Gangnam District’s Luxury

<—-Previous Story

The edge of Gangnam-daero Avenue.

I stepped out of the courtyard of Gyeongbok Palace just before the sun set in the west of city. In the late afternoon, I stepped more casually towards Gyeongbokgung Station which was only 300 meters from the palace. “After all, my exploration is over,” I thought to calm myself in the midst of air temperature which starting to drop colder.

Inside the station, I was constantly confused between going straight to the inn or going to a destination once more. “This is my last night, should I spend time in the inn?”, I thought to myself, defending myself.

I, who was impatiently waiting for the arrival of Seoul Metro Line 3 in the side of platform, now I prefered to sit down and opened the city map in search of an additional destination to spend the night.

The whoosh of train sounded loud in front bend. I smilingly prepared myself at the queue line to entering carriage. “Yes, I know where to go”, my decision appeared.


Oh, yeah….You know Park Jae-sang, right?

That’s it… a songwriter from South Korea who is better known by his stage name PSY. The main character in the music video for “Gangnam Style” which went worldwide in 2012.

Yes, that time I wanted to visit his birthplace, which was Gangnam District. Gangnam District is a luxurious district in South Korea, home to top millionaires, politicians and artists.


I understood that it was already dark outside, even though the bright light was shrouding Seoul Metro carriages creeping down Seoul underground lines. The Gangnam district was still ten kilometers away when I a moment ago sat at the end of carriage.

One by one stations were combed quickly and led me to get off at Seoul National University of Education Station. From that station I changed to Seoul Metro Line 2 to Gangnam Station.

In this Seoul Metro Line 2 carriage, I met five tourists from California who had just landed from Tokyo that afternoon. Even that five tourists had already explored Taipei before reaching Tokyo.

Their story, which was almost similar to my journey before reaching Seoul, also through Kaohsiung (Taiwan), Tokyo and Osaka (Japan) and Busan (South Korea) made our introductions and conversations were very familiar.

I only remember a name among them so far which was Brendan. Brendan does tend to be more outgoing and appeares to be the spokesperson for their travel group. What was clear that Brendan was a person who didn’t like alcohol, I could tell from his words that he didn’t want to touch Soju when his other friends actually enjoyed it since arriving in Seoul.

I arrived at Gangnam Station within 10 minutes of changing to other Seoul Metro line. Tracing the long corridor within Gangnam Station, led me to exit to the ground level right at the edge of Gangnam-daero Avenue which was decorated with a large name box “Gangnam Square” and the stage “Gangnam Style Horse Dance” which was very crowded with tourists.

From that big intersection I began to enter alley after alley in Gangnam to explore the district’s nightlife. The bustle of alleys in Gangnam District made me feel safe even though in front of my steps there were two men and a woman walking arm-in-arm because they were heavily drunk while raving uncontrollably. The show only made the streets busier with laughter because the trio’s behavior was very funny.

Spent dinner with a piece of Kimbap and an energy drink.
an alley in Gangnam District.

While on the left and right of alley, local residents mingled with the newcomers to enjoy the atmosphere of bars with faint smell of alcohol wafting from sidewalk. Apart from that, some of them prefered to make atmosphere more relaxed by enjoying restaurant dishes while conversing to spend the atmosphere of night starting to get icy cold.

My last night in Seoul was satisfied when I crossed alleys of Gangnam from end to end. But it was time that finally limited my visit, it was almost eleven o’clock at night. I decided to immediately return to Gangnam Station and return to Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon.

I have to prepare myself to return to my homeland tomorrow morning.

Next Story—->

Dinner at Banpo Bridge

<—-Previous Story

The majestic Banpo Bridge straddles Han River.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeaaa….. arrived too.

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

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

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

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


Next Story—->

Napping in Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon

<—-Previous Story

Forgot to take a photo while staying…. Hihihi.

I was still standing motionless in north of square to enjoying the majesty of Gwanghwamun Gate , the six-century gate belonging to Gyeongbok Palace. Gwanghwamun Square with its andesite rock floor and a mix of green garden grass seemed to be starting to fill up with the flow of tourists visiting.

Apart from the statue of Admiral Yi Sunshin, the golden statue of King Sejong, the Great-the fourth king of Joseon Dynasty was an important destination for travelers. They were too fascinated by that statues when I preferred to pay attention to the bustle of United States Embassy in the edge of Sejong-daero Avenue next to National Museum of Korean Contemporary History.

It didn’t feel like time had passed since midday, the rest of sleepiness after spending the night in Seoul Express Bus Terminal made me unable to hide the sleepiness in my eyelids. My body which hadn’t been soaked in water since 30 hours ago also made me not feel comfortable.

“It’s better to just go back to the inn”, so excited, my mind aborted my enthusiasm to continue exploration. “Damn….I give up this time”, I was groaning in annoyance, I entered the gates of Gwanghwamun Station.

“Goodbye Jongno District”, I quietly thought as I jumped into Seoul Metro Line 5 carriage. Without noticing commotion inside the carriage, I immediately headed to an empty seat near carriage’s connection. Without further ado, I immediately closed my eyes because of sleepiness.

Now, I was heading to Hongik University Station with one stop at Chungjeongno Station because to get to Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon in Seodaemun District I had to take Seoul Metro Line 2.

24 minutes later I arrived at my destination. Before actually leaving Hongik University Station, I took time to go to T-Money card vending machine at the corner of corridor to refill my T-Money which was almost out of balance. That time I filled my Seoul city travel card with 10,000 Won, more than enough for the end of my adventure in Seoul.

My back and forth at Hongik University Station ended up at a G-25 minimarket for a simple lunch. I managed to get a piece of packaged Kimbab for just 1,300 Won. Enough or not, that was the only lunch that I had to accept.

After eating it in convenience store table, I immediately climbed the escalator which rose to surface, passed Sinchon-ro 2-gil alley, crossed Sinchon-ro Avenue, then rushed to the inn.

“Hooohh….You, Donny. Welcome, your room is ready”, said the same receptionist who greeted me this morning.

“Hi, Sir….Thank you. I think I should go to bed soon….Hahaha”, I lihgtly answered while clutching my blue backpack which I had put in the corner of front room since this morning.

“Oh yeah, you look tired”

“Yes, I spent my last night at Seoul Express Bus Terminal”, I agreed.

After receptionist scanned my passport which I gave to him, the room key was given. Not waiting long, I immediately went upstairs, entered the room, took off my winter jacket and shoes, then immediately jumped into bunk bed to daub myself until afternoon.

Next Story—->

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple: Never Arrived….

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

“This, Sir”

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

“Indonesia, Sir”

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

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

“Do you eat pork?”, he joked again.

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

“Are you moslem?”

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

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

“Yes, Sir”

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

Are you full if you eat lunch with that portion?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ok thanks, Sir”

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

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

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

Kemewahan Distrik Gangnam

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Tepian Gangnam-daero Avenue.

Aku melangkah meninggalkan pelataran Istana Gyeongbok beberapa saat menjelang sang surya tenggelam di barat kota. Sore menjelang malam itu, aku melangkah lebih santai menuju Stasiun Gyeongbokgung yang hanya berjarak 300 meter dari istana. “Toh, eksplorasiku sudah usai”, batinku menenangkan diri di tengah suhu udara yang mulai menurun lebih dingin.

Di dalam stasiun, aku terus terusik dalam kegalauan antara langsung menuju penginapan atau sekali lagi mendatangi sebuah destinasi. “Ini malam terakhirku, masa iya harus kuhabiskan waktu di dalam kamar penginapan?”, batinku terus membela diri.

Aku yang tadinya tak sabar menunggu kedatangan Seoul Metro Line 3 di sisi platform, kini lebih memilih terduduk khusyu’ membuka lembaran peta kota demi mencari sebuah destinasi tambahan untuk menghabiskan malam.

Desingan ular besi itu terdengar nyaring di kelokan depan. Aku dengan penuh senyum bersiap diri di jalur antrian untuk memasuki gerbong. “Ya, aku tahu harus menuju kemana”, keputusan itu muncul jua.


Oh, ya….Kamu kenal Park Jae-sang kan?

Itu loh…penulis lagu asal Korea Selatan yang lebih dikenal dengan nama panggunnya PSY. Tokoh utama dalam video musik “Gangnam Style” yang mendunia pada tahun  2012.

Ya, kali ini aku ingin mengunjungi tempat kelahirannya, yaitu Distrik Gangnam. Distrik Gangnam adalah distrik mewah di Korea Selatan, tempat tinggal para jutawan, politikus dan artis papan atas.


Aku faham bahwa di luar sana suasana sudah berganti dengan gelap walaupun cahaya terang menaungi gerbong Seoul Metro yang merayap menyusuri jalur bawah tanah Seoul. Distrik Gangnam masih berjarak sepuluh kilometer ketika aku beberapa saat lalu terduduk di ujung gerbong.

Satu demi satu stasiun tersisir dengan cepat dan menuntunkun untuk turun di Stasiun Seoul National University of Education. Dari stasiun tersebut aku berpindah ke Seoul Metro Line 2 menuju ke Stasiun Gangnam.

Di dalam gerbong Seoul Metro Line 2 inilah aku bertemu dengan lima sekawan asal California yang baru saja mendarat dari Tokyo siang tadi. Bahkan kelima sekawan itu sudah menjelajah Taipe sebelum mencapai Tokyo.

Kisah mereka yang hamir mirip dengan perjalananku yang sebelum sampai Seoul juga menembus Kaohsiung (Taiwan), Tokyo dan Osaka (Jepang) serta Busan (Korea Selatan) membuat perkenalan dan perbincangan kami menjadi akrab.

Aku hanya mengingat satu nama diantara mereka hingga saat ini yaitu Brendan. Brendan memang lebih cenderung supel dan tampak menjadi juru bicara dari kelompok perjalanan mereka. Yang jelas Brendan adalah orang yang tidak suka dengan alkohol, aku tahu dari perkataannya yang tak mau menyentuh Soju ketika temannya yang lain justru menikmatinya semenjak tiba di Seoul.

Aku tiba di Stasiun Gangnam dalam 10 menit semenjak perpindahan jalur Seoul Metro. Menelusuri koridor panjang dalam Stasiun Gangnam, mengarahkanku untuk keluar ke permukaan tanah tepat di tepian Gangnam-daero Avenue yang berhiaskan name box besar “Gangnam Square”dan panggung “Gangnam Style Horse Dance” yang sangat ramai dikunjungi turis.

Dari perempatan besar itu aku mulai memasuki gang demi gang di Gangnam untuk mengupas kehidupan malam di distrik itu. Keramaian gang-gang di Distrik Gangnam membuatku merasa aman-aman saja walaupun di depan langkahku sana tampak dua orang lelaki dan seorang perempuan yang berjalan berangkulan karena mabuk berat sambil meracau tak keruan. Pertunjukan itu hanya membuat jalanan semakin riuh dengan ketawaan karena tingkah ketiganya yang sangat lucu.

Menyempatkan makan malam dengan sepotong Kimbap dan minuman berenergi.
sebuah gang di Distrik Gangnam.

Sementara di kiri-kanan gang, warga lokal berbaur dengan para pendatang untuk menikmati suasana bar dengan aroma wangi alkohol yang samar tercium dari trotoar. Selain itu sebagian lainnya lebih memilih membuat suasana lebih santai dengan menikmati hidangan restoran sembari bercakap-cakap menghabiskan suasana malam yang mulai dingin mencekat.

Malam terakhirku di Seoul memang terpuaskan ketika melintasi gang-gang di Gangnam dari ujung ke ujung. Tetapi waktulah yang akhirnya membatasi kunjunganku, sudah hampir jam sebelas malam. Aku memutuskan untuk segera kembalui ke Stasiun Gangnam dan kembali ke Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon.

Aku harus bersiap diri untuk kembali ke tanah air besok pagi.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Makan Malam di Tepian Banpo Bridge

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Banpo Bridge yang gagah mengangkangi Han River.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeaaa…..nyampai juga.

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

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

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

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


Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Tidur Siang di Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Lupa ambil foto pas nginep….Hihihi.

Aku masih saja bediri termangu di utara alun-alun untuk menikmati kegagahan Gwanghwamun Gate , gerbang enam abad milik Istana Gyeongbok. Alun-alun Gwanghwamun dengan dasar batuan andesit serta paduan hijaunya rumput taman tampak mulai dipenuhi oleh arus kunjungan para pelancong.

Selain patung Admiral Yi Sunshin, patung emas Raja Sejong yang Agung-sang raja keempat Dinasti Joseon adalah tujuan penting para pelancong. Mereka terlalu terpesona dengan patung-patung itu ketika aku lebih memilih memperhatikan kesibukan Kedutaan Besar Amerika Serikat di tepian Sejong-daero Avenue yang bersebelahan dengan National Museum of Korean Contemporary History.

Tak terasa waktu telah bergulir lewat dari tengah hari, sisa kantuk usai bermalam di Seoul Express Bus Terminal membuatku tak mampu menyembunyikan rasa kantuk di pelupuk mata. Badan yang belum terguyur air semenjak 30 jam yang lalu juga membuat tubuh tak merasa nyaman.

Lebih baik pulang ke penginapan saja”, begitu seru batin menggugurkan semangatku untuk melanjutkan eksplorasi. “Sial….Aku menyerah kali ini”, dengan bersungut-sungut kesal, aku memasuki gerbang Stasiun Gwanghwamun.

Selamat tingga Distrik Jongno”, lirih batinku ketika melompat masuk ke gerbong Seoul Metro Line 5. Tanpa memperhatikan keriuhan di dalam gerbong, aku segera mengarah ke tempat duduk kosong di dekat sambungan. Tanpa basa-basi aku segera memejamkan mata saking kantuknya.

Aku kini menuju ke Stasiun Hongik University dengan sekali transit di Stasiun Chungjeongno karena untuk menuju Kimchee Guesthoouse Sinchon di Distrik Seodaemun aku harus menunggang Seoul Metro Line 2.

24 menit kemudian aku tiba di tujuan. Sebelum benar-benar meninggalkan Stasiun Hongik University, aku menyempatkan diri menuju T-Money card vending machine di pojok koridor untuk mengisi T-Moneyku yang hampir kehabisan saldo. Kali ini aku memenuhi kartu perjalanan kota Seoul itu dengan 10.000 Won, angka yang lebih dari cukup hingga akhir petualanganku di Seoul.

Hilir mudikku di Stasiun Hongik berakhir di sebuah G-25 minimarket untuk sekedar makan siang seadanya. Sepotong Kimbab kemasan berhasil kudapatkan dengan harga 1.300 Won saja. Kenyang atau tidak, hanya itu jatah makan siang yang harus kuterima.

Usai menyantapnya di meja minimarket, aku segera menaiki escalator yang menjulang menuju permukaan, melewati gang Sinchon-ro 2-gil, menyeberangi Sinchon-ro Avenue, lalu bergegas menuju penginapan.

Hooohh….You, Donny. Welcome, your room is ready”, begitu sosok resepsionis yang sama sejak pagi tadi menyambut kedatanganku.

Hi, Sir….Thank you. I think I should go to bed soon….Hahaha”, aku menjawabnya ringan sambil merengkung backpack biru yang sedari pagi kutaruh di pojok ruangan depan.

Oh yeah, you look tired

Yes, I spent my last night at Seoul Express Bus Terminal”, aku mengiyakan.

Usai resepsionis itu me-scan passport yang kuberikan, kunci kamar pun diberikan. Tak menunggu lama, aku segera naik ke lantai atas, memasuki kamar, melepas winter jacket dan sepatu, kemudian segera melompat ke bunk bed untuk memulaskan diri hingga sore nanti.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple: Tak Pernah Sampai….

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

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

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


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

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

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

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

Yes, Sir”, dia berkesiap menuju mejaku.

This, Sir

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

“Indonesia, Sir”

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

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

Tidak makan babi?”, dia kembali berkelakar.

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

Moslem ya?

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

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

“Ok Pak”

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

Kenyangkah anda jika makan siang dengan porsi segitu?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ok thanks, Sir

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

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

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

Kisah Selanjutnya—->