DMZ Korean Border
The Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) in Korea is one of the most dangerous locations on the planet with over 2 million soldiers on both sides of the border ready to defend their respective regions. Both occupants of North and South Korea are ethnically the same and speak the same language and sadly are only separated by politics. In accordance with the 1953 armistice agreement, no military activity can take place across this 2km truce line. In recent years the DMZ has attracted visitors from all over the world coming to see the several designated areas that give you a feel for the unfortunate circumstances that led to the divide of this great country.
Imjingak Resort (Nui Peace Park)
After the declaration of the South – North armistice in 1972, South Korea created a peace park which has various relics and monuments related to the Korean War as well as other South-North confrontations in the years that followed up until the present day.
The 3rd Tunnel
Between the 1960’s and 1990’s, North Korea dug many tunnels to gain them access to the South. At least four of these tunnels were dedicated and there could potentially be many more. The 3rd Tunnel was discovered in 1978 and is 1.64 kilometers long, 2-meters high and 2-meters wide. Visitors can walk down to the end of this tunnel while wearing the provided hard hat.
With hopes and dreams of unification, South Korea have built a new station which could be used to connect Seoul and Pyeongyang. The station was opened as a tourist attraction just before the 2002 Korean-Japan World Cup and has become a symbol of South Korea extending their hand to the North with the message “we are ready when you are”.
Panmunjeom (Joint Security Area / JSA)
Panmunjeom Joint Security Area is administered by the United Nations Military and North Korean military and is where the North meets with the UN and South Korea during less hostile periods for various talks and negotiations. Depending on where you stand in this room you could technically be standing in North Korea. Visitors of the Panmunjeom Joint Security Area are required to only take pictures in certain areas. There is a restriction on the type of zoom lens on your camera as there is a risk of the North Korean soldiers mistaking your photo taking as hostile activity. You wouldn’t want a friendly North Korean soldier mistaking your 55 – 200mm zoom lens for a Sniper Rifle now would you?
From the observation deck you can see North Korea in the distance and even hear some music playing from the region.
How to get to the DMZ
The DMZ can only be visited as part of an authorised tour. These tours will typically collect you from your hotel by coach but please check before booking. When the tour is complete you may be dropped off at a major station such as Seoul Station.
The two main tour operators for the DMZ are Koridoor and Viator. Be sure to check what areas of the DMZ that your tour will visit before booking.