Gamcheon Culture Village

On our recent trip to Busan, one of our major highlights was the Gamcheon Culture Village. The village is also known as the Taegeuk Village. The pastel-coloured hillside village was originally home to poor refugees during the Korean war. Now it is just a place some locals call home but is rated one of the top spots to visit in Busan

There are many places around Korea where people have tried to uplift the poorer communities by painting murals and having different quirky artworks. This attracts tourists and allows the residents to sell things and start small businesses. It seems to work really well and we have seen other examples of this at the Ihwa Mural Village in Seoul and a village in Jeonju. 

When we arrived, there was a vibrant atmosphere and a few small tents set up. We didn't realize that there was a festival going on. Tents spread along the main road selling food and offering opportunities to make various Korean traditional crafts. Despite the festival, it wasn't too crowded and due to all the alleyways, there was plenty of space for everyone. 

A fun thing to do is to buy the village map at the entrance (2000won) and try collect the 9 stamps that can be found at various locations around the village. Once you get all the stamps, you get some free postcards. This kept Dean busy while I was snapping away. There are some great view points where you can look over the hill and in the distance you can see the Busan harbour. 

It was so fun taking all the colourful pictures and walking the small alleys. It's more interested to step off the main paths where you can see how people really live and how they are just going about their daily lives. You are allowed to walk anyway as long as you aren't too obtrusive. 

When you're in Busan, be sure to visit the Gamcheon Culture Village, you won't regret it. 

How to get there

Take subway like 1 (the red line) and get off at Toseong station. Take exit 6, turn right at the corner and walk to the bus stop. From there you can catch a small shuttle bus (bus 2 or 2-2), which will drop you at the Gamcheon entrance. 

Wondering the Ihwa Mural Village

On the actual day of Chuseok during our Chuseok in Seoul , we wondered around Ihwa Mural Village. It was a great idea for Chuseok day as many things in Seoul were closed and the Ihwa Mural village is simply an array of murals scattered around a neighborhood. The village is set on Naksan and the neighborhood winds up the “mountain” with many alley ways, steps and steep paths. 

The murals around the Ihwa village were painted as part of a project by the Korean Ministry of Culture and Tourism in an effort to promote the area and make it a bit of a tourist destination. 

As the area is a real neighborhood and home to many residents, it was peaceful and quiet. It was nice escape to be away from the busyness that is Seoul, so much that it doesn't feel much like you are in Seoul anymore. There were only a few tourists taking pictures and walking around and unfortunately as it was Chuseok, most of the quaint looking cafes were closed. 

As you can tell by this heavy picture-fulled blog post, I definitely recommend a visit to the Ihwa mural village if you are in Seoul. There are many murals to be spotted, and believe it or not, these are only a handful of them. The village is easy to access and just near the Hyehwa subway station. My word of advice is, wear practical shoes as there are many many stairs.