It’s a piece of land, a grey zone between two countries no longer at war, but with a lot of history and a lot of tension between them. Since 1953 there is a “Demilitarized Zone” called the DMZ between the countries borders. Honestly I was very skeptical to taking a tour to a war zone, not keen on tours in the first place, and without a particular historical or political interest.
A tour to the DMZ lets you experience the tension that is so easy to forget while visiting South Korea as a tourist, but is so real for Koreans.
The tour is adventurous also combining intriguing history and politics lessons. I heard the tours arranged by the American military were supposed to be best, and I managed to get a spot despite the need of booking in advance (I do prefer traveling spontaneously).
I rarely go on tours, or even museums, but this day ended up a great day, totally worth it. It was very informative as well as exciting. It was the closest I have ever been to a war. And to a North Korean (even if we only saw them from a distance with their binoculars looking back at us). We went inside the Third infiltration Tunnel, a tunnel made by North Koreans to be able to make a surprise attack. We were in the meeting room situated in both countries at once, with guards on each end. The tour never became boring and it was diverse. Even the long bus rides back and forth were filled with amusing and intriguing stories.
I went with no expectations, despite all the recommendations that convinced me in the first place. Now I want to forward the recommendation. The tour was a bizarre experience. It got me curious. It made me want to learn even more about Kim Jong Il and the situation in Korea.
If you go to South Korea, don’t miss out on this experience.
Here is the link to information about the tours to the DMZ organized by the American military:
Where to stay? You will probably want to be based in Seoul. Check out this list of nice accommodation offers in Seoul or, if you (like me) like to travel on a budget, go straight to the cheapest accommodation offers in Seoul!