Haedong Yonggungsa Temple: Never Arrived….

I hadn’t even reached Toseong Station yet, when my stomach tone sent a signal. “Oh yeah, I haven’t had lunch yet,” was the quick response in my mind. The last time I ate a Bungeoppang street snack was two hours ago at the same street where I stood now, Kkachigogae-ro Avenue.

Getting to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple took a long time. I paused for a moment at a side of sidewalk. Slowly sweeping my gaze to the row of shophouses along my eyes reach. At far side of road, I saw a restaurant which wasn’t that big, some local residents came out of that tiny restaurant with plastic bags filled with food. Quickly decided, “I’d better eat there, I don’t have much time”. Later, I sat down at a seat in that tiny restaurant.


“Good afternoon, Sir. This is the menu. Enjoy your time here”

“Thank you Sir, give me time to choose the menu!”.

A young man with typical Korean bangs smiled with nodding and returned to his busy in preparing food for several customers who were still queuing near door. Meanwhile I started to busy choosing a food I would eat at menu list. My first filter was, of course, price, considering my budget was running low in my second day in Korea.

“Hello, Sir”, I called him after selecting the cheapest menu.

“Yes, Sir” he prepared to go to my table.

“This, Sir”

“Oh, Kimbap….OK…OK. Oh yes, Where are you come from, Sir?”, He quickly understood my order while opening another topic of conversation.

“Indonesia, Sir”

“Wow, Indonesia. I ever worked there for 3 years. Good afternoon, Sir”

I uncontrollably laughed watching him when recited some words from my country language.Hahaha.

“Do you eat pork?”, he joked again.

“No…No…..Hahahaha. Your Indonesian language is good”, I felt happy, as if I was in my own country.

“Are you moslem?”

“Yup. I am happy to hear Indonesia language in Busan, Sir”

“Yes….Yes….Yes….. I can speak a little Indonesian. Wait, I’ll make Kimbap. Only 10 minutes, Wait!”

“Yes, Sir”

He was busy concocting my order of Kimbap diligently and exactly ten minutes later, he picked up a Kimbap and brought it to me. Now Kimbap was ready to eat. But I ate it with a flat expression. Damn…I miss “Nasi Padang”.

Are you full if you eat lunch with that portion?

Paying after eating it, I chatted for a while until I finally found out that he was the owner of this tiny restaurant.


I sat down in Humetro Line 1 (Orange Line) carriage, then changed to Humetro Line 2 (Green Line) at Seomyeon Station. Next I headed to Haeundae Station to continue my journey.

A destination  which made me pale….I didn’t know if there will be enough time until I catched bus to Seoul at half past nine that night. Or would I be left behind by that bus.

My worries which had been going at along underground passages of Busan were stopped when a voice announcer announced that Humetro would soon be arrived in Haeundae Station. At the same time, my decision to going to my next destination was final…..I would visit it. I quickly rushed to station gate in the surface, when I got to the top, I nimbly stepped towards a bus stop located not far from station gate. The name of that bus stop was the same as the station name next to it, namely Haeundae Bus Stop, located on the edge of Haeun-daero Avenue

I carefully looked at some bus numbers at bus stop’s wall. That were the identities of several city buses which passed that bus stop. Yes….There was a number 181 tucked in between, that was a bus number which I was aiming for. I closely looked at every bus which was going to stop at Haeundae Bus Stop. I was agile to find the whereabouts of numbers location at bus’ front window. It took quite a while, several bus with another numbers past me at bus stop until the sixth bus with a number I was looking for arrived. Now I was getting ready to welcome that bus, which from a distance started turning on its turn signal as a sign that that bus would pick up its passengers at Haeundae Bus Stop.

The bus softly screeched in front of me, I immediately jumped in through its front door, entered the fare of 1,200 Won in a fare box next to driver while showing him a picture. “Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Sir. Please drop me here…!.”.

“Hoohhh….hooohh”, a response that I believed that he understood.

All seats were full, made me stand alone in that city bus. Surprised local faces stared at me all the way, of course because I had a different skin color than them.

While in bus, there were no clues that can help to monitoring where I was at all times. I tried to calm myself apart from a fact that a small panic was starting to disturb my concentration. Thirty minutes had passed, countless, bus had stopped to picking up and dropping passengers, but driver seemed to continue to focus on driving the bus.

Finally I got up the courage to approach him and asked again about the picture of temple which I showed at the beginning of trip. “Sir, is this temple still far?”, I briefly asked. Then how did he react?….Amazing, hahaha.

“Hooohhhh….Hooohhhh”, while waving his hand as a sign of not knowing. Either I didn’t know that place or I didn’t know how to speak English. “Oh God, Imy request had be ignored from earlier by him”. Now I had no choice, I had to get off from bus even though I didn’t know where I was. “Sir. Drop me here now!”. And slowly, bus began to slow down towards a small bus stop in front of it.

My hunch from the beginning of trip was clear, I was now really lost in a lonely place. Meanwhile, it was half past five in the afternoon. I would try to find out if Haedong Yonggungsa Temple was still worth to be visited by walking.

Ten minutes of confusion and panic at a bus stop, I finally saw a young man jogging toward me. I mustered up the courage to stop him and ask him where he was going.

“It’s about 10 kilometers from here, you get off from bus but it was too far from this place”

“Ok thanks, Sir”

That means I couldn’t walk and it was also impossible to wait for next bus to get there….It would be too long and time consuming. I decided to immediately cancel and prepared to heading back towards downtown. I would better to secure my bus departure schedule to Seoul. If I was late then I had to prepare to compensate it with additional accommodation costs for a longer night’s stay in Busan.

With a sense of panic and disappointment…. And also a little fear because I was in a very quiet place at the edge of Gijang-daero Avenue, I finally waited for the arrival of bus number 181.

I was so sorry…. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple….It was like unrequited love.

Seeing Old Grandpa in Gamcheon Culture Village

Eleven o’clock in the afternoon, Nopo-dong area, Geumjeong District….

Finally I got a bus ticket to Seoul. Because bus departed tonight, I decided to continue my exploration in Busan until afternoon. Now I was starting to leave Busan Central Bus Terminal, walking down an integration corridor towards Nopo Station.

Arriving at station, I didn’t have to wait long, Humetro Line 1 (Orange Line) took me to Toesong Station. It was twenty-four stations away. I arrived at destination station in almost an hour.

Getting off at Toesong Station, looking for directions to Gamcheon Culture Village.

Exiting west exit of Toesong Station, I then walked down Kkachigogae-ro Avenue. But before going any further, I found a street food which I had been aiming for before leaving for South Korea. Moreover, if it was not Bungeoppang, a street food made from flour and filled with chocolate. The uniqueness of this snack is its fish-shaped appearance which is very cute. I spent 1,000 Won to enjoying it.

I enjoyed a serving Bungeoppang in front of a middle-aged woman seller. Chewing while food was still hot made her laugh at me who was having a hard time chewing. Moments liked this made me always happy when traveling, joking with street food sellers who show their modesty, as they are.

From Kkachigogae-ro Avenue, I changed direction on Haedoji-ro Avenue heading south. The road was still flat, making me cross it with a smile. But I was only two hundred meters from Haedoji-ro Avenue section, because from then on I began to perfectly climb on Ami-ro Avenue.

Police station at Kkachigogae-ro Avenue.

I began to step at uphill road with a typical road topography, twisting, causing the road span to be longer. It was just that I didn’t want to be embarrassed by some of elderly residents who were nimbly climbing the road. Not even a few middle-aged residents happily jog up the hill. Extraordinary. I had to gasp up at Ami-ro Avenue to keep up with them.

I had walked one and a half kilometers until I finally arrived at the front gate of Gamcheon Culture Village. Meanwhile, it was half past one in the afternoon. Actually there was a public transportation number 2 which could take me from Toesong Station to Gamcheon Culture Village, but I was reluctant to use it, because walking is something that is fun and allows interacting with local residents.

The front gate of Gamcheon Culture Village.
The front gate of Gamcheon Culture Village.

After enjoying the atmosphere at the front gate of Gamcheon Culture Village which was full of art, I began to entering the cultural village which had been intensely given a touch of art since eleven years ago. It’s said that this village can be visited by more than one million tourists every year. Wow, you can imagine the magnitude of economic cycle in this former slum village. The village that used to be just a slum village, where the urban poor live, has now turned into a tourist village with extraordinary income.

The superior level of art has made Gamcheon Culture Village identified as the “Santorini of Korea”. Make Saha District pride, district where this tourist village area is.

Art along Gamcheon Culture Village.
 Gamcheon Culture Village atmosphere.
 Gamcheon Culture Village atmosphere.

Along the main village road, it was easy to find restaurants and cafes which pamper visitors. As far as the eye can see, there was ocean at the end of village when I enjoy its beauty from a house rooftop. Meanwhile, art and souvenir shops were scattered and easy to find.

At a point, I was attracted by one of homeowners who wore crutches at both arms. He told me that he was proud that his house was on the edge of the village’s main road and became an interesting spot for tourists to visit. I and a tourist of Chinese descent from Malaysia were invited to enter to see the interior of his house. Well this was the bonus of my trip.

But my time was so tight, it only took me an hour to walk around village and decided to immediately leave Gamcheon-dong area to go to another destination……

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple: Tak Pernah Sampai….

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Belum genap langkahku mencapai Stasiun Toseong, nada perut mengirim pertanda. “Oh iya, aku belum makan siang”, respon cepat dalam fikirku. Terakhir aku menyantap snack jalanan Bungeoppang dua jam lalu di jalan yang sama dengan tempat berdiriku sekarang, Kkachigogae-ro Avenue.

Menuju Haedong Yonggungsa Temple perlu waktu yang tak sebentar. Aku berhenti sejenak di satu sisi trotoar. Perlahan menyapukan pandangan ke deretan ruko di sepanjang jangkauan mata. Di seberang jauh jalan, aku melihat rumah makan yang tak begitu besar, beberapa warga lokal keluar dari rumah makan mungil itu dengan membawa kantong plastik berisi makanan. Cepat memutuskan, “lebih baik aku makan disana saja, waktuku tak banyak”. Sewaktu kemudian aku sudah terduduk di salah satu bangku rumah makan mungil itu.


Good afternoon, Sir. This is the menu. Enjoy your time here

Thank you sir, give me time to choose the menu!”.

Pemuda berpotongan khas poni Korea itu tersenyum mengangguk dan kembali sibuk menyiapkan makanan untuk beberapa pelanggan yang masih mengantri di pintu. Sedangkan aku mulai sibuk memilih makanan yang akan kusantap di daftar menu. Filter pertamaku tentulah harga, mengingat amunisi yang makin menipis pada hari keduaku di Korea.

Hello, Sir”, aku memanggil pemuda itu setelah memilih menu termurah.

Yes, Sir”, dia berkesiap menuju mejaku.

This, Sir

Oh, Kimbap….OK…OK. Oh ya, Where are you come from, Sir”, Dia memahami cepat pesananku sembari membuka topik pembicaraan lain.

“Indonesia, Sir”

Wooow, Indonesia. I ever worked there for 3 years. Selamat siang, Pak

Aku tertawa tak terbendung melihatnya melafalkan bahasa tanah air beta….Hahaha.

Tidak makan babi?”, dia kembali berkelakar.

Tidak…Tidak…..Hahahaha. Bahasa Indonesia Anda bagus”, aku merasa bahagia, seolah sedang berada di negeri sendiri.

Moslem ya?

“Yups. Saya senang bisa mendengar bahasa Indonesia di Busan, Pak”

Ya….Ya….Ya….. Saya bisa sedikit Bahasa Indonesia. Tunggu ya, saya buatkan Kimbap. Hanya 10 menit, Tunggu!

“Ok Pak”

Dia sibuk meramu Kimbap pesananku dengan tekun dan tepat sepuluh menit kemudian, Kimbap itu diangkatnya dan dibawa menujuku. Kini Kimbap telah siap kusantap. Tetapi aku menyantapnya dengan mimik datar. Damn…Aku kangen Nasi Padang.

Kenyangkah anda jika makan siang dengan porsi segitu?

Membayar setelah menyantapnya, aku berbincang sebentar hingga akhirnya tahu dia adalah pemilik rumah makan mungil ini.


Aku terduduk tak kenyang dalam gerbong Humetro Line 1 (Orange Line), kemudian berpindah di Humetro Line 2 (Green Line) di Stasiun Seomyeon. Selanjutnya aku menuju ke Stasiun Haeundae demi melanjutkan petualangan.

Destinasi yang membuatku pucat pasi….Entahlah, apakah waktunya akan cukup hingga aku mengejar keberangkatan bus menuju Seoul pada jam setengah sembilan malam nanti. Atau apakah aku akan tertinggal oleh bus itu.

Kekhawatiranku yang berlangsung di sepanjang lorong bawah tanah Busan terhenti ketika voice announcer mengabarkan bahwa Humetro akan segera merapat di Stasiun Haeundae. Bersamaan dengan itu maka keputusanku menuju destinasi terakhir telah bulat…..Aku akan mengunjunginya. Dengan cepat aku bergegas menuju station gate di permukaan, sesampainya di atas, aku melangkah gesit menuju sebuah halte bus yang berlokasi tak jauh dari station gate. Nama halte bus itu sama dengan nama stasiun di sebelahnya, yaitu Halte Bus Haeundae, terletak di tepian Haeun-daero Avenue

Kuperhatikan dengan seksama angka-angka yang merupakan identitas beberapa bus kota yang melewati halte itu. Yes….Ada angka 181 terselip diantaranya, itulah nomor bus yang kusasar. Kuperhatikan lekat-lekat muka setiap bus yang akan berhenti di halte itu. Aku tangkas mencari keberadaan letak angka di bagian depan bus. Cukup lama, bus bernomor lain melewatiku di halte itu hingga datang bus keenam dengan angka yang kucari sedari tadi. Kini aku bersiap diri menyambut bus tersebut yang dari kejauhan mulai menyalakan lampu sein sebagai penanda bahwa bus itu akan mengambil penumpangnya di Halte Haeundae.

Bus berdecit lembut di hadapan, aku segera melompat masuk melalui pintu depan, memasukkan ongkos sebesar 1.200 Won (Rp. 15.000) pada fare box di sebelah sopir sembari menunjukkan sebuah gambar kepadanya. “Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Sir. Please drop me here…!.”.

Hoohhh….hoooohh”, selorohnya kuanggap bahwa dia telah faham.

Seluruh bangku yang telah penuh, membuatku berdiri sendirian dibawa laju bus kota itu. Wajah-wajah lokal yang heran menatapku sepanjang perjalanan, tentu karena aku berbeda warna kulit dari mereka.

Sementara di dalam bus, tak ada petunjuk apapun yang bisa membantu memantau dimana keberadaanku di setiap saat. Aku mencoba menenangkan diri diluar fakta bahwa kepanikan kecil mulai mengganggu konsentrasi. Tiga puluh menit berlalu, sudah tak terhitung bus itu berhenti menaik turunkan penumpang, tetapi pak sopir tampak terus fokus mengemudikan busnya.

Akhirnya aku memberanikan diri menghampirinya dan menanyakan kembali perihal gambar kuil yang kutunjukkan sedari awal perjalanan. “Sir, is this temple still far?”, aku bertanya singkat. Lalu bagaimanakah reaksi dia?….Ruarrrr Biasaaahhhh.

Hooohhhh….Hooohhhh”, sembari melambai-lambaikan tangan pertanda tidak tahu. Entah tak tahu tempatnya atau tak tahu bercakap English. “ Ah alamat, pantesan aku dicuekin sedari tadi”. Kini tak ada pilihan, aku harus turun dari bus walaupun aku tak tahu sedang berada dimana. “Sir. Drop me here now!”. Dan perlahan, bus mulai melambat menuju ke sebuah halte kecil di depan sana.

Firasat sedari awal perjalanan itu jelas, aku kini benar-benar tersesat di sebuah tempat nan sepi. Sementara waktu sudah lewat dari jam setengah lima sore. Aku akan berusaha mencari informasi apakah Haedong Yonggungsa Temple masih layak untuk ditempuh dengan berjalan kaki.

Sepuluh menit dalam kebingunan dan kepanikan dalam sebuah halte, akhirnya tampak seorang lelaki muda sedang berjogging mendekat ke arahku. Kuberanikan diri untuk menghentikannya dan menanyakan tempat tujuan itu kepadanya.

It’s about 10 kilometers from here, you get off from the bus but it’s too far from that place

Ok thanks, Sir

Itu berarti aku tak bisa berjalan kaki dan juga tak mungkin menunggu bus menuju kesana….Akan terlalu lama dan menghabiskan banyak waktu. Kuputuskan untuk membatalkan segera dan bersiap menuju tengah kota kembali. Lebih baik aku mengamankan jadwal keberangkatan bus menuju Seoul. Jika aku terlambat maka aku harus bersiap dengan kompensasi menambah biaya akomodasi untuk menginap semalam lebih lama di Busan.

Dengan rasa penuh panik, sebal dan kecewa….Ditambah sedikit takut karena berada di tempat yang sangat sepi di tepian Gijang-daero Avenue, akhirnya aku menunggu kembali kedatangan bus bernomor 181.

I’m so sorry…. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple….Bak kasih yang tak sampai.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Menengok Kakek Tua di Gamcheon Culture Village

<—-Kisah sebelumnya.

Pukul sebelas siang, daerah Nopo-dong, Distrik Geumjeong….

Akhirnya aku mendapatkan tiket bus menuju Seoul. Karena bus baru berangkat malam nanti, aku memutuskan untuk melanjutkan eksplorasi di Busan hingga sore nanti. Kini aku mulai meninggalkan Busan Central Bus Terminal, menyusuri koridor integrasi menuju Stasiun Nopo.

Setiba di stasiun, tak lama menunggu, Humetro Line 1 (Orange Line) membawaku menuju Stasiun Toesong. Jaraknya berselang dua puluh empat stasiun. Aku tiba di stasiun tujuan dalam rentang waktu hampir satu jam.

Turun di Stasiun Toesong, mencari petunjuk menuju Gamcheon Culture Village.

Keluar dari pintu barat Stasiun Toesong, aku kemudian menyusuri Kkachigogae-ro Avenue. Tetapi sebelum jauh melangkah, aku menemukan street food yang sudah kuincar untuk dicicipi sebelum berangkat ke Korea Selatan. Apalagi kalau bukan Bungeoppang, street food berbahan dasar tepung dan berisikan cokelat, keunikan snack ini adalah penampakannya yang berbentuk ikan yang sangat lucu. Aku membelanjakan 1.000 Won (Rp. 12.000) untuk menikmatinya.

Aku menikmati sajian Bungeoppang di depan penjual wanita setengah baya. Mengunyah dalam kondisi makanan yang masih panas membuat dia menertawakanku yang kerepotan mengunyah. Momen seperti inilah yang membuatku selalu bahagia ketika bertraveling, bersenda gurau dengan pengais rezeqi jalanan yang menunjukkan kesahajaannya, apa adanya.

Dari Kkachigogae-ro Avenue, aku berganti haluan di Haedoji-ro Avenue menuju ke selatan. Jalanan masih saja datar, membuatku melintasnya dengan sumringah. Tapi hanya dua ratus meter dari bagian Haedoji-ro Avenue yang kulalui, karena untuk selanjutnya aku mulai menanjak sempurna di Ami-ro Avenue.

Pos polisi di bilangan Kkachigogae-ro.

Aku mulai menanjaki bukit dengan topografi jalanan yang khas, meliak-liuk,  menyebabkan rentang jalan menjadi lebih panjang. Hanya saja aku tak mau dipermalukan dengan beberapa warga lanjut usia yang menanjaki jalan itu dengan gesit. Bahkan tak sedikit warga setengah baya berjogging ria menanjaki bukit. Luar biasa. Aku harus tersengal menanjaki Ami-ro Avenue untuk mengimbangi mereka.

Satu setengah kilometer sudah aku melangkah hingga akhirnya tiba di gerbang depan Gamcheon Culture Village. Sementara waktu telah menunjukkan pukul setengah satu siang. Sebetulnya ada kendaraan umum bernomor 2 yang bisa mengantarku dari Stasiun Toesong menuju Gamcheon Culture Village, tapi aku enggan menggunakannya, karena berjalan kaki adalah sesuatu yang menyenangkan dan memungkinkan berinteraksi dengan warga lokal.

Gerbang depan Gamcheon Culture Village.
Gerbang depan Gamcheon Culture Village.

Usai menikmati suasana gerbang depan Gamcheon Culture Village yang penuh seni, aku mulai memasuki desa budaya yang telah intens diberikan sentuhan seni sejak sebelas tahun lalu itu. Konon desa ini bisa dikunjungi lebih dari satu juta pelancong setiap tahunnya. Wahhh, bisa dibayangkan besarnya putaran ekonomi di bekas desa kumuh ini. Desa yang dulu hanyalah desa kumuh, tempat tinggal kaum miskin kota, kini desa itu telah berubah menjadi desa wisata dengan pendapatan yang luar biasa.

Tingkat seni yang unggul, menjadikan Gamcheon Culture Village diidentikkan dengan “Santorininya Korea”. Menjadikan kebanggaan Distrik Saha yang mencakupi wilayah desa wisata ini.

Seni di sepanjang Gamcheon Culture Village.
Suasana Gamcheon Culture Village.
Suasana Gamcheon Culture Village.

Di sepanjang jalan utama desa, mudah ditemukan restoran dan cafe yang memanjakan pengunjung. Sejauh mata memandang,  tampak lautan di ujung desa ketika aku menikmati keindahannya dari sebuah sky rooftop. Sementara toko seni dan souvenir tampak bertebaran dan mudah ditemukan.

Pada sebuah langkah, aku tertarik dengan salah seorang pemilik rumah yang mengenakan kruk di kedua lengannya. Dia bercerita bahwa dia bangga rumahnya berada di tepian jalan utama desa dan menjadi spot menarik untuk dikunjungi para wisatawan. Aku bersama seorang turis keturunan Tionghoa asal Malaysia dipersilahkan masuk untuk melongok interior rumah si kakek pemilik. Wah inilah bonus dari perjalanan itu.

Tetapi waktu yang begitu sempit, membuatku hanya satu jam berkeliling desa dan memutuskan untuk segera meninggalkan daerah  Gamcheon-dong  untuk menuju ke destinasi lainnya……

Kisah Selanjutnya—->