DMZ tour

Seoul Travel Blog

 › entry 16 of 17 › view all entries
Peace Bell at Imjingak Park on DMZ tour
This is the day when we were booked on the DMZ tour, a half day tour which required picking up people from several hotels. Since we were one of the first pickups we had to get up early! By 9am we were on our way out of Seoul to visit the DMZ. Along the way the guide, a young Korean man gave us information about what we were seeing. When we passed one of the 29 bridges of Seoul we had barbed wires which meant that part is actually already part of the DMZ! The border between North and South Korea was a virtual line drawn on the ground and sometimes water, and 2 km on either side (most of the time) is the DMZ. At this part of the Hangang river, another river from North Korea joins it, so it had barbed wires to prevent floaters from the north!
It was an overcast day, getting hazy.
Peace Bell at Imjingak Park on DMZ tour
Our first stop was the Imjingak Park, where there was a Peace Bell pavilion, a Freedom bridge, a memorial and a tall building with binoculars on top. The train track ran next to it. This was the place where POWs were exchanged. And people walked acrossed the Freedom bridge to either North (hardly freedom there), or South.
Next was the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, at 73 meters underground it was found from information given by a North Korea escapee in the 1970's. Many bore holes were drilled to locate the tunnel, and eventually one was seen erupting! because the North Koreans were dynamiting the tunnel. The tunnel was dug in granite, and had to be dynamited. The South built an interception tunnel and now it's the entrance to see the part dug by the North Koreans. It was a pretty steep walk, initially at 3 meters wide x 3 meters high, but when you get to the North Korean tunnel, it's much lower, and everyone had to duck to not hit their head.
building at Imjingak Park on DMZ tour
Hardhats were useful. Photography was not allowed in the tunnel, and there were lockers at the entrance to put your stuff. The North Koreans initially denied having anything to do with the tunnel, and claimed it was a coal mine (they put coal dust on the surface of parts of the tunnel), but coal does not grow out of granite! The tunnel also had dripping water, since it had filtered through the rocks, it was actually good spring water, there was a place where you can take a drink, and I did. We ended at the blocking wall, there were 3 total, so the tunnel can not be used for its original purpose.
There was a theater at the tunnel site where we saw a short moving about the Korean war and the tunnels. There are a total of 4 tunnels found. This was the 3rd. The fourth one was even deeper at 150 meters!
Next stop was Dora Observatory, high on a hill, overlooking the DMZ.
rocks wall collection of war sites over time and all over the world at Imjingak Park on DMZ tour
No photos either! In the building there was a model of the landscape showing where the DMZ lines were, the villages (one in north, one in south), etc. What's also interesting is to note that there is actually a highway going through here to the north, and some South Koreans commute to work there! From the binoculars, I was able to spot the South Korean flag in the village, and also the North Korean one in their village. It was hard to spot there because it was very hazy.
The 4th stop was the Doransan train station, a shiny new station built with the hope of being the first stop into North, eventually linking Korea to the transeurasia railroad.
Then a not very interesting  stop at the village (not the one with the flag), and another one at an amethyst factory back in Seoul before we were dropped off in town. We found a place to have a snack, when it started pouring, rain and thunder. After a while we hailed a taxi and went back to the hotel, not too wet either.
portia says:
we booked at the hotel Grand Intercontinental, but it's not a tour by the hotel, so you can get it from other hotels too, since our driver had to go pick up others along the way! It's a pretty standard offering, they had a brochure with many variations and we just booked the half day tour. I suppose you could call the hotel and ask for the tour operator. Sorry I don't have the tour operator's name...
Posted on: Nov 15, 2009
mama_manja17 says:
May i know which tour did you book with? :)
Posted on: Nov 15, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Peace Bell at Imjingak Park on DMZ…
Peace Bell at Imjingak Park on DM…
Peace Bell at Imjingak Park on DMZ…
Peace Bell at Imjingak Park on DM…
building  at Imjingak Park on DMZ …
building at Imjingak Park on DMZ…
rocks wall collection of war sites…
rocks wall collection of war site…
Rock engraved with Looking at home…
Rock engraved with Looking at hom…
well wishes at Imjingak Park on DM…
well wishes at Imjingak Park on D…
freedom bridge at Imjingak Park on…
freedom bridge at Imjingak Park o…
freedom bridge at Imjingak Park on…
freedom bridge at Imjingak Park o…
memorial at Imjingak Park on DMZ t…
memorial at Imjingak Park on DMZ …
people viewing North Korea through…
people viewing North Korea throug…
people viewing North Korea through…
people viewing North Korea throug…
bridge  at Imjingak Park on DMZ to…
bridge at Imjingak Park on DMZ t…
on Freedom Bridge  at Imjingak Par…
on Freedom Bridge at Imjingak Pa…
flags and wishes  at Imjingak Park…
flags and wishes at Imjingak Par…
barbed wires
barbed wires
train coming  at Imjingak Park on …
train coming at Imjingak Park on…
train can be seen in the backgroun…
train can be seen in the backgrou…
sign at the 3rd infiltration tunne…
sign at the 3rd infiltration tunn…
at the 3rd infiltration tunnel
at the 3rd infiltration tunnel
at Dora Observatory
at Dora Observatory
at Dora Observatory
at Dora Observatory
at Dorasan train station, the sta…
at Dorasan train station, the "st…
sign pointing to Seoul at Dorasan …
sign pointing to Seoul at Dorasan…
inside Dorasan train station, sign…
inside Dorasan train station, sig…
the eventual trans eurasia railroad
the eventual trans eurasia railroad
interesting soap holding technolog…
interesting soap holding technolo…
Seoul
photo by: chiyeh