Visiting Dragon-Tiger Pagodas, Kaohsiung.

My trip when going back from Fo Guang Shan ended at Kaohsiung Main Station and was greeted by little drizzle which began to fall.

My time began to be counted down during 2 hours from that time because the next destination would close precisely at 5 pm.

I took my KPP Taiwan Pass out. I got it at Kaohsiung International Airport MRT Station a day before. I immediately moved towards Ecological District Station.

KPP Pass is a cloud-based pass card which used in three regions i.e Kaohsiung, Pingtung, Penghu (three major cities in southern Taiwan)

Finding a bus shelter and waiting for bus no. R35A to get access towards Lotus Lake would be my next step. I waved my hand when bus was fastly running at Bo’ai 3rd Road towards me. Maybe the driver thought that there wasn’t passenger at bus shelter. Nimbly stepping aside, finally bus stopped in front of me.

Apparently the driver was a woman, asking me about where is my destination in Taiwan language made me speechless.

I: “Dragon-Tiger Pagodas, Mam”

Driver: shake her head, her eyes were closed and raised her hand as surrender sign that she didn’t understand my words.

I: “Hahahaha …….”

Driver: looked like a little annoyed when I laugh.

I: “Wait … wait”. I took my smartphone out, I looked for the pagoda image which I meant and I showed it to her.

Driver: “A little shouted excitedly….yeah….yeah….while thumbing up.

After paying USD 0,5 by entering my coin into the fare box, I stood behind.

It took 10 minutes only to arrive at Lotus Lake and finally the twin pagodas were clearly visible.

Kaohsiung bear doll like its image in my KPP Taiwan Pass

Panda is an iconic animal in Taiwan, so you will often meet its profile in public places. I found it at this pagoda also.

If you want buy souvenirs, enter that building!

Visitor Souvenir Center

Entering pagodas area, clearly seen the Dragon statue and the Tiger one:

According to the myth, I must enter from dragon mouth and come out from tiger mouth….And I would luck.

This seven-story pagodas with yellow floors and red pillars emit a solemn aura in the middle of Lotus Lake.

Lotus Lake as far as eye can see.

Opposite in front of Pagodas stand the magnificent Tzu Chi Palace

I left Lotus Lake on 16:45 to looking for dinner at Kaisyuan Night Market.

My confusion was started here, I didn’t know which bus number must I take and where I must go. At that time, I just used map and compass when traveling there, I didn’t use Google Maps just for save my budget because I didn’t need to buy internet quota. So as long as I don’t get WiFi, then my presence in a country willn’t be detected … It’s cool, I am like CIA agent….Hahaha

If I am confused, I will randomly take a city bus….wherever. Then I will stop near famous spots which I’ve learned before visiting that country. Finally, I randomly took a bus that afternoon. And in confusion, I finally saw Kaohsiung Arena (the biggest soccer stadium in Kaohsiung). I stopped at its nearest bus stop. Either it was free or driver didn’t know, I never tap my KPP pass on automatic fare machine.

There is Kaohsiung Arena MRT Station near it.

From this station, I finally managed to find Kaisyuan Night Market.

It was a little crazy adventure, bro …

Visiting Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Kaohsiung

That morning 8:27 am, I was getting ready to deeply explore Kaohsiung. A sliver of toast, a banana and a cup of tea became a free breakfast which provided by the hostel that morning.


felt like at home

Apparently, That Vietnamese and Indo-American backpackers were still asleep in Paper Plane Hostel’s clean and soft beds. They certainly enjoyed traveling in their ways which were different from mine. They looked more relax than me who is always agile everywhere for chasing time. My minimum budget that required me to visit many destinations in shorter vacation time.

Yes, I only slept in this cool hostel for a night because in next morning I would check out and leave my backpack at reception. I would take back it after completing my visitation on my last day in Kaohsiung.

MRT slowly moved away from Houyi Station and drove me to Kaohsiung Main Station.

My eyes were immediately aware from an existence of bus terminal near this MRT station.

Yess … I was indeed hunting for a bus towards the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan i.e Fo Guang Shan.

What is Fo Guang Shan? …..

Based on a reference which I got, It was an order in Buddhism that was very well-known in its efforts to modernize Buddhism in China. Because this order is very technologically literate … That’s about it.

In several minutes, I din’t see yet a bus number 8010 or 8011 which came into terminal, finally I asked someone who I thought he was a bus timer.

Bus station near Kaohsing Main Station

Maybe, because of often ask by tourists, it doesn’t take long time for him to understand my question. And I was asked to wait for the bus at end side of terminal.

Finally, The bus arrived.…got in it from front door, I asked driver whether the bus was really heading there. After saying “yes”, I immediately paid for about USD 2 and he gave me a ticket.

The journey began:


The joy of that day began with a pinky interior.

35 km journey with 45 minutes travel time was unable to make my eyes closed against my preoccupation on observing charms of Kaohsiung streets. Observing local people’s activities and passing various landmarks made me stunned along the way.


The front yard before entering monastery

I finally arrived …

There is no charge for entering this Buddhist monastery. Through front lobby, I found several shops which sell jewelry and souvenirs and several coffee shops (one of them is Starbuck) also.

I wasn’t interested in this area because I didn’t carry an adequate budget….Immediately come out and I found an incredible view:

Size of monastery plaza is very wide and became a camera’s target by anyone who visited this place.

Get close to Buddha statue! … surely you will be more impressed:

Under Buddha statue is location of Buddhist Museum and there are several prayer rooms for visitors.

I was also welcome to entering worship room to just see how worship procession do.

1.5 hours was a very valuable time because I could visit this place.

I closed my hunger by eating a serving of dinsum. I got it from a canteen which located in parking lot in front of monastery.

By the way, it was on 13:15 hrs.… I still had a lot of time … Where was my next destination?

Busan International Film Festival Square…Asal Muasal BIFF

Jika….

Negara Paman Sam memiliki Sundance Film Festival

Negeri Pecahan Es mempunyai Toronto Film Festival

Atau Negara Kota Mode tersohor dengan Cannes Film Festivalnya

Maka Negeri Ginseng juga memiliki hal yang sama….Busan International Film Festival.

Diselenggarakan di sekitar akhir tahun yaitu September atau Oktober, BIFF selalu memperkenalkan sutradara-sutradara pendatang baru Asia dengan karya pertamanya. Festival yang dibuka pertama kali pada 23 tahun lalu, kini telah berpindah tempat ke Centum City di daerah Haeundae-gu.

Kali ini Aku tak menuju ke new homebase nya  BIFF, tetapi Aku akan menyusuri sebuah daerah yang menjadi cikal bakal BIFF yaitu Nampo-dong. Kemudian, untuk menapak tilas asal muasal BIFF maka Aku menuju ke BIFF Square.

Perjalanan dimulai dari stasiun terdekat dari Kimchee Busan Guesthouse  yaitu stasiun MRT Beomnaegol menggunakan MRT Line 1 (Orange Line). Setelah melawati 8 stasiun, Aku turun di stasiun MRT Jagalchi. Satu destinasi lain yang bisa dikunjungi di dekat stasiun ini adalah Jagalchi Market (menjual beragam seafood) yang buka dari jam 5 pagi hingga 10 malam.

Keluar dari exit gate, Aku sudah disambut oleh pedangang street food  tepat di pintu keluar stasiun. Karena udara dingin menusuk tulang, asap yang keluar dari pembakaran tungku itu membuat para penumpang MRT rela berhenti sejenak untuk sekedar memakan makanan hangat yang dijual pembeli itu.

Aku sedikit mengalamai disorientasi kali ini, bingung mencari jalan BIFF Square, karena semua jalan terlihat ramai. Akhirnya kuberanikan diri untuk menghampiri pak polisi yang sedang berjaga di pos polisi lalu lintas. Dengan sabar, Dia menjelaskan arah kepadaku sembari menunjukkan telunjuknya ke kiri dan ke kanan dengan bahasa Korea…..Walau tak mengerti bahasa Korea, Aku rasa cukup mudah memahami penjelasannya.

Jalan BIFF membelah tempat itu sepanjang 150 m. Dan ketika Aku mengunjunginya di malam hari, sangat mudah menemui tenda-tenda street food. Tenda-tenda berbentuk rumah-rumah mini ini mungkin bertujuan melindungi si pembeli dari dinginnya udara Busan di malam hari. Tersusun berjajar di tengah jalan, menjadikan Jalan BIFF menjadi pasar kuliner dimalam hari.

Mengkol sedikit ke jalan Gwangbok-ro

Aku hanya sedikit mencoba memakan sate seafood di salah satu tenda, lalu Ku lanjutkan untuk mencari makan malam yang lebih sedikit nendang.

Karena begitu susah menemukan makanan berat yang sesuai dengan selera, akhirnya hinggaplah Aku di sebuah warung makan mungil di deretan pertokoan sekitar Jalan BIFF. ”Ahangeya” nama tempat itu. Aku lebih memilih makan beef rice bowl seharga 4.000 Won (Rp. 48.000).

Selain tenda-tenda makan, Aku juga menemukan banyak penjual pernak pernik souvenir, t-shirt dan beberapa peralatan elektronik. Tapi perhatianku tak tertuju pada itu, Aku lebih memilih untuk mencari jaket musim dingin di sebuah konter penjualan Uniqlo di bilangan BIFF Square.

buat ganti jaket…masak iya jalan 12 hari hanya bawa 1 jaket
seharga Rp. 480.000

Hawa dingin membuatku tak kuasa menahan bekunya tubuh….Aku tak bisa berlama-lama disini, dan kuputuskan untuk balik ke guesthouse karena esok hari Aku akan berjalan panjang dan menanjak untuk berkunjung ke Gamcheon Culture Village.

So…..bobok yuk !

Bersih dan Modern….Gaya dari Kimchee Busan Guesthouse

Tentu Aku tak pernah tahu kenapa guesthouse ini diberi nama Kimchee. Yang hanya Ku tahu, kimchee atau kimchi adalah makanan khas Korea yang terbuat dari sayuran yang difermentasi dengan aneka macam bumbu yang pada akhirnya berasa pedas dan asam. Mungkin guesthouse ini akan menjadi tempat berkumpulnya para pengelana dari beraneka macam bangsa dengan tujuan sama yaitu menikmati keunikan Korea…..halah, ngawur nih statement.

Dorm atau dormitory sudah menjadi pilihan umum kaum backpacker dalam berkelana. Selain menawarkan keamanan budget, dorm juga menawarkan satu opsi untuk membuat jaringan antar backpacker yang beragam kewarganegaraannya. Hal ini sangat memungkinkan terjadi karena di setiap dorm room akan diisi 12-16 backpacker untuk tidur bersama….hushhh, di ranjangnya masing-masing maksud Saya.

Kali ini pilihanku jatuh pada Kimchee Busan Guesthouse sebagai tempat bernaung selama berpetualang di Busan. Tiga hal yang menjadi concern penting dalam memilihnya adalah harga, lokasi dan feedback ratenya yang bagus.

Aku sudah memesannya 4 bulan sebelum keberangkatan, sehingga kupastikan Aku mendapatkan harga terbaik. Guesthouse seharga Rp. 180.000 (KRW 15.000) terletak di jalan Hwangnyeong-daero. Berjarak sekitar 270 meter dari Stasiun MRT Beomnaegol sehingga guesthouse ini bisa ditempuh dengan berjalan kaki.

Kedatanganku di guesthouse disambut hangat dengan resepsionis cantik. Setelah menyerahkan passport dan Won, Aku mendapatkan access card menuju dorm room.

Si resepsionis cantik
Ruang resepsionis

Untuk ukuran guesthouse tentu menjadi hal yang luar biasa karena ketersediaan lift di dalamnya. Tak seperti banyak dorm yang pernah kusinggahi dimana Aku harus menyiapkan otot kaki untuk menaiki puluhan anak tangga sebelum menuju ke kamar.

akses lift menuju dorm room

Memasuki kamar, kelelahan itu terbayar dengan leganya ruangan dorm yang terdiri dari 10 bed dengan masing-masing loker yang telah disediakan disebelah bed.

Dorm room

Di guesthouse inilah, Aku pertama kalinya menghirup segarnya aroma Soju –minuman khas Korea-. Walaupun Aku tak meminumnya, setidaknya Aku tahu aroma dan wujudnya serta bagaimana cara meminum Soju dari teman-teman sekamarku.

Keisenganku yang lain adalah menggunakan hair dryer yang disediakan di shared bathroom untuk mengeringkan kaos kaki basahku. Sudah menjadi kebiasaan, Aku hanya membawa 2 pasang kaos kaki, tak peduli seberapa panjang perjalananku. Setiap dua hari Aku akan mencuci kaos kaki yang kugunakan dan kukeringkan dengan cara apapun.

Hal baik lain dari guesthouse ini adalah menyediakan container untuk menyimpan backpack dan barang-barang lain yang dititipkan oleh penginap. Biasanya penginap akan meyimpan backpacknya ketika mereka datang lebih awal dari waktu check-in atau akan meninggalkan kota ketika jam keberangkatan mereka masih jauh dari waktu check-out.

Aku pun menitipkan backpackku karena keberangkatanku ke Seoul menggunakan bus terjadwal pukul 8pm sedangkan Aku waktu check-out ku pukul 12pm

Guesthouse juga menyediakan rak dan kulkas untuk menyimpan makanan para penginap….awas, jangan ambil makanan orang ya….hehehe. Biasanya penginap yang sedikit lebih lama tinggal di guesthouse akan menyimpan makanannya disini. Wah kalau Aku dipastikan ga pernah menggunakan fasilitas ini.

Kimchee snack and Bar

Tentu Kamu memiliki selera tersendiri dalam memilih penginapan…..yang penting tujuan kita sama, guys….jalan-jalan. That’s it.

Peeking 3 Night Markets in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Guys.…It’s about Taiwan again.

Taiwan was nicknamed as the land of a thousand night markets. So if you want to be crazy there, you don’t need to go to a pub or a bar. And it doesn’t need to be drunk to spend a night in Taiwan.

You only need to come to night market and enjoy cheap culinary and other unique goods.

When I visited for two nights in Kaohsiung, I tried to visit several markets which generally open on afternoon.

This is it:

1.Shinkuchan Commercial District.

Guys … if you want to find Taiwanese beautiful girls or handsome boys, this place can facilitate your desires. Enchanting 18-20 years old Taiwanese usually gather here from 3pm to 10pm.

I arrived at Shinkuchan on 4 pm

To got here, I just needed to take Red Line MRT (Siaogang-Gangshan corridor) from Houyi Station where my hostel was located to Central Park Station.

From Central Park Station, I only needed to walk 250 meters to find it. Its strategic location is flanked by two very busy arterial roads (Wufu street dan Zhong Shan street)

a corner of Wufu street

Some stall owners who greeted me said that I arrived too early, I should come a bit more night to feel Shinkuchan crowd.

I had plan to visit other culinary market when night fell, so I didn’t have any choice and sacrifice it.

Just tasting some octopus skewers in this place, I started to leaving Shinkuchan at 5pm.

2. Liouhe Night Market

Still using Red Line MRT, I left Central Park Station towards Formosa Boulevard Station. This station is very popular throughout Kaohsiung … but I’ll tell you about it later, guys.

Because of his fame, I was held for 40 minutes at this station.

Peeking station interior…

Well, one of many exit gates of this station, There was a gate which leads to Liouhe Night Market. Here:

You must look for Exit No 9,10 and 11 to get there.

9 degrees Celsius temperature instantly made me cold and starved. Entering this market as far as eye can see, as if all kinds of food were sold, I wanted to taste

Well … back to my backpacker’s instinct again.…I bought the cheapest food. The dinner was only worth USD 1,7 with a fish soup noodles menu.

After dinner, I immediately left this market to go to next destination, Love River.

Bye-bye Liouhe Night Market

3. Kaisyuan Night Market

For this market, I visited it on my second night in Kaohsiung. All you need to know, Kaisyuan Night Market is closed on Tuesday and Thursday. So You must come there besides that day between 6pm and 11pm.

To get there, you only need to take Red Line MRT and get off at Kaisyuan Station. Luckily, I was there when Kaohsiung LRT trial. So I got a free LRT fare.

Just need to a little walk out from Kaisyuan MRT Station to Chianjhen Star LRT Station. Then take the LRT and get off at Rueitian LRT Station.

I didn’t visit this culinary market for a long time. Because in the same night, I had to go to Kaohsiung International Airport which would be “a free hotel” for my second night in Kaohsiung. Staying in airport is certainly warmer than this market, right guys …

Well, this story only tells about Kaohsiung’s night market, guys.… I don’t tell yet about their place of worship … be patient, wait for my next article.


Si Mungil….Busan Gimhae Light Rail Transit

Yes….Okay….yes….Okay.

Hanya 2 jenis kata itu yang keluar dari mulutku, Aku tak benar-benar serius mendengarkan pramugari itu menjelaskan prosedur keamanan di pintu darurat. Justru Aku terpesona dengan kecantikan wajah khas Korea si pramugari. Hingga Dia selesai menjelaskan pun, Aku masih terbengong menikmati keelokannya sampai Dia mengakhiri penjelasannya dengan senyuman….tentu Kubalas dengan senyuman semanis mungkin….hadeuhhhhhh.

Penerbangan selama 1 jam 30 menit menjadi perjalanan yang mendebarkan karena Aku terus berfirasat kurang baik ketika pemeriksaan imigrasi Busan nanti.

Aku tiba….

Dan benar apa adanya….Aku benar-benar dicuci oleh petugas imigrasi itu. Baca kisah menegangkan itu disini:

https://travelingpersecond.com/2018/02/05/imigrasi-busan/

Kejadian di imigrasi itu membuat lidahku terasa pahit ketika mengecap potong demi potong pie yang kudapatkan dari penerbangan Busan Air itu.

Kisah ini nantinya akan membuatku berubah 180 derajat dalam hal mempersiapkan dokumen ketika bertraveling. Aku di kemudian hari menjadi orang yang sangat perfeksionis dalam hal preparation.

Keluar dari Gimhae International Airport dengan muka kusut tapi kebahagiaan itu tak mampu kusembunyikan dalam-dalam. Inilah pertama kali kakiku menginjak di “negeri ginseng”.

Udara 2 derajat membuatku bergegas mencari keberadaan stasiun LRT. Dengan cepat Aku menemukannya di sisi kanan pintu keluar airport.

Kusentuh tombol-tombol di mesin atomatis itu untuk mendapatkan token Busan Gimhae Light Rail Transit.

Menunggu LRT datang dengan rasa penasaran yang tinggi tentang apa yang akan terjadi berikutnya dalam setiap detik petualanganku di Busan.

Tak lama menunggu LRT itu pun datang.

Tentu tujuan pertamaku adalah dormitory tempatku menginap di Busan. Aku akan menuju Kimchee Busan Guesthouse di bilangan jalan Hwangnyeong-daero.

Berhenti di stasiun Sasang yang merupakan stasiun akhir LRT , Aku beralih menggunakan Humetro (Nama panggilan untuk Busan Subway) jalur hijau.

Di dalam Humetro inilah Aku melihat satu wajah Indonesia, Sesekali dia melihatku, begitupun Aku. Sesekali Dia tersenyum, begitupun Aku….#apaan sih, orang dia laki-laki.

Kupaksakan diriku mendekatinya.

Percakapan pun tak terhindarkan. Ternyata benar, Dia seorang professional Indonesia yang sedang bekerja di Busan. Dari dirinya kuperoleh informasi bahwa warga Busan belumlah seterbuka seperti warga Seoul. Jadi Aku akan memaklumi saja apa yang akan terjadi dengan interaksiku dengan orang lokal selama di Busan nanti.

Percakapan pun terhenti ketika Aku harus turun di Stasiun Seomyeon untuk berganti ke Humetro jalur oranye. Hanya perlu jarak 1 stasiun saja kemudian aku turun di stasiun  Beomnaegol –stasiun dimana guesthouse tempat meninganapku terletak-.

Tak mudah menemukan lokasi guesthouse ini, sempat tersasar lebih dari setengah jam di tengah suhu udara yang sangat dingin hampir membuatku panik sebelum akhirnya Aku menemukannya setelah  bertanya kepada karyawan GS25 minimarket.

Akhirnya check-in juga ke Kimchee Busan Guesthouse.

MRT from Kaohsiung International Airport to Downtown

The Southeast Asian LCC giant with flight number AK 0170 smoothly landed me at “Asia Little Dragon” land, through its front yard i.e Kaohsiung International Airport precisely on 1:05 pm.

Thanks Sir. Tony Fernandes, for always providing many cheap tickets to travel around Asia

Taiwan which I have only heard as a country that always opposed China’s superiority. The country which became third destination for Indonesian worker to earn incomes after Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. Taiwan is also known as “A little country with many airports”. Imagine it!, this small island country has 37 airports with Taoyuan International Airport as its best airport. It shows that Taiwan is a very busy country.

And finally on December 27, 2016, I was allowed to visit it.

My arrival in Taiwan was a stopover visitation, before I headed to my main destination, Japan and South Korea. I could say that it is a prestigious trip in my 6th year as a backpacker.

If you don’t know where is Taiwan. You san imagine it: if we are on traveling, it will be further away from Hong Kong but closer than Japan. Well, have you imagined it, right? … If not, then try to see Dora’s map … hihihi

Okay …. In the previous article, I told my story when staying at Kaohsiung International Airport before leaving Kaohsiung towards Tokyo.

If you forget it. See the story here:

https://travelingpersecond.com/2018/03/04/menginap-di-kaohsiung-international-airport-taiwan/

Well … Then what will I tell about Taiwan this time?

Better….I’ll show you how I reached Kaohsiung downtown after landing.

Let’s start it, guys.…

Before landing, procedure of every airline in general, they will give you a arrival card and you can fill it during the flight.

Couldn’t wait to enjoy the beauty of Taiwan, my eyes kept stealing glances at plane’s window when landing. Swiftly sweeping the simple architecture of Kaohsiung International Airport from Air Asia cabin.

Once passed an aerobridge, I was faced with a long hallway with various wallpapers with “Welcome to Kaohsiung” theme.

a simple corridor … smart way because its wallpaper makes it beautiful

For your information, Kaohsiung is second largest city in Taiwan after their capital “Taipei”, so you should visit it if you have chance.

After walking down corridor for 10 minutes, I started entering immigration counter area.

let’s stamp my passport

My attention is on Indonesian students. They cheerfully queued….I saw them carrying their passports and e-visa sheets. “Great, Indonesian students have more chance to visit abroad now”, I muttered.

I quickly completed immigration process because I have shown Taiwan e-visa and Japan waiver visa. Oh yes, you must know that Indonesian tourist only need a free e-Visa if they already have a Japanese visa.
Exit from immigration counter, I started to walk down this Arrival Hall:

small and modern minimalist interior

Near Arrival Hall exit, you can find brochures which can help you to explore Kaohsiung. You will also easily find ATM and local SIM Card selling counter in this hallway:

This is last space of arrival hall before you actually leave the airport..

Have you taken some brochures yet? Want to buy a sim card first? Do you want to exchange your USD to eat?

I decided to get in MRT towards downtown. It means I had to find MRT station location.

Heiii.…don’t rush out of arrival hall.…just stop for a moment near exit gate, then look at your front, there is a access building to MRT. There is it.…

Well…that building is at front….

After using lift, I found Kaohsiung International Airport MRT station

I bought a two day pass for my 3D2N journey in Kaohsiung.…MRT had came… let’s see its interior:

Enjoying smooth sound of MRT, I headed to Houyi Station where Paper Plane Hostel where I stayed during traveling to Kaohsiung was located. Within 30 minutes I finally arrived at Houyi Station:

From MRT exit gate, I just walked to its back then turn right around 50 meters to find my hostel:

Swear … this hostel is cheap and cool.

I stayed for two nights and got new friends at dormitory, He is Vietnamese and his friend is from Bandung but live in USA (well, they are in the photo above). They are study in same college in USA and they are traveling together to Taiwan.

After checked-in that afternoon, I immediately went to biggest street culinary market in Kaohsiung….where is that?….wait for the next article!