This post is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start at the beginning, click here.
From BIFF Square, we took a bus to one of the biggest attractions in Busan – Gamcheon Culture Village. Getting to here is a little tricky, as there the subway does not extend here. So we took a special green coloured tourist bus from Seo-Gu Office, this large traffic intersection near Jagalchi Fish Market. The problem is that there are many bus stops here, including in the centre of the intersection – between traffic lanes…
After asking around, we spotted the small green bus, just about to leave!
If i remember correctly, this green bus is slightly different from the regular buses, in that you don’t need to tag out when you leave the bus since the ride is per entry (or at least that was what we understood). The bus was filled with elderly ladies and China tourists.
Another way to get to Gamcheon is to take a subway to the end of the line and take bus there. Either way, you need to take a bus. It’s not advisable to take a taxi (pricey) or drive there. The road to Gamcheon is very narrow and with very sharp turns, so its a bit of a dangerous drive.
Once you get to Gamcheon, you are immediately greeted with the iconic view.
This coastal town is built on a steep hillslope, facing the sea. The houses are all painted in pastel colours, and most of the homes here are converted into tourists shops, art galleries, or cafes.
The best views of the place is near the entrance to the village. There are a few vantage points here, climb to the roof viewing decks to get a good shot.
Near the bus stop at the entrance is the tourist information centre. Here you can buy a cheap but useful map. You can follow any of the three prescribed routes – they have easy, moderate and hard. You can collect unique stamps along the way (in total there are 12 if you follow the longest route). At 3 of the stamping stations, you can also collect special postcards as souvenirs. The map is beautifully illustrated, it serves as a nice souvenir even if you don’t participate in the stamp hunt.
We decided to take full route and participate in the stamp hunt. The whole village is set out like a 3-D maze, so it is easy to get lost here. The full route takes about an hour and is quite challenging with lots of climbing and walking. Along the way, there are many things to see like art installation, cute gift shops, lazy cats, and stunning views.
If you have time, you can also explore the narrow side paths off the main route – and seek out the hidden treasures there.
For some strange reason, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is really popular here in Gamcheon, They see lots of his pictures here, plus souvenirs and postcards bearing the image of the tiny prince and his intrepid fox (if you haven’t read the book, give it a go and try to interpret the inferences). See this line of people queuing below? Including the two girls in full hanbok regalia?
They are all lining up to take picture with this famous sculpture of the prince and fox looking over Gamcheon.
No, we didn’t wait in line for half an hour for this. I didn’t really like the book.
Nearing the end of the route, we decided to take a break for ice-cream, while my kid went out to find the last stamp. It was quite a warm day for spring.
Finally, after taking the (almost) full walking route, we completed the trail and found all 9 stamps! Do note the trail does not end at the same place you start.
So in summary, Gamcheon is a beautiful village and in my opinion, the highlight of my trip here to Busan. If you have a full day, you spend it entirely here exploring all the side streets. Do note that there aren’t many restaurants, just little cafes and snack stalls. So do plan to eat somewhere else if you are visiting here. The walking bit is quite challenging for the elderly or little children, but other than that the shortest route should be okay if you want a quick view of the area.
This was our completed map with the 12 stamps and 3 postcards. Very fulfilling!