South Korea 2015: Day 3 - Busan Gamcheon Culture Village 甘川洞文化村 (부산 감천문화마을), Santorini of the East

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One of the highlight in Busan is the Busan Gamcheon Culture Village or known as the "Santorini of the East". It is a quirky art-filled neighbourhood village with many artistic artwork and painting, you will definitely enjoy strolling in between the houses. Don't afraid of getting lost, and go explore (by foot). So, remember to wear a pair of comfortable shoe ya.

Guess what? I'm actually lost in the village which I will share later. 

Have a glance at the picturesque Gamcheon Culture Village which painted with vibrant and colourful colours.

The village won the 2012 UN-HABITAT Asian Townscape Award as well as a cultural excellence award from Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. And so, many people are getting to know about Gamcheon Culture Village

We visited Gamcheon Culture Village in the morning, so we have a quick breakfast at the convenient shop first before depart. The burgers were really cheap, so we took the Bulgalbi Burger which cost at KRW 1,600 (RM5.20).

We bought a chocolate drinks (hot water provided), bulgalbi burger and gimbap.
The burger taste really good after reheat.

Gimbap on the go!
It doesn't taste too bad although the appearance of the gimbap looks "pale".

We are going to explore the Busan Gamcheon Culture Village after breakfast. So, how should we go?

DIRECTIONS to Gamcheon Culture Village:
Metro to Toseong-dong Station (Line 1), Exit 6.
Bus no. 2 or 2.2 (around KRW3,000 - 4000)

After we coming out from exit 6, will need to turn to the right at the corner (facing the intersection) and walk straight up to the hill. In a short distance, there is a hospital on our right and there’s a bus stop in front of the hospital. Take bus number 2 or 2.2 to Gamcheon Culture Village.

This is the hospital on our right.

There's a bus stop in front of this hospital, hop on bus no 2 or 2.2.

Here's the street view while we waiting for the bus to arrive.


It takes us a mere moment (around 10 mins by bus) to reach this beautiful place.


History about Gamcheon Culture Village
In the 1940s, only 20 or so houses dotted the hillside, but that number swelled dramatically at the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. War refugees fled their homes for the relative safety of Busan, the only area of the peninsula that remained free from fighting. Within a year, Busan’s population grew from 880,000 to 1.4 million people, and a half million homeless refugees needed a place to live–and fast. Approximately 4,000 people moved from the crowded port areas surrounding the Jagalchi Fish Market to nearby Gamcheon, erecting some 800 makeshift homes using scrap iron, wood and rocks.

In 2009, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism stepped in with the Dreaming of Machu Picchu in Busan project. Reparations were made, artists were hired to paint murals and 10 artworks were installed, some created with the assistance of the residents. In 2010 the follow-up Miro Miro project saw the addition of 12 more works, including alley paintings and path markers perfectly suited to the project as miro means ‘maze’ in Korean. These days, visitors can see trick art, sculpture, and even rooms or buildings remodeled around a singular art concept, such as the Book Cafe shaped like a giant coffee mug, or rooms interpreting themes such as ‘peace’ or ‘darkness’. (source)

Although the sun was shining brightly, yet it was so windy here.

Winter in Gamcheon Culture Village.

Let's start exploring this village.



It was winter, and so, most of the plants were not fully bloom yet.



From here, we start our journey in Gamcheon Village.

There's a information board here where map of Gamcheon Village is illustrated, together with the attractions. Or you can buy a map from the tourist information center which allow you to collect stamp at each of the attraction.

We snapped a picture of this map, to avoid to get lost. Unfortunately, we were lost half way. LOL.

If you are a person who likes art and beautiful things, here might be the right place for you. Each buildings / house painted with different colours and mural. It is very hard to take pictures of everything in Gamcheon, so, rather than keep snapping photo whenever I take one step, I only capture those really attractive to me, enjoy all the beautiful buildings and decorations through my eyes, not from my lens only.




Oh! This is the iconic one, I'm sure you wouldn't miss this big fish here.
This big fish was created by pieces of woods and each of the wood were painted with colourful graphics.


There are a lot of wooden fish around this village which actually leading you the way to the next attractions or act as the route.

Passing through all the small alley, be quiet as you are exploring the neighbourhood as there are still many residents here.



Besides all the attractions, there are few souvenir shops and cafe too. At here, you can send postcard too.

There's also a route for hiking.

Don't you enjoy seeing all these little quaint shops?







We found this super BIG wall, good for ootd shot.

I can pose for few more shots because nobody walking by.

I like this piece of artwork so much which visualizes a poem with a title of "Nostalgia". The changing shapes reflected on the work embody the changes of the surrounding environment with the flow of time, and it shows the past, the present and the upcoming future.

For each of the unique artwork, there's a board to share the meaning about it.




Here's another meaningful artwork which name "Village with a Rainbow" - this work visualizes a dream come true by an image of growing rainbow.

Okay.. lovely shot of my ootd in front of this vibrant house.

Wooden love lock in Busan, anyway, this is not mine.

We were not sure what is this, as the door was closed.


Back to the part where I was lost in Gamcheon Culture Village. After we visited all the above, we were suppose to back to the original place where we start to explore the village. We do not have any map with us, so we just follow the crowds, who knows, we were lost in somewhere else without any proper directions and no tourist, only the residents (uncle and aunties) and yet, they couldn't speak in English. So, we just continue find our way out by foot. It was quite tiring as we were need to take the staircase to our starting point, all by our own guts and feeling. We passed through all the residence area (which is not really a tourist will go area), quiet neighbourhood, cats and dogs were taking their nap in front of the house, we see no-one.... after don't know how many step of staircase, finally we say a young uncle who is in his 40s. We tried to communicate with hand signals, haha... because he can't speak English neither. Thank God that hand signal is international and we finally found our way out!!!! Time to feed our hungry tummy once we escaped from the "maze".

We randomly hop into a restaurant and ordered all these.. gimbap, tteokbokki and glass noodle salad.



The price is quite reasonable which starting from KRW2,000 onwards (around RM6). 

This is the restaurant, quite easy to be spotted as it is the first restaurant on your left side when you start to explore Gamcheon Culture Village.

To me, it is worth to pay a visit to Gamcheon Culture Village, we spent almost half a day here.

Busan Gamcheon Culture Village (부산 감천문화마을)
Admission: FREE
Time: 9am - 5pm

Address:
177-11, Gamnae 2-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
부산광역시 사하구 감내2로 177-11 하늘마루

DIRECTIONS:
Metro to Toseong-dong Station (Line 1), Exit 6.
Bus no. 2 or 2.2 (around KRW3,000 - 4000)

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