Ibike Korea People-to-People Program



Photo essay: Greater Busan


Outside of Busan's historic core are numerous district, many with distinctive attractions.
Points of Interest: Gamcheon Cultural Village, Gwangalli Beach, Beoneosa,

Gamcheon Cultural Village

Birds on the roof, Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan Birds on the roof, Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan Mural, Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan

Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan

Pants Planters, Gamcheon Cultural Village, BusanFrom Nampo, if you drive up into the hills you can reach Gamcheon Cultural Village. In the 1940s, only 20 or so houses dotted the hillside, but that number swelled dramatically at the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. War refugees fled their homes for the relative safety of Busan, the only area of the peninsula that remained free from fighting. Within a year, Busan’s population grew from 880,000 to 1.4 million people, and a half million homeless refugees needed a place to live and eat. Approximately 4,000 people moved from the crowded port areas surrounding the Jagalchi Fish Market to nearby Gamcheon, erecting some 800 makeshift homes using scrap iron, wood and rocks.


Gamcheon Cultural Village, BusanGamcheon made progress over the next half century but remained poorer than the rest of Busan, which busied itself by erecting skyscrapers and high-rises. In 2009, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism stepped in with the Dreaming of Machu Picchu in Busan project. Reparations were made, artists were hired to paint murals and 10 artworks were installed, some created with the assistance of the residents. In 2010 the follow-up Miro Miro project saw the addition of 12 more works, including alley paintings and path markers perfectly suited to the project as miro means ‘maze’ in Korean.
Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan Mural, Gamcheon Cultural Village, BusanThe house stair-step up the hillside in the colors of mixed candy. Throughout the public spaces in the community are murals, big sculptures, little sculptures, decorations and a variety of other art installations created by residents -- many of them whimsical and almost everything is brightly colored.. Amongst the outdoor attractions are numerous art shops and crafts galleries with ceramics, paintings, woodwork, metalwork, textile crafts, photography and cuteness. Two of the more common subjects are birds and fish.
Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan Fish sculpture, Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan Fish sculpture, Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan Fish sculpture, Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan
Book mural, Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan Book mural, Gamcheon Cultural Village, BusanThis retaining wall, along a stairway, has been painted into a book shelf. It seems to be a tribute to books, the places they take us and the lessons that stories impart.
Grand Budapest Doll Hotel, Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan I love you mural, Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan From left to right: the Grand Budapest Doll Hotel, I Love You Shop (with rails of love-locks on the roof), a small room made to look large with mirrors and decorated this clusters of green string, and the last image, with a decorated fence and laundry out to dry, is a mixture of life and art.
Cats, Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan View from Gamcheon Cultural Village, BusanView from Gamcheon Cultural Village, BusanWhile the concept was created in conjunction with the community, and with the objective of attracting tourists, there are rumor of residents being resentful of what they wished for. The single road leading up the hill is congested in both directions for long hours, and it is hard to take step on the main road without being in someone's picture. Somehow the cats have gotten it figured out (left)

At the end of the day, the outward view is as nice as the inward kitsch.


Gwangalli Beach, Busan, Korea Gwangalli Beach, Busan, KoreaGwanganddaegyo Bridge, Busan, KoreaOne would go to Gwangan to shop, hang in a coffee shop, drink an IPA, play on the beach or watch the light show on the Gwangandaegyo at night.

To maintain Gwangalli Beach the government buys sand and dumps it on the beach every year to replace that which has been washed away by waves.

Hanbok shop, Gwangalli Beach, Busan, KoreaMany of the shops in Gwangan cater to refined tastes. You might say that about the brewery as well, being one of only a handful of bars where you can get an IPA on tap. One the night we were there the majority of the customers were Westerners, and the majority of these were Millennials in Busan to teach English.

The hanbok in the window of the hanbok shop were bigger and more tailored than usual, and the fabic had hand painted designs.

Fish sculpture, Gwangan, Busan, KoreaIt appears that besides a great view and evocative name, the 오랜지바다 (Orange Sea) coffee shop's entire customer base is female and under 25 -- maybe younger than 20 -- and heavy cell phone users (left). At least tonight it wasn't so much about the view.

The shop also displayed a banner for and event, 정명란 DREAM, that ran for two weeks in September. My guess is it is for an art exhibit.

Across the road is the beach, bay, fish market and a fish sculpture.


Daeungjeon, main hall, Beomeosa Beom (범) = nirvana, eo (어) = fish, sa (사) = temple is built on the slopes of Geumjeongsan, thirty kilometers north downtown Busan. It was constructed by the monk Ui Sang in the 18th year (678) of King Munmu (reign 661~681) of the Silla Kingdom (the kingdom mainly occupied the Gyeongsang-do Province region in 678A.D.).  During the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392), it was much larger than it is today - with over 360 rooms and more than a thousand monks in residence. The temple was burned to the ground in 1592 during the Japanese invasion. It was reconstructed in 1602, but was burned again by an accidental fire. In 1613 the reconstruction of the temple was begun.
Calligraphy carved in stone, Beomeosa Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, BeomeosaBeomeosa myth: "There is a well on the top of Mt. Geumjeongsan and the water of that well is gold. The golden fish in the well rode the colorful clouds and came down from the sky. This is why the mountain is named Geumsaem (gold well) and the temple is named 'fish from heaven'."
Daeungjeon, main hall, Beomeosa The main temple hall, Daeungjeon, was built in 1614 after the temple was burned down during the Japanese invasion of 1592. Major renovations of Daeungjeon were undertaken in 1713, 1814 and 1871.  The roof is particularly impressive and is considered some of the finest architecture from the Joseon Dynasty.  The roof is hipped and gabled.  It uses a system of multiple interlocking bracket clusters to support a set of three purloins on the interior and exterior of the building.
Three story pagoda, Beomeosa Temple This pagoda dates back to the Unified Shilla era and probably was erected as part of the original temple that was destroyed by fire in 1592.  Unlike other pagodas, its foundation doesn't have pillars central or corner pillars carved in.  Instead each side of the upper-layer base is embossed with one large lotus leaf and each side of the lower-base is embossed with three small lotus leaves.  The main body and roof stone are each built from one stone.  On the main body stones two corner pillars are engraved.  On the lower side of the roof stone a four-layer cornice is formed.  The lines on eaves keeps horizontal but curves its direction sharply at the edges.  This is a typical design for the time period.  The top stone of the pagoda has a pearl-shaped stone on its base.  Considering the who technique of design and construction, and the lotus leaves embossed on it foundation, it is presumed to have been built in the 9th century.
Stone lantern, Beomeosa Temple This lantern dates back to the Unified Shilla era and probably was part of the original temple that was destroyed by fire in 1592. The octagonal stone lantern, typical of the Unified Shilla period, consists of a roof, a fire place, an upper stand, a pillar and a lower stand.  This lantern was originally placed in front of  Yonghwanjeon (temple), but was relocated the present site during the Japanese occupation.  The lantern, with a lotus pattern on its upper and lower stands, is in the same style as the stone lantern at Bulguksa, near Gyeongju.  The stone pillar of this lantern, which was added later, is so thin that the lantern loses its overall balance.  Some subsidiary parts are also lost from the top of the gable of the lantern.
Shrine, Beomeosa Shrine, BeomeosaIn its original configuration of the Palang-Dokseong-Nahanjeon, from 1713, the Palsangjeon (temple) was on the left and the Nahanjeon (temple) on the right, with the Cheontaemun (gate) in the center. After reconstruction in 1905, the Palsangjeon and Nahanjeon remained true to their original design. The Dokseongjeon (temple) replaced the Cheontaemun, with a more decorative form, including a unique arch-style doorframe, an ivy-shaped Shrine, Beomeosa pattern on the triangular part of the wall and latticed doors. The Palang-Dokseong-Nahanjeon is considered of cultural importance because it retains most of the architectural style of early 1700s and enshrines three Buddhist sanctums in one place, and incorporated exceptionally artistic design and inscription methods in the Dokseongjeon.

Busan Lower Nakdong River

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