The DMZ stands for “demilitarized zone” and it separates the North from the South of Korea. I did a day-long tour there, and I was priviledged to see the Third Tunnel, Dorasan Station, the Joint Security Area, Peace Park and the Dora Observatory.
The tour was amazing, although a little scary as the tension between North and South Korea is very strong, and there are many strange rules to follow in certain parts of the tour like no pointing or staring. The two most exciting parts were the JSA and the Dora Observatory because North Korea was right smack in front of my face, and I even saw some North Koreans from a distance. At one point my friend and I were officially standing in North Korea which I thought would never happen. I also saw some of the largest North Korean cities through binoculars.
When we walked deep down into the Third Tunnel that was created by North Korea in order to invade the South, I could see where the dynamite was used all over the stone and I even touched the black paint which North Korea tried to pass by as coal dust for their alibi in explanation of the tunnel’s existence.
The South Korean soldiers at JSA were also very interesting to observe. They never moved an inch and they have to be in a martial arts stance at all times while wearing sunglasses to show as little emotion as possible. It looked like an impossible task to stand there like that so long. All-in-all, this trip was one of the most insightful cultural experiences I have ever had because I learned so much about the history between two countries that share so much yet are so distant at the same time.
In this last picture, my friend and I are officially in North Korea. I still can’t believe I get to check that country off my travel list.