Posted by: serenaxoxo | July 13, 2008

DMZ, world’s most heavily fortified border

This past weekend I got a chance to visit the “infamous” DMZ in North Korea. It was the most heavily fortified border in the world. Essentially South and North Korea are still at a state of war. The DMZ is marely an area where no fighting can be done. There is a little town inside of the DMZ and the residents of this town are excempt from South Korean taxes and the men do not have to do military service since they are not really a part of South Korea.

The Tour was really amazing. I loved it. Maybe taking a class on North Korea helps me to appreciate just how insane all this really is, but it’s a surreal feeling. Our group was small, only like 12 of us so it was an intimate tour and we got to do thing other groups do not normally do.

And we start off with a picture of a North Korean soldier! I was so excited I got to see one. We were facing the North Korean welcome center and there he was standing there watching us with his binoculars. Insaneeeee.

On the bus with our tour guide

North Korea welcome center. The ROK soldier to the right is standing in taekwondo ready stance and stands with half his body covered by the building in case the North decides to attack.

More soldiers

Group photo in front of the North Korea welcome center. JSA (Joint Security Area) North Korea and South Korea both do not have control in this area. The UN controls it. Soldiers are not allowed to cross over to each others sides because of an incident in 1976 where 3 South Korean soldiers crossed over to cut down a tree and were axed down by North Korean soldiers in a surprise attack.

More of the JSA, to the right of this blue building is a metal looking one that’s owned by the North Korean’s called the recreation center. But it really houses nothing and is a place for the North Korean soldiers to stand in when there are meetings going on. It’s nicknamed the monkey house cause when North Korean soldiers are in there they make faces and jestures outside the window at the ROK soldiers.

Here we are offically standing inside North Korea. The ROK soldier is there in case anything happens.

More pictures in the JSA.

Our next destination was the Bridge of No Return, we picked up two more ROK soldiers to protect us maybe? Not sure why but they got off at the Bridge.

The bridge of no return. This is where after the war POW were allowed to choose which side they wanted to go to. Once you crossed though there was “No return”

Group picture in front of the bridge. Normally tour groups aren’t allowed to get off at the bridge. =)

DMZ marker, these things line the DMZ

Our two tour guides. We ended up making friends with them and met up with them that same night to party in Sinchon. ^^;;

Anna, me and Kara surrounded on three side by North Korea.

The North Korean flag, tallest flag in the world. Weighs 600 pounds. It stands in a fake city the North Koreans built called propraganda village. No one lives there, it’s there for show but there used to be propraganda being blared every night. The residents of the city in South Korea (Taesong-dong) inside the DMZ used to have to endure the blares. Taesong-dong villagers have to adhere to a strict curfew of midnight and only residents who lived there before the war can live there. Women can marry in, but men can not.

Inside the gift shop. Something you’d only see in Korea.

Group bus photo

Group photo after getting out of the tunnel the North Korean’s built under the DMZ to attack South Korea. They’ve found 4 of these tunnels and supposely there are suppose to be over 10 more that haven’t been found yet. The North Korean’s still deny building these tunnels to attack. Instead the tunnels are smeared with coal and they claim these are coal tunnels, but they’ve done tests and there is no natural coal in this area.

We were lucky cause we got to take a tram down the tunnel

Anna and Kara pushing the two Korea’s together.

Kissing the hot ROK (pronounced rock) soldier

ROK soldier

Female ROK soldier

PS! Right as we were leaving the DMZ we got word that a South Korean tourist was fatally shot in North Korea. She was on a tour in North Korea and entered into resricted area, where she was shot. They’re investigating right now to see what happened.


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