Visiting the DMZ

By Viator, June 2014

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To understand South Korea, you have to also understand its other half in the North and the ongoing conflict that separates them. One of Seoul’s top attractions is actually located several hours to the North, at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea.

This 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) swath of land, created in 1953 as part of an armistice agreement, is the most heavily armed border on the planet, yet also a destination where visitors can learn firsthand about the tumultuous history of the Korean Peninsula.

Due to the ongoing tensions in the area, tourists can only visit the DMZ as part of a guided tour. On such a day trip from Seoul, you’ll see several points of interest within the buffer zone, the most notable being Panmunjom, or the Joint Security Area. Here, soldiers stand watch on either side of the invisible border staring each other down.

At the Third Infiltration Tunnel, another stop on a day trip to the DMZ, you can see the very tunnels built by North Korean soldiers in an attempt to invade the South before the signing of the armistice. At the nearby Dora Observatory, look through binoculars to the other side of the demarcation line, where you can observe daily life in a small North Korean village from afar.

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