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Sunday, 22 October 2006

The DMZ tour...part four: inside the JSA conference room

These conference rooms are where negotiations and talks are held between North and South Korea. The Military Demarcation Line runs underneath this room so technically you can cross over into North Korea! There is a ROK soldier guarding the northern exit. He is given explicit instructions to stop anyone who attempts to go through that door (although some weary tourists have mistakenly/deliberately done so in the past).

Here is a fantastic write up by Seoul Searching that is very similar to what I experienced but in more detail...click here.

Here we are inside the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) building. The GI instructed the ROK soldier to come over to the main table:

Here's another video...do you feel like you're on the actual tour? Wowsers!

This concrete slab marks the Military Demarcation Line....separating North and South:

This ROK soldier was standing right in the middle of the MAC building. Notice his Tae Kwon Do stance and Ray Ban aviator sunglasses (all meant to intimidate North Korean soldiers):

This ROK soldier was guarding the exit into North Korea:

Next up, we we took our bus to a SK/US guard post...those white stakes mark the Military Demarcation Line:

A North Korean guard post...probably eyeing Gdog as he's taking this picture:

Here is North Korean "Propaganda Village" and the world's tallest flagpole. The flag must be taken down when it is raining as its immense weight cannot be supported by the tower.

Here is the Bridge of No Return...remember, James Bond (aka Pierce Brosnan) crossed this bridge in a scene from Die Another Day. This bridge was used to exchange prisoners after the end of the Korean War in 1953.

Here is a monument for the Axe Murder Incident...that stump represents the size of the tree that used to stand here.

Overall, I am glad I went on this tour. It was incredible to enter the Joint Security Area and take glimpse into North Korea. Visiting the site of the world's most heavily defended border and one of the last fronts of the Cold War was an unforgettable experience. I highly recommend this tour if you are visiting Seoul or are residing in Korea. It cost 42,000w (42usd) and it lasted an entire day.

The bus ride back to Camp Kim USO was horrendous. Traffic was so bad that it took nearly 2 hours to return. We were super tired and famished. I finished off my night be eating an 80z top sirloin steak with a baked potato at Outback Steakhouse. Deelicious! Thanks for reading and hope your enjoyed your visit to the DMZ. Send my cheque in the mail, alright?

Medium rare, just the way I like it (the plate was pretty skimpy for 20,000w!):


Anonymous said...

were u actually allowed to video all those down and post online? will u get caught and jailed for doing so? hmm... o_O?

Gary said...

Yes, we were allowed to take pictures inside and they encouraged us to take photos with the soldiers. Don't scare me...if I am asked to take them down I will happily oblige. :)

Anonymous said...

That was really cool, thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my friend said there is a stone plate of a mother and a son near the freedom bridge. And there is a MP3 player playing a Korean song describing the love between seperated parents and children of South and North.

Do you know the name of the song or any info on this? Thanks for this great post!

Anonymous said...

Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hi, good post!
I'm going to DMZ in Jan and wanted to make sure the USO covers all the important sites, their website is not that helpful!
Quite obviously the tour is really good and this blog has made my decision (which tour company to go with) for me.
Its also a good guide as to where i can and can't take photos.
Thanks Again!

Anonymous said...

Long live North Korea. One of the last remaining Countries that hasn't yet been tainted by the greed and warmongering of "Israel".

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