A Tourist’s Guide to Gamcheon Culture Village

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Gamcheon Culture Village is one of my favourite things to do in South Korea. That’s right. It isn’t one of my favourite things to do in Busan but one of my favourite things to do in the entire country!

Gamcheon Culture Village is so bright and colourful. It’s one of the most unique things you can do in Korea. I’ve been to hundreds of cities around the world and never experienced anything quite like Gamcheon Culture Village.

It is the top thing to do in Busan in my opinion. In fact, it’s the main reason I took my parents to Busan in 2023 when I took them on a three week tour of South Korea.

In this post, I’m going to give you all the information you need to plan a trip to Gamcheon Culture Village as a tourist.

There are definitely some things you should know before visiting this tourist attractions that will help save you time and possibly frustration.

Gamcheon Culture Village

What Exactly is Gamcheon Culture Village?

Gamcheon Culture Village is a small area of Busan known for it’s bright colours, winding streets, and copious amount of stairs.

It’s been a fixture in Busan for many decades. It used to be known as a poor area where a lot of people didn’t want to go.

However, in the 1990s, the residents of Gamcheon Culture Village and the Busan government put in a lot of effort to revitalize the area and make it a desirable place to go. In 2009, there was an art contest, and that’s when the area became the bright, colourful place we all know and love today.

That little history lesson is interesting, but it doesn’t really answer the question what is Gamcheon Culture Village for tourists.

Today it’s a huge tourist attraction.

Tourists get to walk through the village and explore the artwork and vibe. There are tons of cafes, shops, art instillations, and street food.

It’s honestly one of the best places to buy typical tourist souvenirs in Busan in my opinion.

Gamcheon Culture Village is more or less a really cool neighbourhood that tourists explore. It’s unique and has a great tourism infrastructure around it.

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How Long Should I Spend at Gamcheon?

The answer to this question really depends on what you want to get out of your visit to Gamcheon Culture Village.

If you’re sticking to the main tourist walking path and not doing much shopping or eating, you will probably need 60-90 minutes.

If you’re doing the full scavenger hunt, doing a bit of shopping, and snacking on street food, you’ll probably need 2-2.5 hours. I’ll talk more about the scavenger hunt in the next section!

If you want to do everything there is to do in Gamcheon Culture Village and explore every inch of it, dedicate at least half a day to it. Most people don’t need that long, but if you have the time, it is definitely worth exploring the area as much as possible.

I think most people can experience the Gamcheon Village and not feel like they missed anything in 2 hours. That’s how long I would personally recommend you allot yourself to spend there.

This, of course, doesn’t include however long it takes you to get there or to your next destination. I’d give yourself about three hours total including transportation time.

What is There to See and Do?

There is a surprising amount of things to see and do at Gamcheon Culture Village. They’ve done a really good job at creating a place tourists and to go and keep coming back to.

Here are a few of the top things to do in Gamcheon Culture Village:

  • Enjoy coffee with a view at one of the many cafes in Gamcheon
  • Fill up on delicious street food (including the famous toasted marshmallow ice cream)
  • Shop till you drop. You can find the biggest selection of souvenirs at a fair price
  • Enjoy the view at one of Gamcheon Culture Village’s many scenic viewpoints
  • Wander around hunting for street art
  • Take part in the scavenger hunt
  • Enjoy the modern art instillations scattered throughout the village

My favourite thing to do in Gamcheon Culture Village is the scavenger hunt. It’s so much fun, and I do it every time I visit.

You purchase a map right at the entrance of the village. It’s only 2,000 Won as of mid-2023 and makes your visit to Gamcheon so much more fun.

The scavenger hunt is actually a map of Gamcheon Culture Village, which is quite useful because it’s super easy to get lost in the neighbourhood. There are different places in Gamcheon marked on the map, and that’s what you’re hunting for.

The map takes you all around the village and helps guide you through the more narrow places where most of the residents live.

You get to stamp your map at each location, and it makes for a very fun souvenir.

Three of the locations on the scavenger hunt are the “big” locations. When you collect your stamp at those locations, you’re given a small prize!

top tip

Purchase a scavenger map when you enter Gamcheon Culture Village to add a little extra fun to your day!

Do People Live in Gamcheon Culture Village?

Yes! Lots of people still live in Gamcheon Culture Village. I couldn’t find an exact number online. There was a lot of contradicting information. Some places only count the people living in what the tourists call Gamcheon Culture Village, some count everybody who is in that small area, and some places count the people living in the whole district.

I don’t know what the right number to use is, and it’ll probably be outdated by the time you read this anyways!

But there are anywhere between 120 and 3,000 people living in Gamcheon Culture Village.

That means as a tourist you’re walking around and exploring a normal neighbourhood where people live their daily lives.

This means you have to be respectful.

There are signs around the neighbourhood that remind you to keep your voice down so please respect them.

There are also many signs as you get deeper into the village that tell you that someone lives there and to please not enter. Please, please, please respect those signs.

You wouldn’t want countless strangers walking on your front step and looking into your house every single day. So don’t do it to the people who live in Gamcheon.

You may accidentally stumble into a place that’s clearly someone’s front porch. It’s easy to do. I’ve done it before. As soon as you realize, turn around and go back to the main route.

People are understanding if you make an innocent mistake but please respect all the signs and anything you’re told by the residents or people who work at Gamcheon.

It’s their home. You need to be super respectful.

Gamcheon Culture Village

How Do I Get There?

Telling you how to get to Gamcheon Culture Village is a bit more complicated than it appears at first glance. Because I don’t know where you’re staying in Busan!

So, I’m just going to give you a brief overview of how most people get to Gamcheon. In all honesty, I recommend you just pop Gamcheon Culture Village into your Google Maps or Naver when you’re ready to visit. That way you’ll know exactly where to go from wherever you’re staying.

Just in case you’re looking for a general idea of how to get to Gamcheon Culture Village, here are the two main things you need to know:

  • You want to take either bus Seogu 2 or Seogu 2-2. These are small little green buses that take you up the winding road to Gamcheon Culture Village. You can pick this bus up at Seomyeon or closer to Gamcheon.
  • That brings us to important information number two. If you’re grabbing the bus closer to Gamcheon, you should take metro line 1 and get off at Jagalchi Station. Leave via exit 1, which is the closest exit to Gamcheon Culture Village and the bus stop.

You can also walk to Gamcheon Culture Village from Jahalchi Station. I’ve done it and don’t recommend it.

It’s quite a steep climb and takes close to an hour to walk from the metro station to the entrance to Gamcheon. Google Map will suggest that it is only a 30-40 minute walk, but it is longer in my experience.

Are There Other Tourist Attractions Nearby?

Not really. Gamcheon Culture Village is kind of out on it’s own. No other major tourist attractions are nearby. You’ll have to catch a bus or the metro to get to your next destination.

Gamcheon Culture Village

When is Gamcheon Culture Village Open?

Gamcheon Culture Village is open 7 days a week from 9am to 6pm for tourists.

Please be respectful of these hours and don’t stay after 6pm. As you know, people live in the neighbourhood, so you need to respect when it is their time to have their neighbourhood to themselves and not share it with tourists.

top tip

Rent pocket wifi to pick up at the airport to easily stay connected and online while in Korea. It’s cheaper than getting an esim in Korea.

Is Gamcheon Culture Village Accessible?

Accessibility means a lot of different things to a lot of people. I’m going to try to answer this question to cover the most common physical disability accessibility questions people have. I’m sorry if I don’t answer your specific question!

Unfortunately, Gamcheon Culture Village is fairly inaccessible.

If you have a wheelchair, you’l find visiting Gamecheon quite difficult.

There are a lot of steps and walking at Gamcheon. The walkways get quite narrow the further into the village you go, and the spaces can get quite small.

I’m not blind, but I imagine it would be a very difficult terrain to navigate as a blind person unless you have a sighted person assisting you.

If you use a mobility aid, there may be parts of the village you’re not able to go to because your mobility aid doesn’t fit.

If you have a disability that makes walking or doing steps difficult, Gamcheon Culture Village will be a challenge.

That being said, if you have a mobility aid or trouble walking or doing stairs, that doesn’t mean you can’t visit Gamcheon.

It just means that your experience will be limited.

The main part of Gamcheon Culture Village is where most of the shops and cafes are. It’s also the widest and most accessible part of the neighbourhood.

You should be able to navigate the first little bit with most mobility aids. Including possibly a wheelchair.

There are a few areas where you can choose to go up stairs, but it is completely necessary. You’ll just miss out on a couple viewpoints.

You will eventually need to turn around and go back out the way you came instead of continuing to walk along the path like most people do. But you’ll be able to experience the most vibrant and active part of the neighbourhood.

You’ll probably need 30-45 minutes to explore the top part of Gamcheon Culture Village if you have a mobility aid and are only exploring the wide part of the neighbourhood.

Please also note that you have to take a small bus up to Gamcheon Culture Village. I’m not sure how accessible the bus is. It’s quite small, so I imagine you wouldn’t be able to get a wheelchair on it.

There is a metro station close(ish) to the neighbourhood. You have to go up quite a large hill to get to the entrance of the village though. It is about a 45-minute walk and can be quite strenuous. You’ll have to consider whether you’re wheelchair (and possible friend or family member who is walking) can make it up the hill.

I’m not sure if there are accessible buses or taxis in Busan. I did some Googling and didn’t find very good answers. I apologize for not being able to help you in that regard!

Gamcheon Culture Village

Other Top Busan Attractions

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The Importance of Internet Safety

You will be relying on public wifi when in Busan. If you have rented pocket wifi or have an esim, there will still be times when you rely on public wifi. Mostly at hotels.

Pretty much anybody can access hotel wifis in Korea because most hotels don’t put a password on their wifi. This makes you even more susceptible to having your online data stolen than you normally are when using public wifi.

When you use public wifi, all your private online data is out there for someone with bad intentions to steal. Trust me when I tell you that you don’t want to be dealing with the headache of having to cancel all your bank cards while abroad because someone stole your banking information!

The only way you can keep your private online information safe while using public wifi is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts an invisible forcefield around your devices that makes it impossible for prying eyes to access your private information. It make using public wifi just as safe as using your home wifi where you’re the only one who knows the password.

Installing a VPN is one of the easiest ways you can keep yourself safe while travelling. You take precautions to make sure you’re physically safe while travelling, and you need to do the same for your online safety.

I always say that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to keep your online information safe with a VPN.

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My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs during my years of travel. Most of them, frankly, suck. VPNs are notorious for slowing down your devices. Most VPNs I’ve tried are so slow and frustrating that I end up turning them off and putting my online data at risk. Not smart, I know.

That all changed when I started using NordVPN. It’s the fastest VPN on the market, and I never notice any internet slow down when using it. I can browse the internet just as quickly with my VPN activated as I can without it.

You can install your VPN on up to six devices, so you can easily keep all your devices safe from prying eyes with one subscription.

Plus you can cloak your location, which allows you to watch Netflix and sports from different countries.

The best part about NordVPN (other than it keeping you safe) is that it’s super affordable. A two-year subscription costs less per month than a single Starbuck’s latte.

It’s a small, small price to pay for the peace of mind and security you get from knowing that your online information and data is safe from prying eyes.

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Conclusion

Gamcheon Culture Village is truly a must-do activity while in Busan. You haven’t experienced Busan if you haven’t explored Gamcheon.

I hope this article has helped you plan your perfect day at Gamcheon Culture Village and helped you understand what to expect while you’re there.

Most importantly, I hope you have an amazing time at Gamcheon Culture Village and fall in love with it just like I did!

PS- Don’t forget to make sure you have travel insurance before arriving in South Korea!

A Tourist\'s Guide to Gamcheon Culture VillageA Tourist\'s Guide to Gamcheon Culture VillageA Tourist\'s Guide to Gamcheon Culture VillageA Tourist\'s Guide to Gamcheon Culture Village
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