Seoul Metro from Downtown to Incheon International Airport

<—-Previous Story

The atmosphere inside Seoul Metro to Incheon International Airport.

After Fajr prayer, my eyes no longer closed. It was my nature to always stay awake when faced with a flight schedule. Meanwhile in the corner of dormitory, my blue backpack with a capacity of 45 liters had been neatly packed since last night, after returning from Gangnam District to be exact. Last night, I decided to do some packing after taking a shower.

Around half past seven in the morning, amid light snoring of Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon guests, I slowly tiptoed to shared-bathroom to soak myself under warm shower. So, an hour later I was tidy and sat in shared lobby downstairs to just socialize.

In a chair, I slowly drank mineral water left over from last night while opening Seoul Metro map. I have to find the best route to Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 that afternoon.

About fifteen minutes later, a girl with a blue veil with a beautiful Malay face came sitting in front of me. From her appearance, she was preparing herself for exploration.

“From Malaysia?”, the question was definitely directed to me.

I looked up and answered, “Jakarta, Indonesia”.

“Oh, Indonesia. How long have you been in Seoul, Brother?”

“Three days. I’m Donny, may I know your name?”, I answered briefly.

“Mariya, I’m from Kuala Terengganu”.

“You’re ready this early, where are you going, Mariya? “, I kept asking curiously.

“Oh, I want to visit Itaewon, take a look at Seoul Central Mosque. Where are you going brother?”

“I will go home this afternoon, tomorrow I will stop in KL first”.

“Can Indonesian people get a free visa to Korea, brother?”

“Oh no Mariya. I had to pay 150 Ringgit to get a Korean visa. What about Malaysians?”

“Malaysians have free visas to Korea, brother”.

Mariya is a solo-traveler from my neighboring country who is armed with high self-confidence. She even talked about her trip around Asia alone without showing the slightest bit of fear. A hour I had a very interesting conversation with him.

Mariya herself is very interested in several cities in Indonesia which she wants to visit in the future. He asked a lot of questions about Bandung, Malang, Labuan Bajo and Ambon. To compensate for her enthusiasm, I was interested in seeking information from her about several cities in Malaysia which I would also like to visit, such as Kuching, Ipoh, Penang, Kuantan and Kuala Terengganu.

Our conversation ended when Mariya said goodbye to go to Itaewon. After that conversation, I went to my room and got ready to check-out.

At half past ten, I started to carry my backpack, went to receptionist to hand over my locker key and took my deposit money. Then I steadily stepped from Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon towards Hongik University Station.

As usual in the morning in Seoul, I stopped by for a moment at CU minimarket which wasn’t far from the station to have breakfast. After breakfast, I immediately hunted for Seoul Metro Line 2 carriage to Sindorim Station, which was only 4 stations away from Hongik University Station.

From Sindorim Station I changed to using Seoul Metro Line 1 to Bupyeong Station. Standing in the center near carriage door, I enjoyed the speed of Seoul Metro passing through eleven stations before arriving.

From Bupyeong Station I still had to change to Seoul Metro Line I to my final destination, Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 Station, which was fifteen stations away.

Crossing the bridge over sea.
Yellow Sea View.

Overall, within an hour and a half, I arrived at Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 Station, which was 60 kilometers from downtown. I arrived at the airport a few minutes before noon. Now I was waiting for Air Asia flight D7 505 from Seoul to Kuala Lumpur which would fly on 15:55 hours.

Actually I was still very interested in enjoying Incheon downtown before heading to airport. But because I realized that the money in my wallet was only a few notes left, then instead of playing the risk and prone to miss the flight, I ended up choosing to spend hours at the airport instead. The most important thing was that my return trip to my homeland was safe and smooth.

Next Story—->

Bukchon Hanok Village: The First Destination in Seoul

“Kamsahanida……”, I loudly said to a female cashier in CU Minimarket in that corner. I have finished in eating packaged white rice and cup noodles which made my lips feel hot because of its spiciness.

“Cheonmanneyo …”, that beautiful white cashier smiled while waving when I was in front of glass door and reached its handle.

Coming out of minimarket, I quickly walked towards the gate of Hongik University Station which wasn’t far away, just to left of a bend ahead.

Descending a long escalator swooping down underground, I began to open my own printed plan, then pointed to a point of destination. “I have to go to Anguk Station,” I thought as I folded my plan sheet and put it in my back pocket.

Then I was in platform. By noon, situation in underground station was deserted. Suddenly, a street romance show at the end of platform faded my enthusiasm for waiting for Seoul Metro arrival. A pair of lovebirds seemed to be hugging each other’s waist while looking at each other affectionately. Every now and then that man kissed his girl…. “Oh God….”, my envy feeling appeared. Shows like that really didn’t surprise me because I’ve often saw them in same transportation mode belonging to Singapore or Shenzen city. “Think of it as a travel bonus …”, I thought while wryly smiling.

Their intimate embrace was released for a moment after the sound of Seoul Metro could be heard when coming from right aisle. Seoul Metro softly squeaked and stopped in front of them, they ended their romance and I as the lone that romance viewer also boarded the train.

Seoul Metro Line 2 was pushing away from Seodaemun District heading east. I would travel to Jongno District which was eight stations away and had to change to Seoul Metro Line 3 at Euljiro 3(sam)-ga Station and it would take about 30 minutes.

According to the estimated time, I was now standing in front of Seoul Metro door when the announcer sound said that the train would soon be arrived Anguk Station. After a perfect stop, I jumped out of the carriage which I was already on it since several minutes ago, nothing else memorable after the romance for about half an hour ago.

Exiting Anguk Station, I was faced with Yulgok-ro Avenue. Confidently taking a step to the left led me to an intersection which was bustling with fashion, culinary and cosmetic outlets. Looked like I went to the wrong way.

I stood rooted to a side of Enso monument which was located right in a side of intersection. Enso itself is a traditional calligraphy brush native to South Korea. I observed the behavior of local people who were busy shopping. Meanwhile, several groups of tourists from Europe seemed to be conversing in Tourist Information booth which was located next to the monument. Looked like I had to go to the booth and asked for directions to my destination. I finally walked over to it.

Me: “Hello, Ms. Can I know which way that I need to choose toward Bukchon Hanok Village?”

Her: “Hi, Sir. You can go straight there and then turn left in crossroad. You will arrive in Bukchon Hanok Village with walking about 600 meters”.

Me: “Very clear, thank you, Ms”

Her: “You are welcome. And this tourism map is for you”, she smiled as she handed me a Seoul tourism map.

I immediately headed north. Relaxing a bit while enjoying the bustling streets of Bukchon-ro, I finally arrived at Bukchon Hanok Village in 20 minutes. That cultural village was located in west of the main road.

Notre Dame Education Center in Bukchon Hanok Village.

To my surprise, this was different from Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan which I visited a few days ago. Bukchon Hanok Village featured rows of Hanok (traditional South Korean houses) which were neatly arranged along the contour of pedestrian path. The wood which was part of Hanok building looked shiny and well maintained, the alleys which could only be passed by walking looked neat and clean. This was the residence of Joseon Dynasty-era nobles which were more than six centuries old and were the pride of Jongno District.

In accordance with its nickname as the “North Village”, this village was indeed located to the north of two main icons of Seoul, i.e Cheonggye River and Jongno District.

In addition to functioning as a Hanok preservation, this village also functions as a cultural center, traditional inns, restaurants and a place to drink tea together.

Walking through the interior of village, several female tourists looked elegant in Hanbok (South Korean clothing) in order to walking through this cultural village more solemnly.

A beauty that was stored in Gahoe area, I finally managed to come to it. A classic impression, serenity, silence, full of meaning and cultural majesty I felt very strongly during this visit.

Next Story—->

Sleeping for a while at Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon

On half past nine in the morning, I was arrived at Hongik University Station, down the long corridor of station and went up a long-high escalator to surface. Station’s architecture greeted me with a garden decorated with beautiful flowers combined with several iconic sculptures.

I started down the main alley towards Sinchon-ro Avenue at north of station. As far as I know, the guesthouse which I booked was in an alley across the street. I crossed a single zebra cross at the road in front. Seoul Bus Rapid Transit was dominantly blue and white, with an outdoor AC compartment which extended on its top, complementing its long body, which seemed to be passing by, taking local residents who were starting their activities to appreciating the dawn.

I decided not to ask anyone about the location of guesthouse which I was staying at, I was sure in the middle of a super busy Capital City, it would be very rare for anyone to know where a small guesthouse was located in the middle of an alley in the middle of nowhere.

I picked up a map and quickly figured out which side of the alley to enter. I started entering Sinchon –ro 3-gil Alley and turned right at the first fork. As expected, I would find it easy.

Entering its unlocked door, I found the reception desk which dark and empty. Stairwell, kitchen and dining room equally dim. The guesthouse guests still seemed lazy in their blankets, as if they were reluctant to struggle with cold air outside.

With no choice, I entered the shared lounge which was equally dim, took a seat, put my backpack and cupped my face in my arms to fall asleep sitting down. At least the shared lounge was not as cold as Seoul Express Bus Terminal building that morning.

My sleep was awakened by the noise of someone who seemed to tidy up the reception room. Apparently I had been asleep for an hour. The young Korean man seemed to be looking at me expressionlessly. I rubbed my eyes to make my face immediately refreshed. Getting up from chair and rushedh towards him.

Me: “Hello, I’m Donny from Indonesia. I had booked a room in this guesthouse. This is my booking confirmation”.

He: “Let me see”, he carefully read the details of my sheet. “I think you will get your room on 1 pm, so I’m sorry”, I was amazed by British accent of his English pronunciation.

Me: “Oh, it’s OK. I know that. I just want to put my backpack here and I will go to sightseeing the city”.

Him: “Yeah, It will be better. Just put your backpack there”, he pointed to a corner of room which full of backpacks.

Me: “Ok, thanks, Sir”.

After successfully putting a backpack which started to make my back feel heavy. I immediately left the guesthouse. I had to find some breakfast before heading to my first destination in Seoul. Since talking to Mr. In Chul Park in Seoul Metro that morning, I started to hold back the hunger that attacked my stomach.

Crossing back Sinchon-ro Avenue I entered the alley leading to Hongik University Station. In the alley I slowly walked to find a minimarket. Yups….Finally I found a CU minimarket.

Browsing the shelves which filled with food, I found cup noodles and white rice packets, without hesitation I picked them up and took them to cashier. Like CU minimarket in Busan, CU minimarket Seoul also provides a dining corner, complete with a microwave and hot water. Customers are required to be able to operate that heating equipment and serve themselves to eat the food which they buy.

I, who was really hungry, ate the cup noodles and packaged rice quickly. Then immediately rushed to the first tourist destination.

Getting Risk at Busan Central Bus Terminal

Bathroom dramas often coloring my travel stories, considering that I often chose a dormitory as a place to stay during my adventures.

First night in Busan. I was really annoyed, I just flushed a closed toilet seat, I mean that I didn’t want to see “zonk” things when I opened it… But, water spilled everywhere along with its load.

Damn it….This must be a behavior of the man who a few minutes ago passed me at shared bathroom door.

Suddenly I went to another bathroom which was two floors above me. I had no desire to take a shower in bathroom even though there were still several more shower rooms available. In upstairs bathroom, conditions were cleaner, maybe guests were reluctant to bother going upstairs. Because of this incident, my heartburn suddenly disappeared. I prefered to go straight to shower room to wash my body with warm water.

Olala….Turned out I was a same jerk…..

After taking a shower, I lingered in front of the sink to dry my t-shirt and sock with a hair dryer, until they were completely dry. “Ah, It’s Okay. There’s no one. I’m paying to this hotel too,” a devil’s voice in my heart whispered. Understandably in this travel journey, I began to apply a strategy of carrying two pairs of socks to simplify my luggage. I will wash and dry unused socks in preparation for next use.


That morning I woke up on time. After Fajr prayer, I no longer felt asleep. I prefered to open itinerary sheets while waiting for light of the day. When sun started to come, I started to leave Kimchee Busan Guesthouse after taking a shower, considering that this inn didn’t provide breakfast for dormitory room.

I exited to the inn alley, and followed Hwangnyeong-daero Street heading west, to Beomnaegol Station to continue my journey. But of course I had to get breakfast before boarding to Humetro. I stopped at a CU minimarket to then enter it and hunted for breakfast in it. I found a handful of rice filled with corn at a special food rack, went to cashier, paid for it and then ate it on a seat inside the minimarket.

Soon I ate it. I immediately entered the station building and looked for a ticketing vending machine to buy a one day pass, then headed to platform after holding a one day pass for 4,500 Won.

That morning I would head to Busan Central Bus Terminal to buy a bus ticket to Seoul which would depart at night. Humetro Line 1 (Orange Line) softly screeched to a stop at platform. I immediately sat at one of its seats in a half-empty carriage to then follow the train to Nopo Station, a station where Busan Central Bus Terminal is integrated. I arrived in 45 minutes.

Getting out of the carriage I looked for clues that could lead me to the terminal. It’s not hard to find. A clue which then continued with the next clue directed me to arrive at the Busan Central Bus Terminal.

Busan Central Bus Terminal ticket sales counter.

 “Hello, Miss. How much is a ticket to Seoul? “I asked to ticket sales staff in a long row of ticketing counters.

“32,000 Won, Sir. Bus will depart on around 16:00 hours”.

“Miss, What is the cheapest price and what time does the bus depart?”, I bluntly remembered that my pockets were running low.

“23,000 Won and bus will depart on 20:30 hours, Sir”.

“Okay, Wait Miss”.

I left her and sat at waiting chair. I started to calculate, if I departed early then I would be relatively safe because I would arrive in Seoul before nightfall. But that means I had to increase cost to rent a dormitory sooner. Of course it would be expensive.

If I took a night ticket, then inevitably, I would spend the night at Seoul City Bus Terminal, a little risky, but it was most possible choice with my money which was running out.

Okay, I would do that….. I got up from my seat and returned to a female staff.

“Yes, Ms. I take the night one”.

“Ok. Sir”

I handed her the money and she gave me a ticket to go to Seoul.

Busan-Seoul bus ticket costs 23,000 Won.

Okay, one important part I quickly finished. I would spend the remaining time in Busan that day.

Seoul Metro dari Pusat Kota ke Incheon International Airport

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Suasana di dalam Seoul Metro menuju Incheon International Airport.

Usai shalat Subuh, mataku tak lagi terpejam. Sudah menjadi sifatku yang selalu saja terjaga ketika dihadapkan pada sebuah jadwal penerbangan. Sementara di pojok dormitory, backpack biruku yang berkapasitas 45 liter sudah terpacking rapi sejak semalam, sepulang dari Distrik Gangnam tepatnya. Malam tadi, aku memang memutuskan melakukan packing seusai mandi.

Sekitar pukul setengah tujuh pagi, ditengah nada-nada dengkuran ringan para penghuni Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon, aku perlahan berjingkat-jingkat menuju shared-bathroom untuk mengguyur diri dibawah shower air hangat. Sehingga, satu jam kemudian aku telah rapi dan terduduk di shared lobby lantai bawah untuk sekedar bersosialisasi.

Di sebuah kursi, perlahan aku menenggak air mineral sisa semalam sembari membuka peta Seoul Metro. Aku harus mencari rute terbaik menuju Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 siang nanti.

Sekitar lima belas menit kemudian, datanglah gadis berjilbab biru dengan wajah cantik khas Melayu duduk di hadapan. Dari penampilannya dia sedang bersiap diri untuk melakukan eksplorasi.

Dari Malaysie kah?”, pertanyaan itu sudah pasti tertuju untukku.

Aku mendongak dan menjawab, “Jakarta, Indonesia”.

Oh, Indonesia. Sudah berape lame di Seoul, Abang?

Tiga hari. Saya Donny, boleh tahu nama kamu?”, jawabku singkat.

Mariya, saya dari Kuala Terengganu”.

Sepagi ini sudah bersiap, mau pergi kemana, Mariya? “, aku terus saja bertanya penuh rasa penasaran.

Oh, saya nak melawat ke Itaewon, tengok sekejap Seoul Central Mosque. Abang mau kemane?

Saya siang ini akan pulang, besok singgah di KL dulu”.

Orang Indonesia dapat free visakah ke Korea, Abang?

Oh, tidak Mariya. Saya harus membayar senilai 150 Ringgit untuk mendapatkan visa Korea. Kalau orang Malaysia bagaimana?

Orang Malaysia free visa ke Korea, Abang”.

Mariya adalah seorang solo-traveler asal negeri jiran yang berbekal dengan rasa percaya diri yang tinggi. Dia bahkan bercerita tentang perjalanannya berkeliling Asia sendirian tanpa menunjukkan sedikitpun rasa takut. Satu jam aku terlibat percakapan yang sangat menarik dengannya.

Mariya sendiri sangat tertarik dengan beberapa kota di Indonesia yang ingin dia kunjungi di waktu mendatang. Dia banyak bertanya perihal Bandung, Malang, Labuan Bajo dan Ambon. Mengimbangi rasa antusiasnya, maka aku tertarik mencari informasi darinya tentang beberapa kota di Malaysia yang hendak pula kukunjungi seperi Kuching, Ipoh, Penang, Kuantan dan Kuala Terengganu.

Percakapan kami berakhir ketika Mariya berpamitan untuk pergi ke Itaewon. Usai percakapan itu, aku pun menuju ke kamar dan bersiap diri untuk check-out.

Pukul setengah sepuluh, aku mulai memanggul backpack, menuju resepsionis untuk menyerahkan kunci loker dan mengambil uang deposit. Kemudian aku melangkah mantap meninggalkan Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon menuju Stasiun Hongik University.

Seperti pagi-pagi biasanya di Seoul, aku mampir sejenak di CU minimarket yang letaknya tak jauh dari stasiun untuk bersarapan. Usai bersarapan, aku segera berburu gerbong Seoul Metro Line 2 menuju Stasiun Sindorim yang keberadaannya hanya berselang 4 stasiun saja dari Stasiun Hongik University.

Dari Stasiun Sindorim aku berpindah menggunakan Seoul Metro Line 1 menuju Stasiun Bupyeong. Berdiri di bagian tengah dekat pintu gerbong, aku menikmati laju Seoul Metro melewati sebelas stasiun sebelum tiba.

Dari Stasiun Bupyeong aku masih harus berpindah keSeoul Metro Line I menuju  tujuan akhir yaitu Stasiun Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 yang berselang lima belas stasiun ke depan.

Melintas jembatan di atas laut.
Pemandangan Laut Kuning.

Secara keseluruhan perjalanan, dalam waktu satu setengah jam, aku tiba di Stasiun Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 yang bejarak 60 kilometer dari pusat kota. Aku tiba di bandara beberapa menit sebelum tengah hari.  Kini aku menunggu  penerbangan Air Asia D7 505 dari Seoul menuju Kuala Lumpur yang akan mengudara pada pukul 15:55 nanti.

Sebetulnya aku masih sangat berminat untuk menikmati pusat kota Incheon sebelum menuju bandara. Tetapi karena sadar diri bahwa uang di dompet hanyalah berupa beberapa lembaran tersisa, maka daripada bermain resiko dan rawan ketinggalan pesawat, aku akhirnya lebih memilih untuk menghabiskan waktu berjam-jam untuk berada di bandara saja. Yang terpenting perjalanan pulangku ke tanah air aman dan lancar.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Bukchon Hanok Village: Destinasi Pertama di Seoul

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Kamsahanida……”, ujarku keras terlontar teruntuk petugas kasir perempuan CU Minimarket di pojok sana. Aku telah rampung menyantap nasi putih kemasan dan cup noodle yang membuat bibirku terasa membara saking pedasnya.

Cheonmanneyo….”, kasir cantik putih itu melempar senyum sembari melambai tangan ketika aku sudah berada di depan pintu kaca hendak menjangkau handlenya.

Keluar dari minimarket, aku melangkah cepat menuju gerbang Stasiun Hongik University yang tak jauh lagi, tepat di sebelah kiri tikungan di depan sana.

Menuruni escalator super panjang menukik menuju bawah tanah, aku mulai membuka denah cetakanku sendiri, lalu menunjuk sebuah titik tujuan. “Aku harus menuju Stasiun Anguk”, batinku berseru sembari melipat denah dan memasukkan ke saku belakang.

Kini aku berada di batas platform. Menjelang siang, suasana stasiun bawah tanah lengang. Tetiba, pertunjukan romansa jalanan di ujung platform sana memudarkan rasa antusiasku dalam menunggu kedatangan Seoul Metro. Sepasang sejoli tampak berpeluk pinggang sembari bertatap mesra. Sesekali sang pria cuek menyosor gadis di depannya….”Buseeet….”, seloroh iriku keluar juga. Pertunjukan seperti itu memang tak membuatku heran karena sudah kerap kujumpai di moda transportasi yang sama milik Negeri Singa atau Kota Shenzen. “Anggap saja sebagai bonus perjalanan…”, batinku tersenyum kecut.

Pelukan mesra mereka terlepas beberapa saat setelah derap suara Seoul Metro terdengar dari lorong kanan. Seoul Metro mendecit lembut dan berhenti di hadapan, mereka mengakhiri romansa dan penonton tunggalnya pun ikut menaiki kereta.  

Seoul Metro Line 2 merangsek meninggalkan Distrik Seodaemun menuju timur. aku akan berwisata ke Distrik Jongno yang berjarak delapan stasiun dan harus berpindah ke Seoul Metro Line 3 di Stasiun Euljiro 3(sam)-ga serta membutuhkan waktu tempuh sekitar 30 menit.

Sesuai perkiraan waktu, kini aku sudah berdiri di depan pintu Seoul Metro ketika announcer sound mengatkan bahwa kereta akan segera merapat ke Stasiun Anguk. Setelah berhenti sempurna, aku melompat meninggalkan gerbong yang sedari menaikinya, tak ada kejadian berkesan lain setelah romansa setengah jam lalu.

Keluar dari Stasiun Anguk, aku dihadapkan pada Yulgok-ro Avenue. Percaya diri mengambil langkah ke kiri mengantarkanku pada sebuah simpang lima yang ramai dengan gerai fashion, kuliner dan kosmestik. Sepertinya aku salah jalan.

Aku berdiri terpaku di sebelah tugu Enso yang berlokasi tepat di salah satu sisi simpang lima tersebut. Enso sendiri adalah kuas kaligrafi tradisional asli Korea Selatan. Mengamati perilaku masyarakat lokal yang sibuk berbelanja. Sementara beberapa kelompok turis asal Eropa tampak sedang bercakap-cakap di gerai Tourist Information yang terletak di samping tugu. Sepertinya aku harus ke gerai itu dan menanyakan arah destinasi yang kutuju. Akhirnya aku melangkah menujunya.

Aku: “Hello, Ms. Can me know which way thet I need to choose toward Bukchon Hanok Village?

Dia: “Hi, Sir. You can go straight there and then turn left in crossroad. You will arrive in Bukchon Hanok Village with walking about 600 meter”.

Aku: “Very clear, thank you, Ms

Dia: “You are welcome. And this tourism map is for you”, dia tersenyum  sembari menyerahkan selembar denah pariwisata Seoul untukku.

Aku pun segera melangkah menuju utara. Sedikit santai sembari menikmati keramaian jalanan Bukchon-ro, akhirnya aku tiba di Bukchon Hanok Village dalam 20 menit. Perkampungan budaya ini berlokasi di sebelah barat jalan utama.

Notre Dame Education Center di Bukchon Hanok Village.

Diluar dugaa, ini berbeda dengan Gamcheon Culture Village di Busan yang kukunjungi beberapa hari lalu. Bukchon Hanok Village menampilkan deretan Hanok (rumah tradisional Korea Selatan) yang tersusun rapi memanjang mengikuti kontur jalan setapak. Kayu-kayu yang menjadi bagian dari bangunan Hanok tampak terawat mengkilap, Gang-gang yang hanya bisa dilalui dengan berjalan kaki nampak rapih dan bersih. Inilah perumahan bangsawan era Dinasti Joseon yang berusia lebih dari enam abad dan menjadi kebanggaan Distrik Jongno.

Sesuai dengan julukannya sebagai “Kampung Utara”, maka desa ini memang terletak di sebelah utara dari dua ikon utama kota Seoul yaitu Sungai Cheonggye dan Distrik Jongno.

Selain berfungsi sebagai pelestarian Hanok, desa ini juga berfungsu sebagai pusat kebudayaan, penginapan tradisional, restoran dan tempat minum teh bersama.

Menyusuri bagian dalam perkampungan, beberapa turis perempuan tampak anggun mengenakan Hanbok (baju khas Korea Selatan) demi menyusuri perkampungan budaya ini dengan lebih khusyu’.

Sebuah keindahan yang tersimpan di daerah Gahoe ini akhirnya berhasil kudatangi juga. Sebuah kesan klasik, ketenangan, kesunyian, sarat makna dan keagungan budaya sangat kental kurasakan dalam kunjungan ini.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Lelap Sejenak  di Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Pukul setengah sembilan pagi, aku sudah merapat di Stasiun Hongik University, menyusuri koridor panjang stasiun dan menaiki escalator panjang an tinggi menuju permukaan tanah. Tata arsitektur stasiun menyambutku dengan taman berhiaskan bunga-bunga indah dipadu dengan bebrapa sculpture ikonik.

Aku mulai menelusuri gang utama menuju Sinchon-ro Avenue di utara stasiun. Yang kutahu, guesthouse yang kupesan berada di dalam gang di seberang jalan sana. Aku melintas pada zebra cross tunggal yang ada pada ruas jalan dihadapan. Seoul Bus Rapid Transit dominan biru langit kelir putih, dengan AC outdoor compartment  memanjang di bagian atap melengkapi body panjangnya tampak berlalu lalang mengambil warga lokal yang mulai beraktivitas meghargai fajar.

Aku memutuskan untuk tak bertanya  kepada siapapun perilah letak guesthouse tempatku menginap, aku yakin di tengah Ibu Kota yang super sibuk, akan sangat langka bagi siapapun untuk mengetahui letak sebuah guesthouse kecil jauh di dalam gang antah berantah.

Aku mengambil peta dan dengan cepat memahami gang sebelah mana yang harus kumasuki. Aku mulai memasuki  Gang Sinchon –ro 3-gil dan berbelok ke kanan pada pertigaan pertama. Sesuai dugaan, aku akan mudah menemukannya.

Memasuki pintunya yang tak terkunci, aku menemukan meja resepsionis yang gelap dan kosong, lorong tangga, dapur dan ruang makan sama temaramnya. Tamu-tamu guesthouse rupanya masih tampak malas dalam selimutnya masing-masing, seakan enggan berjibaku dengan dinginnya hawa di luaran sana.

Tak ada pilihan, aku memasuki shared lounge yang sama temaramnya, mengambil tempat duduk, menaruh backpack dan menangkupkan muka dalam sedekapan tangan untuk turut terlelap dengan kondisi terduduk. Setidaknya shared lounge itu tak sedingin ruangan Seoul Express Bus Terminal dini hari tadi.

Lelapan pulasku terbangunkan oleh suara berisik seseorang yang tampak merapikan ruang resepsionis. Rupanya aku telah terlelap selama satu jam lamanya. Lelaki muda Korea itu tampak melihat kearahku tanpa ekpresi. Aku mengucek mata untuk membuat muka segera segar. Beranjak dari bangku dan segera menujunya.

Aku ; “Hello, I’m Donny from Indonesia. I had booked a room in this guesthouse. This is my booking confirmation”.

Dia: “Let me see”, dia seksama membaca detail lembaran itu. “I think you will get your room on 1 pm, so I’m sorry”, aku terkagum dengan aksen British pengucapan englishnya.

Aku: ‘Oh, It’s OK. I know that. I just want to put my backpack here and I will go to sightseeing the city”.

Dia: “Yeaa, It will be better. Just put your backpack there”, dia menunjuk sebuah pojok ruangan yang penuh tumpukan backpack.

Aku: “Ok, thanks, Sir”.

Usai sukses menaruh backpack yang mulai membuat punggungku terasa berat. Aku segera meninggalkan guesthouse. Aku harus mencari sarapan sebelum menuju ke destinasi pertamaku di Seoul. Semenjak bercakap dengan Mr. In Chul Park di Seoul Metro tadi pagi, aku mulai menahan rasa lapar yang menyerang lambung.

Menyeberang kembali Sinchon-ro Avenue aku memasuki gang menuju Stasiun Hongik University. Di dalam gang aku perlahan melangkah demi menemukan sebuah minimarket. Yups….Akhirnya aku menemukan sebuah CU minimarket.

Menelusuri rak berisi makanan, aku menemukan cup noodle dan kemasan nasi putih, tanpa ragu aku memungutnya dan membawanya ke kasir. Seperti minimarket di Busan, CU minimarket Seoul juga menyediakan pojok makan, lengkap dengan microwave dan air panas. Pelanggan dituntut untuk bisa mengoperasikan peralatan pemanas itu dan melayani dirinya sendiri untuk menyantap makanan yang dibelinya.

Aku yang sungguh kelaparan, menyantap cup noodle dan nasi kemasan itu dengan cepatnya. Untuk kemudian segera bergegas menuju destinasi wisata pertama.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Bertaruh Resiko di Busan Central Bus Terminal

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Drama kamar mandi memang sering mewarnai cerita perjalanan, mengingat aku sering memilih dormitory sebagai tempat singgah selama berpetualang.

Malam pertama di Busan. Aku sedang sebal sekali, kloset duduk yang tertutup itu baru saja ku-flush, maksud hati yang tak ingin melihat “zonk” saat membukanya…..Eh, malah air itu tumpah mbeleber kemana-mana bersama muatannya.

Brengsek….Ini pasti  kelakuan lelaki asal Tiongkok yang beberapa menit lalu berpapasan denganku di pintu kamar mandi bersama.

Sontak aku menuju ke kamar mandi lain yang berada dua lantai di atasku. Aku sudah tak bernafsu mandi di kamar mandi itu walaupun masih tersedia beberapa shower room lagi. Di kamar mandi atas, kondisi lebih bersih, mungkin para tamu enggan bersusah payah naik ke atas. Gegara peristiwa tadi, sakit perutku mendadak hilang. Aku lebih memilih langsung menuju shower room untuk menyiram badan dengan air hangat.

Olala….Ternyata aku sama brengseknya…..

Seusai mandi, aku berlama-lama di depan wastafel untuk mengeringkan t-shirt dan kaos kaki dengan hair dryer, hingga betul-betul kering. “Ah, bodo amat. Ndak ada orang. Guwe kan juga bayar”, suara setan di batinku membisik. Maklum dalam petualangan kali ini, aku mulai menerapkan taktik membawa dua pasang kaos kaki. Aku akan membasuh dan mengeringkan kaos kaki yang tak terpakai untuk persiapan penggunaan berikutnya.


Pagi itu aku bangun tepat waktu. Seusai Shalat Subuh , aku tak lagi tertidur. Aku lebih memilih membuka lembaran itinerary sembari menunggu hari terang. Ketika matahari mulai hadir, aku mulai meninggalkan Kimchee Busan Guesthouse seusai mandi, mengingat penginapan ini tak menyediakan sarapan seala kadar untuk kelas dormitory.

Aku keluar dari gang penginapan, dan menyusur Jalan Hwangnyeong-daero menuju ke barat, ke Stasiun Beomnaegol untuk melanjutkan perjalanan. Tapi tentu aku harus bersarapan dulu sebelum menaiki Humetro. Aku berhenti pada CU minimarket untuk kemudian memasukinya dan berburu sarapan di dalamnya. Aku menemukan segenggam nasi berisikan jagung di sebuah rak khusus makanan, menuju kasir, membayarnya dan kemudian menyantapnya di sebuah bangku di sisi dalam minimarket.

Tak lama aku menyantapnya. AKu segera memasuki ruangan stasiun dan mencari keberadaan ticketing vending machine untuk membeli one day pass, lalu menuju platform usai menggenggam selembar one day pass seharga 4.500 Won (Rp. 57.000).

Kali ini aku akan menuju ke Busan Central Bus Terminal demi mencari tiket bus menuju ke Seoul malam nanti. Humetro Line 1 (Orange Line) berdecit lembut menghentikan laju di platform. Aku segera duduk di salah satu bangku di gerbong setengah kosong untuk kemudian mengikuti arus kereta menuju Stasiun Nopo, yaitu stasiun dimana Busan Central Bus Terminal diintegrasikan. Aku tiba dalam 45 menit.

Keluar dari gerbong aku mencari petunjuk yang bisa mengarahkanku menuju terminal itu. Tak sulit menemukannya. Sebuah petunjuk yang kemudian menyambung dengan petunjuk selanjutnya mengarahkanku hingga tiba di Busan Central Bus Terminal.

Konter penjualan tiket Busan Central Bus Terminal.

Hello, Miss. How much is a ticket to Seoul? “Aku bertanya kepada staff penjualan tiket di deretan memanjang ticketing counter.

32,000 Won, Sir. The bus will depart on around 16:00 hours”.

Miss, What is the cheapest price and what time does the bus depart?”, aku blak-blakan mengingat kantongku mulai menipis.

23,000 won and bus will depart on 20:30, Sir”.

Okay, Wait Miss“.

Aku meninggalkannya dan duduk di kursi tunggu. Aku mulai berhitung, kalau aku berangkat cepat maka aku akan relatif aman karena akan tiba di Seoul sebelum malam. Tapi artinya aku harus menambah biaya untuk menyewa dormitory lebih cepat. Tentu akan mahal.

Kalau aku mengambil tiket malam, maka mau tidak mau, aku akan bermalam di terminal bus kota Seoul, sedikit beresiko, tetapi itu paling memungkinkan dengan keberadaan uangku yang semakin tergerus habis.

Bismillah…..aku beranjak dari tempat duduk dan kembali menghadap staff wanita tadi.

Yes, Ms. I take the night one”.

Ok, Sir

Aku menyerahkan uang kepadanya dan dia memberikan selembar tiket kepadaku untuk menuju Seoul.

Tiket bus Busan-Seoul seharga 23.000 Won (Rp. 290.000).

Okay, satu bagian penting telah kuselesaikan dengan cepat. Aku akan menghabiskan waktu tersisa di Busan hari ini.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->