BY BENJAMIN COWLES
Of the many benefits of courting a Korean lady, one of the best has to be their ability to discover interesting and off-the-severely-beaten-path type of places Busan has hidden away. My girlfriend outdid herself when she pulled out her smartphone and discovered Taeguk Village*.
(*Village used in a strictly Asian population sense)
After the vomit inducing, Grand Theft Auto like bus ride up to the village, you’ll be able to cool off from the nausea with a sweeping view of the whole town. Just like the small groups of luminescent ajumas and ajoshis up here, you’ll probably want to have your camera on standby from here on in.
Tropical fish adorn the walls and lead you further on in to colourful town. Wandering the narrow alleys between the brightly coloured, tightly packed shabby homes of the hillside village, you’ll leave the dull greys and high-rise buildings of the city behind and be transported to the third world.
There’s an official path with arrows pointing visitors where to go. Miniature painted men and woman also dance their way alongside. Strange human headed pigeons, just like the locals in town stare on passers-by (particularly if you happen to have a big nose). A few houses strewn around the town have been converted into photography studios, shops, and cafes or given over to zany modern art.
The path opens up at times to offer up stunning views of the town and seashore. But the best views wait atop the hillside, above the mini tourist centre. There the village, Nampo-dong district, the humongous harbour, the sea and of course the numerous mountains can been contemplated in all their glory. If you want my advice, go at sunset.
The interlude from the clangour of traffic, hordes of people and constant development have bestowed Taeguk Village with a rare and peaceful quietude right within Korea’s second city. After sometime spent moseying, slouching and interacting with modern art, it may be hard to tear yourself away and return to the insanity of Busan.
At Toseong station (토성역) – one past Jagalchi on line 1 (orange) – head straight out of exit 8 following the street around the corner to the right. At the bus stop just up the road in front of the Busan cancer center, take the mini bus 2-2 to Gamcheong elementary school (감천초등학교).
***Check out Ben Cowles’ blog, Monkey Boy Goes***
View Nampo Area in a larger map