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A Brief Guide to Gamcheon | Busan

The colors. The COLORS.

Gamcheon Village, located in sunny Busan, is a beauty and conundrum to behold. Built into the sides of a mountain, the former slum is a kaleidoscope of pastel colored Tetris pieces, painted in 2009 to entice spectators and tourists up one hell of a steep slope. And it is worth it, if only for the spectacular views and creativity.

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Tourists have access to so many places in Gamcheon, walking around what feels like people’s private properties. One might wonder how they get the necessities of life into the cozy, cement houses nestled so close to one another. I caught a glimpse inside one residence to see a full size refrigerator, the likes of which I don’t have, and could not stop thinking about what they had to do to maneuver that beast up the mountain slope and through the nonexistent “streets” the rest of the trip.

I was at once both envious and confused.

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Gamcheon is dotted with galleries, street art, street food and cafes.  I loved all the colors, the vibrant feel, the artisanal quality of the village. The residents keep everything meticulously clean and they have fresh plant life growing within many of the nooks and crannies to bring life and warmth to the old, stone homes.

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It is still a poorer neighborhood, no matter the transformation, and you get a real sense of older, slower Korean life by looking through the alleyways. Go for a visit, spend some money, give back to the community that is creatively pulling itself out of poverty by painting the town. It’s is really the Little Village Who Could.

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To see more pictures, visit my Flickr page. ❤️‍

To get there:

By Taxi (recommended): Take a taxi from Busan Station. Takes about 20 minutes and costs more but they will take you directly to the entrance. Once you see the slope that you drive up, you will know you did not want to hoof it.

By Subway & Bus: Take Line 1 to Toseon Station, Exit 6. Turn Right and walk straight until you see a hospital. At the bus stop in front of the hospital, take Bus 2 or 2-2. It will take you to the top of the hill.

Can you walk? A coworker of mine said that when  she visited, the bus was so crowded over and over her party  decided to walk up the hill. After going up in a taxi I ask, “How is she still alive??” I would have probably had a crying fit and then a stroke. In that order. It’s pretty steep…however, she proves it can be done. But, be in good shape. She’s a runner.

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