This visit to Busan was a day trip from Seoul in order to visit the famed Gamcheon Culture Village. Yes, it’s somewhat crazy yet doable, thanks to the fast and efficient KTX (Korea Train Express). But of course, South Korea’s second largest city definitely deserves way more time to uncover its beauty and numerous attractions. And so, I have kept Busan in mind when revisiting South Korea in future, perhaps together with Jeju Island. For now, it’s going to be just the artistically colourful Gamcheon neighbourhood filled with maze-like alleys.
Choryang Milmyeon in Busan
We arrived in Busan around late morning and made our way to Choryang Milmyeon which is located near the station. Milmyeon (wheat noodles) is one of the locals’ favourite food here and Choryang Milmyeon is known for that and Wang Mandu (huge dumplings). The popular restaurant was super crowded even before lunch hours! Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long before our turn to be served with their in-house specialities.
Milmyeon comes in two types, the icy cold broth is Mul Milmyeon and the dried version is Bibim Milmeyeon. The chewy noodles and the chilled broth are refreshing but the taste was somewhat acquired. Whereas the dried version is served without broth but a spicy sauce instead. I love them both but the same cannot be said about the Mandu as the taste was quite forgettable…
Gamcheon Culture Village
Gamcheon Culture Village was once a hilltop slum where refugees from the Korean War in the 1950s had occupied. And while other parts of Busan had developed rapidly corresponding with its busy shipping ports postwar, Gamcheon was seemingly being left behind. It remained as homes to the poor and needy before its transformation to a tourist’s destination. The neighbourhood which comes with an impressive sea view then underwent major makeovers after a collective plan to invite artists to move in and decorate up the area. The artists refreshed the village with pastel paints, colourful murals and inspiring sculptures. All the artworks upped the charm of Gamcheon Culture Village to another level.
The project was named as “Dreaming of Busan Machu Picchu” which is quite a bizarre choice, to be honest. Pardon me, but isn’t Machu Picchu an ancient ruin?
There is no entrance fee and much of the information can be obtained at the Tourist Information Centre located near to the bus stop. The area map can be bought here but I think it’s not necessary as it’s best to wander around at will. More so when it’s really easy to get lost along the alleyways while stumbling upon quirky artworks.
Little Prince is definitely one of the most popular artworks in the village.
The surrounding views of the pastel-painted houses are the main attraction for me. Although it can be quite a walk around the village with all those stairs and slopes, I really enjoyed exploring around the alleyways. Just be mindful not to create too much nuisance for the residents here.
Thereafter, I managed to squeeze time to capture some parts of the impressive-looking Gwangan Bridge near to Shinsegae Centum City before boarding the return train to Seoul. I definitely need more time in Busan!
Dongdaemun and Cheonggyecheon Stream
I was far from sleepy even after a long day trip so I suppose it’s time for Dongdaemun. The area is known for its nearly round-the-clock shopping hours for night owls. Most malls here stay open throughout the night until it’s almost time for the next daybreak. Yes, seriously.
I am not that much of a shopper and made my way to Cheonggyecheon Stream instead. And it’s like a different world from the streets above, nice! Hopefully, I will be back in South Korea sooner than I thought, especially to spend more time in Busan.