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—->

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—->

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—->

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—->