So I don’t know how much you know about Korea. But the country has been divided into 2 since the Korean War, South Korea and North Korea.
Along the 38th parallel, Korea is divided by the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) – it runs from coast to coast. And in within the DMZ are land mines. So obviously, you can’t go in there, and you can’t just go freely along the DMZ either.
I went on a Tour with the USO. I heard that you can’t go to the DMZ if you’re a Korean citizen. Not sure why, we had to show our foreign passports. With the USO, we got a tour with the US Military.
We got a brief introduction and a little bit of history before going on the tour of the JSA- Joint Security Area.
I’m standing on the South Korean side of the JSA. I couldn’t take a picture of our building, because they told us not to bcause of all the cameras. But here you can see the North Korean building. And the blue buildings are between the North and South Side. So it’s a joint area. It’s a first come first serve basis. So if South Korea is using the building, then they lock the door on the North Korea side so they can’t come in, and vice versa.
This is a table in the blue building. If you’re on the left side of the table, you’re on South Korean property, on the right, you’re on North Korean property.
ROK Soldier (Republic of Korea –the south). They are to stand like this and show no emotions. (This is just a random girl who got in my way while trying to take a picture of him)
We had to stand in 2 straight lines above steps. We weren’t allowed to make any type of hand gestures or movements towards the North Koreans.
Zooming in on the North Korean guard. It’s kind of blurry because I’m zooming in from the pictures above.
He’s using his binoculars to see what’s happening on our side.
We went to a different part of the DMZ area and got to see from a distance and North Korean Town.
You can see it in the distance.
More of North Korea.
This was as far as my lens would let me go in. It was a little hazy that day. That tall sculpture, is a flag pole.
We weren’t allowed out of the bus for this one. But this is The Bridge Of No Return. It connects the North and the South. (This bridge was used for people to cross over, but once you crossed, you couldn’t return to that country you left). (If you’ve seen Salt or one of the James Bond’s with Pierce Bronson, it references this bridge)
We then got to go in a museum area that shows the history of the DMZ.
I would have loved to take a photo like that.
A towel used to surrender.
A model of how the DMZ looks.
We also got to go to an area called the 3rd tunnel. The South Korean’s found 4 tunnels coming in from the North. So I was able to go into the 3rd tunnel that they found. We got to go through the tunnel, but only up to the point that was still on South Korean Land. So we couldn’t go past a certain baracade and there were no pictures allowed.
I was able to take pictures of the outside. Definitely a tourist zone.
This is the geography of Korea. Split North and South.
A DMZ sign at the Third Tunnel.
We got to go to another area where we can see North Korea. Pictures were only allowed to be taken to a certain point. The point that I’m standing at.
But we could go up closer and use the binoculars to see closer.
It looks soo much better without anyone there. You kind kind of see the mountains, but again, the day we went was a little hazy.
This one is a little bit better. I was doing the whole raising my hands above my head as far as I could and just started snapping away on my camera hoping for something good.
After this viewing area, we got to go to Dorasan Station. It connects the North and South together.
Telling you when the train is coming.
This is again, another touristy area. I paid 500 won (less than 50 cents) for a ticket to go see the tracks. I figured why not, it’s only 500 won.
From the tracks.
Going towards North Korea.
Going into South Korea.
After reading this article a few months ago http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/05/07/eco.korea.dmz/index.html I really wanted to go to the DMZ and take pictures. I wish I was able to go through the DMZ like this guy (minus the land mines) and take photos.