When I got back from The Philippines I had the worst holiday blues ever! Going from 30°C to -10°C is one thing, but I also needed a bit of the colour back. This year, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to see more of Korea. I live just 30 minutes away from Busan which is Korea’s second biggest city, after Seoul. Despite having lived so close by for almost 2 years, I’ve still not even been to all the main tourist attractions- something I’m going to rectify in the coming months! To start this off, and to get some much-needed colour back, I decided to pay a visit to Gamcheon Culture village!
Gamcheon Culture Village is a mountainside neighbourhood, with quirky pastel lego shaped houses. The area also has a pretty rich history. Apparently this used to be one of the poorest areas of Busan and after the Korean War many refugees flocked here since Busan was one of the only parts of the Korean peninsula not to be overtaken by the North. One of the refugees started a religion called Taegeuk-Do, and this village became a safe place for followers to start a community. They worked together to build the modest, square-shaped houses. Gamcheon Culture Village is still often referred to as Taegeuk-do Village to this day, although very few of the residents still follow the religion.
These days, the houses are an extremely popular tourist destination in Busan, after being given a facelift by some art students back in 2009, hence their cute pastel colour. The village is full of little art galleries, kitschy cafes and winding alleyways, all filled with murals and paintings. While I was there I also saw a few ceramics shops offering lessons to tourists, so it’s definitely a place to check out if you want to get a bit artsy yourself! The Korean tourism board goes as far to refer to Gamcheon Culture Village as “The Santorini of the East” and “The Korean Macchu Pichu.” While I do think this is just a bit far-fetched, it’s definitely a unique part of Busan’s cityscape and something I recommend you check out if you have a weekend in the city.
Let me know, what’s your favourite offbeat destination?