In 1958, the Korean Peninsula was separated into two countries: Korea DPR (North Korea) and Republic of Korea (South Korea). South Korea is obviously well known thanks to the Hallyu (aka the Korean Wave) that has spread globally, introducing idols with god-like appearance to million fangirls. On the other hand, North Korea is much more mysterious to the outer world except for Leader Kim (Kim Jong Un) with his legendary middle parting undercut hairstyle. In fact, South Korea’s capital Seoul is located only 70 kilometers from the border between two countries. South Korean army used to set up a series of gigantic speakers at the borderline facing North Korea and playing Big Bang’s songs for 3 days and 3 nights to incite the soldiers. Thus, if you’re getting bored walking around in Seoul, visiting the DMZ will give you a chance to tell your friends “I have stood at the border to North Korea!”. Now, let’s check it out our Korea DMZ blog – Korean Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea: The most mysterious place in the world.
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Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a weapon-free buffer zone located on the border of North and South Korea. Most of the regions along the borderline are under industrial development restriction, and the population becomes older as the youth leaves for large cities. Nevertheless, South Korean government has planned and transformed this most sensitive area into a trending travel destination with its own charm and uniqueness.
Korea DMZ blog: How to get to the DMZ?
Option 1: Easier than you ever expect, the answer is going with KKday’s Day Tour DMZ
After booking the tour at the above link, the only thing you have to do is to be at the meeting spot at 8:30. A good-looking tour guide will appear with a 9-seater van to pick you up and head directly to the DMZ, which is a 2-hour ride from Seoul.
From Imjinsan to Dorasan, you’ll pass Imjinsan Bridge crossing the Han River. Arriving at this point, you’ll feel the sense of “military control” in the air that gives you the thrills.
Option 2: Public transport
In 2014, the DMZ Train (aka the Peace Train) from Seoul Station to Baengmagoji Station (near the DMZ) began operations.
There are two directions to get to the DMZ: from the West for a 1-hour-and-20-minute ride (take Gyeongui Line and exit at Dorasan Station) and the East (Baengmagoji Station) which takes 2 hours.
For cost saving, it is recommended to take Gyeongui Line departing at Seoul Station. Ticket cost is about USD16/round-trip/person. Remember to bring your passport for document check.
Sightseeing at the DMZ: Best places to visit and top things to do in Korea DMZ.
If travelling with KKday, you’ll follow the tour guide to the DMZ’s most iconic attractions on our tour schedule. Taking soft breath, walking quietly and avoiding talking too loudly are a few points you should note.
For any team taking public transportation, one thing at the DMZ is that you’re not allowed to go to the attractions by yourselves. You’re required to purchase tour ticket at Dorasan Station, which costs KRW55,000-60,000 ~ USD50-55 including lunch.
1. Imjingak Park
The history begins here. This park surrounds a museum that displays all documentation of the Korean War. There is a locomotive from the wartime with a fence full of prayer ribbons since there are many Koreans who still have their family and relatives living on the other side after the country was separated.
2. Dora Observatory
Observatory is surely a place to observe. From here, you can see the military borderline. For further observation, you can use the 500 won coin to rent a telescope, and you’ll see the statue of the North Korean leader, towers and a few other buildings on the other side of the border (relatively small and far away).
For any team travelling by public transportation, from Dorasan Station, you can take shuttle bus to Dora Observatory.
3. The Third Infiltration Tunnel
In the 70s, the North Korean built this tunnel in order to attack Seoul. After the South discovered the existence of this tunnel, the North had completely destroyed the part that lies within their territory. Touring the tunnel takes about 1 hour, which will give you the experience of walking through an underground tunnel. Really interesting and thrilling at the same time.
Walking in this tunnel, you’ll receive a helmet that reminds of a mineworker. At the end of the tunnel, which has been blocked by the North, you’ll see a soldier standing guard. And the story stops there.
4. Panmunjeom and Freedom House
This is a must-see area of the DMZ, the closest place to North Korea where you can see the faces of North Korean soldiers clearly. Their facial expression doesn’t change when seeing you so don’t take any action, don’t panic and don’t take a selfie. Absolutely not.
Negotiations usually take place here so nothing dangerous will ever occur thanks to the military agreement. Still, you should stay aware and follow instructions. Remember to keep your passport in hand, walk as instructed and don’t cause noises, record anything on the camera or touch any artifacts.
5. Premium Outlets in Paju
Visitors are able to take a rest, have meals and go shopping here. This is where you find yourselves losing money for gifts, although the place is not necessarily special. Luxury brands are also present.
Korea DMZ tips: Something to keep in mind
- Bring your passport and keep it safe.
- Don’t take photos where it is not permitted.
- Don’t tease the cold-faced soldiers.
- The limitation of going by public transport is that these attractions have limited entries everyday, so you’ll have to return on another day if arriving there late. Total expense for travelling by train and purchasing tour ticket at Dorasan Station is about $68-70.
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