The DMZ

 

The DMZ, or Demilitarized Zone, is a piece of land that stretches across the middle of the Korean Peninsula. After the cease-fire was called during the Korean War, both sides retracted their forces along the 38th parallel, creating the DMZ. It is actually possible for civilians to visit this eerie terrain, but tread carefully.

Before my friend left for Australia, she had wanted to see the DMZ. She found a travel agency, located here, and booked our seats. It is fairly expensive, we booked the combined tour for $130 per person, but it’s a truly humbling experience.

  • 07:30~08:00 Registration(Koreana Hotel 8th floor Panmunjom Travel Center (PTC) desk)
  • 08:00~09:30 Take Freedom Highway to Imjingak
  • 09:40~12:30 The 3rd Infiltration Tunel, Dorasan Observatory, Dorasan Station
    (Transfer to the shuttle bus to enter the DMZ area)
  • 12:50~14:00 Lunch (Bulgogi) and move to Unification Bridge
  • 14:00~14:30 Check Passport at Unification Bridge
    Arrive at United Nation Command Security Battalion “Camp Bonifas”
  • 14:30~15:00 Receive detailed Slide briefing
  • 15:00~16:40 Take military bus to Joint Security Area, Freedom House Military Armistice Commission Building
  • 16:40~17:30 Arrival at Koreana Hotel in Seoul

This was our schedule for the day, and they will stick to it! Be late, be left behind!! Your passports will be checked at least twice on the tour, and you will have to sign a safety waiver before entering the JSA. Depending on the political/security situation parts of the tour can be cancelled, we were unable to see a specific area of the JSA due to a security risk having been discovered in the area.

The JSA is surrounded with a tense atmosphere. It is completely quiet, and there are tons of rules you MUST follow. In the past NK soldiers were known for taking pictures of tourist to use for propaganda purposes, thus a dress code is enforced for the tour. Also, you will be expected to act in the appropriate manner. These countries are still technically at war, and relationships can turn sour quickly. Act right, or don’t bother showing up.

I would include pictures, and more information, but for security reasons I shall remain cautious. I do not regret going at all, as it was such a unique experience. There were a few moments on the tour that were emotional, and the entire day shed some light on the two countries history. I would definitely recommend going on a tour if at all possible, and don’t forget your passport!!!

 


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