“Korea is such a beautiful country but with a sad history.”
Quoted from F.R.I.E.N.D.S
For my second time to enter the land of the Morning Calm, I decided to visit the most dangerous yet safest place in Korea. Irony right? “The most dangerous place is the safest place” a famous quote.
Things you need to know and RULES TO OBEY:
- Obey photo rules and generally, when it comes to picture taking, people in DMZ are very strict. Some places are not allowed to take photos for some security reasons. Always listen to your tour guides because they know the do’s and don’ts inside DMZ.
- Dress properly. This is not the fashion lane and not the best place for your #OOTD. Dress neat and presentable. Specially, when entering the tunnel.
- Consider the weather because it might impact your overall tour experience. Most of the time, it is difficult to get a glimpse of North Korea at the observatory because of the fog or clouds. Good thing, when we visited the border, it was clear despite the rain a day before.
- Lastly, ALWAYS BRING YOUR PASSPORT. It is being used for registration, security purposes, and check point once in a while.
Now, let’s start the tour since I only took the half day tour.
- Panmunjeom is located inside the Korean DMZ, the demilitarized zone, which separates North and South Korea. It is the most forward portion of the DMZ that civilians can visit from South Korea. It is 62 kilometers northwest of Seoul and 215 kilometers south of Pyeongyang. It is the most common name associated with the JSA, or Joint Security Area, which lies inside the region. Panmunjeom was once a village until the end of the Korean War, now it is a geographic area most known for the DMZ.
- Imjingak Village is the furthest north point in South Korea than South Koreans can go freely. After this point, you must be granted government permission to go any further north. Our tour’s first stop was in Imjingak, where our guides took all of our passports and Alien Registration Cards to register us with the Korean government for permission to enter the civilian-restricted areas. While they did the paperwork, we were free to roam around the village. This bridge is called the Bridge of Freedom, and it’s where nearly 13,000 prisoners of war were traded at the end of the Korean War. The bridge now serves as a place of remembrance for families who are separated.
- The Third Infiltration Tunnel– a total of 1,635 meter tunnel found in 1978 was located 52km away from Seoul City. When you go inside the tunnel, safety helmets will be provided. Prepare to walk around 30 minutes through the tunnel and prepare to get extremely tired and sweaty as the tunnel will be very deep and going back will be extremely uphill. BUT, before you enter this tunnel a glimpse of the war history will be discussed first in a mini museum and a 10min video clip will be played.
- Dora Observatory– The place where you can take a glimpse of North Korea. I’m lucky enough that the military allowed us to pass the yellow line to take a photo of the whole North Korea. In this area, I bought a Soju that was made by the North Korea refugees it is believed that it is more clean and delicious than the normal Soju that was being sold in the local markets.
- Dorosan Station– “Not the last station from the South, but the first station toward the North.”
The famous (International) train station going to North Korea. It was still working until recently, a problem occurred. While some of the SoKor workers are there a warning was made by the NoKor officials and gave the workers a 3 HOUR to evacuate the area. Since they were only given a short time they leave everything behind. Though the station looks new, I know that there are a lot of activities that happened here I also got the chance to have a stamp and a fake ticket from the station. TAKE NOTE, putting a stamp on your passport is prohibited.
Some Photos Credit to the Owner