In Busan on the coast there is the small village of Gamcheon. The Gamcheon Cultural Village is well known for its brightly colored houses and the art pieces that decorate the village. Josh and I had been wanting to visit the village for quite some time but we were just waiting for the weather to warm up so we could be comfortable walking around outside. Gamcheon seems to be more well known in the tourist community than with Koreans, when we told a Korean friend about our desire to go there, they were quite confused and told us “that is where all the poor people live.” Apparently Gamcheon started off as a haven for war refugees and until pretty recently wasn’t a place where people would want to visit. The Korean government funded changes that made the village colorful and artsy…much more inviting for tourists to come and take pictures of. The area is still pretty poor but something about the brightly colored houses and whimsical art scattered around the village makes it a fun place to visit. There are many small local shops to help support the people in the area, who from what we saw are mostly older.
We started off our early morning tour of Gamcheon with crepes! The bus that brings you into Gamcheon drops you off not too far from the crepe stand and it was a great way to start our trek through the colorful village.
After that we purchases some maps of the area for ₩2,000 (less than $2) before making a brief pit stop for bbobki! If you want to learn more about bbobki you can see the post I did on it here! Four of us in the group were up for the challenge and three in our group ended up getting a free bbobki!!
After we had our fill of delicious sweets we walked around Gamcheon for a couple of hours taking in the sights and enjoying the art that decorated the entire village.
Gamcheon’s buildings are painted in many different pastel colors which makes overlooking the buildings really whimsical and fun to look at, they remind me quite a bit of Dr. Seuss. In Korea it is common to compare cities to famous foreign cities and Gamcheon is called the Santorini of Korea. The village itself is located on hills near the water so good walking shoes are a must!
Gamcheon is also filled with small stores that sell food, souvenirs and art. The government funded the revamping of Gamcheon with hopes of bringing in tourists to boost the local economy. It is good to see people buying different items from the local vendors!
Our first 5 months in Korea, Josh and I spent almost every weekend in Busan. For some reason or another we would always put off visiting Gamcheon, mostly out of laziness. But the visit was definitely worth it! I would say we spent about 2.5 hours wandering the village and taking in all the sites. I would recommend a visit to Gamcheon to everyone visiting Busan!