The page you are looking for is temporarily unavailable.
Please try again later

Travel Visiting the Demilitarised Zone on the border of North and South Korea: Touring the DMZ

12:11  14 february  2018
12:11  14 february  2018 Source:   traveller.com.au

South Korea: The Winter Olympics and five other reasons why now is the time to visit

  South Korea: The Winter Olympics and five other reasons why now is the time to visit South Korea's many attractions have flown under the radar for far too long, but all that is about to change with the 23rd Winter Olympics.So yes, you could be excused for not knowing a whole lot about South Korea. That is, until now. Because in a few short weeks, the 23rd Winter Olympics will kick off in Pyeongchang, a mountainous region in the north-east of the nation, and it marks the perfect time for South Korea to show off so much of what makes it great.

In a Nutshell: The Korean Demilitarized Zone ( DMZ ) splits the Korean peninsula in half creating a buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea . It’s the most militarized border on earth. Ever wonder what it’s like to visit the DMZ ?

The North Korean DMZ border is no longer off-limits to tourists, and can be visited as an easy day trip from Seoul. Here are some of the top-rated tours that can be booked online: South Korea Demilitarized Zone Half-Day Tour .

Vintage military hardware on display in Imjingak Park, South Korea.© Mark Daffey Vintage military hardware on display in Imjingak Park, South Korea.

During the month before our coach tour from Seoul to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, the North conducted underground nuclear weapons testing and fired a new long-range missile. In retaliation, South Korea closed its factory complex just over the border at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, an uneasy alliance combining South Korea's technical knowledge and capital with cheap labour from the North, where monthly wages average $US200 against $US4000 in the South.

Soldiers stand guard at the Joint Security Areabetween North and South Korea. The JSA was created in 1953 as a neutral area inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) for negotiating peace agreements between North and South Korea.© Mark Daffey Soldiers stand guard at the Joint Security Areabetween North and South Korea. The JSA was created in 1953 as a neutral area inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) for negotiating peace agreements between North and South Korea.

Winter snowflakes drift down outside our windows as we pass through the Civilian Control Line, 50 kilometres north of Seoul and the first checkpoint along Highway 1, the only road connecting the two Koreas. From this point north, 10 kilometres from the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) border that separates the two foes, civilian habitation is confined to just two small farming communities.

This traveller spent 5 days hitchhiking through a frozen conflict zone in Eastern Europe -- here's what his trip was like

  This traveller spent 5 days hitchhiking through a frozen conflict zone in Eastern Europe -- here's what his trip was like Hitchhiking has become a preferred form of travel for photographer Alex Domenech. Hitchhiking has become a preferred form of travel for photographer Alex Domenech.

Visiting the DMZ from North Korea is tense. From South Korea , it feels like a fun day out. What's it like to visit the world's most heavily armed border ?

Demilitarized zone was announced to prevent collision between South and North Korea . 8km DMZ area was strictly restricted for about 60 year. By this reason, ironically, it became the perfectly preserved natural site.

A South Korean soldier boards our bus to check our passports and dress code (no ripped jeans, sandals or clothing displaying provocative text) before we board a military bus at Camp Bonifas, the army base just outside the DMZ, a heavily fortified, 240-kilometre-long buffer zone either side of the border. Our guide, Seon Mee, advises us to leave any bags on the bus. "Cameras and phones must be carried in your hands," she says.

A South Korean soldier stands guard in a Joint Security Area conference room.© Mark Daffey A South Korean soldier stands guard in a Joint Security Area conference room.

Because of the snow, a decision is made to postpone our briefing on behavioural protocol inside the Joint Security Area (JSA) until after we've passed through a double barbed-wire fence and entered Freedom House, a Soviet-style concrete "palace" overlooking the border. It was here  that the two sides traded shots after the defection of a Russian asylum seeker in 1984. And as recently as November 13, 2017, a North Korean soldier made a bold dash across the MDL under a hail of gunfire.

A 26-year-old woman from Dubai is defying everyone's expectations and travelling the world solo

  A 26-year-old woman from Dubai is defying everyone's expectations and travelling the world solo Three years ago, Omniya Fareed Shafik was working a steady job at a bank in her native Dubai. But banking wasn't for her, and neither was staying put. So last year, she decided to quit, pack her bags, and travel the world on her own. Not everyone was thrilled with her decision. As a 26-year-old single Arab woman, Shafik said that in her culture, some people in her life still think that she's wasting her time travelling when she should be putting down roots."When I first started, almost no one got it and no one was ok with it," she told INSIDER. "And I still get comments and backlash.

During the month before our coach tour from Seoul to the Demilitarised Zone ( DMZ ) separating North and South Korea , the North conducted underground nuclear weapons testing and fired a new long-range missile.

As if a trip to North Korea wasn’t surreal enough, a standard part of every respectable “revolutionary tour ” of the DPRK includes a trip down the so-called Reunification Highway for a quick visit to the Demilitarized Zone ( DMZ ).

Considering this border region's chequered history, it surprises no one when we're asked to sign waiver forms against the "possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action". We are also under strict instructions not to point at anyone, and at one stage I kneel on one knee to take a photograph whereupon I'm promptly ordered to stand up again, lest it be considered inflammatory. To say that this place is jittery is beyond doubt.

A total of 24 buildings, often referred to as Truce Village, are scattered around inside the JSA, where South Korea's Freedom House mirrors a North Korean equivalent, Panmun Hall. In between are two white barracks, which flank three buildings painted in the powder blue colour of the United Nations. Collectively, they are known as Conference Row, as this is where officials from both sides meet to discuss diplomatic issues under the watchful eye of the UN. Office desks are scattered around a room that's otherwise remarkable for its austerity, with the MDL that roughly follows the 38th Parallel cutting through the middle of them.

How the Schengen and bilateral agreements between Australia and Europe allows travellers to stay almost indefinitely

  How the Schengen and bilateral agreements between Australia and Europe allows travellers to stay almost indefinitely Here's how Australian travellers can stay in Europe for more than 90 days.For years now, Australians visiting Europe have been hamstrung by the rules of the Schengen Agreement. Under this agreement, Australian passport holders are permitted to remain and travel freely through the Schengen Area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

by Lindsay in Asia, North Korea . “For your own safety,” the lieutenant colonel explained, “several of our soldiers will be accompanying you to the border .” Statements like this are to be expected when visiting the demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea

The South Korean government's attempt to designate the Demilitarized Zone ( DMZ ) a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve was turned down at UNESCO's ABCNews/Yahoo! report/blog on the DMZ . The World’s Most Dangerous Border – A Tour of North Korea ’s DMZ Visiting the DMZ from Pyongyang.

A dummy soldier beside the Bridge of Freedom at Imjingak Park, South Korea.© Mark Daffey A dummy soldier beside the Bridge of Freedom at Imjingak Park, South Korea.

This part of the JSA – also known as Panmunjeom, after the village here that was abandoned during the war – is as close as you're likely to get to a North Korean soldier. Outside, I count seven South Korean guards, plus a further three UN soldiers. Two South Korean soldiers stand to attention inside the middle building. Just one North Korean soldier is visible across the border.

The Ultimate Adventure Travel Bucket List For Thrill Seekers

  The Ultimate Adventure Travel Bucket List For Thrill Seekers The world is your oyster when it comes to travel destinations, but sometimes it can be tough to think outside the box for some real once-in-a-lifetime adventures. If you're a thrill seeker who's planning your next vacation, then this list of activities should be on your bucket list. Go out of your comfort zone and take a transformative trip that will be unforgettable. From gorilla trekking in Africa to diving in the Maldives, here are the best adventures around the world for every adrenaline junkie.

(CNN) — All eyes are on the Korean Demilitarized Zone ( DMZ ) right now, where South Korea 's President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in April and vowed to bring peace to the peninsula.

The Korean Demilitarized Zone ( DMZ ; Hangul: 한반도 비무장지대; Hanja: 韓半島非武裝地帶) is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea . The DMZ is a de-facto border barrier, which runs along the 38th parallel north .

From the JSA, we cross back over the Imjin River to Imjingak Park, where an amusement centre incongruously appears beside military hardware and monuments to fallen soldiers. Other significant exhibits are a bullet-riddled steam locomotive and the timber Bridge of Freedom, where 13,000 prisoners of war traded sides after the signing of the 1953 Armistice Agreement to halt the Korean War.

Four North Korean border tunnels were discovered between 1974 and 1990. The third tunnel was unearthed in 1978 and it is into this that we descend next, boarding a monorail then walking through a two-metre-diameter burrow that would have allowed up to 3000 North Korean troops to infiltrate enemy lines each hour had it not been found. At 1635 metres, it is the longest of the four tunnels, and the closest to Seoul.

The tunnel is just east of Dorasan Station, the last stop on the Gyeonggi railway line that extended into North Korea in the hope that it would grow into a global distribution hub for the Far East. Opened in 2007, the line continued through to Kaesong then closed a year later after North Korea's fledgling nuclear weapons program became an open secret. The station represents little more than an outsized monument to hope now. Dora Observatory, the lookout point into the North Korean side of the DMZ and perhaps as far as Kaesong, would normally be the final stop on our tour. But the poor weather foils our plans and instead we return – safely – to Seoul.

Mark Daffey travelled as a guest of the Korean Tourism Organisation.

Trip Notes

MORE

traveller.com.au/south-korea

visitkorea.org.au

FLY

Korean Air flies daily from Sydney to Seoul/Incheon, and flies direct from Brisbane four times a week, with daily flights during the peak season of December to February. See koreanair.com

TOUR

Joongang Express Tour's full-day Panmunjeom/JSA itineraries from Seoul cost about $100. See jsatour.com


13 breathtaking photos that show the natural beauty of Alaska .
If you're a fan of gorgeous landscapes, massive mountains, wildlife, or anything involving nature, Alaska is a great place to visit. The biggest state in the US, Alaska is home to 17 of the country's 20 tallest mountains.If you're a fan of gorgeous landscapes, massive mountains, wildlife, or anything involving nature, Alaska is a great place to visit. The biggest state in the US, Alaska is home to 17 of the country's 20 tallest mountains.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!