May 21, 2022

Not solely was I featured on CNN for sharing some hidden gems within the DMZ, however I’ve been there a number of occasions over my greater than 15 years residing in Korea. If you wish to go to the DMZ or take a DMZ tour, or perhaps you’re questioning the way to go to JSA, you then’ve come to the best spot for all the info you’ll have to plan the trek. I say trek, but it surely’s truly simpler than you would possibly suppose. The DMZ in Korea could be closed for any variety of political causes so that you’ll wish to know every part you may about the place you may and may’t go if the precise entrances in are blocked to vacationers. Even when they’re, there are areas you CAN go to to nonetheless get a peak north… Able to be taught extra? Let’s work out the way to get to the DMZ from Seoul and extra.

DMZ Gondola, Imjingak, Paju, Korea

What you must know to plan a visit to the DMZ in Korea:

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What Is The DMZ?

Imjingak, Paju, Korea

DMZ stands for demilitarized zone and is the world between North Korea and South Korea. This buffer zone or no-man’s land exists due to the Korean Conflict, which technically by no means ended although there are at all times discussions on peace. Measuring 4 kilometers in width and 250 kilometers lengthy, the DMZ was put in place in 1953 when the Armistice Settlement was signed.

The place Is The DMZ?

The DMZ runs your complete northern border of South Korea so whereas there are extra fashionable areas of the DMZ the place vacationers go to, there are extra areas than only one spot to search out the DMZ. Beneath, I’ll share factors alongside the DMZ the place you may go to beginning with the simplest and hottest and going from there. I’ve additionally made a be aware the place you may go to that’s actually actually shut even when you may’t get contained in the DMZ. When excursions are closed, worry not, there are nonetheless some actually cool spots to take a look at to see what you may see and be taught what you may be taught.

What You Want To Know About Visiting The DMZ

Imjingak, Paju, Korea

  • You MUST Be On A Tour… or a Practice: You may get fairly darn near the DMZ with out being on a tour, and I’m going to inform you how, however you CANNOT enter the DMZ until you’re truly on a tour with an official tour firm with a registered information. That is the information that you simply’ll discover most locations. However truly, there’s additionally a prepare you may take proper in too. You’ll discover the information beneath. There are elements of the Civilian Management Zone you could enter although even and not using a tour too.
  • You MUST Have An ID/Passport: You’ll want to indicate your ARC (native Alien Registration Card)/passport with the intention to enter the DMZ. In the event you’re a resident, you ought to be superb together with your ARC, I’ve used mine on two separate excursions, BUT to be protected, take your passport. Each main tour firm will inform you you have to have your passport for a tour, so take it or they in all probability gained’t allow you to on their bus. I went with two firms that stated my ARC was superb although. Simply my expertise.
  • Be Conscious Of Your Garments: There’s form of a costume code for visiting the DMZ although I’ve simply gone informal and by no means had concern. BUT, they do suggest that you simply don’t put on sandals, particularly if you happen to’ll be taking place into the tunnels. You additionally shouldn’t put on ripped denims or clothes as they are saying that North Korea could take photographs of the vacationers watching them and use it as false propaganda.
  • Be Conscious Of Actions: When searching into North Korea from any vantage level, you’ll be instructed to not wave, level, or make indicators towards North Korea. Simply assume that you simply’re being watched.

What’s the distinction between the DMZ and JSA?

Camp Greaves, Imjingak, Korea: DMZ

You is likely to be stunned in your tour if you happen to signal as much as see the DMZ after which don’t see the blue buildings which can be typically portrayed on the information when speaking about North and South Korea. DMZ, as talked about above, refers back to the demilitarized zone however JSA is particularly the Joint Safety Space which is as shut as you may get to North Korea. Whereas most individuals wish to go to the JSA after they’re speaking concerning the DMZ, it’s often the world that’s typically closed to vacationers. Whereas it’s although, you may typically go to different elements of the DMZ and that’s one cause I’m scripting this. Lots of people suppose when the JSA is closed, they’ll’t go to the DMZ. They’re a bit completely different although and excursions should run to different elements of the DMZ. So preserve that in thoughts.

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Excursions To The DMZ

Whereas there are areas you could go to by yourself round Imjingak and different civilian management factors, a tour is one of the simplest ways to essentially be taught and get an training on the DMZ from the previous and right this moment. There are fairly a number of excursions that even have North Korean defectors because the information so there’s a lot you may be taught.

Camp Greaves, Imjingak, Korea: DMZ

Notice Age Restrictions: It’s essential to notice that not all tour firms permit youngsters beneath the age of 10 on excursions to the JSA. In the event you’re planning a visit to the DMZ/JSA, ensure that to examine with the tour firm if you happen to plan on taking babies. Youngsters have to be accompanied by a father or mother always.

Excursions You Can Take:

  • Widespread Tour Choice To The DMZ From Seoul: This tour takes guests to the Imjingak DMZ space. The stops embody Imjingak Park, the Freedom Bridge, the Third Infiltration Tunnel, Dora Observatory, and the DMZ Exhibition Corridor.
    • Tour Size: 6.5 hours lengthy. Begins at 8:00am and ends at 2:30pm
    • Causes To Guide: Straightforward to e book and cancel if essential on Klook. Free cancellation with 48 hours discover. English talking guides.
  • Viator Excursions: Viator has a terrific spherical up of tour choices with each half day and full day tour choices. You may embody different stops within the area or stick with the fundamentals of the DMZ.
    • Tour Size: Ranges from 6 hours to 9 hours relying on which tour you e book.
    • Reasong To Guide: Free cancellation, English talking guides.
  • DMZ Tour with the Joint Safety Space (JSA): Presently the JSA isn’t open to vacationers. When it’s, I’ll replace this tour choice.

Timing: Most excursions require a 2-5 day advance reservation, so plan accordingly.

The Most Widespread DMZ Space: Imjingak Resort (임진각관간지)

The hottest space to go to the DMZ for guests/vacationers in Seoul often features a cease at Imjingak Park, Freedom Bridge, Dorasan Station, Dora Observatory, and the Third Tunnel. What a whole lot of folks wish to see after they go to the DMZ, however typically can’t resulting from restrictions, one other tour as much as/by way of the Imjingak space visits the Joint Safety Space (JSA), Odusan Unification Observatory, the Third Tunnel, and Dora Observatory.

Referred to as a resort, however don’t anticipate a resort with a swimming pool or something. Image an enormous car parking zone with varied issues to see and do this encompass it. You may truly go to the Imjingak space by yourself and there’s rather a lot to do there. If you wish to go additional in, you’ll want a information, BUT, right here’s what you are able to do at Imjingak after which the way to go additional in from there if you wish to plan your individual journey.

What You Can See

The Bridge Of Freedom (자유의다리)

The bridge that’s each an emblem of and named for freedom is the place prisoners had been exchanged after the conflict. The bridge is blocked off now and the fence resulting in it’s lined in hopeful prayer ribbons. There’s an previous rusted prepare that’s on show right here as properly that’s riddled with bullets from the conflict and, if you happen to look out for it, you’ll spot an entrance to an underground exhibition space right here too. Koreans with household within the north typically come up to now to wish, particularly round large Korean holidays, so keep in mind to be respectful and quiet once you’re on this space.

  • Deal with: 1400-6 Majeong-ri, Munsan-eub, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기 파주시 문산읍 마정리 1400-6)
  • Notice: You do not want a tour to go to this.

Peace Park (임진각평화누리)

Peace Park (임진각평화누리), Imjingak, Paju, KoreaPeace Park sits within the Imjingak Resort space and is mainly a big grassy expanse that may accommodate as much as 20,000 folks. There are numerous artwork installations that should depict peace between the north and the south. While you go to, ensure that to take a stroll up and thru the sphere and see what installations are on show. A few of them change all year long. Stroll up and over the hillside and also you’ll discover a cafe to cease into. The cafe within the pond is at all times busier although.

  • Deal with: 148-40 Imjingak-ro, Munsan-eub, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기 파주시 문산읍 임진각로 148-40)
  • Notice: You do not want a tour to go to this.

DMZ Gondola (파주디엠지곤돌라)

DMZ Gondola, Imjingak, Paju, Korea

One of many latest additions to the Imjingak Resort space is the DMZ Gondola. To take the trip, you’ll want to indicate your ID/Passport after which as soon as to the opposite facet, you may go to Camp Greaves, beforehand an American set up within the DMZ. Try extra beneath. This can be a enjoyable trip you probably have the time and wish to enter the civilian management zone within the easiest method there may be.

  • Deal with: 148-73 Imjingak-ro, Munsan-eub, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기 파주시 문산읍 임진각로 148-73)
  • Hours: Weekdays: 10:00am ~ 6:00pm; Weekends: 9:00am ~ 6:00pm
  • Admission: W7,000 ~ W14,000 (Worth depends upon whether or not you select the glass backside or the common.)
  • Notice: You do not want a tour to go to this.
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Camp Greaves (캠프그리브스)

Once I first visited Camp Greaves, the one method to get there was to take a bus over a bridge the place our passports had been checked however because the gondola was constructed, now that’s the way you get to this former American army set up within the DMZ. At the moment, Camp Greaves is an artwork, tradition, and historical past complicated within the Paju Civilian Management Zone. This can be a actually fascinating place to be taught extra concerning the DMZ because the creative exhibitions are selling peace and show references to historical past. This can be a distinctive have a look at the DMZ as you’re within the Civilian Management Zone and on a former American set up. Study extra about Camp Greaves in my full put up right here.

  • Notice: You do not want a tour to go to this.

Third Tunnel (제3땅굴)

Found in 1978, the 1635 meter lengthy tunnel was made by North Korea although they denied it at first. That is one in every of 4 tunnels which have been dug by North Korea and located. To enter, you’ll get a locker to put your belongings in after which be given a helmet to don as a result of the tunnel is slim and low. The tunnel is steep! Be ready to huff and puff. To be trustworthy, I don’t suppose the tunnel is any extra fascinating than different tunnels in Korea… or anyplace, besides that the story and knowledge behind it’s.

  • Notice: You do want a tour to go to this.

Dora Observatory (도라전망대)

Imjingak, Paju, Korea

Both earlier than or after the station, guests are taken as much as the Dora Observatory which sits on the prime of Dorasan Mountain. Have a look out into North Korea. You may see Kijong-dong Propaganda Village from the perspective and on actually clear days, you’d be capable of spot Kaesong, a particular industrial space the place each North Koreans and South Koreans can work facet by facet.

Dorasan Station (도라산역)

Dorasan Station, Imjingak, Paju, Korea

Usually the ultimate vacation spot on excursions is Dorasan Station. That is the final prepare station earlier than the border and is an emblem of the peaceable future. The thought is that some day, when there may be peace, this prepare line will proceed north and south and households can re-unite. Guests can get a faux ticket to Pyeongyang and even have it stamped.

FYI: You may as well take the DMZ Peace Practice from Seoul Station to Dorasan Station from Tuesdays to Sundays. The prepare crosses the Imjingak Bridge and passes the Imjingak Resort space so that you’ll see the Freedom Bridge from the window. After arriving at Dorasan Station, you may truly take a bus tour of the DMZ. The bus takes guests to the Dorasan Peace Park, Dora Observatory, and the third Tunnel.

That is the most cost effective method to get into the DMZ and you must take money to leap onto the bus tour after arriving. In the event you don’t take the bus tour, you then’ll have to hang around at Dorasan Station for five hours till the return prepare departs. Mainly, that is arrange in order that you’ll take the prepare up and the bus tour for a daytrip to the DMZ.

  • Deal with: 307 Huimang-ro, Jeongdan-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기 파주시 장단면 희망로 307)
  • Practice Operations: The prepare operates from Wednesday – Sunday simply as soon as a day.
    • Tour schedule: Depart from Yongsan Station (10:08) – Seoul Station (10:15) – Arrive at Imjingang Station (11:24) – Full id examine (11:32) – Arrive at Dorasan Station and board connecting bus (11:43) – Dorasan Peace Park (12:10) – Lunch break at Tongilchon (Unification Village) (13:00) – Dora Observatory (14:00) – The third Tunnel (14:40) – Tour Unification Platform (15:50) – Depart from Dorasan Station (16:27) – Seoul Station (17:47) – Arrive at Yongsan Station (17:54)
    • Practice Tickets: Adults: W36,000; Youngsters: W33,000
    • For Extra Info

The Joint Safety Space (JSA)

The closest level a vacationer can get to North Korea. A type of spots that everybody desires to see in individual, the JSA tour could or is probably not opened and it depends upon the political tensions on the time. If restrictions are heightened, you then’ll probably be capable of go to the stops above, however not this one. In the event you can see it although, that is the blue constructing spot that you simply see within the information and can acknowledge simply.

Namyangju Studios, Korea
Panmunjeom DMZ movie set duplicate

Typically for excursions to this space, guests first go to Camp Bonifas, a United Nations command put up that homes the United Nations Command Safety Battalion whose mission is to watch and implement the Korean Armistice Settlement. You’ll see the Unification Bridge, Freedom Home, Demarcation Line, MAC Constructing, and Bridge of No Return.

  • Notice: You do want a tour to go to this.

Odusan Unification Observatory (오두산 통일전망대)

An observatory on Odusan mountain, use the binoculars to get a better look into North Korea. The observatories are all comparatively the identical. Head as much as the highest, look by way of the binoculars and see what you may catch a glimpse of.

  • Deal with: 369 Pilseung-ro, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 파주시 탄현면 필승로 369)
  • Notice: You do want a tour to go to this.

A Hidden Pure DMZ Gem: Cheorwon

Cheorwon DMZ, Korea

Most vacationers and even long run residents and vacationers will head to the Imjingak DMZ space, however there’s one other DMZ tour space simply northwest of Seoul in Cheorwon. Cheorwon is particular as a result of it’s extra pure and untouched so a whole lot of guests, and particularly birdwatchers, will go to see the yearly migrations of cranes and different birds that cease right here whereas concurrently taking a tour of the DMZ. Cheorwon is a particular space with some main websites from conflict to see, but in addition a ton of pure marvel.

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Once I first went for a tour, excursions began from the Cheorwon Amenities Administration Workplace previously Iron Triangle Vacationer Workplace (철원 시설물관리사업소 (구 철의삼각전적관)). Now, it seems to be like you may search the Vacationer Info Heart or 철원 DMZ 형화관광안내센터 and that’s the place you’ll begin. Shock, the 2 locations I simply talked about are the identical spot however there’s been some modifications there. Anyway, guests should cease right here to get on a tour. In the event you take your individual automobile, a information could soar into your automobile, otherwise you’ll be requested to affix a caravan behind one other automobile that has the information. In the event you don’t have a automobile, you’ll have to get a taxi that may additionally enter the DMZ.

  • Deal with: 1825 Taebong-ro, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 철원군 동송읍 태봉로 1823)

Issues to find out about heading to the Cheorwon DMZ space:

  • Reservation prematurely is just not allowed. You could get to the DMZ Peace Vacationer Info Heart on time. In the event you miss the time to enter with the information, you’ll not be permitted to enter. Ensure you plan the way you’re getting there to a T.
  • Tour departure occasions are 10:00am and a pair of:00pm Wednesdays by way of Mondays. CLOSED on Tuesdays.
    • Notice that registration for a tour closes quarter-hour previous to the occasions listed above so you may’t rock up AT 10:00am or 2:00pm and soar on a tour. You want time to fill in varieties.
    • On-site registration is first-come first-serve foundation.
  • The tour takes roughly 2 and a half hours.
  • You could carry your ID to enter.
  • Test the native Cheorwon Tourism web site for updates and seasonal changes to occasions.

What You Can See

North Korean Labor Celebration Constructing (노동당사)

Cheorwon DMZ, Korea

The constructing was inbuilt 1946 and used till the armistice in 1953 by the get together. North Korea managed this space for 5 years because it falls above the 38th parallel however throughout the Korean Conflict this space got here beneath the management of South Korea and UN forces and when the armistice was signed was nonetheless beneath the management of the South. The bullet holes and lack of the ceiling of the constructing are blunt reminders of the violence this space noticed and although there was as soon as a vibrant and enormous metropolis right here, now there are simply rice paddies and checkpoints.

  • Notice: You do want a tour to go to this.

Woljeong-ri Station (월정리역)

Cheorwon DMZ, Korea

The constructing is simply the shell of what it as soon as was, a cease on the Seoul-Gangwon line, however sitting within the again is an previous North Korean transport prepare, bombed by American forces. Woljeong-ri Station is the final cease earlier than reaching the DMZ and is the spot the place the fiercest battle was held throughout the Korean Conflict.

  • Deal with: 1882 Durumi-ro, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 철원군 철원읍 두루미로 1882 (철원읍))
  • Notice: You do want a tour to go to this.

Cheorwan Peace Observatory (철원평화전망대)

From right here, you’ll be capable of take within the views out of the DMZ. There’s a monorail right here that may take you up so it’s simpler to get to and you need to use the binoculars to catch a glimpse of what you may see on the opposite facet of the DMZ.

  • Deal with: 588-14 Junggang-ri, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 철원군 동송읍 중강리 588-14)
  • Notice: You do want a tour to go to this.

Second Underground Tunnel (제2땅굴)

Cheorwon DMZ, Korea

Found on March nineteenth, 1975, a soldier heard an explosion beneath the bottom and there it was. The tunnel is 3.5 kilometers lengthy and is 50-160 meters deep. Don a tough hat and descend into the moist and darkish tunnel.

  • Notice: You do want a tour to go to this.

Cheorwon Plains (Migratory Hen Habitat) (철원평야(철새도래지))

If you’re eager about birdwatching and also you’re in Korea, properly you in all probability already know, perhaps that is for the people who don’t, the Cheorwon Plains sees 30% of the world’s wild crane inhabitants throughout migration season. And that’s simply the cranes. There are 110 species of birds that migrate by way of Cheorwon and use the calm environment as a pure habitat to feast after they cease by way of. To view the wonderful hen surroundings, you’ll wish to go to Cheorwon between the start of January and the tip of February.

You’d nonetheless begin from the identical place as talked about above, however the excursions are a bit completely different with this one being on the tour centered on migratory birds. Excursions additionally cease at Togyo Reservoir, Sapseulbong Peak, and Saemtong.

The DMZ isn’t only one place. It appears that evidently a whole lot of vacationers don’t understand that. There’s extra locations to go than you would possibly understand. And there are many issues you are able to do by yourself fairly near the civilian management zone as properly.

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