheon Culture Village I got on at Haeundae Station on Line 2 and changed at Seonyeon to Line 1. It took about 40 minutes in total.
At Toseong Station leave from exit 6 which is signposted towards Gamcheon Culture Village and then turn right up the main road at the exit.
The road will take you up towards the Busan University Hospital and then you’ll see a bus stop, it’s the first one you come across on this road. If you have maps.me, it’s detailed on the map as ‘Bus 2 to Gamcheon Culture Village’.
There are many buses that leave from here but you need to get either Bus 2, Bus 2-2, or Bus 1-1 to Gamcheon Culture Village. The buses are little green minibuses.
This is where you need a T Money card as you’ll need to tap your card as you get on the bus, and again when you get off.
I believe you can pay by cash, the driver has a sign saying 1,700 above their head, it didn’t cost me that much on the T Money card but maybe by cash it would, I’m not sure.
Gamcheon Culture Village is the last stop and you’ll know when you get to the tourist centre which is where you need to get off. The drive up is basically through the Village and up the hill.
If you fancy it you can actually walk from Toseong Station to Gamcheon Culture Village but be prepared for the hill.
In terms of how to leave Gamcheon Culture Village, you can either walk down the hill and out, back to Toseong Station, or you can get back on the bus where it drops you at the tourist centre. From what I saw there are no other bus stops in the area until you get further down so it’s best to get back on the bus where you got off and remember to press the stop button on the bus when you get back to the metro station and Toseong Station is not it’s last stop, it just passes by.
The village is free to enter and is open from 9:00-5:00 pm for tourists to visit.
The Gamcheon Culture Village is one of the best things to do in Busan, but what is it? Well, it’s a neighbourhood in Busan where people still live.
Gamcheon was one of the Cities poorest areas of Busan with just a few houses in the 1940s, however during the Korean War between North and South Korea in 1950-1953, a lot of refugees fled to Busan as Busan was only one of two cities in South Korea not captured by North Korea (the other being Daegu). The population of Busan increased dramatically during this time, as did the neighbourhood of Gamcheon as it became refugee camp for Koreans during the War.
Essentially it was a slum full of shanty style homes which later were later rebuilt into houses however the area remained very poor.
In 2009 the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism stepped in with the idea to revive this area and artists were hired to paint and install artworks with the help of the residents.
I have read in a few articles that some locals are not huge fans of the number of visitors visiting their homes and being the subject of photos however in terms of reviving and bringing income to a poor area, it seems to have worked as the streets are now full of locally run shops and cafes for tourists to spend their money in.
The main thing to do at Gamcheon Culture Village and the best way to see Gamcheon Culture Village is to walk around so try and visit on a nice day as there’s not much cover from the rain.
When you get dropped off by the bus at the tourist centre you’ll see the main road in front of you which you follow. This is filled with shops and cafes.
There’s plenty of food on offer at Gamcheon Culture Village however I found it all to be sweet food such as ice cream, candy floss and cakes and increased in price which is what you expect at a place like this.
There are loads of places to get coffee and bubble tea too. Apart from seeing a British Cafe selling Fish and Chips and Pasta, I didn’t see many cafes or restaurants selling main meals so make sure you don’t arrive too hungry!
There is a museum near the bus stop, it’s only small and I saw it recommended by a few blogs, the only thing is is that all the signs are in Korean so don’t expect to be able to read any of it, just look at the items from the past that have been donated to the museum.
There are so many art installations and so much street art so of course be sure to have a fully charged camera, you’ll find most of it as you wander around and there are lots of maps dotted around too to tell you where you are.
If you’re finding the main road along the top of the village busy don’t worry, in order to see more of the area and get away from the crowds head down the stairs of stars which will take you all the way through the village. The stairs are colourful and there are design shops and artwork at points all along the stairs. I barely saw anyone else whilst walking down here.
It’s also called the stairs of stars as there are 148 stairs and the locals who used to carry heavy loads up them said they would experience stars as they walked up!
Remember though that if you walk down these stair’s you’ll need to walk back up or walk back up via the road which isn’t as steep as its longer and inclines slower but it is still an incline!
Don’t fear about getting lost in Gamcheon Culture Village or visiting areas that you shouldn’t. There are many colourful plaques which point you in the right direction of where to walk to and what to see, if you follow these you’ll stay on track.
If you want to get dressed up in some Traditional Korean outfits this is the place to do it and you won’t be alone, I saw lots of people dressed up!
In order to get the best view of Gamcheon Culture Village and the most iconic view of all the colourful houses like below, you need to go the viewpoint nearest the Bus Stop. When you get dropped off at the Bus Stop you need to walk down the hill ever so slightly rather than going into the main tourist walking street, turn right and you’ll see the viewpoint along with some cafes.
Having said that the view you get all along the main tourist road is a good view but when I saw the view near the bus stop I knew that’s where so many of the photos I had seen were taken from.
I hope this helps you plan your trip to Gamcheon Culture Village. It really is a must do activity in Busan, South Korea!
For more of my posts from South Korea see:
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I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
NOV-DEC: PROBABLY INDONESIA
If you want to join or read more about the details of the group tour.