DMZ Tour: Highlights
DMZ Tour: Introduction
DMZ is a buffer zone between two Koreas, bisecting the Korean Peninsula
DMZ has been the most popular tourist spot of Korea for foreigners since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The purpose of the zone is to prevent the recurrence of war between North & South Koreas.
The zone ranges 2 km north and south respectively from the ceasefire line of 1953. The land stretches across the Korean Peninsula 155 miles from the mouth of Han River to the East Coast.
It’s one of the most well-preserved wild-life refuges where peace and tension coexist. The President of Korea, Park Geun-hye, is pushing to build a “peace park” in the DMZ as a new symbol of political reconciliation and ecological conservation.
DMZ Tour: Historical Backgrounds
The surrender of Japan in 1945 at the end of Pacific War saw the division of Korea by the 38th parallel line when the US and the Soviet Union moved into Korean Peninsula. The division line was intended to be a temporary political border, but the failure to hold free election throughout the peninsula in 1948 deepened the division between the two sides.
The North Korean tanks crossed the 38th line at the dawn of June 25, 1950. The war lasted for three years and one month to cost more than two million people’s lives. The ceasefire agreement was signed at Panmunjom on July 27, 1953. The armistice, not a peace treaty, is still in effect today.
DMZ Tour: Major Tour Spots
In essence, any DMZ tour is to experience the reality of division and to find the hope of future. The highlight of the tour is to explore a tunnel dug by North Korea. The tunnel was discovered by South Army as the third one among four tunnels, hence the name “The Third Tunnel”. It is a surreal experience to find a 1,635 meter tunnel at the depth of 73 meters underground. The infiltration tunnel was made by dangerous manual excavation work with dynamites, shovels and pick axes. The tunnel is located only four kilometers away from JSA, where the representatives of North Korea repeat their version of peace and reunification.
The other tourism spots include an observatory and a train station. The observatory sits on the top of a hill, from which you can observe the north area including the “Gaesung Industrial Complex”, the “Propaganda Village”, a huge statue of North Leader Kim Il-sung, etc. The train station is the northern most one of South Korea and it is physically connected to the North railway system, which again is linked to the Trans Eurasian Railway Network. Regardless of the frustrating diplomacy surrounding the Korean Peninsula, here you can find a hope to go to Europe by TRS (Trans-Siberian Railway).
DMZ Tour: Itinerary
What is the best way to go to DMZ? By joining the DMZ tour service of IBTS KOREA!
The western part of DMZ lies only 52 kilometers away from Seoul to the north direction. However, there are no public transportation directly connecting DMZ and Seoul. Even after you manage to arrive at DMZ, you can see that the admission ticket is sold out after a long standing at the waiting line of the ticket booth. Some tourists find out that they have forgotten to bring their passport only after they are requested to show them to an MP of the military check point.
Yes, the most reasonable way to DMZ is to use the specialized service of IBTS KOREA. You can put every worry down by one simple booking with IBTS KOREA, which has operated DMZ tour service for over fifteen years. You will be provided with:
- The best storytelling tour guide for DMZ
- The most convenient transportation to and from the DMZ (including a morning pick-up service at your hotel in Seoul)
- The total service including the admission fee to tour facilities of DMZ
The 3rd Infiltration Tunnel
The best quality Jinseng Center or Amethyst Factory Outlet
Hotel pick-up and transportation by air-conditioned vehicles
DMZ Tour: Information
DMZ is an area occupying two kilometers out from the border of both Koreas, stretching a total of 64 million Pyeong(or around 50,156 ac). Along this DMZ bisecting the two Koreas stand almost 2 million armed soldiers from both sides. In DMZ, you can see historical sites breaking the heart of so many Koreans.
It’s a quiet and calm place well preserving ecology because no one has been allowed to enter it for the past 4 decades. It’s also well-known for being home to precious wildlife and wild nature. Seen from the distance, DMZ looks scary, but once you get to know it more, you actually find it one of the safest security ecology tourist attractions.
Do not put off an interesting trip to the world-unique demilitarized zone.
DMZ Tour Point
+ DMZ is the top tourist attraction foreign visitors want to pay a visit to in Korea’.
+ It’s the tourist attraction you can only see in Korea, the only divided nation in the world’.
+ Discover the 3rd Underground Tunnel within DMZ that would have rewritten Korean history unless found.
+ Thrilling walk in the most threatening tunnel closest to South Korea, through which over 500 soldiers, even tanks can go through.
+ Meaningful visit to Dorasan Train Station, which would be the first station connecting Eurasian Continent (Asia and Europe).
+ DMZ is a place historically connecting the past, present and future of Korea.
DMZ Tour Course
Imjingak, located 7 km from the Military Demarcation Line, is now at the forefront of tourism related to the Korean War. It was built in 1972 with the hope that someday unification would be possible. Three-storied Imjingak is surrounded by several monuments, Unification Park and North Korea Center.
400 kinds of photos and documents showing the stark reality of North Korea are displayed in the North Korea Center of Unification Board. Outside Imjingak, there are 12 kinds of tanks and crafts on display that were used during the war.
Mangbaedan Alter, which stands opposite of Imjingak, is famous for the place where people from North Korea visit and perform ancestral rites by bowing toward their hometown every New Year’s Day and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving). The Bridge of the Freedom, South Koreans crossed when they came back to their mother country from North Korea, stands behind Mangbaedan Alter.
In front of Imjingak is the Gyeongui Train Line which was destroyed during the Korean War in 1950. It has been under construction since 2000. Every year many events for unification are held at Imjingak. Imjingak is now one of the famous tourist spots for foreigners in Gyeonggi-do because it is possible to visit without going through any security check points.
The bridge is more like a symbolic bridge built back in 1998, wishing unification between two Koreas.
It was built by Hyundai Business Group of South Korea. Underneath the bridge you can see a river which is called Imjingang, coming down from North Korea. The bridge also has a nickname which is the “Cow Bridge”. The founder of Hyundai whose name was Jung Juyoung crossed this bridge and went to North Korea back in 1998 with precisely 1,001 cows. Since then, we have been calling it the cow bridge. Of course all the cows he took with him were part of humanitarian donations for North Korean people.
If you look outside, you can see some soldiers wearing a green color camouflage uniform. They are South Korean soldiers or ROK soldiers currently serving their mandatory military service for 21 months. All men in South Korea have to serve the military mandatorily for 21 months, but it’s not required for women. I also served for 26 months a long time ago right after college, and it was longer than right now. Military service is getting shorter and shorter. However, the situation is a lot more terrible in North Korea. First of all, it’s mandatory for both genders, men and women. Men have to serve for 10 years while women serve for 7 years, but this is just for normal kinds of soldiers. For a special forces like Marine Corps and Airborne, they have to serve for 13 years.
It’s a unique museum within the civilian control line. The museum, on which the nation and provinces had spent 44.5 billion Korean won, officially opened on 08, 14, 2009. DMZ Showroom displays leaflets used during the 6.25 Korean Civil War, military letters, bayonets, empty cartridges, pottery found in DMZ, taxidermied birds and etc. DMZ Video Room features three-dimensional moving pictures. By watching them, you can easily understand how Korea got divided.
The highlight of the DMZ tour is to explore a tunnel dug by North Korea.
Since 1974, South Army has discovered four tunnels crossing the MDL. The tunnels are believed to have been planned as a military invasion or infiltration route. Each tunnel is large enough to enable the passage of thirty thousand soldiers in one hour.
The 3rd tunnel discovered in 1978 penetrates into South Korea by 435 meters beyond the ceasefire line. You are going to hear how the tunnel was discovered with more detailed information. After listening to the story, you will enter into the actual tunnel to find the ambition of North Korea to make another sudden invasion. In addition, you are going to watch a short documentary film at the DMZ theater, and look around relics and reproductions of Korean War at its small exhibition hall.
Dora Observatory, or OP Dora is the closest observation post to North Korea.
From the observation platform, North Korean scenery is visible, and so are the outskirts of Gaeseong City, the 3rd largest city of North Korea. Especially, you can view the Gaeseong Industrial Complex operated by both Koreas. If you use the binocular, a statute of Kim Il-sung can be found near the Gaeseong City.
You can also observe a fake North Korean border village. Within DMZ of North side, there’s a small village called “Propaganda Village.” On a clear day, you can view through binocular that it is actually a deserted town. Like a multi-million dollar Hollywood filming set, some lights flicker on and off at set times to create the illusion of people living there.
A sign in the station reads, “Not the last station from the South, But the first station toward the North.”
For now, it is the northernmost station of South Korea which is only 700m, or a half mile away from the southern boundary of DMZ. The milestones of Dorasan Station (205km to Pyeongyang, 56km to Seoul) imply the reality of the division between two Koreas and the hope of a future. Although the tracks are connected, the north regime doesn’t allow trains to pass through, making $40 million station sit unused.
However, it serves as a beacon of hope for the reunification of two Koreas. Currently, it’s the last stop, but someday it will take you to Europe through the Trans-Siberian Railway.
The colour of Amethyst is as unique as it is seductive, though in fact this gemstone of all gemstones is said to protect its wearer against seduction. Korean Amethyst is extravagance in violet since it has been formed from granite stone base since 5000 years. Moses described it as a symbol of the Spirit of God in the official robes of the High Priest of the Jews, and the Russian Empress Catherine the Great sent thousands of miners into the Urals to look for it. It was said to protect crops against tempests and locusts, bring good fortune in war and in the hunt, drive out evil spirits and inspire the intellect.
Ginseng is renowned for its effectiveness as a great healer for living ever so young.
Especially if you eat ginseng when you lose your energy, it really helps to regain energy.
Korea is acknowledged by the world because of the quality of ginseng as if it is the birthplace of ginseng.
You can experience various kinds of ginseng products like gingersnap, extract, ginseng preserved in honey, and other great quality of products made in Korea.
Bibimbap (Korean pronunciation: [bibimbap], sometimes anglicized bi bim bap or bi bim bop) is a signature Korean dish. The word literally means “mixed rice”. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste), soy sauce, or doenjang, a salty soybean paste. A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The hot dish is stirred together thoroughly just before eating. In South Korea, Jeonju, Jinju, and Tongyeong are especially famous for their versions of bibimbap. In 2011, it was listed at number 40 on the World’s 50 most delicious foods readers’ poll compiled by CNN Travel.