Oli and I love adventure. We love packing up our bags on a whim and travelling to new places, often knowing little to nothing about them before we go. It’s why we love being expats so bloody much, because we get to do this all the time while still holding down grown up jobs!
Yet, despite this, we are also creatures of comfort, often forgoing trying out new things for fear of the bitter taste of disappointment.
Take Busan for instance. We absolutely love this city and have been there numerous times since we first fell for Haeundae back in October. Busan is huge and has so much to offer, but whenever we go we always stick to the same tried and tested recipe. We stay in Haeundae, we explore Jagalchi and beautiful Yongungsa and we eat shellfish BBQ. It’s awesome.
So, when our university bestie Tor came to Korea we gave her this tour too, and she loved it! But the highlight of the trip was getting out of our Busan comfort zone and heading to the Gamcheon Cultural Village.
This village, perched on a steep hill running up from the ocean, once home to fewer than 20 homes, grew rapidly in the 1950’s as war refugees fled here for safety. A community founded by the poorest in Korea, the place has recently undergone an incredible transformation from shanty town to tourist hot spot with the injection of art into it’s streets. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism employed the help of artists and locals alike to bring life, and wealth, to an area that was falling behind the rest of thriving Busan.
They did a fabulous job.
Gamcheon cultural village is amazing to behold, from the overview of it’s thousands of multicoloured walls, roofs and windows to the tiniest of artistic details in the many murals adorning the walls. Everywhere you look there is colour, creativity and culture.
While it is pretty far from the centre of Busan, it’s also easy to get to and once you are there it is incredibly easy to spend an afternoon wandering around. If you take mini-bus 2 or 2-2 from outside Toseong subway station, you will be dropped off at Gamcheon Elementary school and from there you can simply follow the trail of colourful fish through the winding streets.
These arrow shaped fish, painted with every possibly shape, style and colour are everywhere in Gamcheon, always pointing the way towards more art and making sure you never lose your way. They were one of our favourite parts of the whole place!
Gamcheon cultural village was just what we needed to shake things up a bit and remind us of why we love to travel; for the new and unique experiences it offers. It’s so easy to stick to what you know, but going out of your way for new adventures is a hell of a lot more rewarding.
Have you been to Gamcheon Cultural Village? How about other towns or villages full of art, culture and surprises around every corner? It reminds me of pictures I have seen of George Town in Malaysia, and now I’m even more excited to go!
Wait, don’t leave yet!
We’d like to remind you that you can read all about this village, and far more, in our upcoming book. It’s going to be a pretty epic travel guide about Korea, even if we do say so ourselves, and you should sign up below to keep in the loop about promotions and details regarding when it’s coming out 🙂 We look forward to hearing from you!
Update: Our Korea Journey Handbook is now available on the Kindle Store for only £2.58!