Day 3: DMZ 한반도 비무장지대 Tour in a Budget
DMZ is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Seoul. There’s not much to see but just great experience to be so close to the communist North. There are different tours you can take, you may reserve via the web or ask your hotel or inn for help on reservations. There are two tour types you can take. First is the DMZ tour which start really early 8 AM to 2 PM, costing around 48,000 won. The other one is the DMZ + JSA, which are usually 8 am to 4 pm, and cost around 135,000 won for a day group tour, per person. If you have a Budget you can take the tour with JSA as it will take you closer to the border.
But if you are on a budget just like us and don’t want to wake up early in the morning you can just commute. Take a public KORAIL train from Seoul Station going to Munsan. Buy a ticket (1,00 won p/p) to the train that will take you to IMJANGAK. It’s the second to the last station on the line take note of the schedule of the train. We bought the ticket but didn’t actually take the train because we got confused. We just decided to ride a taxi to Imjangak from Munsan.
From the station, you can walk ten minutes to the area where the bus tours are located. Walk Below the observation deck go to Information building on the side is the ticketing office. Present your passport and the ticket cost 8,000 won p/p. Try to be early to avoid waiting for a reserved bus seat for the tour. The tour takes about 2 hours. While waiting you might like to explore the park, there also restaurants and street foods in the area.
Just a reminder you cant just take photos inside especially the soldiers. At the entrance check point my friends took some photos from our Bus but during inspection the soldiers asked our friends to delete the photos. When I was taking a selfie using the front camera, they thought I was taking a photo of the soldier, they politely ask me not to take photos.
Course of the DMZ Tour:
Imjingak Park – The 3rd infiltration Tunnel – DMZ Theater / Exhibition Hall – Dora observatory – Dorasan Station
Dorasan Observatory is located nearby the 3rd Tunnel. From this observation platform, North Korean military personnel are visible, and so are the highlights of Gaeseong and the Geumgangsan Diamond Mountains. (source: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr)
The 3rd Tunnel was discovered on October 17, 1978. It is located 52km from Seoul. It was estimated that it took approximately an hour for 10,000 soldiers to move through the tunnel. When this tunnel was first discovered, North Koreans insisted it was made by South Koreans in a plot to invade North Korea. However, this theory proved eventually to be false. (source :http://english.visitkorea.or.kr)
There are lockers to place your things, cameras are not allowed. you would need to wear a hard hat as the tunnel is narrow and dark and you might hit your head so be extra careful. If your claustrophobic you might just want to wait outside, but there are tv screens where you can view feeds from the CCTV cameras inside the tunnels. We also met a fellow Filipino working as a guide.
Munsan Station (Seoul Subway, Gyeongui Line).
From Munsan Station, take a shuttle train to Iimjingang Station.OR
From Munsan Intercity Bus Terminal, take bus 58 to Imjinga