The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a weapons-free buffer zone between North and South Korea. The area was established on July 27, 1953 when the Armistice Agreement was signed during the Korean War. Also, includes the 2km-wide stretch of land both north and south of the line. The DMZ extends largely from Gyeonggi-do to Gangwon-do, including seven different cities and smaller counties. The zone has been protected from human disturbance for about 6 decades. Furthermore,, unintentionally become a haven for wildlife, making it a popular destination for nature lovers.
Korea is famous for being the only divided country in the world. A once united people, the Korean War, which started on June 25, 1950, and lasted for three years, ended in a ceasefire and a nation divided into North and South Korea.
It may seem the two countries have become so far apart as to be irreparable, but the Korean people long for peace and unification more than anyone else. While the fighting was due to a difference in political ideology, you can see the desire of the Korean people to overcome their sad past at the DMZ, where their hands are stretching out with all their hopes on display.
* What is the DMZ?
DMZ is the abbreviation for the Demilitarized Zone, an area where weapons and fighting, along with military forces are prohibited. The Korean DMZ starts from the ceasefire line and stretches to include the area up to 2km south of that line. For forty years, this area has been strictly off-limits. Also, leading to the formation of an unplanned nature reserve with great value.
Tip) Notes for DMZ tourism
-Most DMZ tourist attractions require proper identification for admission. The type of identification required at each location may vary. Hence, It’s a good idea to carry your passport with you throughout the trip.
– The DMZ is in a civilian-controlled area. Therefore the use of public transit is difficult. The DMZ tour recommended rent a car or travel by taxi.
Paju, the closest DMZ section to Seoul
Approximately 54km north of Seoul City Hall is Imjingak Resort, a place filled with the unspeakable sorrow of the Korean War. Originally built for the North Korean refugees who fled from the war and later were unable to return to their hometowns. The area is very famous for tourist attraction.
Imjingak Resort aims to stress the importance of peace and the environment through the Gyeonggi Peace Center, the Bridge of Freedom, a relic of the war, the remains of a steam locomotive at Gyeongui Line’s last station, Changdan Station. And more for a comprehensive tourist attraction focused on reunification and national security. From the rooftop of Imjingak, you can see in all directions. with Freedom Bridge and Imjingang River in the foreground and mountains and fields in the far distance.
Nuri Peace Park, a vast grassy field, is also located at Imjingak Resort. The park was built at Imjingak to symbolize peace and unification efforts.
DMZ Security Tour
Visitors who wish to learn more about the history of the DMZ and the division with North Korea can sign up for a DMZ Security Tour at the Imjingak Tourist Information Center. Signing up for this bus tour provides an easy and comfortable way to visit some of the difficult-to-reach DMZ tourist attractions, such as Dorasan Station, Dora Observatory and The 3rd Tunnel.
After the 2000 Inter-Korea Summit, restoration construction began on the Gyeongui Line inside the Civilian Controlled Line, leading to the opening of Dorasan Station. In 2002, former United States president Bush gave a speech on the DMZ and signed a crosstie at the station.
Dora Observatory is the northern-most point of the western front, and offers the chance to see Gaeseong Industrial Complex and Songhaksan Mountain in a single view.The observatory is historically important in that the South Korean military was able to defend the area during the Korean War, which brought more armistice lines to the north. The free binoculars present detailed views of North Korea.
The 3rd Tunnel
Created by the Northern forces to invade the south, this man-made tunnel was the third of its kind discovered, and is located 44km from Seoul. Visitors can either take a bus or walk to The 3rd Tunnel entrance. And then tour the inside of the tunnel until the DMZ. It takes approximately 30 minutes round-trip. All visitors must wear a safety helmet inside the tunnel. Free lockers are provided for the storage of cameras, phones, and other items not needed for the tour.