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A Visit to South Korea's DMZ

South Korea's DMZ is a constant reminder of the country's, not only physical divide, but the ideological differences between the north and south. As someone who is interested in history, a visit to this part of South Korea was on my list before I went to this country.

My DMZ Experience

The DMZ is 250 km long and around 4 km wide, and it is one of the most militarized borders in the world despite the agreed armistice. Both sides signified the ideological difference of not only the two countries, but also their chief sponsors, Soviet Union in the North and the United States in the South. The Korean War that divided the two countries began in 1950, claiming approximately 3 million lives and displacing many others. The war ended in 1953 after the signing of the Armistice Agreement.

Our guide (CK) was very knowledgeable of Korean history and interjected jokes and insights as we went along the tour. There were some areas that didn't allow photos to be taken. Our guide told us that over the decades, the North tried multiple times to enter South Korea by building tunnels right under the DMZ. One such intrusion incident took place in 1968, the infamous Blue House Raid. The North tried to assassinate then President Park Chung Hee at the presidential residence. However, the North Koreans were often thwarted by South Korean soldiers.

There are two villages allowed to stay within the DMZ, the Daeseong-dong in the South and the Kijong-dong in the North. The former is exempted from tax and civic duties such as military service.

The tour I was on took us to one of the tunnels that the North built to infiltrate the South. It was already tourist friendly, making it easy to come and go. It was a different experience to walk through it as it was probably much narrower and difficult to breathe in, when soldiers tried to pass through it.

There was an observatory deck as part of the tour, wherein visitors can use the telescope for KRW500 to look at the North Korean side. If you're lucky enough, you might see a North Korean soldier coming out of the guard post.

Dorasan Station

One of the stops during the tour was Dorasan Station, which signified the attempt of both sides to unify and have a train passing through both countries.

The ticket to enter the platform cost KRW1000

A part of the Berlin Wall was donated for this station.

A trip to the DMZ is a must, if you are interested in history and the cause of the divide between the north and south.

I booked a tour through www.DMZTours.com, I would recommend their service because of the way they organized the tour, the comfortable transportation, very knowledgeable guide and customer care.

After the trip we joined our guide for some lunch at a local restaurant, at our own expense. He was very thankful to the soldiers, including other countries such as America and the Philippines, while talking about the Korean War. He even mentioned that he's been to the Philippines many times, and he planned to go back for a vacation a few days after our tour.

Read more about my trip to Seoul: Guide to Seoul.

Contact Details

Phone: 02-757-1009 ( In Korea )
            +82. 2. 757. 1009 ( from other country )
Email:  koreaseoultour@gmail.com
Address:   Rm.303 Sin A Bld.  39-1 Seosomun-dong, Jung-Gu, Seoul

*DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

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