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Seoul Part 2 - DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) Day Tour highly recommended!

The DMZ tour was highly recommended by another blogger who has a lot of passion in Asia and the tour was easily booked through my wonderful hotel - Hotel PJ. It was not in my original plan to go for this DMZ tour because I tend to avoid tours that are too heavy or dark. 

My tour guide was excellent and now, I highly recommend DMZ tour to anyone who plans to go to Seoul. I learnt a lot from the tour and spoilers alert as I share with you some of the interesting aspects based on the tour.

We had to bring along our passports as there would be a military officer boarding the bus to check. We arrived at Imjingak and saw the famous fence separating South from North.

South Koreans welcome North Koreans


Fence separating North and South Korea

Thousands and thousands of ribbons were hung on the fence separating North and South Korea. The ribbons were filled with messages of hope for unification. According to my tour guide, a very pretty Korean, South Korea government will provide support for any North Koreans who manage to escape and cross the border. She also explained why there was a separation in the first place.



Messages of hope for unification

Imjingak
My tour guide also shared with us about the story of the Hyundai founder. I was very surprised that he was a North Korean. You can click here for more information about him. She also shared some interesting but sad facts about his family and I am not penning them down due to the sensitivity of the information.

I tried to see what was beyond the fence but all I could see was greenery. We were given time to roam around and explore Imjingak. Again, I tried to check out the mysterious North Korea. The mountains in the background of the picture belong to North Korea.

Check out the mountains.
  
Check out the mountain.
I spent too much time trying to figure out where North Korea was from my direction that I had no time to explore the other monuments at Imjingak. I quickly snapped some shots on my phone and we had to report to the tour guide.

Steam Locomotive Platform

Steamed Locomotive

Nice pond

More wishes for unification

Memorial
 
Memorial

Big Bell

Infiltration Tunnels


 After Imjingak, the tour became more and more interesting. We were taken to the Infiltration Tunnels. The tour guide explained to us that although there was a designated border, the North Koreans had been digging tunnels to reach South Korea. She also shared more information and again due to the sensitivity of the information, I decided not to pen them down.

Infiltration Tunnel site
Only the third infiltration tunnel is opened to the public to explore as the others might not be as safe. Our tour guide explained to us about the conditions of the tunnel and to prepare ourselves for the short hike.

Filled with passion, she is explaining to us about our walk in the tunnel.
Now, I am preparing you for what is to come in case you are interested in going. You must wear comfortable shoes as it is quite a long walk in the tunnel. Secondly, it is not suitable for people with respiratory conditions because although it was air-conditioned, I found the air to be still. Thirdly, which is the most important point, it is a rather steep slope and it requires a certain level of basic fitness. I perspired a lot. Fourthly, the height of the tunnel could make the walk very uncomfortable. I had to hunch or bend my back while walking for quite a distance. If soldiers were to use this tunnel, I really feel for them.

We were not allowed to carry any bags in the tunnel and we were assigned lockers. As a result, the only picture I took was the one after the walk. 

After the walk in the tunnel, there was a souvenir shop selling DMZ T shirts. I found the T shirts to be really cool looking and some of them came with military badges. We had to wait for everyone to complete their shopping before heading for the highlight of the tour - checking out North Korea!

 

Dora Observatory -

Using telescopes to check out North Korea


Telescopes to check out North Korea
The coin operated telescopes were quite powerful. I could see some houses in North Korea. It was interesting to note that the houses were identical to one another. Again, I tried to take some shots of North Korea without the telescopes but they all ended up looking like any other nature pics.

The mountains again

Check out the mountains.

End of separation, beginning of unification
I was really touched by the strong desire to end the separation and to see the beginning of unification of North and South Korea. I could also feel the burning desire of my tour guide as she spoke about it with much hope as well.

There was a nearby supermarket and we were highly encouraged to buy the DMZ chocolates. What was special was that there was chocolate coating soy beans grown near the DMZ region and such chocolate could only be sold here. It cost S$10 per pack and I was very happy with the taste. There were other types of beans such as black beans coated with chocolate. Excellent.


DMZ Soy Beans Chocolate

Yummy Soy Beans Chocolate
The last part of the tour took place at the Dorasan Station. South Korea has already built a railway station connecting North and South Korea! It is already ready for operation anytime should unification takes place. 

Dorasan Station connecting North and South Korea


Dorasan Station

Explaining the location of Dorasan

Connecting rail tracks

Modern interior of Dorasan Station
Military on duty
 As the station is already ready for operation, there were military soldiers on duty. Their presence reminded me of the tension between North and South Korea.

Modern Interior - Baggage Check
It was a very interesting tour and I was really glad I signed up for it. After the tour, I did some self study online to learn more about the Korean culture and history. The package that I signed up included a lunch and I was very satisfied with it. I had the option of Bibimbap with Seafood Soup, Fish or Beef Soup. I chose Bibimbap.

Traditional Korean Lunch


Bibimbap

Delicious Mixed Rice - Bibimbap
Spicy Seafood Soup

Fish

Beef Soup

Traditional Decor
The delicious food was definitely a sweet ending to the DMZ tour. I enjoyed myself tremendously and I wish the best for Korea.

Talking about food, it is time to check out the delicious Korean Street food in Myeong-dong! Click here for more!




Seoul Part 1 - Gyeongbokgung Palace, Tosokchan, Bukchon Hanok Village & Insadong!
Seoul Part 2 - DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) Day Tour highly recommended!
Seoul Part 3 - Myeong-dong Street Food & Namsan Tower
Seoul Part 4 - Live Seafood Feast at Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market!

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