For most travelers, Gamcheon Cultural Village tops the #1 Place to Visit in Busan, South Korea. But indeed, this picturesque place known as Korea’s Santorini has lots of art and experiences worth to explore and appreciate, instead of just being a background for selfies!
So in this blog post, I would like to share some checklist for you to tick off on your next visit to Gamcheon Culture Village.
About Gamcheon Cultural Village in Busan, South Korea
Gamcheon is a colorful village located on the foothills of a coastal mountain. Long ago, during the Korean war, Busan was a place where refugees ran off. There was nothing when some people moved to Gamcheon. They were also very poor. Then the residents started to work and earn some money. They continued buying bricks and built up the village. Gamcheon was only one district in 1950, but now it has nine.
In 2009, the South Korean government decided to make a project to renovate Gamcheon, named “Dreaming of Busan Machu Picchu”. The plan has a goal to revoke the village into a creative community run by residents, artists, and the local administrative office. By collaborating with local artists, they transformed the village into a colorful place filled with murals.
Today, it has now become a major tourist destination in Busan. Besides displaying artworks and murals by the locals, the village now has galleries, café, art shop, mini museums, and even turning empty houses into workshops. Even the tiniest details — the small alleys, were also painted!
How much time do you need here?
You can go around the village for around 3 hours. However, if you want to relax and appreciate the art, I recommend you to spend half a day because the village is filled with small alleys that are worthy to explore!
Here are the Gamcheon Culture Village Checklist you could explore:
(1) Entrance Gate
Choose between two entrance paths — By the time you arrived at Gamcheon Culture Village Bus Stop, there are actually two entrance paths. The first one is the main entrance that lead to information center and if you through the steep pathway, you will find cafe and the route to center of the village. In this pathway, you can go exploring the village’s stairs.
The second entrance is the North Entrance. It can directly lead you to the famous spots of Gamcheon (Little Prince, Love Locks, Library Stairs, Socks Shop, etc). If you have limited time and want to go straight to the famous spots of the village, I recommend you to enter from the second gate.
Grab a map in the information center (2,000 KRW) — An information center is located right beside the entrance, where you can buy the village map for 2,000 KRW. You can collect stamps to determine the checklist of places you are visiting on the map. Once you’ve received all the stamps, you can receive a prize 2 Gamcheon Culture Village postcards back at the information center.
(2) Gamcheon Culture Station
Mini library slash Harry Potter stairs — A lot of people are waiting in line to take pictures on this colorful stairs!
Gamcheon Culture Station — When it’s open, cute pink house is actually a place for visitors to do DIY activities inside Gamcheon Culture Station. There are also several cafes nearby.
(3) Stairs to See Stars
Explore the small alleys — There are a lot of stairs and small alleys in the village, therefore, exploring the colorful alleys has an excitement of its own.
Mini museums — While exploring the alleys, we stumbled upon some empty houses that functions as a mini museum. Inside, there are displays of art exhibitions with different themes on each house.
(4) House of Light
House of Light is unique because it’s a house shaped like a tea pot! You can also go inside places like House of Light, House of Darkness, House of Peace, where they were established to convey relevant messages to visitor.
(5) Busanfornia View
Busanfornia Panorama — This is one of the best spots to see the panoramic view of Gamcheon Culture Village.
Lovelocks & couple art — You can not only find lovelocks in Seoul’s Namsan Tower, but in here you can also buy love locks in the shapes of heart for loving couples.
Grand Budapest Doll Hotel— A museum that collects vintage doll collection. You will need to pay 5,000 KRW to enter the museum and on top of this place.
There are also many cafes here, from classy to colorful ones.
A lot of visitors in Gamcheon Culture Village uses this cute hair clips. Don’t forget to buy some! My personal favorite is the duck & heart one. It costs around 1,000 – 2,000 KRW each.
(7) Music Monument
(8) Street Snacks
Strolling through the village can be pretty tiring. So we were thankful when we found snack stalls near Little Prince area. Here is a poop-themed restaurants where I bought poop-shaped Takoyaki for 4,000 KRW. There are also other snacks such as ice cream, rice bowls, and more.
(9) “Fish Swimming Through The Alley” by Jin Yeongseop
This large fish mural is made up from smaller pieces of stylised fish paintings on planks. It’s one of the most iconic spots in Gamcheon Culture Village.
(10) Shops / Attractions
Sumjatang Sock Shop — Near the second entrance gate, there is a sock store that sold a lot of cute socks just for 1,000 KRW. From all sock shops in South Korea I’ve got the chance to visit, I personally feel that this store sold the cheapest socks with the cutest designs!
Gamcheon Museum — The Gamcheon Museum is located near the North entrance. Inside, you can see the history, values or even stories from the making of Gamcheon Culture Village.
(11) The center of the village
If you go down to steep alley from the first entrance and continue to walk, you will see the center of the village that feels like a combination of modern city with artistic murals.
Since the village area is too large, there is still a lot of spots I haven’t yet to cover here. So, take your time and explore it yourself!
Gamcheon Culture Village is FREE of entrance fees.
How to get to Gamcheon Cultural Village
1. Take the subway to Toseong Station 토성역.
2. Go to Toseong Station Exit 6, there will be a “Gamcheon Culture Village” sign on the exit area.
3. Go to the small bus station board in front of the Pusan National University Hospital building.
4. Change to a green minibus 1-1 or 2 or 2-2. The bus driver will announce when you reach Gamcheon Culture Village. When waiting at the minibus, it was obvious that most people were also heading to the village , so you wont feel lost.