Tour of DMZ, Korea

For those interested in a bit of history, you can take a tour to the Korean Demilitarized Zone to see the border that divides North and South Korea. This is the only way you can visit the DMZ. You can book online and take a private tour, or a group tour like I did. There are multiple providers, I went with one that did a half day tour, booking through Viator. The cost was $50 US, inclusive of transportation, entry fees and English speaking guide.

When you book, confirmation comes immediately and if staying in central Seoul, a vehicle will pick you up and take you to the group departure spot in a larger bus. It’s quite a seamless process. It seems to be a popular tour, for our bus was fully packed, and there were lots of tour buses at the sites.

Our tour guide was Yeomi, who had excellent knowledge of all sites and added a personal touch with stories of friends and relatives. She spoke English and helpful in understanding the signage and nations past. On this tour you learn about the history of the country, from the time of the Korean War (1950-1953) up until current day.

Throughout the tour you visit Imjingak park located in the banks of Imjin River where you’ll see artillery and war artifacts that were used during the Korean war. You also see the Freedom Bridge, crossed by nearly 13,000 Korean POWs on their return back to freedom.

After this, see the Third Infiltration Tunnel, under the border of North Korea and South Korea. They are believed to have been planned as a military invasion route by North Korea. You get a helmet and walk down around 250 m on a steep ramp to reach the tunnel. And then walk through it. Note, it is not high (as a 6ft person, I had to bend to walk through it). Not for the faint hearted, I would recommend if you’re claustrophobic or not the fittest as it’s a tough walk back uphill.

Note – cannot take photos at this part inside tunnels.

After this, you go to DMZ observatory where you can look across the DMZ into North Korea from the Dora Observatory. There’s also binoculars at the observatory which you can use.

You then head back to Seoul, it’s about an hour trip. The bus drops you at city hall station, a central spot in the city.

It is an interesting tour, but be prepared for a very long and tiring day.

Note – wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Take your lunch and snacks as there’s limited options for food (mostly snack style), including snacks and coffee. Some food places but you reach them so early (around 10:30) so it’s too early to eat. There’s a little convenience store where the cable car is. Don’t forget to take your passport as there’s a few security checks.

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