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Dynamic Busan

Famous as Korea’s Santorini, Gamcheon Culture Village 감천문화마을 is located at Busan. In 1950s it was built by the refugees, but has turned into a beautiful and distinctive tourist attraction in Busan. 

Another name for the neighbourhood is “Lego Village”. It may not be the most famous tourist attraction in Busan. Compared to my previous trip at Busan, which most of them were temples, sea or mountain, for me the place left a unique and picturesque impression and that’s why worth a visit.

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The view of the colourful Lego-like houses from the observatory

What we can see here are the multicoloured terraced houses with concrete alleys. Each alleys will show you something different. The walls are painted beautifully, even the stairs. The great thing is that these houses are still occupied. I’d love to have such house with colourful painted and drawn walls!

Visitors can get the best panoramic view of the village and the harbour by going up the observatory. The stairs to go up to the observatory is just next to the stone wall with colourful wood planks pasted in the shape of a fish. Something that is eye-catching, you won’t miss it out!

There were colourful bird-like statues on the railings too, but they are actually statues of bird with human face. Visitors are not advised to go up the observatory after 6PM. It is to respect the residents’ privacy.

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People are going up the stairs (taken from the observatory)

People are going up the stairs (taken from the observatory)

The distinctive features are the narrow alleys. You can explore the alleys if you have time and you’ll be surprised to see different paintings. I personally find this penguin painting the most 🙂

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Some of the buildings here are used as a shophouses too. There are kiosks of snacks and Korean street food. For example, the hotteok (Korean sweet pancake filled with brown sugar syrup filling) kiosk on the  right hand side on picture below, is one of the popular ones. 

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While exploring the neighbourhood, I had a familiar feeling as Insa-dong or Samcheong-dong in Seoul before. Maybe that’s why I like this place. So if you like those both places, I’m sure you’ll like Gamcheon Culture Village 감천문화마을 too.

How to go there: 
Take the Bus no 2 or no 2-2 from Toseong Station from exit #8. Get off at Gamjeong Elementary School. You will see the signage, directs you to the neighbourhood.

During my one month stay in Korea, I set a 2days-1night trip to Busan. I was lucky because in the month of May, there are a few public holidays. Last week was Buddha’s Birthday 석가탄신일 and fortunately the public holiday fell during the weekend.

Busan get-away trip was planned in less than a week before the trip and I was about cancel the plan. We almost could not get any guesthouse rooms and KTX tickets. Eventually, after trying harder, we managed to get them. So I still can visit Busan, yay!!

We set off from Seoul Station in the late afternoon as it was the only timing I managed to grab. The train journey was about 3 hours long, an hour faster compared to a bus journey time. After we reached Busan, we went immediately to our guesthouse. Surprisingly, the guesthouse was located in a recent-built apartment and it was very clean! The name of our guesthouse is “BnB Busan Guesthouse Hostel”. The guesthouse host was very friendly and helpful too. He ensured we would not get lost and fetched us on the nearest subway station: Beomnaegol Station (Busan subway line 1, orange line).

Since that we reached Busan in the evening, we rushed to Gwanganlli Beach 광안리 to see the famous night view and Diamond Bridge. It was such a beauty.

Diamond Bridge at Gwanganli Beach

Diamond Bridge at Gwanganlli Beach

The night was colder and windier than Seoul, so we wanted to eat something warm. We found out that Busan was famous for its sashimi and the pork soup rice or ‘gukbab’ 국밥. So we looked for a gukbab 국밥 restaurant along the beach. A bowl of pork soup rice 돼지국밥 was prefect for the cold night.

Pork Rice in Soup 돼지국밥

Pork Rice in Soup 돼지국밥

After dinner, we headed back to our guesthouse. On our way, we coincidentally met an Indonesian student who stay in Busan for her study. What a small world.. So we had a short chat and found out that in Busan, there are quite a number of Indonesians who are studying and working 🙂

On the next day which was also our last day in Busan, we planned to visit a few places : Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사), Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장), Taejongdae Park and to eat sashimi at Jagalchi Fish Market (자갈치 시장).

In the morning, after checked out we went to our first destination Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사). Since it was the period of Buddha’s Birthday, a lot of people went to pray at the temples. As expected, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사) was very crowded. We had to stand in the bus for about 20 mins and worse, the bus driver did not have a good skill in driving. After getting off from the bus, we still had to walk up the hill for about 15 mins. What a morning exercise…

But after all, our efforts was paid off. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사) is situated on the coast of the north-eastern portion of Busan. As most temples in Korea are located in the mountains, this temple is rare find of a temple along the shore line. The scenery from the temple was spectacular.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사)

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사)

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사)

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사)

Since that we were running against time, we head on to Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장) by taxi. It was almost summer in Korea, so the beach was full of people.

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From Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장), we took subway to Busan Station and got on the bus. It was another long journey on the bus. After almost an hour on the bus, we finally reach the Taejongdae Resort Park (태종대 유원지) to see Yeongdo Lighthouse. 

Yeongdo Lighthouse - Taejongdae Resort Park (태종대 유원지)

Yeongdo Lighthouse – Taejongdae Resort Park (태종대 유원지)

Older generations, especially the ahjummas in Korea likes to go hiking here. To go around the park, we can choose either by walking or by the Danubi tram. I recommend to take the Danubi tram. The resort park is huge and it is a quite a challenge to walk or hike. Anyway the tram ticket is not pricey, it is only KRW1500.

Last but not least, before going back to Seoul, we went to eat another Busan speciality dish, sashimi! We went to Jagalchi Market and treated ourselves with a set of sashimi. The set was very big! It was KRW40,000 but it included 3 kind-of-fish sashimi, prawn, gaebul ‘urechis unicintus’ worm (which is very disgusting), a grilled white fish, boiled sweet potato, salad, raw sea urchin, kimchi set, and lastly a pot of delicious spicy fish soup!

If you are going to Busan by train, try to take the evening train timetable so you can see the Busan Station Fountain Light Show. So did we. Just before getting on the train, we managed to see the show.

Busan Station Fountain Light show

Busan Station Fountain Light show

It was a very long, tiring day but a very fruitful day. Finally it’s time to go back to Seoul. I miss my room in Shinchon so much. Good bye, Busan! Seoul, wait for me !!!

How to go: 
1. Gwanganlli Beach (Diamond Bridge) : Take subway to Gwangan Station (subway line no. 2, exit 3 or 5) and walk 5 minutes.

2. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사) : Take subway to Haeundae Station (Busan Subway Line 2, Exit 7) and take bus 181 to Yonggungsa Temple (용궁사).

3. Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장) : Take subway to Haeundae Station (Busan Subway Line 2, Exit 3 or 5) and walk about 600m to the beach.

4. Taejongdae Resort Park (태종대 유원지) : Take subway to Busan Station and take bus 88 or 101 and get off at Taejongdae Park (last stop). The bus journey is about 40 minutes. Or, take subway to Nampo-dong Station, exit 6 and take bus no 8 or 30.

5. Jagalchi Fish Market : Take subway to Jagalchi Station and take exit 10 and walk to Jagalchi Market.

Guesthouse Contact: Andrea Yoon
BnB Busan Guesthouse Hostel  
Email: nobleone@daum.net
Telp: 8207073511105

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