On Dangerous Ground

DMZ is one of the scariest places on earth. South & North Korea designated this Demilitarized Zone 2 kms. away from the truce line on each side of the border right after the Korean war. This 4 km wide and 240 km long DMZ is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world. There are thousands of landmines, electric fences and tank traps on both opposing sides within the DMZ area.DSC_0241

There are DMZ guided tours that can bring the tourists safely around the interesting historical sights  inside DMZ like the 3rd tunnel, Dorasan Observatory, Mt. Dorasan, and Unification Park by shuttle bus.DSC_0257

There is a  row of binoculars in the Observatory for easy viewing of the North.DSC_0261

It’s a unique experience to walk inside a 265m of the 73m-deep 3rd Tunnel of Aggression which runs through a bedrock. A North Korean defector provided South Korea an information in October 1978 that there were 4 infiltration tunnels under the DMZ area which were made by North Koreans. Kim Il-sung believed that a tunnel was more effective than 10 atomic bombs. These tunnels, which could accommodate tanks and more than 32,000 troops, could move a full division through the South Korean border in an hour.DSC_0256

This is Freedom Bridge, the only bridge connecting South and North Korea where 13,000 South Korean war captives crossed from North Korea crying “Hurrah!” for freedom.DSC_0237

Panmunjeom is the home of the Joint Security Area (JSA) where you can find the Conference Row, several buildings where meetings between the North and South are held.DSC_0252

The axe murder incident in 1976 happened close by this bridge, where the two American soldiers were axed to death by North Korean soldiers while chopping some branches of the Poplar tree that were blocking the checkpoint sight between a UN Command checkpoint #3 and an observation post #5.DSC_0354

The North Korean flag on the highest flag pole in the world and the propaganda village built by Kim Jung-Il.DSC_0364

Dorasan Station

This railway station is very unique – there are no passengers that get on and off the trains, there is a strange hush instead of the noise and vibrations , it has a  bulletproof glass facade,  the chairs are empty, but most importantly,  it signifies hope for reuniting a divided country.

It is the north-most station of the Gyeonggi railway in the south located 56 km from Seoul and 205 km from Pyeongyang. In 2000, with an aspiration for reunification,  both sides agreed  to link both Koreas through this  Gyeongui Railroad Line. A few years after, it started taking back and forth North Korean workers  from the Kaesong Industrial Region, who are allowed to work for South Korean companies. However, this ultimately stopped due to the continuing tensions.Fotor0406153031

If you want to get more details about this interesting tour, you can make an inquiry online at www.seoulcitytour.net or http://www.cosmojin.com


25 Comments on “On Dangerous Ground

  1. I read this last night and was just looking at it again. What a fascinating (and kind of scary) place. You do a nice job of describing it and I really like the graphics and photos.

  2. Very nicely done! Being a US Navy Vietnam Vet I think that Korea was pretty close to Vietnam. 2 Countries fighting against each other and there were no clear winners. In Korea, the 2 Countries still stand and eye-ball each other. Each one thinking that they will be invaded by the other. War is never an answer. Regards ~ Les

    • Yes quite scary but it’s such a unique experience. You just have to make sure to follow the rules like no pointing of fingers, no camera flash, etc.

  3. In the mid 60s I saw the ‘DMZ’ between East and West Berlin. In the mid 90s I saw the ‘DMZ’ between Kuwait and Iraq. You have visited the ‘DMZ’, in place for 60 years, between N and S Korea. Can we learn something about human nature?

    • Light and dark threads are entwined in the fabric of human life…and when dark overpowers the light, it results to an ugly tapestry. So in life, there are little and big battles…but when greed and too much ambition seep through, destruction follows. Since civilizations emerged and governments were established, tribes and races, with their respective rulers, had protected and conquered territories…there were wars over fertile lands, water rights, religions, commodities, power, etc. That’s the real world. However, in everyday life, I find it important to always look at the good in each person…just to avoid wrong impressions and emotions… but of course without limiting my perceived options.

    • If you cross the border here, it will trigger some shots. You’ll be safe though as long as you stay with the tour group. I just wonder what would it be like standing on the other side.

      • That’s one interesting film that I haven’t watched yet. I hope I can find it on Netflix otherwise, I have to look for a DVD copy.

      • Not sure if and where it would be available. I got a copy from Blockbuster many years ago. I hope it’s still in circulation.

  4. This is very interesting. I haven’t seen a story on this. Great job and it must have been a very interesting experience.

    • To actually witness the ongoing tension, watching the two opposing armies facing each other and ready for battle, was such an extraordinary experience. Imagine they’ve been doing this since 1953, after the Korean War ended.

  5. Thanks for the follow and for reading my post. It is appreciated! I wish you safe travels! 🙂

    • Yes indeed, it was a rare, exciting and eerie experience feeling the tension and peace right in the middle of a divided country. Thank you very much!

    • You’re welcome! Your blog inspired me to make an oven-baked crispy chicken. Thank you for sharing some healthy meal ideas.

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