Namsan Tower Without Love Padlock

After returning from Banpo Bridge in Seocho District, I immediately rushed to bed to prepare myself for tomorrow’s adventure. Tomorrow was my last chance to enjoy Seoul because the day after tomorrow I had to leave to my homeland.



The morning sun shone through the window in the sloping wall of hotel’s room. The hour hand had passed eight number. After morning prayer, I slipped back under blanket, refusing cold morning air which was able to penetrate window pane.

Realizing that I overslept, I jumped out of the bunk bed, grabbed a toiletries bag and an orange microfiber towel, then wet my body with a warm shower of Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon. The other occupants were still asleep, continuing their respective dreams, faint light snoring could be heard from the inn corridor. Lucky me, that was an opportunity to linger in the shared bathroom.

Actually, my habit of lingering in the bathroom when traveling always has an excuse. That consistent warm showers hit my calf muscles is the most effective fatigue-relieving therapy. No need to look for the services of a masseuse to make the body fresh again.

After showering and fully dressed in winter equipments, I went down to the first floor and chose to sit for a while in the shared-lobby. Joined by some diligent tourists, they were the first to get up and ate their breakfast which they had prepared in the inn’s refrigerator. Several beautiful tourists from “Land of Red Bears” and a group of travelers from “Matador Country” looked solemn with their own homemade breakfast.

I? ….Yup, I was just a little busy opening the map and trying to make a visitation pattern that day. As soon as they finished their breakfast and started to leave the shared-lobby, I also left the inn. I didn’t know where they were going, but I had determined myself to go to the “Tower of Love”, especially if not Namsan Tower, a television transmitter tower as high as 237 meters and 52 years old.

Before entering Hongik University Station, I carried out my morning ritual, which was breakfast with the same menu formula, cup noodles and packaged white rice, bored but had no choice.

Can you afford to eat like this for four days?….Hahaha.

Repeating the habit of fighting boredom, I shouted “Kamsahamnida” to the cashier before exiting 7-Eleven. Usually I always waited for the cashier to wave before exiting convenience store’s door. Getting the wave I meant, I finally got out of the convenience store and fast stepped towards Seoul Metro Line 2 platform.

A few seconds after Seoul Metro stopped at the platform, I jumped in. The quiet morning atmosphere made the Seoul Metro line of carriages looked deserted. The iron snake began to exploring the underground passages. Station after station I quickly passed until finally I got off at Euljiro sam (3)-ga Station to change to Seoul Metro Line 3. Now my last destination was Chungmuro ​​Station.

It took almost thirty minutes to arrive at Chungmuro ​​Station. At the final destination, I exited the gate, then rushed to find a bus stop which would be passed by bus number two to get to Namsan Tower.

Not even five minutes of waiting, the bus arrived. I took a seat in the middle and in an instant dissolved following the groans of bus engines as I climbed the road about two kilometers from Chungmuro ​​Station.

Slowly but surely, the bus arrived at Namsan Tower courtyard. The bus stops at a long bus stop to share with other numbered buses.

The distance between Namsan Tower and bus stop, which was around 600 meters, must be taken with a swing of my steps. Finally I had to be willing to pant for the rest of path to Namsan Tower. In the middle of my step, I didn’t have time to feel the gasping because I often stopped and was fascinated by the scenery below which showed the beauty of Seoul from the height of Mount Namsan. I could imagine if the night comes….How beautiful.

In front of Namsan Tower or N Seoul Tower as its official name.

Climbing Namsan Tower is indeed synonymous with lovebirds’ love. At the top of tower, lovers will buy a padlock, then naming the padlock with their names, which are then marked with a red heart. Then the couple will lock the padlock on a long display case which displays various love locks from several periods of time.

Well….What should I write when I buy a padlock?

Ups….Who’s in love?

Namsan Tower in addition to presenting an aerial landscape of Seoul, also offers several well-known restaurants which might be cheap for those who are intoxicated with romance, for me it makes no difference, restaurants are still expensive items.

Visiting Namsan Tower does feel bland if you do it alone. That’s the reason why I didn’t linger on top. I decided to get off and chose to sip coffee made by G-25 minimarket across from bus stop.

Entering the mini market, brewing a cup of hot coffee, then sipping it slowly. But I continued to be filled with curiosity with every sip. I continued to observe the passing of buses with different numbers, not just the number 2 bus like the one I was riding earlier.

“Is it possible if I can find a bus which can directly go to Namdaemun Market from here without having to return to Chungmuro ​​Station”, I critically thought with curiosity.

I decided to take a sip of black coffee while walking towards the long bus stop opposite the mini market. I was so solemn ‘combing one by one the route boards attached to the bus stop.

“Yes…I get it”, I cheerfully exclaimed when I found bus number 402 which could directly take me to Namdaemun Market from Namsan Tower.

So I just had to wait for the bus while I finish my coffee………

Dinner at Banpo Bridge

The majestic Banpo Bridge straddles Han River.

Luckily I didn’t sink into a deep nap in Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon. A little past five in the afternoon I woke up. Immediately unpacking contents of my backpack, I looked for a toiletries bag and microfiber towel for my first bathing needs since 35 hours ago.

I purposely splashed myself with warm water for a long time even though I knew there was an innkeeper who knocked on the door several times as a sign asking me to hurry up and finishing my bathing soon.

After washing my socks, I got out of bathroom and smiled at a female guest from China who had been waiting all that time. Of course my warm smile was reciprocated by frown lips from her. “I’m sorry. Ms, It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a bath, I’m so sorry …..” .

After changing clothes and wearing all winter equipments, I prepared to visit Seoul again until night.

I still remembered words from my office mates who asked me to visit a bridge which was often used as a setting in famous Korean dramas. Even though I heeded them when I left, for some reason, that afternoon I had a strong desire to visit it too. My friends said, when night fallen, Banpo Bridge often had rainbow fountains, a mix of fountains and light show in both sides of bridge. “Okay, there’s nothing wrong with me to going there even though I’m not a fan of Korean dramas”, I finally decided on a goal.

From Hongik University Station, I would now head to Seoul Express Bus Terminal Station, where I first set my steps in Seoul. The feeling of fullness from a piece of Kimbab which I ate at Hongik University Station that afternoon was gone. Now my stomach was starting to loudly sound as celebrating my hunger. But due to concerned about being stuck by night at Banpo Bridge for that night, I decided to put off my desire for dinner.

I immediately walked to Hongik University Station, picked up the arrival of Seoul Metro Line 2 and headed to destination I was aiming for. I really understood Seoul Metro line because I had been staring at the map since that morning, making me aware that I had to transit in Euljiro 3 (sam)-ga Station first and had to change rode in Seoul Metro Line 3.

It took approximately half an hour to reaching Seoul Express Bus Terminal Station. Exiting gate 8-1 in the station, I walked to Banpo Hangang Park, the best side to enjoy beautiful Banpo Bridge.

It took 20 minutes to get to the park in the banks of Han River. Entering the park, which was getting dark with minimal lighting, was actually a little daunting. Luckily there was a group of Korean families who entered the park and headed for the same place. By pretending to show composure I stalked them from behind….Hahaha, you coward, Donny.

That family group who were busy walking while preparing some cameras made me believe that they were going to Banpo Bridge view point. It was true, that local family and I finally arrived at river bank together.

Yeaaa….. arrived too.

The appearance of Banpo Bridge with sparkling lights did look beautiful as it straddled Han River. I was very enthusiastic about sitting on the bank of river waiting for the moment when rainbow fountain show started. Second by second, minute by minute, even though I had volunteered to be rolled up in the cold city temperature, the show never came.

As a result, with the end that local family visitation because of same disappointment, I was forced to resign from that place. “Yes, It will bad when I have to be alone in the bank of a river that is quiet and dark like this…”, I growled while holding back hunger which had been really messing with my concentration.

Walking away from the beauty of Banpo Bridge, I was really lucky to see the existence of a small 7-Eleven outlet in other side of park. The light from inside indicated that that outlet was still open. Then without thinking long, I hastened my steps closer to it. “This will be delicious, if I eat cup noodles with rice …”, my enthusiasm came while remembering the simple way of eating that I always practiced during my visitation to South Korea.

I shouted with joy that I got it. The excitement grew even more because 7-Eleven outlet provided a tent in outside to eat food which be purchased from that outlet. Uniquely, the tent was warmed by a fan whose its blades were made from heating filaments.


Namsan Tower Tanpa Gembok Cinta

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Sepulang dari Banpo Bridge di Distrik Seocho, aku langsung bergegas tidur demi menyiapkan diri untuk petualangan esok hari. Esok adalah kesempatanku terakhir kali untuk menikmati Seoul karena lusa hari aku harus bertolak ke tanah air.



Sinar matahari pagi menyeruak melewati jendela di tembok miring kamar. Jarum jam telah melewati angka delapan. Usai shalat subuh tadi, aku kembali menyelinap di balik selimut, menolak dinginnya udara pagi yang mampu menembus kaca jendela.

Sadar diri kesiangan, aku melompat dari bunk bed, menyambar toiletries bag dan microfiber towel warna oranye, lalu membasahi badan dengan guyuran hangat shower Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon. Penghuni lain masih terlelap melanjutkan mimpinya masing-masing, dengkuran-dengkuran ringan sayup terdengar dari koridor penginapan. Beruntunglah aku, inilah kesempatan untuk berlama-lama di shared bathroom. Sebetulnya kebiasaanku berlama-lama di kamar mandi saat bertraveling selalu menyimpan sebuah alasan. Bahwa siraman air hangat yang konsisten menghantam otot betis adalah terapi penghilang lelah terefektif. Tak perlu mencari jasa tukang pijat untuk membuat badan kembali segar.

Usai mandi dan berpakaian musim dingin dengan lengkap,  aku turun ke lantai satu dan memilih duduk sejenak di shared-lobby. Bergabung dengan beberapa turis yang rajin, merekalah yang sudah terlebih dahulu bangun dan menyantap sarapan yang sudah mereka siapkan di kulkas penginapan. Beberapa turis cantik “Negeri Beruang Merah” dan sekelompok traveler “Negeri Matador” tampak khusyu’dengan sarapan pagi buatan mereka masing-masing.

Aku? ….Yups, aku hanya sedikit sibuk membuka peta dan mencoba membuat pola visitasi hari itu. Begitu mereka usai bersarapan dan mulai meninggalkan ruangan, maka aku pun ikut meninggalkan penginapan. Entah mereka mau kemana tetapi aku telah memantapkan diri menuju “Menara Cinta”, apalagi kalau bukan Namsan Tower, julangan pemancar televisi setinggi 237 meter dan telah berusia 52 tahun.

Sebelum memasuki Stasiun Hongik University, aku melaksanakan ritual pagi, yaitu sarapan dengan rumus menu yang itu-itu saja, cup noodle dan nasi putih kemasan, bosan tapi tak ada pilihan.

Mampu ga kamu, empat hari makan beginian melulu?….Saran terbaik, jangan nggembel ke Korea kek guweh.

Mengulang-ulang kebiasaan untuk melawan kebosanan, aku berteriak “Kamsahamnida” kepada kasir sebelum keluar dari 7-Eleven. Biasanya aku selalu menunggu sang kasir melambaikan tangan sebelum keluar dari pintu minimarket. Mendapatkan lambaian tangan yang kumaksud, akhirnya aku benar-benar keluar dari minimarket dan berderap menuju platform Seoul Metro Line 2.

Beberapa detik setelah Seoul Metro singgah di platform,aku melompat masuk. Nuansa pagi yang sepi membuat barisan gerbong Seoul Metro tampak lengang. Ular besi itu mulai menelusuri lorong-lorong bawah tanah. Stasiun demi stasiun kulewati dengan cepat hingga akhirnya aku turun di Stasiun Euljiro sam (3)-ga untuk berpindah menuju Seoul Metro Line 3. Kini sasaran terakhirku adalah Stasiun Chungmuro.

Memerlukan waktu hampir tiga puluh menit untuk tiba di Stasiun Chungmuro. Di tujuan akhir itu, aku keluar dari gate, lalu bergegas mencari halte yang akan dilewati oleh bus bernomor dua untuk menuju Namsan  Tower.

Belum juga lima menit menunggu, bus itu tiba. Aku mengambil tempat duduk di tengah dan dalam sekejap larut mengikuti erangan mesin bus kala menanjaki jalanan berjarak sekitar dua kilometer dari Stasiun Chungmuro.

Perlahan tapi pasti, bus itu sampai juga di pelataran Namsan Tower. Bus berhenti pada sebuah halte nan panjang untuk berbagi dengan bus bernomor lain.

Jarak Namsan Tower dan halte bus yang berkisar 600 meter harus ditempuh dengan ayunan langkah. Akhirnya aku harus rela terengah-engah menanjaki jalur sisa menuju Namsan Tower. Di pertengahan langkah, engahan itu ternyata tak sempat kurasakan karena aku justru sering berhenti dan terpesona melihati pemandangan di bawah sana yang memamerkan keindahan Seoul dari ketinggian Gunung Namsan. Bisa dibayangkan jika malam tiba….Betapa indahnya.

Di depan Namsan Tower atau N Seoul Tower nama resminya.

Menaiki Namsan Tower memang identik dengan percintaan pasangan kekasih. Di atas tower, pasangan kekasih akan membeli sebuah gembok, lalu menamai gembok itu dengan nama mereka berdua yang kemudian dibubuhi tanda hati berwarna merah. Kemudian pasangan tersebut akan menguncikan gemboknya pada sebuah etalase panjang yang memajang beragam gembok cinta dari beberapa kurun waktu.

Yah….Aku nulis apa dong kalau beli gembok?

Duh….Siapa saja tuh yang jatoh cinta?

Namsan Tower selain menyajikan lansekap aerial kota Seoul, juga menawarkan beberapa resto kenamaan yang mungkin akan terasa murah bagi mereka yang dimabuk asmara, kalau buat saya ya ndak ada bedanya, tetap aja restoran adalah barang mahal.

Kunjungan di Namsan Tower memang terasa hambar jika dilakukan sendirian. Itulah alasan mengapa aku tak berlama-lama di atas. Aku memutuskan turun dan memilih menyeruput kopi buatan G-25 minimarket di seberang halte.

Memasuki minimarket, menyeduh secangkir kopi panas, lalu menyeruputnya perlahan. Tetapi aku terus diliputi rasa penasaran di setiap seruputan. Aku terus mengamati lalu lalang bus dengan nomor yang berbeda-beda, bukan bus no.2  saja seperti yang kutunggangi tadi.

Apa mungkin aku bisa mencari bus yang bisa langsung menuju Namdaemun Market  dari sini tanpa harus kembali ke Stasiun Chungmuro”, batinku kritis penuh rasa ingin tahu.

Kuputuskan menyeruput kopi hitam sambil berjalan menuju halte panjang di seberang minimarket. Aku begitu khusyu’ menyisir satu demi satu papan rute yang tertempel di halte. “Yes…I get it”, aku berseru riang ketika menemukan bus bernomor 402 yang secara langsung dapat membawaku menuju Namdaemun Market dari Namsan Tower.

Jadi aku hanya perlu menunggu bus saja sembari menghabiskan kopi………

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Makan Malam di Tepian Banpo Bridge

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Banpo Bridge yang gagah mengangkangi Han River.

Untung aku tak tenggelam dalam pulasnya tidur siang di Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon. Lewat sedikit dari jam lima sore aku terbangun. Segera membongkar isi backpack, aku mencari toiletries bag dan microfiber towel untuk keperluan mandi pertamaku sejak 35 jam yang lalu.

Aku sengaja berlama-lama mengguyur diri dengan air hangat walaupun aku tahu ada seorang penghuni penginapan yang beberapa kali mengetuk pintu sebagai tanda memintaku untuk mempercepat mandi….Jahat banget guwe, kannn.

Usai mencuci kaos kaki, aku pun keluar dari kamar mandi dan melempar senyum pada seorang tamu perempuan asal Tiongkok yang menunggu sedari tadi. Tentu saja senyum hangatku itu berbalas cemberutan bibir darinya. “Maaf neng, abang dah lama kagak mandi, hampura nyakkk…..” .

Usai berganti baju dan mengenakan semua perlengkapan musim dingin, aku bersiap melanglang Seoul lagi hingga malam nanti.

Aku masih ingat dengan kata teman-teman sekantor yang memintaku untuk mengunjungi sebuah jembatan yang sering dijadikan latar dalam drama-drama Korea terkenal. Walaupun aku mengindahkannya ketika berangkat, tetapi entah kenapa sore itu aku berkeinginan kuat untuk mengunjunginya juga. Kata teman-temanku, jika malam tiba, di Banpo Bridge sering ada air mancur pelangi, perpaduan antara air mancur dengan permainan cahaya di kedua sisi jembatan. “Oke lah….ndak ada salahnya aku kesana walau bukan penggemar drama Korea”, aku akhirnya sudah memutuskan tujuan.

Dari Stasiun Hongik University, kini aku akan menuju ke Stasiun Seoul Express Bus Terminal, tempat pertama kali aku menginjakkan kaki di Seoul. Kenyang nanggung dari sepotong Kimbab yang kusantap di Stasiun Hongik University siang tadi sirna sudah. Kini perut mulai berdangdut ria merayakan kesewotanku menahan lapar. Tetapi karena kekhawatiran terjebak malam di Banpo Bridge aku memutuskan untuk menunda keinginan makan malam itu.

Aku segera melangkah menuju Stasiun Hongik University, menjemput kedatangan Seoul Metro Line 2 dan menuju ke destinasi yang kusasar. Saking fahamnya jalur Seoul Metro karena sedari pagi terus-menerus memelototi peta jalurnya, menjadikanku aware jika aku harus transit dahulu di Stasiun Euljiro 3 (sam)-ga dan harus pindah tumpangan di Seoul Metro Line 3.

Kurang lebih memerlukan waktu setengah jam untuk sampai di Stasiun Seoul Express Bus Terminal. Keluar dari gate 8-1 di stasiun itu, aku berjalan kaki menuju Banpo Hangang Park, sisi terbaik untuk menikmati indahnya Banpo Bridge.  

Perlu waktu 20 menit untuk bisa untuk bisa tiba di taman yang berada di tepian Han River. Memasuki taman yang mulai gelap dengan minim penerangan sebetulnya sedikit menciutkan nyali. Beruntung ada serombongan keluarga Korea yang memasuki taman dan menuju tempat yang sama. Dengan pura-pura menunjukkan ketenangan aku menguntitnya dari belakang….Hahaha, dasar pengecut kamu, Donny.

Rombongan yang sibuk berjalan sembari menyiapkan beberapa kamera itu membuatku yakin bahwa mereka akan menuju Banpo Bridge view point. Benar adanya, saya dan rombongan keluarga lokal itu akhirnya tiba di tepian sungai secara bersamaan.

Yeaaa…..nyampai juga.

Penampakan Banpo Bridge dengan gemerlap lampu memang tampak indah mengangkangi Han River. Aku sangat antusias duduk di tepian sungai demi menunggu momen pertunjukan air mancur pelangi itu dimulai. Detik demi detik, menit demi menit, bahkan aku sudah merelakan diri digulung suhu dingin kota, pertunjukan itu tak kunjung hadir.

Alhasil, dengan berakhirnya kunjungan keluarga lokal itu karena kekecewaan yang sama, membuatku terpaksa ikut undur diri dari tempat itu. “Masa iya, aku harus sendirian di tepian sungai yang sepi dan gelap begini….”, geramku sambil menahan lapar yang sedari tadi sungguh mengacaukan konsentrasiku.

Berjalan meninggalkan keelokan Banpo Bridge, aku sungguh beruntung bisa melihat keberadaan gerai mungil 7-Eleven di sisi lain taman.  Cahaya lampu dari dalamnya mengisyaratkan bahwa gerai itu masih buka. Lantas tak berfikir panjang, aku mempercepat langkah mendekatinya. “Enak nih, cup noodles disantap dengan nasi….”, semangatku hadir sembari mengingat cara makan sederhana yang selalu kupraktikkan selama berkunjung ke Korea Selatan.

Aku berseru girang berhasil mendapatkannya. Kegirangan itu semakin bertambah karena gerai 7-Eleven itu menyediakan tenda di sisi luarnya untuk menyantap makanan yang dibeli dari gerai. Unik, tenda itu dihangatkan dengan sebuah kipas angin yang baling-balingnya dibuat dari filamen pemanas.


Kisah Selanjutnya—->