Gamcheon Culture Village: Wander and discover this colorful rural area in Busan, South Korea

The panoramic view of Gamcheon Culture Village

Busan is known as the second-largest city in South Korea. From Manila, it only takes 4 hours with a direct flight from major airlines, and if you are coming from Seoul, it will only take 2-3 hours via high-speed train, which operates daily, making it accessible from the capital city. It is the biggest city port and is considered the country's summer capital, given its millions of visitors annually. Its long stunning beaches and proximity to the mountains prompt a perfect getaway.

A key highlight that you must visit while in Busan is the largest seafood market named Jagalchi Fish Market, where you can spot the freshest catch of the day. If you are kin to shopping, get lost in Shinsegae Centum City, the largest shopping mall with its golf course. It boasts levels upon levels of stores, restaurants, salons, clinics, etc.

From the lengthy sand to the artiest town, one shouldn't miss seeing and visiting the picturesque beauty of Busan's Machu Picchu – Gamcheon Culture Village. The village was a former slum during the earlier years, home to around 800 low-income families. The heritage of this town comes from the thousand refugees from the Korean War. After a few years, many houses are left abandoned due to the lack of basic infrastructure. In contrast to its history, Gamcheon Culture Village now boasts brightly painted houses in the steep mountain-side slope that also earns its name as Santorini of South Korea. With the effort of local government and participation of the residents, urban planners, and artists, they began the regeneration in the area to attract tourists and at the same time attain sustainable development while maintaining its unique heritage with artistic value. Now the village boasts a labyrinth of pastel-colored houses that's truly a magnificent view.

The Little Prince and the Fox

Navigating this former shantytown is free, and there are two ways to explore this village fully. One is to purchase a map at the tourist information center, which costs KRW 2,000.00, where you will be collecting stamps at the notable points of the village. In exchange, you will get postcards once you have collected the desired number of stamps. This is ideal for the tourist who has a limited time frame when visiting the place. However, if you have much time and are an adventurous soul, the second way to explore the village is to get lost in its twisted streets or let the swimming fishes lead you throughout the entire town. Getting lost might give you something to ponder into which you may also discover hidden tracks that weren't generally on the tourist map. This will undoubtedly give you a unique and local vibe.


Upon entering the town, the Fish Swimming Through the Alley and The Fish of Gamcheon will greet you. It serves as the guide throughout the village. These wooden fishes have a deep meaning, and it is created to pay tribute to the women of Gamcheon, to take care of their families by selling fish every day. And if you count those wooden fishes, at least two thousand of them swim through the endless passage.

The Little Prince and the Fox could have been a famous spot in the area. However, there are a lot more interesting points in this artistic village. Like the "Stairs to See Stars," it has 148 steps making people dizzy upon descending, thus having its name.

A tourist enjoying the view with the Little Prince and the Fox

If you keep walking past the Little Prince and the Fox, you will come across the book staircase, where each step is painted like books. Keep walking, and you might find the summarized version of a charming story of The Cheon Deok Su's wishing well. The story revolves around a selfless young man. When the drought and hunger came into their village, he made ways to stop the famine, so he started digging the ground, thinking he might dig a new well with water. But up to his last breath, he asks God to give him the pain, drought, and hunger instead of the villagers suffering. As a dying wish, the sky started pouring rain, and the well that the young man dug has been filled and has never been dry.

Aside from the colorful abodes on the hill, this touching and altruistic story made it even more appealing and worth visiting.

You can never go wrong wherever your feet bring you at Gamcheon Culture Village. With its street maze, wherever you go will give you a spectacular view of endless murals. Aside from murals and other street arts, the village has coffee shops, restaurants, museums, souvenir shops where you can truly enjoy your visit.  Please share with us the hidden stories you could find in every nook of this town.

Explore Gamcheon Culture Village, Busan, South Korea with us soon.

Blog contributed by: Sachi Dollesin

Photos by: Rakso Travel


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