Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gamcheon Culture Village: Asia's Version of Rio de Janeiro

Gamcheon Culture Village or Taegeukdo Village (감천문화마을) Korea's most art-filled town is nested on top of the hills of Saha-gu in Busan. It is dubbed as the quirkiest art-filled suburb with colorful and narrow alleyways. It resembles Rio de Janeiro's Favela (meaning, Brazilian's slum area). Does Fast and the Furious 5 ring a bell? :)

Gamcheon Culture Village attracts thousands of tourists and photography enthusiasts yearly. The village won the UN-HABITAT Asian Townscape Award and the Cultural Excellence Award from Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism last 2012. It was the best place to visit in Busan for me and it's the most non-Korean looking tourist spot in Korea! Hahaha. It literally feels like you're in another country :)

The history of the village dates back in 1940s where Gamcheon is considered as one of the poorest city and poorest residents in Busan. Before, there were only 20 houses on the hill and when the Korean War started, refugees flocked in with over 800 makeshift homes stocked on top of each other. But after 74 years, Gamcheon is a jewel of tourism in the city. 
Going to Gamcheon is very easy. Here's the direction:
The fastest way to get there is via subway then bus (bus because there's no other way going up the hill).

1. Take Subway Line 1 then alight at Toseong Station.
2. Exit at No. 6
3. When you're out, face the intersection. Turn right immediately after crossing then just walk straight for about 100m.
4. When you see the Cancer Center Hospital on your right side, look for the bus stop and wait for bus number 2 or 2-2
5. The bus will be smaller compared to the ones in the city. It's like a coaster type of bus so it can fit in the small alleyways of the village.
6. Expect steep road and a fast ride going uphill. It will be like a roller coaster ride haha but it's FUN so enjoy! :)
7. The bus driver will most probably know where to drop you. To be safe, tell him where you're headed so he can instruct you where to go. You'l know you're in Gamcheon if you see the photo below. It's also the stop for Gamcheon Elementary School (감천초등학교).
Turn right and head towards the Information Office...but before you do, these flower pot pants will greet you! They serve as a teaser for what will come! It will surely be an artsy- out-of-this-world tour. 
When you visit the information office, a colorful stamp tour map will be sold to you for about KWN 2,000 or Php 80. The map contains a stamp page where you're "somewhat required" to complete the 7 featured art locations scattered around the village. You need to look for the places and stamp your map every time you arrive at the place. Once you complete all 7 locations, you get a prize--either a postcard or a photo souvenir which can be claimed at the Haneul Maru, Tourist Information, or the Observatory Center. 

If you're not into this "hunting game" or you don't like postcards as souvenirs or you're  just "kuripot" (thrifty) like us, skip this activity and just wander around the village on your own. 
TIP: take a photo of the map just so you know where to go ;) then use your KRW 2,000 to buy drinks instead hahaha!
In Gamcheon, these colorful wooden fishes serve as arrows for direction. If you feel you're lost follow these fishiessss!
I really love the walls in this village. My eyes get super excited for the next masterpiece :) I also like going up and down the narrow alleys because it gives you a sense of "suspense"--imagining that someone is running after you like the scene in Fast and the Furious 5 but in a whimsical way :) But note that it can be tiresome for the oldies so just be careful and don't wear heels plsss! 

Also, since there are real locals residing in the village, it is important to always remain respectful of their place and keep quiet while touring. Anyway, the fishes and arrows painted on walls are everywhere so no need to worry about getting lost.
Ariel's cellphone is waterproof coolie! Selfie slefie!

First stop was the Observatory Center. Here, you can see the panoramic view of Gamcheon Village. Such a breathtaking sight!
You'll see lots of trick-art/ museum type of structures like this 3D shelter. Who says that museums should be indoor? Gamcheon Culture is probably the biggest "outdoor museum" I've ever visited haha.
There are a lot of cute and quirky cafes in the area too. If we only had enough time, we could have spent half day just listening to cafe music and enjoying a cup of latte. The design of the cafes are similar to Taiwan's Maokong Gondola. The only difference is in Taiwan, most stores offer specialty teas while in Gamcheon, they sell COFFEE! <3 <3 <3

NOTE: It took us about 2-3 hours to tour most of the major sights in the village. We were quite fast because we skipped a lot and focused on finding The Little Prince haha. We didn't bother going inside each and every cafe or store because we needed to go to our hotel and check in our bags before heading to Beomeosa Temple and two more beaches at night, Gwangalli Beach and Haeundae Beach. But if you have the leisure of time, you may tour the village at most for half day.
While strolling, we came across the famous Little Prince building!
We took a selfie with the Little Prince and jokingly posed with the fox beside him. 
If you're a fan of The Little Prince book, don't ever leave the village without passing by this spot! The Little Prince got the best view of the village as well--better than the Observatory deck. 
Here's my favorite photo in Busan! Definitely one for the books!
Address:Gamcheon Culture Village, 10-13 Gamcheon-2-dong (감천2동 ), Saha-gu, Busan, South Korea 

Telephone No.: +82 70 4219 5556

Official Website (in Korean):

Operating Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm


  1. Hi Tinco! After reading your adventures in Busan, I suddenly became the most envious girl here. I always dream of visiting every wonderful places in South Korea (Incheon and Busan). Dang! I'm so jealous that I suddenly want to plan my trip and make it happen the soonest time possible. Anyway thanks for sharing these. Now I know what are the nice place to pay for a visit when I reach there. By the way, may I ask if how much was your budget for your trip and how much did you actually spent? Thanks

    1. Hi Cristy, thank you for taking time to read my blog :) so happy I was able to help you plan your next destination and for inspiring you to travel in Korea!! :) I'm sure you will loooove that country.

      I will post my detailed budget and actual cost spent in my recent trip soon! But I already have my 2012 Korea expenses. Check out the tag under Expenses nalang.

  2. For easy labeling on the schedule a simple MR abbreviation next to the name or shift and it's good to go for each needed shift. phoenix pizza restaurant


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...