Tasting Mixed Fried Rice in Incheon International Airport

<—-Previous Story

On 12:15 am I arrived at Yeongjong Island, an island in west coast of South Korea where Incheon International Airport was magnificently built.

I unsteadily walked out from Seoul Metro Line I carriage, as if didn’t willing to leaving Seoul, which I had just enjoyed five days ago. But still, I was still self-conscious about my budget which couldn’t be helped anymore. Without a credit or debit card I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere with Won left. Even a few Won sheets tucked away in my curly wallet might just be enough to buy a modest breakfast at airport later.

Coming out of Airport Station, I intently stared at Flight Information Display System (FIDS) to track down check-in desk I had to go to. Of course, it was very easy to find flight information at largest and most sophisticated airport, the pride of South Korea. The instructions directed me to go to check-in desk D as a counter to exchange my e-ticket for a boarding pass to Kuala Lumpur.

In galloping steps, I had to go to 3rd floor to find the whereabouts of check-in desk D where Air Asia flight D7 505 would be opened. Maybe because I didn’t focus on reading the information posted in FIDS, I arrived in front of check-in desk which was still quiet. “Hoo yeah, the flight status isn’t open yet,” I thought with a smile, fooling my lack of accuracy. “I’ll better find breakfast first”, another self-expression that was wrong because actually I arrived in the airport on noon.

I rushed to Basement 1 Level to look for breakfast as well as lunch. With Won left, I finally got a portion of stir fried rice which became my most luxurious menu while traveling in South Korea….Ooops. As for drinking, I still rely on the existence of a free water station.

I deliberately bought time while enjoying food at one of food court seats. After all, I easily could see my flight status from a medium size FIDS displayed in its side.

For almost an hour I controlled that seat, relaxing eating a serving of stir fried rice, sucking in the exposure to delicious aroma which wafted in every corner of room, enjoying the hubbub of travelers from various nationalities in their culinary hunt and always keeping an eye on FIDS screen which continued to displace the array of flight information to the top of page.

I gasped when I last saw Air Asia flight number D7 505 appeared in bottom row of FIDS. After approaching to make sure, I finally left my seat and headed back to 3rd floor to go to check-in desk D.

Check-in Desk D.

Considering that that was a return ticket towards the starting point of trip, the female staff at check-in desk didn’t ask too many complicated questions. Likewise with the male officer at immigration counter, he didn’t take long to put a departure stamp on my green passport. That process wasn’t certainly as complicated as my story when entering South Korea through immigration counter at Gimhae International Airport in Busan city.

After immigration area, I thought it would be easy to find the gate where Air Asia plane I would be riding would load. It turned out not to be so. To found gate 112, I had to go to Satellite Concourse Building which could only be reached by Incheon International Airport shuttle train via underground line.

Following a signboard, I was directed to shuttle train platform which would take all passengers to Satellite Concourse Building towards west of Terminal 1. The Satellite Concourse Building itself was a longitudinal building in the middle of Terminals 1 and 2 of Incheon International Airport. It had 30 gates, 6 lounges and was almost 1 km from Terminal 1.

The two-seatless shuttle train spent seven minutes cruising the double-track subway at Incheon International Airport and then transferred me to Satellite Concourse Building. Arriving at the building, of course it wasn’t difficult for me to find Gate 112, which was the gate where I would be flown to Kuala Lumpur International Airport for a nine-hour transit before heading back to my homeland.

Next Story—->

One Hundred and Twenty Thousand Won at Busan Immigration

All Air Busan BX 123 passengers were already standing in cabin aisle to prepare to get off the plane. After one of flight attendants coordinated with ground staffs, finally an aerobridge perfectly sticked in the fuselage and the door was safe to open. Not long , then I followed the lead of passenger line to get out of the cabin.

Throughout the aerobridge, my worries weren’t as bad as when I entered Narita International Airport a few days ago. “I’ve been to entering Japan several days ago, It isn’t possible if I can’t enter Korea,” I thought to calm myself. I continued to steadily walk through corridor after corridor at arrival hall of Gimhae International Airport Terminal 1. Continued following signboards to immigration counter. After finding it, I immediately stucked to back end of one of the queue lines. I still look relaxed and full of smiles. And didn’t think that the drama had just started

I took the leftmost queue, tourists from China seemed to dominate in front. They looked very smooth going through immigration staff. “Looks like this will be easy”, I finally came to a conclusion. I was now at the head of queue, waiting for a female Chinese tourist to finish her process at counter. The bespectacled male officer quickly approved one by one Chinese tourists from earlier.

“Neexxxttt”….He called out with his eyes still staring at computer screen

Immigration Officer : “Have you been to South Korea before?”

Me : “Not yet Sir, this is the first time”

Immigration : “Where did you visit before South Korea?”

Me : “Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan, Sir”

He started suspiciously watching me.

Immigration : “Which other countries have you visited?”, he handed me a paper and pen for me to write

I started writing one by one until I copied eleven names of countries I had been to.

But his reaction was so unexpected, he just shook his head. I didn’t lose the initiative when he behaved like that. From inside my backpack, I took out my old passport which had one of its covers cut off, “You can check it out here, Sir”.

Immigration: “I don’t need this”, he pushed my old passport with his index finger at me as a sign he didn’t want to see it

Damn…..“Dag dig dug”, my heart started beating above its usual rhythm.

Immigration : ”Please take out your wallet!”

That short snapping made me automatically crouch with my hands rummaging through all contents of my backpack with an added panic. I got my wallet in a few moments, indeed I put my wallet in the innermost part to be safe.

I started to stand up and handed over my worn out wallet….Hmmhhh, a wallet with peeling leather upholstery on some ends. Made me helpless. The immigration officer began to open my wallet and counted each sheet in it. He shook his head when he only found 120,000 Won notes.

He started to stand up and walked out of immigration counter box and started to close the queue with a standing barrier and hung the words “CLOSE” in the middle. All tourists who queued behind me were asked by him to move to a counter next to him. Every tourist regularly moved while sadly looking at my misfortune, some looked astonished and curious.

“Wow,” my voice began to wry.

The immigration officer immediately stepped back into the counter and put my wallet in front of him. He started to stare at me intently.

Immigration : “Do you bring an ATM?”

Me: “No, Sir”…. My mind refuted, “Isn’t it that I already have a Visa, why bother?”

Immigration : “Credit Card?”

Me: “No, Sir”….My mind was muttering again, “Isn’t it important that I have enough money to travel in Korea?”

Immigration : “ID Card?”

Me: “No, Sir”….I thought back to fight, “Isn’t the ID Card for tourists a passport?”

Immigration : Browsing firmly with red face, “Aiissshhhh….No ATM….No Credit Card….No ID Card….You only have a small amount of money…. You can’t stay in Korea”

“Ouch, Deportation”, I thought to myself instantly.

Immigration : “What do you do in your country?”

Me: “Marketing”

Immigration : “Show your business card!”

Me: “I don’t bring it, Sir”

Immigration : ” Aiissshhhh …”

He started rubbing his forehead and eyes, not believing he had met a tourist like me. Now he had closed my passport. He stood back up and called his friend. Quickly his friend came over and started talking seriously leaving me on the verge of being deported.

I didn’t know what they’re talking about, it was definitely about me. I noticed he kept shaking his head and his friends occasionally looked at me like a suspect….Aahhh, this situation was really uncomfortable and made me nervous. But I tried my best to put on a calm face. I even prepared to clarify before he decided anything.

OK, he had finished his dialogue with his friend and sat back at the immigration counter. Before he uttered a word, I began to make a final plea. No matter what the result….

Me : “ I have a return ticket, Air Asia 5th January, from Incheon to Jakarta. I will stay at Kimchee Guesthouse Busan and Kimchee Guesthouse Seoul….these are my itinerary and my budgeting during in Korea.”

The immigration officer was angry and put a finger to his mouth… “Shhhhhhh”, a sign he was asking me not to babble too much in front of him. But the good thing was that he was willing to read my itinerary and budgeting sheet.

Me : ”Please Sir, I am just a backpacker…..just for sightseeing Korea this time….No more….Please…..I will go home….Believe me!”, I begged begging.

The immigration officer looked back at me, this time he really looked me in the eye, maybe he was testing my honesty. He seemed to be starting to feel pity. He started flipping through each page of my new passport and my old passport which a second ago he pulled from in front of me.

Immigration : ”OK, You can….You can….But promise me to return to your country!…. Or you’re in big trouble”

Knock….The arrival stamp was clearly affixed on my passport….Oh, what a beautiful moment that was.

I was very relieved

This was a valuable lesson that in the future I would become a backpacker who was more detailed and prepared things very well. After that incident, I always carried a business card, ID card, credit card (even though its limit was small) and an ATM (even though the values were minimal) every time I traveled to another country.

Thanks to good preparation, I was greatly helped by the existence of that cards when facing similar random checking at Woodlands Checkpoint in Singapore seven months after this incident.

The incident was over, I stepped out of immigration counter triumphantly.

Welcome Busan, Welcome South Korea!

Stare In Amazement: Air Busan BX 123 from Osaka (KIX) to Busan (PUS)

Air Busan BX 123 flight path (sumber: https://flightaware.com/).

Air Busan is the 16th airline out of 28 different airlines I’ve tasted. This Low Cost Carrier (LCC) which come from “Ginseng Country” has a main hub at Gimhae International Airport. It wasn’t my intention to visit Busan, but because of the cheap ticket price offered by Air Busan, it was what made me decided to stop by in Busan before reaching my main destination, which was Seoul, the capital city of South Korea.

I myself got this cheap ticket seven months before departure at a price of less than 69.750 Won.

This was my story of riding an airline with three branding colors, white-blue-yellow…


 “Sorry, sir….We don’t receive coins”, the KIX Currency Exchange clerk exclaimed with a smile.

“Oh, Okay…It’s no problem”, I pulled back my coins while waiting for the results of exchanging banknotes.

He nimbly pressed a few buttons on calculator then showed me a numbers in the LCD.

“Yes, Sir….”, I quickly agreed.

Successfully exchanging Yen for USD, now my mission was to spending coins to buy whatever supplies I could use for lunch, if necessary until dinner…. Was it bad?, That was a my way to saving budget.

I managed to find a FamilyMart in a hallway, entered it, hunted for onigiri and candies, paid it with my coins at cashie and saved it in my backpack. I never underestimate candy, two candies can meet 10% of the calories of an adult’s meal, that means it can hold your stomach for a while until you find a cheap food stall. This time I didn’t mince words by walking around the airport, my time was short, I decided to immediately go to check-in counter to exchange e-tickets with boarding pass. The main standard of airlines for passengers who will cross different countries is to check visas and return tickets from the destination country. But didn’t worry, my visa was perfectly attached to my passport and an Air Asia e-ticket to return from South Korea had also been ordered.

“Can you speak English, Sir,” a female check-in counter lightly asked.

“Yes, sure Ms. I Can”

“Do you want to sit in the emergency exit row?” she asked.

“Oh, yes, with pleasure”, I happily answered, when you are paying cheaper but get a row of seats which is more spacious, that is your prize.

“Ok, thank you Sir”

“You are welcome”.

I quickly got my boarding pass. Heading to immigration counter, I handed over my passport as soon as it arrived. The stage of leaving a country is what I like the most, because it’s fast and without questioning. Of course immigration officers will be happy and is helped if their country guests are disciplined to leave their country on time. After getting a departure stamp in my passport, I immediately headed to the gate to wait for Air Busan, which was about to arrive, maybe even ready. Arriving on time, indeed, the Airbus was standing proudly on the apron preparing to load all its passangers.

My boarding pass.
Well, given a coupon of 10,000 Won for gambling….Hahaha.

Towards half past eleven, boarding calls filled the airport ceiling, the queue line began to open and several ground staff started lining up at the gate to do final checking for each passenger. I steadily walked through it, showed my boarding pass and passport, then was allowed to board the plane. I walked through the aerobridge and was greeted by two flight attendants with typical faces of “Ginseng Country”.

“Annyeonghasimnika”, one of them smiled with a slight bow, asked for a boarding pass, briefly checked and then asked me to find a seat.

“Gamsahamnida”, ahhh, only a few Korean words I understand. I started looking for my seat.

I sat in the aisle seat in emergency exit row. Shortly after that three columns of seats were filled, a flight attendant came to say hello. The flight attendant explained in Korean about the regulations in emergency exit row, after knowing that the two passengers next to me were Korean nationals. After explaining to both of them, then that flight attendant explained again, this time in English, it was clear for me. While explaining that, we both looked at each other. Because of the ignorance of my heart, I never listened to the rules she said, instead I focused more on enjoying the beauty of her pure white Korean face. I understood, she felt that she was being watched by me, so she occasionally explained the rules with a smile, she got even more clumsy when I responded her with a smile while keeping my eyes on her eyes….I was really naughty.

I was in the cabin.
Well, that was the emergency door.

After half an hour of completing boarding process, the aerobridge finally started to be pulled from plane door, flight attendants started to tightly close the door, passengers began to wear seat belts, the plane began to leave the apron while exhibiting flight safety demonstrations by several cabin crew. The demo ended when the plane was already on the runway and ready to take off from Kansai International Airport.

“Flight attendants, please prepare for take off”, were last words from flight captain who broken the silence in cabin.

The plane did a brake release, the engine rotated with full power, and finally airborne went smoothly, the plane quickly drove from Osaka. I was quite impressed with this plane because this was the first time I could see the plane’s presence in a earth map at an LCD.

When it was time to serve in-flight meal, I prefered to put an packaged food and drink in a folding bag. “Just make lunch,” I muttered to myself. I prefered to carefully read the inflight magazine to find information that might be useful for my adventures in South Korea.

Here it was…. A replacement for my lunch menu.

I didn’t realize that I had flown for 1 hour 30 minutes and the pilot gave an announcement to passengers that the plane was preparing to landing at Gimhae International Airport and informed the weather conditions in Busan which were sunny. Shortly after the announcement was completed, the cabin crew immediately checked every side of cabin and passengers to ensure a safe landing. Finally the plane smoothly landed in runway. How happy I was when I arrived in South Korea for the first time

Hmmm….I couldn’t wait to explore Busan. I still couldn’t stop my smile at my face.

I still didn’t expect that inside the airport terminal building, something serious would happen to me.

Thanks to God.

Welcome Busan….Welcome South Korea.

Alternatives for airline tickets from Osaka to Busan can be found in 12Go or the following link: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Mencicipi Nasi Goreng Campur di Incheon International Airport

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Pukul 12:15 aku tiba di Pulau Yeongjong, sebuah pulau di pantai barat Korea Selatan dimana Incheon International Airport dibangun dengan gagahnya.

Aku melangkah gontai keluar gerbong Seoul Metro Line I, seakan tak rela meninggalkan Seoul yang baru saja kunikmati sedari lima hari lalu. Tapi toh, aku tetap sadar diri akan amunisi yang tak digdaya lagi. Tanpa kartu kredit maupun debit aku tak akan bisa kemanapun dengan Won tersisa. Bahkan beberapa lembar Won yang terselip di dompet keritingku mungkin hanya cukup untuk membeli sarapan sekedarnya di bandara nanti.

Keluar dari Airport Station, tatapku awas mencari Flight Information Display System (FIDS) untuk melacak check-in desk yang harus kutuju. Tentunya sangat mudah menemukan informasi penerbangan di bandara terbesar nan canggih kebanggaan Korea Selatan itu. Petunjuk mengarahkanku untuk menuju Check-in Desk D sebagai konter untuk menukarkan e-ticket dengan boarding pass menuju Kuala Lumpur.

Berderap langkah, aku harus menuju ke Lantai 3 untuk mencari keberadaan Check-in Desk D dimana penerbangan Air Asia D7 505 akan dibuka. Mungkin karena kurang fokus membaca informasi yang terpampang pada FIDS maka aku tiba di depan check-in desk yang masih sunyi. “Hoo iyaaa, status penerbangannya belum open”, aku membatin sambil tersenyum membodohkan kekurangtelitianku. “Lebih baik aku cari sarapan dulu”, ungkapan diri yang salah lagi karena sejatinya aku tiba di bandara sudah tengah hari.

Aku bergegas menuju Basement 1 Level untuk mencari sarapan sekaligus makan siang. Dengan Won tersisa akhirnya aku mendapatkan seporsi stir fried rice yang menjadi menu termewahku selama berkelana di Korea Selatan….Njirrr. Sedangkan urusan minum, aku tetap mengandalkan keberadaan free water station….Yuhuuu.

Aku sengaja mengulur waktu saat menikmati makanan di salah satu bangku food court. Toh aku bisa melihat dengan leluasa status penerbanganku dari FIDS ukuran medium yang terpampang di salah satu sisi.

Hampir satu jam aku menguasai bangku itu, bersantai melahap seporsi sedang stir fried rice, menghisap paparan aroma sedap yang menyeruak di setiap sudut ruangan, menikmati keriuhan para pejalan dari berbagai bangsa dalam berburu kuliner dan senantiasa menaruh kewaspadaan mata pada layar FIDS yang terus menggusur larik-larik informasi penerbangan ke atas halaman.

Aku terkesiap saat lamat melihat nomor penerbangan Air Asia D7 505 menampakkan diri di barisan bawah FIDS. Usai mendekat memastikan, akhirnya aku meninggalkan bangku dan kembali menuju ke lantai 3 demi menuju ke Check-in Desk D.

Check-in Desk D.

Mengingat ini adalah return-ticket yang menuju titik awal perjalanan maka petugas wanita di konter check-in tak terlalu banyak bertanya hal rumit. Begitu pula dengan petugas pria di konter imigrasi, dia pun tak perlu waktu lama untuk membubuhkan departure stamp di paspor hijau milikku. Proses ini tentu tak serumit kisahku ketika memasuki Korea Selatan melalui konter imigrasi Gimhae International Airport di kota Busan.

Selepas area imigrasi, aku fikir akan mudah menemukan gate dimana pesawat Air Asia yang akan kutunggangi melakukan loading. Ternyata tak demikian. Untuk menemukan gate 112, aku harus menuju ke Satellite Concourse Building yang hanya bisa ditempuh dengan shuttle train milik Incheon International Airport melalui jalur bawah tanah.

Mengikuti signboard yang ada, aku diarahkan menuju platform shuttle train yang akan membawa segenap penumpang menuju Satellite Concourse Building di sebelah barat Terminal 1. Satellite Concourse Building sendiri adalah bangunan membujur di tengah-tengah Terminal 1 dan 2 Incheon International Airport. Memiliki 30 gate, 6 lounges dan berjarak hampir 1 km dari Terminal 1.

Shuttle train dua gerbong tanpa tempat duduk itu selama tujuh menit menjelajah jalur ganda kereta bawah tanah di Incheon International Airport untuk kemudian memindahkanku ke Satellite Concourse Building. Sesampai di bangunan itu, tentu tak sulit lagi bagiku untuk menemukan Gate 112, yaitu gerbang dimana aku akan diterbangkan menuju Kuala Lumpur International Airport untuk transit selama sembilan jam sebelum menuju tanah air.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Sejuta Tiga Ratus Ribu di Imigrasi Busan (2nd Edition)

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Segenap penumpang Air Busan BX 123 sudah berdiri di cabin aisle demi bersiap menuruni pesawat. Setelah salah satu pramugara berkoordinasi dengan ground staff, akhirnya juluran aerobridge menempel sempurna di badan pesawat dan pintu telah aman untuk dibuka. Tak lama kemudian, aku mengikuti langkah barisan penumpang di depan untuk keluar dari kabin.

Sepanjang menapaki aerobridge, kekhawatiranku tak seburuk seperti  saat aku memasuki Narita International Airport beberapa hari lalu. “Masak iya, sudah ke Jepang, ndak bisa masuk Korea”,  pikirku menenangkan diri. Aku terus melangkah dengan mantap melewati koridor demi koridor di arrival hall Gimhae International Airport Terminal 1. Terus mengikuti tengara menuju konter imigrasi. Setelah menemukannya maka aku segera menempel di ujung belakang salah satu baris antrian. Aku masih terlihat santai dan penuh senyum. Dan tak menyangka bahwa drama itu baru saja dimulai

Aku mengambil antrian paling kiri, para turis asal Tiongkok tampak mendominasi di depan. Mereka terlihat sangat lancar melewati staf imigrasi. “Sepertinya ini akan mudah”, akhirnya aku membuat kesimpulan. Aku kini berada di kepala antrian, menunggu seorang turis wanita Tiongkok menyelesaikan prosesnya di konter. Petugas laki-laki berkacamata itu dengan cepat memasukkan satu demi satu turis asal Tiongkok sedari tadi.

Neexxxtttt”….Dia memanggil dengan mata masih menatap layar komputer

Petugas Imigrasi     :     “Have you been to South Korea before?

Aku                              :     “Not yet sir, this is the first time

Imigrasi                      :     “Where did you visit before South Korea?

Aku                              :     “Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan, Sir

Dia mulai mengawasiku dengan tatapan curiga.

Imigrasi                      :     “Which other countries have you visited?”, dia menyodorkan sebuah kertas dan pena untukku menulis

Aku mulai menulis satu-persatu hingga tersalin sebelas baris tambahan nama negara yang pernah kusinggahi.

Tapi reaksinya sungguh di luar dugaan, dia hanya geleng-geleng kepala. Aku tak kalah berinisiatif ketika dia bersikap demikian. Dari dalam backpack, kukeluarkan passport lama yang telah terpotong salah satu covernya, “You can check it out here, sir”.

Imigrasi                      :     ”I don’t need this”, dia mendorong passport lama itu dengan telunjuk jarinya ke arahku sebagai pertanda dia tidak mau melihatnya

Alamaaattttttttt….”Dag dig dug”, jantungku mulai berdetak di atas ritme biasa.

Imigrasi                      :     ”Please take out your wallet!

Gertakan ringan itu membuatku terjongkok otomatis dengan tangan mengaduk-aduk isi backpack dengan imbuhan kepanikan. Aku mendapatkan dompet yang dimaksud dalam beberapa saat, memang dompetku kuletakkan di bagian paling dalam supaya aman.

Aku mulai berdiri dan menyodorkan dompet usang itu….Hmmhhh, dompet dengan kelupasan kulit pelapis di beberapa ujungnya. Membuatku pasrah tak berdaya. Petugas imigrasi itu mulai membuka dompetku dan menghitung setiap lembar isinya. Dia bergeleng kepala  ketika hanya menemukan uang kertas sebanyak  110.000 Won (Rp. 1.378.000).

Dia mulai berdiri dan beranjak keluar dari immigration counter box dan mulai menutup antrian dengan standing barrier dan menggantungkan tuilsan “CLOSE” di tengahnya. Segenap turis yang mengantri dibelakangku dimintanya berpindah ke antrian konter di sebelahnya. Setiap turis berpindah teratur sembari melihat dengan sedih atas kemalanganku, beberapa tampak heran penuh rasa ingin tahu.

Waduuhhh”, suara hatiku mulai kecut.

Petugas imigrasi itu segera melangkan memasuki konternya kembali dan menaruh dompetku di hadapannya. Dia mulai menatapku tajam.

Imigrasi                      :     ”Do you bring an ATM?

Aku                              :     “No, Sir”….Batinku menyanggah,”bukannya aku sudah punya Visa, kok dipermasalahin sih?”

Imigrasi                      :     “Credit Card?”

Aku                              :     “No, Sir”….Batinku kembali berguman, “Bukannya yang penting uangku cukup buat mengelana di Korea?”

Imigrasi                      :     “ID Card?”

Aku                              :     “No, Sir”….Kembali batinku melakukan perlawanan,”Bukannya ID Card bagi turis adalah passport?”

Imigrasi                      :     Menggelang tegas dengan muka merah, “Aiissshhhh….No ATM….No Credit Card….No ID Card….You only have a small amount of money…. You can’t stay in Korea

Aduh, Deportasi”, batinku memvonis diri seketika.

Imigrasi                      :     ”What do you do in your country?

Aku                              :     ”Marketing

Imigrasi                      :     “Show your business card!

Aku                              :     ”I don’t bring it, Sir

Imigrasi                      :     ” Aiissshhhh ….”

Dia mulai mengusap-usap kening dan matanya, tak percaya telah bertemu turis semacamku. Kini dia telah menutup passport. Dia berdiri kembali dan memanggil temannya. Dengan cepat temannya datang menghampiri dan mulai bercakap serius meninggalkanku yang sudah diambang deportasi.

Aku tak menahu apa yang mereka bicarakan, yang jelas itu pasti tentangku. Kuperhatikan dia terus menggelengkan kepala dan temannya sesekali melihatku bak tersangka….Aahhh, suasana ini benar-benar tak mengenakkan dan membuatku gelisah. Tap aku mencoba sekuat mungkin menampilkan muka penuh ketenangan. Bahkan aku bersiap melakukan klarifikasi sebelum dia memutuskan apapun.

OK, dia telah usai berdialog dengan temannya dan duduk kembali di bangku konter imigrasi. Sebelum dia mengeluarkan sepatah katapun, aku mulai melakukan pledoi terakhir. Tak peduli apapun hasilnya….

Aku                              :     ” I have a return ticket, Air Asia 5th January, from Incheon to Jakarta. I will stay at Kimchee Guesthouse Busan and Kimchee Guesthouse Seoul….these are my itinerary and my budgeting during in Korea”, Aku memberikan lembaran itinerary dan budgeting padanya, Aku memang selalu menyusun keduanya setiap melakukan backpacking ke luar negeri.

Petugas imigrasi itu marah dan menempelkan telunjuk ke mulutnya….”Sssttttt”, pertanda dia memintaku untuk tidak banyak mengoceh di depannya. Tapi hal baiknya adalah dia mau membaca lembaran itinerary dan budgeting itu.

Aku                              :     ”Please Sir, I am just a backpacker…..just for sightseeing Korea this time….No more….Please…..I will go home….Believe me!”, aku mengemis memelas.

Petugas imigrasi itu kembali menatapku, kali ini benar-benar menatap mataku lekat-lekat, mungkin dia sedang menguji kejujuran. Sepertinya dia mulai menaruh rasa kasihan. Dia mulai membolak-balik setiap halaman passport baru dan passport lamaku yang sedetik lalu dia tarik dari hadapanku.

Imigrasi                      :     ”OK, You can….You can….But promise me to return to your country!…. Or you’re in big trouble

Cettoookkkk….Stempel arrival itu terbubuh jelas di passport….Oh, indah sekali momen itu.

Hadeeuuhhhh…Leegggaaaa banggeeetttt.

Inilah pelajaran berharga bahwa dikemudian hari nanti aku akan menjadi seorang backpacker yang lebih detail dan mempersiapkan sesuatu dengan sangat baik. Setelah insiden itu, aku selalu membawa kartu nama, KTP, Credit Card (walaupun limitnya kecil) dan ATM (meskipun isinya minim) setiap melakukan perjalanan ke negara orang.

Berkat persiapan yang baik, aku sangat terbantu dengan keberadaan kartu-kartu sakti itu ketika menghadapi random checking serupa di Woodlands Checkpoint di Singapura tujuh bulan setelah insiden ini.

Insiden telah usai, aku melangkah meninggalkan konter imigrasi dengan kemenangan.

Welcome Busan, Welcome South Korea!

Bersitatap Kagum: Air Busan BX 123 dari Osaka (KIX) ke Busan (PUS)

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Jalur penerbangan Air Busan BX 123 (sumber: https://flightaware.com/).

Air Busan adalah maskapai ke-16 dari 28 maskapai berbeda yang pernah kucicipi. Low Cost Carrier (LCC) dari Negeri Ginseng ini memiliki main hub di Gimhae International Airport. Bukan niatan mengunjungi Busan, tetapi karena harga tiket murah yang ditawarkan Air Busan lah yang membuatku memutuskan untuk singgah di Busan sebelum mencapai tujuan utama, yaitu Seoul, ibu kota Korea Selatan.

Aku sendiri mendapatkan tiket murah ini tujuh bulan sebelum keberangkatan dengan harga tak sampai Rp. 800.000.

Inilah kisahku menunggang maskapai dengan tiga warna branding, putih-biru-kuning…


 “Sorry, Sir….We don’t receive coin”, petugas KIX Currency Exchange berseru dengan senyum.

Oh, Okay…It’s no problem”, aku menarik kembali uang koin sembari menunggu hasil penukaran uang kertas.

Dia dengan gesit memencet beberapa tombol kalkulator kemudian menunjukkan angka di LCDnya kepadaku.

Yes, Sir….”, aku mengiyakan cepat.

Sukses menukar Yen dengan USD, kini misiku adalah menghabiskan uang koin untuk membeli bekal apapun yang bisa kujadikan sebagai makan siang, kalau perlu hingga makan malam….Parah kan?, bagaimana caraku berhemat.

Aku berhasil menemukan FamilyMart di sebuah selasar, memasukinya, berburu onigiri dan permen, menyudahinya dengan uang koin di kasir lalu membenamkannya dalam-dalam di backpack. Aku tak pernah meremehkan permen, dua butir permen bisa memenuhi 10% kalori seporsi makan orang dewasa, itu berarti bisa menahan lapar perut beberapa saat hingga menemukan warung makan yang murah. Kali ini aku tak berbasa-basi dengan berkeliling bandara, waktuku sempit, kuputuskan segera menuju konter check-in untuk bertukar e-ticket dengan boarding pass. Standar utama maskapai terhadap penumpang yang akan melintas negara berbeda adalah mengecek visa serta return ticket dari negara yang dituju. Tapi tak perlu khawatir, visaku sudah menempel sempurna di passport dan e-ticket Air Asia untuk pulang dari Korea Selatan juga telah kupesan.

Can you speak English, Sir”, petugas wanita konter check-in bertanya ringan.

Yes, sure Ms. I can

Do you want to sit in emergency exit row?”, dia meminta.

Oh, yes, with pleasure”, aku menjawabnya dengan gembira, kapan lagi bayar murah tapi dapat deretan kursi yang lebih lega.

Ok, thank you Sir

“You are welcome”.

Boarding pass dengan cepat kudapat. Menuju konter imigrasi, aku menyerahkan passport begitu tiba. Tahapan keluar dari sebuah negara adalah hal yang paling kusuka, karena cepat dan tanpa interogasi. Tentu petugas imigrasi akan senang dan terbantu jika tamu negaranya berdisiplin untuk keluar negaranya tepat waktu. Setelah mendapatkan stempel departure di passport, aku segera menuju gate untuk menunggu Air Busan yang sebentar lagi akan datang bahkan mungkin telah bersiap. Tiba tepat waktu, benar adanya, pesawat Airbus itu telah berdiri gagah di apron bersiap memasukkan segenap muatan.

Baording passku.
Nah, dikasih kupun 10.000 Won buat berjudi….”Judiii….Teeeeet….Menjanjikan Kemenangan”.

Menjelang pukul setengah sebelas, panggilan boarding memenuhi langit-langit bandara, Jalur antrian mulai dibuka dan beberapa ground staff mulai berbaris di gate untuk melakukan final checking kepada setiap penumpang. Aku melewatinya dengan mantap, menunjukkan boarding pass dan passport, kemudian diizinkan menuju ke pesawat. Aku merangsek melalui aerobridge lalu disambut dua pramugari berwajah khas Negeri Ginseng.

Annyeonghasimnika”, salah satu dari mereka bersalam senyum dengan sedikit membungkuk, meminta boarding pass, mengecek sebentar lalu mempersilahkanku mencari tempat duduk.

Gamsahamnida”, ahhh, hanya sedikit kosakata Korea yang kufaham. Aku mulai mencari bangku.

Aku duduk di aisle seat pada emergency exit row. Tak lama setelah tiga kolom bangku terisi, seorang pramugari datang menyapa. Pramugari itu menjelaskan dalam Bahsa Korea tentang peraturan di emergency exit row, maklum dua penumpang di sebelahku asli berkebangsaan Korea. Usai menjelaskan ke mereka berdua, kemudian pramugari itu kembali menjelaskan, kali ini dalam Bahasa Inggris, jelas itu untukku. Saat menjelaskan itu, kita berdua saling bersitatap. Sebab kejahilan hatiku saja, aku tak pernah mendengarkan peraturan yang diucapkannya, justru aku lebih fokus menikmati keayuan khas wajah Koreanya yang putih bersih. Aku faham, dia merasa kuperhatikan sehingga dia sesekali menjelaskan peraturan itu dengan senyum, dia semakin keki ketika aku membalasnya dengan seyuman dengan tetap bersitatap muka….Parah habis ya guwe.

I’m in the cabin.
Nah ntuh pintu daruratnya.

Setengah jam menyelesaikan boarding process, akhirnya juluran aerobridge mulai ditarik dari pintu pesawat, pramugari mulai menutup pintu rapat-rapat, penumpang mulai mengenakan sabuk pengaman, pesawat mulai meninggalkan apron sembari memamerkan demo keselamatan penerbangan oleh beberapa awak kabin. Demo itu usai ketika pesawat sudah di runaway dan bersiap take-off meninggalkan Kansai International Airport.

Flight attendants, please prepare for take off”, begitu kata terakhir dari kapten penerbangan yang memecah sunyi ruangan di kabin.

Pesawat itupun melakukan brake release, mesin berotasi dengan tenaga penuh, dan akhirnya airborne berlangsung dengan mulus, pesawat melaju dengan cepat meninggalkan Osaka. Aku cukup terkesima dengan pesawat ini karena inilah pertama kalinya bisa melihat keberadaan pesawat di atas peta bumi dalam sebidang LCD….Guwe kampungan emang.

Ketika tiba waktunya menyajikan in-flight meal, aku lebih memilih memasukkan makanan dan minuman kemasan itu ke dalam folding bag. “Buat makan siang saja lah”, gumamku dalam hati. Aku lebih memilih membaca dengan seksama inflight magazine untuk mencari informasi yang mungkin aja berguna untuk petualanganku di Korea Selatan.

Nih dia….Pengganti menu makan siang.

Tak terasa aku telah terbang selama 1 jam 30 menit dan pilot memberikan pengumunan kepada penumpang bahwa pesawat bersiap mendarat di Gimhae International Airport serta menginformasikan kondisi cuaca di Busan yang cerah. Tak berselang lama setelah pengumuman selesai, awak kabin segera memeriksa setiap sisi kabin dan penumpang untuk memastikan pendaratan berlangsung aman. Akhirnya pesawat mendarat mulus di landas pacu. Betapa bahagianya aku ketika untuk pertama kalinya tiba di Korea Selatan

Hmmhh….Aku sudah tak sabar mengeksplorasi Busan. Aku masih saja tak mampu membendung semburat senyum di wajah.

Aku masih saja tak menduga bahwa di dalam bangunan terminal bandara nanti, akan ada insiden serius yang menimpaku.


Selamat Datang Busan….Selamat Datang Korea Selatan.

Alternatif untuk tiket pesawat dari Osaka ke Busan bisa dicari di 12Go atau link berikut: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

The Little One.…Busan Gimhae Light Rail Transit



Only that 2 kinds of word which came out of my mouth, I didn’t really listen flight attendant explained security procedures at emergency exit. I exactly fascinated to her Korean beauty face. I still stunned to enjoy her beauty until he ended her explanation with a smile … Certainly, I gave her my smile as sweet as possible … hahaha.

1 hour 30 minutes flight became a thrilling journey because I had bad feeling for Busan immigration checking later.

And it finally true.… I was interrogated by immigration officer for 1 hour.

Scary interrogation at immigration counter made my tongue feel bitter when tasting piece by piece a pie which I got from Busan Air flight.

Later, this story would make me change 180 degrees when I prepared my documents for traveling. I became a very perfectionist person in preparation.

I got out from Gimhae International Airport with a disheveled face but that happiness was unable to deeply hidden. This was my first time in visiting South Korea.

2 degree Celcius weather made me rush to look for existence of LRT station. I quickly found it on right side of airport exit gate.

I touched all buttons in automatic machine to get Busan Gimhae Light Rail Transit token.

Waiting for LRT arrival with big curiosity about what will happen next in every second of my adventure in Busan.

Shortly waiting, LRT arrived.

Surely, My first destination was dormitory where I stayed in Busan. I would go to Kimchee Busan Guesthouse on Hwangnyeong-daero Street.

Stopped at Sasang station as LRT last station, I switched to using Humetro(the name for Busan Subway) green line.

In this Humetro. I saw a Indonesian face. Occasionally he saw me, so did I. Sometime he smiled, so did I.

I decided to approache him.

Conversation was unavoidable. It’s true, he is an Indonesian professionalis who working in Busan. From him, I got information that citizens of Busan isn’t open as Seoul. So I would understand what will occur with my interaction with local people in Busan.

Conversation stopped when I had to get off at Seomyeon Station for change to Humetro orange lane. It only took one station in distance then I got down at Beomnaegol station – station where my guesthouse located -.

It wasn’t easy to find this guesthouse location, I had strayed more than half an hour in midst of very cold temperature and it almost made me panic before finally I found it after ask to GS25 minimarket staff.

Finally I check-ed in to Kimchee Busan Guesthouse.

Si Mungil….Busan Gimhae Light Rail Transit

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya


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:


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.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->