Busan, Gamcheon Cultural Village | 감천 문화마을

Gamcheon cultural village is one of my most wanted visit place in Busan for this trip. This village located in Gamcheon 2-dong also well known as Taegeukdo Village. Taegukdo is a religion established in 1918 and the village is established by the 4,000 Taegukdo believers in the past. The village formed with unique stair format which display in an orderly manner where the housing complex are built along it so not to block the adjacent housings (which pretty similar to Santorini therefore Gamcheon also knowned as Korea's Santorini). 

It's all the way up to Gamcheon 2-dong in a very steep road. When we spotted some murals on the walls during our way up, we knew Gamcheon Cultural Village is not far. (Photo taken when we cross the pedestrian flyover bridge from Gamcheon Primary School to the Gamcheon Cultural Village entrance.)  

Gamcheon Primary School is where we can park our vehicle. Saw the green bus opposite the school? That's where the Gamcheon Cultural Village entrance located.

The 45 degree slope to go up to the open parking place at Gamcheon Primary school! Very challenging for both drivers and pedestrian who drive / walk up and down the slope! 

The entrance to the village. Since it is long holiday in Korea, there are many visitors here. 
Flower pots in Jeans standing next to the entrance which welcome us! 

Information board with the village map and attractions points - while I am taking photos of the map for reference, suddenly husband handed me a brochure with map and info out of no-where. 

Gamcheon Cultural Village Visitor Centre 
Inside there is a gallery of  the history and development of Gamcheon. You may buy the map here  at KRW2000 where you can collect stamps around the village and exchange postcards at certain stations. The stamps station is also the most popular sites in the village - by collecting all stamps means you have cover all the must-see area. 

The mural on the Gamcheon Cultural Village Visitor Centre's wall is "Gamcheon Arirang" by Jeon Mi Kyung - An image of the Gamcheon Cultural Village was reconstructed to display its geographical characteristics and history. 

The Visitor Centre is also a Little Musuem that display over 70 pieces of household items from the past donated from the residents here. There are also exhibition of photos from the past, a rebuilt model of an old shanty housing (see picture) and the village development process. 

Opposite the Little Musuem is this "House with a story" by Park Eun Seng and Park Kyung Seok.

The neatly organized and concentrated residential are displaying its diverse colors is expressed in an imagery of rising houses (the yellow artwork in the photo). 

When we look up to the sky, we can see some birds sculptures on the rooftop. 

It's "People and Birds" by Jeon Young Jin. 

People and bird carry out this message: 누구나 한번쯤 하늘을 날고 싶다는 재밌고 엉뚱한 상상을 한반쯤 해보았을 것이다. 가끔 모든 걸 뒤로하고 하늘을 훨훨 날아 보고자 하는 뜻이 담겨 있다. Which means "Probably everyone has dreamed of flying freely in the sky. Sometimes, everyone wishes to put everything behind and fly like the birds."

Next to it, it's "Facing each other" by Na In Ju. This large mural on the side of the building is a drawn as a mirror image of the alleyway in front of the building.

And here comes the Fish in the alleys which is a popular site of taking photos by visitors.

"Fish in the alleys" by Jin Young Seob. This piece is an expression of the village path where communication and interaction is formed among the villagers. the free movement of the fishes creates a living space full of life.

And look up above the fish in the alley you will see this "Scenery with grapes" by Ha Young Ju. An image of ripe vine of grapes was drawn to resemble the lively and abundant image of the village.

Art Shop 아트숍
The Art Shop is kind of like sunk down in between the buildings. If not because of the colorful rooftop one could probably miss it out. Inside the art shop, you can find cultural products resembling the Gamcheon Cultural Village -hand crafted by artists and local residents through textile, ceramics and wood-working workshop programmes for sale here.

Coffee and Snack Shop. 

Gamneh Cafe which is also Haneul Maru Tourist Information Centre where I get my first stamp on the map (also the only stamp) before we walk up to the observatory.

On top of the Gamneh Cafe rooftop is the artwork "Sweet break" by Jeon Young Jin - The imagery of birds carrying bags filled with love and good news allows us to find a piece of sweet serenity in the midst of a busy and tiring life. 

TIPS: Follow the "FISH" painting board which served as a direction sign - it will brings you to the popular sites if you do not wish to get to the wrong alley or miss out any hidden germs in between.

We climb quite a number of steps on a sloppy alley up to Hanuel Maru. This sloppy alley is one of the road to many houses in the village too. There are signboards remind visitor to keep our volume low not to disturb the residents who live here, also not to enter to any compound that are not open for visitors.  

Upon reaching the observatory which is actually a rooftop on top of a house, first come into our eye is the signboard of President Park Guenhye visited Gamcheon on 2012! The roof is open for visitor to be able to see the whole Gamcheon Cultural Village view daily from 9am to 5pm. 

Beautiful Gamcheon with sunset. The postcard was given after I place my first stamp on the map at the Gamneh Cafe.

Gamneh-Matjib 감내맛집
The GamNeh-MatJib is a business under consigned management by the Gamcheon Cultural Village Residents' Association and it is comprised of Gamneh-Bunshik (Korean Street Food, 1st Floor) and Gamneh-Bibimbap (2nd Floor). The profit made from this business is used for village development, and it also provides employment opportunities for the residents.

Little Prince and Desert Fox by Na In-Ju. The little prince and desert fox departed from the stars and came to Gamcheon Cultural Village. They stopped during their journey and sat on the banisters to look down on the village. Too bad some visitors took too long in taking pictures with Little Prince so I end up give up waiting and just snap the picture from behind.

Another observatory area where you can have a good view of Gamcheon Cultural Village.

This is what we saw on the observatory tower. Spotted the Artwork "Nostalgia" by Park Eun Seng on the top right corner in this picture? Nostalgia is actually the Korean Characters / wordings from Jeong Ji Yong's poem (I know this from 2 days 1 night episode when the team visit Busan just 1 or 2 weeks before we are here). The forms of lyrics are changing illustrates about the past, the present and future. 

Due to time constrain, the village open from 9am to 5pm and we are there around 3.30pm. We did not went through all the artworks. Do prepared to walk for at least 2-3 hours at least if you want to complete the full course at the cultural village. There are some uphill and steep slopes which you need to climb up so make sure you wear a pair of comfortable shoe for this trip. 

Next: Busan Pyukung University Area & Busan Night View from Geumnyeonsan.