Gamcheon Culture Village guide
Gamcheon is a neighbourhood in the Saha district, located at the southern end of Busan city. Originally a shanty town, it underwent various government-funded projects to become the “Machu Picchu of Busan”.
The neighbourhood, known as Gamcheon Culture Village, features colourful houses that sit in an orderly fashion on the foothills of two coastal mountains – Cheonmasan and Geumjeongsan. The alleys of the town are beautifully decorated with murals and sculptures created by the residents.
To help you make the most out of your visit to the village, here’s a guide that covers 22 things you can do at Gamcheon Culture Village, including recreational activities, interesting cafes to visit, and underrated photo spots.
– Things to do –
1. Attend arts and craft workshops
If you like DIY crafts, you should sign up for a hands-on workshop. Resident artists run a variety of workshops on an ad-hoc basis. Workshops available range from pottery-making to tie-dye art sessions.
Image adapted from: GAMCHEON Culture Village
The tie-dye workshop allows you to play with natural dyes to create designs on eco-bags, handkerchiefs, scarfs, towels, and T-shirts. Workshop fees range from KRW7,000-20,000 (~USD5.97-17.05).
Image adapted from: GAMCHEON Culture Village
For KRW20,000 (~USD17.05), you can participate in a therapeutic pottery workshop and create a cute product with your own hands.
Visit their website for more information on the workshops. For groups of 10 or more, you can book a general art workshop where you can choose your desired activity, such as decorating a miniature Little Prince sculpture.
2. Rent retro Korean uniforms
Image credit: Victoria Ow
Renting retro uniforms is popular among locals and tourists alike. During your visit to Gamcheon Culture Village, add a special newtro touch to your photos by donning retro school uniforms that will make you look like you jumped right out of the past.
Image credit: dhhyang
You can rent retro uniforms for around KRW7,000 (~USD5.89) per hour. These shops usually also rent out traditional hanbok.
Most shops offer both summer and winter school uniforms in a wide range of sizes, and the type of uniform you can rent depends on the season. Most rental shops in the village are tourist-friendly and some even have Mandarin and English-speaking staff.
3. Visit the Grand Budapest Doll Hotel
Image credit: @crazy_red_cat
The Grand Budapest Doll Hotel is a must-visit museum for lovers of vintage doll collections. The museum, which opened in 2016, displays an extensive collection of vintage dolls from around the globe.
It will cost you KRW5,000 (~USD4.21) to enter the museum, as well as access the rooftop. You can also pay KRW1,000 (~USD0.84) to access only the rooftop, which boasts a magnificent view. There are no set opening hours as it’s up to the owner’s whimsy, but based on online reviews, it’s usually open in the day.
Address: 134 Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
4. Have a monochrome photoshoot
Image credit: @phochoco2018
While it’s easy to snap away with your smartphone cameras, it doesn’t capture the moment as timelessly as a black-and-white shot does. If you do decide to rent a retro school uniform, amp up the throwback experience by commemorating the occasion with a monochrome photoshoot.
Image credit: Victoria Ow
At B&W Photos & Chocolate (흑백사진과초콜릿), a simple 5-minute photoshoot will grant you 20-30 raw images to choose from. Each printed photograph – along with its soft copy – costs KRW5,000 (~USD4.21) and there is a minimum purchase of 2 printed photographs per photoshoot. Once you’ve decided on which photos you’d like, it’ll take a quick 5-10 minutes to receive your pictures, packaged nicely in an envelope.
Image credit: migomi1037
Address: 161 Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
Opening hours: Thu – Tue 12PM-6PM (Closed on Wednesdays)
5. Get your fortune told by a gachapon machine
Image credit: busanto1115
Those who enjoy the thrill of getting your fortune told should head to the fortune-telling gachapon machines to get a peek into your future. KRW1,000 (~USD0.84) will get you 1 token, which gives you a play at the gachapon machine.
The machines are split by zodiac signs and your love relationship status. Do note that the fortune slips in the capsules are in Korean.
Address: Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
Opening hours: 24/7
6. Get a bird’s eye view of the village
Image credit: @triballer
The colourful panoramic view at the top of the hill is one of the village’s key highlights and something that you won’t easily find elsewhere in Korea.
Image credit: @sonia_wloszczowska
There are many vantage points where you can get a bird’s eye view of Gamcheon Culture Village. The most popular one is the Sky Maru Observatory due to its convenient location at the entrance of the village.
As you walk around the village, you’ll also be able to get panoramic views of the village at different angles.
Address: 177-11 Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
Opening hours: 9AM-5PM, Daily (Nov-Feb) | 9AM-6PM, Daily (Mar-Oct)
7. Send snail mail
Image credit: ckddnjs3506
Postcards from a foreign country are souvenirs that will become fond memories of the places you once visited. A snail postbox allows you to send postcards like regular mail, just that they’ll only reach their destination a year later.
There’s one such snail postbox at the Sky Maru Observatory. You can pleasantly surprise yourself or a friend with a tangible piece of your visit to Gamcheon Culture Village, in postcard form, a year later.
Image credit: kji206
To send a piece of snail mail, purchase a postcard for KRW1,000 (~USD0.84) each and pay for the postage at the information desk of the observatory.
8. Go souvenir shopping
Image credit: gamrae007
Gamcheon Culture Village has a few souvenir shops, but the first official one is the Asteroid B612 Souvenir shop (소행성 B612 기념품숍), named after the star that the Little Prince came from.
Before its opening in 2018, the shop was an abandoned space beside the Little Prince statue.
Image credit: gamrae007
The souvenir shop sells a variety of items – from tote bags to stationery – that will send you on a tourist-y shopping spree. Most of the items are designed by the artists living in the village and proceeds from the shop go to creating jobs for residents and funding village development projects.
Address: 128-1 Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
– Cafes to visit –
9. Gamcheon Bakery 감천제빵소
Image credit: @diaj_ay
Formerly known as Gamcheon Moonlight Donuts, Gamcheon Bakery is not just a place to sit down for breakfast or tea. The adorable cat statue at the front window of the bakery also makes the cafe a cute photo spot.
The cafe’s signature items are their lemon cakes, baked doughnuts and coffee.
The cafe also has seats by the window where you can enjoy your pastries while gazing out at the view of the village and the Busan port.
Address: 145 Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
10. Gamnae Café 감내카페
Image credit: GAMCHEON Culture Village
It’s hard to miss Gamnae Cafe as it is located at the entrance of the alleyway that leads up to the Sky Maru Observatory. The cafe, which is run by the Gamcheon Culture Village Residents’ Council, has indoor and outdoor seats, as well as a takeaway window for those who want their orders to go.
Image credit: 77770309
Choose from a wide range of drinks (KRW2,500-4,000, ~USD2.10-3.37), including coffee, smoothies, and tea lattes. Gamnae cafe also serves bingsu in flavours such as citron and persimmon, with prices ranging from KRW4,000-5,500 (~USD3.37-4.63).
Address: 177 Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
Opening hours: 9AM-6PM, Daily
11. Coffee It House 커피잇집
Image credit: @coffee.it.house
Coffee It House is part of a multi-storey building that offers 3 different services – a photo studio called “Photo It House” in B2, a cafe called “Coffee It House” on the 1st floor and B1, and a hanbok and school uniform rental service called “Hanbok It House” on the 2nd floor.
The pink floral-themed cafe has large glass windows that boast panoramic views of Gamcheon Culture Village.
Image credit: madeline1218
Sip on a hot latte (KRW4,500, ~USD3.97) while gazing at the colourful buildings of Gamcheon Village. The cafe also serves smoothies (KRW6,000, ~USD5.30) and brewed teas (KRW4,000, ~USD3.37). Add a sweet finishing touch to your cafe visit by ordering the dessert of the day (KRW5,000, ~USD4.21).
Address: 10-62 Gamcheon-dong, Saha-gu, Busan
Opening hours: 10AM-8PM, Daily
12. Café Prince 왕자양과점
Image credit: cbleye
Cafe Prince is known for selling their drinks in special glass bottles that also double as take-home souvenirs.
With KRW5,000 (~USD4.21), you can buy a range of drinks such as their signature milk tea, coffee, and orange juice. Cafe Prince’s signature pound cake (KRW4,000, ~USD3.37) is a must-try and comes in 5 flavours – chocolate, choco cranberry, banana, green tea, and fig.
The retro wooden interior of the cafe brings nostalgia to customers while the rectangular window beautifully frames the picturesque view of the village. Cafe Prince also has a resident cat that will pose for your camera if he’s in a good mood.
Address: 136 Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
Opening hours: Tue – Sun 10AM-6PM (Closed on Mondays)
13. Meorakano Cafe 머라카노
Image credit: utopia3121
Meorakano cafe is the place to visit for ‘80s vibes as it’s decorated with vinyl records to resemble a retro music cafe. The cafe’s name, 머라카노 (meorakano), is a phrase in Gyeongsang-do dialect that translates to “what are you doing”.
The cafe offers a wide variety of main courses such as bibimbap, Korean lunchbox, bibim noodles, and toast for KRW6,000 (~USD5.05) each. Complete your meal with a glass of juice (KRW5,000, ~USD4.21) or a cup of coffee (KRW3,000, ~USD2.52).
Address: 251-4 Gamnae 1(il)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
Opening hours: 11AM-8PM, Daily (Closed on public holidays)
14. Voda Vom 보다봄
Image credit: @mimcando
Voda Vom’s 3-storey cafe is perfect for lovers of minimalism. The cafe’s simple white interior also serves as a great backdrop for all your OOTDs. If you don’t like being cooped up inside, head for the rooftop where you can enjoy the fresh air and an unobstructed view of the village.
Image credit: @penny_neinei
Their bestselling items, as featured on their storefront, are their americano (KRW3,500, ~USD3.02), blue curacao lemonade (KRW4,000, ~USD3.45), and strawberry smoothie (KRW4,500, ~USD3.88).
Image credit: @bumbim_hiso
On a hot day, indulge in a Gustoa Imsil Cheese Ice Cream (KRW6,000, ~USD5.17) that comes in 5 flavours – green tea, strawberry, vanilla, blueberry, and chocolate.
Address: 138 Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
Opening hours: 10AM-7PM, Daily
15. Cafe Avant Garde 아방가르드
Image credit: dnflrkdwnl21
Cafe Avant Garde sits on the outskirts of the village and has a unique rustic wooden interior. The spacious cafe is a good place to rest your legs after walking all day.
Quench your thirst with the wide range of drinks available at the cafe, such as smoothies, espresso drinks, and teas for KRW4,000-6,000 (~USD3.44-5.16).
Image credit: @jangyah
You can also go up to their sheltered rooftop to chill and have heart-to-heart talks without being hit by harsh sun rays.
Address: 10-3 Gamcheon-dong, Okcheon-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
Opening hours: 10.30AM-8PM, Daily
16. 13 Cafe 13월의 커피
Image credit: @13.caf.e
You won’t miss 13 Cafe as it is located opposite the famous Little Prince statue. The cafe is modelled after the Little Prince’s story and has a Scandinavian-style interior. The 1st floor is where the counter is, while the seating area is on the 2nd floor.
The cafe serves scones, macarons, bingsu, and a variety of beverages for KRW3,500-5000 (~USD3.01-4.30). You can add a macaron to your drink order with a top-up of KRW1,000 (~USD0.86).
Address: 123 Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
17. Blue House on the Stairs 계단위 푸른집
Image credit: @daeguvenus21
Blue House on the Stairs is a sky-themed cafe with drinks and cotton candy toppings that resemble clouds in a blue sky. The 3-storey cafe has a rooftop where you can snap pictures of your pretty desserts with the sky as the backdrop.
The cafe’s signatures include their Cloud Latte (KRW5,500,~USD4.73) made with vanilla latte and cotton candy, and the Blue House Smoothie (KRW5,500,~USD4.73) made with candy ice cream and cream cheese.
Address: 243-3 Gamnae 1(il)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
Opening hours: Fri – Wed, 10AM-7PM (Closed on Thursdays)
– Underrated photo spots –
18. Sunrise Hill artwork (해뜨는 언덕, 꿈꾸는 감천마을)
Image credit: olibangpul
This photo spot is an artwork by Yoo Toong, created in 2017. It was inspired by the way Gamcheon villagers decorated their houses based on their own personalities and dreams.
The staircase, which is decorated with mini colourful houses, makes a vibrant background for OOTD shots.
Image credit: @yeojaeng
19. Golden Bandal Pass artwork (금빛 반달고개)
Image credit: apple5768
This artwork was inspired by 3 symbolic sites in Korea – Bandal Pass, Cheonmasan Mountain, and Ongnyeobong Peak. The artwork, which was beautifully crafted with stainless steel and wood, resembles the golden hour during sunset.
Image credit: jhey0226
When sunlight lands on the metallic surface, the artwork is illuminated, making it a stunning backdrop for close-up shots.
20. Posing with the village’s cats
Image credit: @_wherever_i__go
If you’re lucky enough, you’ll come across Gamcheon’s Culture Village’s stray cats. Some of them might even be in the mood for photos.
Feel free to snap photos of them or attempt to pose with them. Don’t get too friendly though – cats are temperamental and will bite when they are agitated.
21. Narrow stairways
Image credit: @photo_story_eu
The village’s location on a hill means that you’ll have to conquer many staircases, but these narrow stairs can double as quirky photo spots.
Narrow staircases can give your photo additional depth and help frame the view of the colourful houses in Gamcheon Culture Village.
22. Side alleys
Because the houses in the village are all brightly painted, any corner or house can become a photo spot. Don’t be afraid of venturing into side alleys that are not part of your planned walking trail as you might find hidden photo opportunities.
Image credit: @miju_yah
Look out for interesting flooring or wall colours that could jazz up your portrait shots.
Getting to Gamcheon Culture Village & navigating around
Image credit: Travelling Welshman
Address: 203 Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
Opening hours: 24/7 (Shops are usually opened from 9AM-6PM)
- Take the subway line 1 to Toseong Station 토성역.
- Take Exit 6. There will be a “Gamcheon Culture Village” sign at the exit.
- Turn right after exiting the station to reach the bus stop in front of the Pusan National University Hospital.
- Take bus 1-1, 2, or 2-2 and alight at the last stop. It’s a short 10-min bus ride.
- You will arrive opposite the main entrance of Gamcheon Culture Village, where you can find the Tourist Information Center.
At the Tourist Information Center, you can buy a map (KRW2,000, ~USD1.72) of the village. The map includes a stamp trail – collect stamps from various checkpoints in the village and redeem 2 free postcards after you’ve completed the trail.
Image credit: khhong124
Stamp zones are located at these places:
- Haneul Maru
- Asteroid B612 Souvenir Shop
- Ocean Photo Zone
- House of Peace
- Modern Man
- House of Hope II
- Gamnae Eoulteo
- House with Puppies
- Happy Power Station
- Gamcheon Loess Salt Company
- Message of Hope
Gamcheon Culture Village guide & tips
Image credit: @chubby0505
It is a good idea to go early to avoid large tour groups and crowds. However, if you enjoy watching the sunset or prefer a night view, visit the village in the evening. Do note that most shops and cafes are closed after 6PM.
If you’d like to see the true beauty of Gamcheon Culture Village, venture into side alleys. Remember to have a map with you – either a physical copy or the Naver maps app – as it is easy to lose your way when you wander around less tourist-y areas.
Keep your noise level low as a form of respect for the village’s residents. When taking photos at places that are not indicated on the official map, ensure that you are not invading the residents’ private space. Ask for their permission before taking photos.
With this guide, your visit to Gamcheon Culture Village will be a good one.
Check out other Korea travel guides:
- Seongsu-dong guide
- Restaurants in Seoul with sky views
- Things to do at night in Seoul
- Themed cafes in Korea
- Cafes in Seoul to visit in autumn