DMZ

Odusan Unification Observatory

Paju, South Korea —

There are numerous observatories at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, Odusan Unification Observatory (오두산 통일전망대) is one of them. It has opened its doors to the public for nearly 25 years. The observatory has about 2-kilometer distance from the grounds of North Korea.


Visualize Whirled Peas


SURVIVAL TIP: All about taking the Korean Trains

To travel from city to city in Korea, taking a train is probably the most safest and the best way as a foreigner.

There are several types of trains in Korea.

1. Regular Trains

Korail_ktx_sancheon_17

a) KTX : It’s the fastest train in Korea. By taking this train, it takes less than 3 hours from Seoul to Busan. Although the train fee is expensive, you can save time with high quality seats. If you go to Busan from Seoul by Mugunghwa train or a car, it takes more than 5 hours.

518-10m


American Interlude

by Fred Colton

There was a small US Army checkpoint building in the DMZ and the North Korean soldiers kept crashing their heavy trucks into it to be a pain in the ass. It was on a narrow road near the Joint Security Area and they’d purposefully take the corner by the checkpoint too fast so they would skid into the little building and knock the aluminum roof off. Vehicular bowling of sorts.


The DMZ Tour

One of the places in Korea that I had wanted to visit more than any other attraction was the DMZ. Korea’s Demilitarized Zone.

It’s not an easy thing to see if you don’t live in Seoul because the tours that are allowed to take you there do not run on Sundays and Mondays, as well as holidays.

So hopping a train is not too easy, especially for me as I’m in Busan on the very opposite end of the country.

IMG 1504 1024x682 The DMZ Tour There are two different tour packages in general: the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel portion, and the Joint Security Area (JSA) portion.


Beyond the DMZ: You Too Can Visit North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: a socialist paradise guided by the hands of the eternal president Kim Il Sung… or an Orwellian state of impoverished people oppressed by the whims of the world’s only communist dynasty.

Well, it might surprise you to know that you don’t have to be an ex US president, a UN dignitary, or even Dennis Rodman to visit the world’s most isolated state. Quite the contrary actually, for just about anyone can on an officially guided tour.


The 38th Parallel- DMZ

One major attraction around Seoul is the trip to the DMZ - the De Militarized Zone, which is one of a kind in the world! The DMZ separates the North and South Korea and it runs 250kms long ending in the Yellow sea on the West to the Sea of Japan on the East. And is considered the most fortified and heavily guarded border in the world. The 4km wide buffer zone between the Koreas is populated with more than a million land mines. The DMZ trip that we took, does not actually take one into the DMZ. It merely takes us to the tip of the DMZ, lets one have a peek from the Dora Tower Observatory in the South at the North Korea, walk into one of the infiltration tunnels and visit the Dorasan Train station.

North and South Korea have not yet signed a peace treaty since the war in 1950 when the North Koreans attacked Soul on a Sunday. They have signed an armistice agreement, which means that both the sides have decided to stop fighting and they have agreed to have their forces moved 2kms on either sides from the Military Demarcation Line. The Joint Security Area is an area in the DMZ where tourists are allowed in but after extensive checks and reservation. But the JSA primarily still remains a place where the talks between the Koreas take place.

Seoul is just around 50kms away from the DMZ. It seems that the South Korean Government had given it a serious thought and even tried to move the capital further down South because of the constant threats from the North Koreans. But now, the South Koreans are so used to the North Korean threats that it doesn't even pop up in their Sunday morning chit chats.
 

Check posts on the way to the DMZ
Check posts on the way to the DMZ


A walk under the mines

The 3rd infiltration tunnel into South Korea

The most fun part in the DMZ tour was the descent into one of the 4 infiltration tunnels that the South Koreans have discovered so far. Our guide said that there could be as much as 20 tunnels leading into the South!

3rd infiltration tunnel

Cheorwan: Tranquility on the DMZ

With all the recent media attention suggesting that the Koreas are on the brink of nuclear war, the world might be surprised to learn that the cities dotting the DMZ, or demilitarized zone between the counties, are as peaceful and quiet as ever.  Sure, there are signs of a military presence and a slight eeriness surrounding the remnants of the darker days, but it is perhaps the marked contrast of these very attributes that makes the natural beauty of the region so outstanding.

Cheorwan (철원), a lesser-known destination on the "security tourism" route, is one of these cities.

Feeding the North Korean Troll

Enough is enough. Kim Jung Un this is for you:

20130412-174335.jpg

We’ve had enough of your unappreciative tone, and like a screaming and whining little misbehaving child, we are giving you exactly what you want; a big plate of fried chicken (from Suwon’s finest 진미통닭 no less).

You see there appears to be no other solution. You have trolled the international media far too long, and I for one have had enough.

For starters, my twitter feed is full of newspapers making you out to be important, while all the while we just see is you hiding under that big black coat and looking at really old looking phallic military pariphenalia.


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