First-Timer Travels to South Korea! The Day before Hike Seoraksan!

by - October 17, 2019

June 7th, 2019.

"There's the time called a 'first time' for every beginning. The first time when the thoughts are wandering until the idea to do something comes. The first time when the decision takes its steps until those steps make the first-timer."

Annyeonghaseyo! Annyeonghasimnikka! Bangapseumnida! Kamsahamnida!

Those words are the words that I want to say and express if I travel to South Korea! Never been in my mind that South Korea is my next travel destination this year! Grateful to the maximum because it's like I come back home.  Yes, I can say that South Korea is my 'second home' even I've never been there. A home where my heart belongs. I love to watch K-drama and their variety shows and listen to K-pop and K-indie songs. Those entertaining lives are the half part of me and one-third of my daily routine since I was in my junior high school. Yes... 12 years ago, it's been accompanying me. Kamsahamnida!

Found that visiting my second home was not an easy thing like real 'coming home'. Not like visiting my neighbors, my first home (Indonesia) needs some guarantee documents from some guarantors (parents, company, or relatives), work reference, savings documents, and etc. to make sure that I'll be back after visiting South Korea. Of course, I'll be back, that's my first home after all. :) After taking care of those required documents and paying the visa fee (around IDR 800.000), my visa was issued 5 days later. Having the heart and mind 'just visit my second home' is the key for the approval, guys!

When it comes to South Korea, what do you expect while traveling there? 
There are a lot of things to do, so what do you expect as the first-timer? 

It was on June 7th, 2019 in the morning when I put my feet in South Korea for the first time. In this trip I was not alone, I was with my three lovely friends who are not too into Korean life. Their pure intentions were just traveling and trying a new experience.  Expecting to have a summer holiday in this warm month, we had still the cool weather instead. Not preparing and expecting that happening, I got welcome icy hug which enough made me goosebumps on my first day. I'm sorry, I'm a tropical person! 

Catching the morning bus to Sokcho directly from the airport, our first bucket list was a hike to Seoraksan which located in that region. Sokcho is a region of Gangwon-do where it took us 5 hours by intercity bus from Incheon airport. It was accompanied by the rain and beautiful village landscape, this trip was so peaceful indeed! 

34.000 won for fare-free from Incheon airport to Sokcho

My first breakfast in South Korea, Chicken Seaweed Rice
I'd like to say Chicken Onigiri actually, 1000 won. The package is so thoughtful so I could eat easily without dirtying my both hands. Also, calories! 

The Journey

"Ahgassi, dochakhamnida (arrive)!" said the driver.

I took my earphone out, I just wandered where was I? Unknown place, strangers, but familiar language. Because of my Korean language course and K-Drama, I thought I was not too 'blind' if I compared with my China's trip before. Everything seemed familiar and it's like what I watched on the drama!

Wandering around to find what's on Sokcho and trying the new experiences, we decided to take our first public bus in South Korea. Unlike in Jakarta, the public bus has the digital payment (T-cash, Cash bee, or Credit card) method to pay the fare fee. It's okay if we pay it with cash but make sure the cash is the exact amounts of fare fee. The driver wouldn't have time to give you the change. Yes, I could say that everything in South Korea was fast. They move fast, work fast, and won't let their slowness impact the others or otherwise. That's why have the money card is a must here! Tap-tap-tap. I've witnessed a case related to that on the public bus. When there are two women who one of them didn't have enough amount to pay (maybe she forgot to top-up), the driver just asked them to go out and closed the door fast. :')) Yes, time is so that important guys!

After getting into the bus, then the fool thing happened to us. We knew how to getting in but not getting out. The bus was so different as we took in Jakarta. Fortunately, Wi-Fi was around us and Google was beside us. The red button which I thought it was a fire or warning button, actually it was a stop button. We should press it before we reached our destination terminal. It took us half an hour on the bus to just know that fact. I hope the one who read this story won't experience that fool thing like us. :') And... For your information guys, I don't know why... Why the Korean people thought that we were the Koreans. So, they didn't inform or ask us anything until we spoke English or Indonesian. :)


Eating local Budaejjigae. Nom! It's so damn delicious!

As you see, actually the side dishes and white rice were already enough to be our food on this table. Yes! Whenever and wherever we ordered the 'main food' all over Korean restaurant, they would serve min. three kinds of side dishes such as kimchi, radish, turnip or etc on the table. For me, It's an interesting culture which made us be aware while we ordered some foods. I didn't want to waste anything! 

To get enough time for hiking Seoraksan, we planned to stay a night in the guest house, get enough sleep, and start the day in the early morning. Have met the foreigners who had the same goal which is a hike to Seoraksan in the early morning, we gather some information from them. It's not easy to hike in the early morning. Transportation was our limitation. The best easy cheap transportation was a bus which started operating at 6.30 a.m... Despite we gave up on the sunrise, we didn't give up on the amazing landscape at Seoraksan on the next day! Hiking in The Seoraksan National Park 

Q : How's your first impression in your day 1?
A : Exciting and fascinating! The people were so kind to us even we were the foreigners. Actually, our difficulty was taking the public transportation while brought the big and heavy luggage by our own. It's hard when we lifted the luggage especially when took the public bus. Fortunately, there were some people who helped us. It's so helpful! Well, first impression.

Love from the author,

Cindy Tjahjadi

You May Also Like