korea dmz blog

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.

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Map korea dmz blog.
The Korean DMZ denoted by the red highlighted area. The blue line indicates the international border.

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone korea dmz blog.
Credit: DMZ: Demilitarized Zone of Korea, published by Steidl

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.

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Joint Security Area JSA korea dmz blog.

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Credit: korea dmz blog.

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DMZ tourist information center

Korea DMZ blog: How to get to the DMZ?

Korean 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.

dmz tour

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.

Korean DMZ korea dmz blog.
DMZ Train Imjingang Railroad Bridge from Seoul Station to Dorasan Station

Option 2: Public transport

In 2014, the DMZ Train (aka the Peace Train) from Seoul Station to Baengmagoji Station (near the DMZ) began operations.

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Peace Train
DMZ Train (aka Peace Train)

Korean DMZ

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.

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Dorasan Station
Dorasan Station

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.

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Gyeonggui Line
Gyeongui Railway Transit Office

Korean DMZ

Korean DMZ

Sightseeing at the DMZ: Best places to visit and top things to do in Korea DMZ.

Korean 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.

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone

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Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone
DMZ Theater

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

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Freedom Bridge Imjingak Park
Freedom Bridge, 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.

Korean DMZ Imjingak Park

Korean DMZ Imjingak Park

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Imjingak Park

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Locomotive Imjingak Park

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Ribbon Fence Imjingak Park

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Ribbon Fence Imjingak Park

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Monument Imjingak Park

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Freedom Bell Imjingak Park
Freedom Bell, Imjingak Park
Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone The Bridge of No Return
The Bridge of No Return

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone The Bridge of No Return

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2. Dora Observatory

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Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Dora Observatory Entrance
Dora Observatory Entrance

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).

Korean DMZ Dora Observatory

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Dora Observatory
You’ll put your coins in them to see North Korea

Korean DMZ Dora Observatory

Korean DMZ Dora Observatory

Peace Village View from Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Dora Observatory
North Korean Flag and Peace Village viewed from Dora Observatory. Credit: Chung Sung-Jun

Korean DMZ Dora Observatory

Korean DMZ Dora Observatory

For any team travelling by public transportation, from Dorasan Station, you can take shuttle bus to Dora Observatory.

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3. The Third Infiltration Tunnel

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Peace Statue
Peace Statue

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.

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Third Infiltration Tunnel
Inside the Third Infiltration Tunnel

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.

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Third Infiltration Tunnel
Credit: South China Morning Post

Korean DMZ Third Infitration Tunnel

4. Panmunjeom and Freedom House

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Joint Security Area JSA
Entrance to the Joint Security Area (JSA)

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.

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Observation Post Joint Security Area JSA

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Observation Post Joint Security Area JSA

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone

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.

Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Panmunjom Joint Security Area JSA
Panmunjom, Joint Security Area (JSA)
Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Peace House Joint Security Area JSA
Peace House
Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Joint Security Area JSA Conference Room
A South Korean soldier stands guard inside a conference room. Credit: Carl Court, Getty Images
Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Joint Security Area JSA
North Korean soldiers. Credit: korea dmz blog

Korean DMZ JSA

Korean DMZ JSA

Korean DMZ
Visitors observe and take photos of Panmunjom.

Korean DMZ JSA

Korean DMZ North Soldiers

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.

Premium Outlets Paju Korean DMZ Demilitarized Zone Tour
Premium Outlets in Paju

Korean DMZ Tour Premium Outlets Paju

Korean DMZ Tour Premium Outlets Paju

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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Are you finding more top things to do in Seoul: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out at here.

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