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by b speier
Seongnam-Si, Kyeongki-Do, South Korea
March 26, 2011
by Mr. Eslinger
Ft. Riley, Kansas
February 20, 2008
January 31, 2006
If you ever can go, you have to. We got to go into the underground tunnels that the North Koreans made to try to sneak into South Korea. I don't recommend this tunnel tour if you you're weak because it was over a mile long and you had to hike down and back up the tunnel! It inclines down at a very steep angle and you have to walk back up this steep incline. Everybody was panting and sweating up a storm!
We also went over to the North Korean side, inside that famous UN building where they have the military meetings. You can't even point, gesture, or talk to them. It was scary! We even signed a waiver that said we would be in a hostile area and that death or injury may occur. We saw the 38 Degree Parallel Border, Freedom Building (South Korea), UN building, North Korean building across from the Freedom Building, "Propaganda Village" with the huge North Korean flag, the South Korean flag, and the Freedom Village (saw from outside). The border's lined with mines (land mines, both hidden and in the gates) and heavily guarded. We had to stand in two lines in order to move around. Pictures can only be taken in certain areas. Oh, and the North Korean military was taking pictures of us from afar, BUT it was amazing!!! You have to visit this place!!!
From journal Visit to Motherland-S. Korea
by Paul Bacon
Rotherham, United Kingdom
December 18, 2005
Despite the fact that the DMZ slices the nation half, the Koreans have realized the potential it boasts as a tourist attraction. As a result, tour buses head out from all the major hotels in Seoul. However, it is just as easy and far cheaper to make your own way there. A regular commuter train leaves Seoul Station at around 10 minutes before the hour, every hour. It costs W2, 000 (just under $2) and takes around 2.5 hours.
The train runs from Seoul to the town of Imjingang, barely a mile from the thick barbed wire fence. From Imjingang the only option is to climb aboard a state-sanctioned tour bus to take a standard DMZ tour, which costs W 8, 000 (just under $4). The bus passes through several road blocks and checkpoints before winding up a small hill to the Dora Observatory.
Dora is the perfect place to stare into the introverted and controversial half of Korea. If you were standing on the main viewing platform and looking to your right, you would see two pieces of giant propaganda in the shape of two dramatically oversized flagpoles. The one in the south is tall and would ordinarily make a dramatic statement if it weren’t for the giant steel construction a few miles to the north, where the North Korean flag flies from a pole so large it almost convinces people to defect toward Kin Jong Il.
Looking straight allows you to peer towards Caeson, one of the biggest cities in North Korea. On a misty day, the factories and apartment blocks can be picked out through the clouds. On a clear day, though, it is possible to stand and watch people going about their daily business. With all the furore about the North, its nuclear potential and its reclusive leader being able to see kids in their playground provides a slightly different angle from which to view world events.
As well as Dora, the tour offers the chance to walk beneath the DMZ in a tunnel originally built by the North Koreans to infiltrate the South. Obviously they were caught before it was finished, but it nevertheless it is an interesting little trip. Be wary, though, the average North Korean tunnel digger must have been far shorter than your average Western visitor, as the roof is barely 4 feet high--I took several bangs to the top of my head along the way.
From journal Heart and Seoul in Korea
by John Lamb
Colorado Springs, Colorado
October 21, 2001
From journal Visiting Seoul