Want to explore the Demilitarized Zone? Join this tour that can take you to the most meaningful DMZ attractions.
- The rift between North and South Korea, one that started after the end of World War II, have long been a subject of curiosity to foreign visitors.
- To help travelers learn more about the stories of the divided Korean peninsula, the Korea Tourism Organizaton named 5 peace-themed DMZ attractions to visit.
- If you want to go the Korean Demilitarized Zone, you can book this day tour that departs from Seoul.
Exploring the DMZ in Korea
You know the narrative. Once upon a time, Korea was a single entity, until it split in half along the 38th parallel after World War II. Influenced by clashing ideologies and backed by foreign forces, the North and South, now known respectively as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea, engaged in a three-year war (1950-1953) that resulted to 3 million casualties. The fighting ceased upon the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement, which provisioned the demarcation line that we now know as the Korean Demilitarized Zone or DMZ. There was no peace treaty that was signed thereafter, which means that, to this day, the two Koreas are still at war if we want to be technical about it. And despite recent efforts to discuss reunification (North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s president Moon Jae-In had a historical meeting in 2018), the tension between the two countries remain.
If you want to go to the Korean Demilitarized Zone and learn about the history of inter-Korean relations, or if you simply want to take a peek at the mysterious North, then here are the DMZ attractions that you can consider visiting:
1. Ganghwa Peace Observatory
The Ganghwa Peace Observatory will give you a peek of the secretive country of North Korea. With the use of high-quality binoculars, you’ll be able to view Yeseong River and Ganghwa-gun’s surroundings, as well as North Korea’s mountains and grass fields.
This DMZ attraction also has an excellent photo exhibit of the Korean war and a wishing wall for those who hope for reunification.
To visit Ganghwa Peace Observatory, you can book this DMZ tour. Originally, this attraction is not part of the itinerary, however due to COVID-19 and the subsequent closure of the Demilitarized Zone, the operator has added the Ganghwa Peace Observatory as an alternative.
2. Cheorwon Korean Workers’ Party Headquarters
The Cheorwon Korean Workers’ Party Headquarters in Gangwon-do was the nucleus of the Labor Party in 1946, until it faced its destruction during the Korean war. A lot of lives have been sacrificed here, making it a memorial ground for the locals.
The facade of the Headquarters remains intact, however, as you approach of what’s left of this DMZ attraction, it won’t be long for you to feel the eerieness of this place.
Cheorwon Korean Workers’ Party Headquarters is a registered Cultural Heritage in South Korea. They are located at 265, Geumgangsan-ro, Cheorwon-eup, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 철원군 철원읍 금강산로 265) and offers free admission.
3. Imjingak Pyeonghoa-Nuri
The Imjingak Pyeonghoa-Nuri or Imjingak Resort was built in the 70’s in the hope that peace would settle in the Korean peninsula. This DMZ attraction houses artistic displays, monuments, war vessels, and an awe-striking park.
According to KTO’s guide, Imjingak Resort is located across the ‘Mangbaedan Altar’ and the ‘Bridge of Freedom,’ which are the points of separation for many family members. Events to call for unification are held here every year.
Imjingak Pyeonghoa-Nuri is part of the DMZ tour from Seoul that you can book online below.
4. Dutayeon Falls
As decribed by the Korea Tourism Organization, Dutayeon Falls is “located on a branch of the Suip Stream that flows through Geonsol-ri, Bangsan-myeon, which is north of the Civilian Control Line.” This means that the DMZ attraction is situated near the tense points of the two countries. However, when you come to visit, you’ll be amazed by how remarkably calm and quiet the falls is. It would feel as though there is no geopolitical tension between the North and South.
Dutayeon Falls is located in 1024, Gobangsan-ri, Bangsan-myeon, Yanggu-gun, Gangwon-do.
5. Goseong Unification Observatory
The Goseong Unification Observatory provides a sweeping view of the Geumgangsan Mountain in North Korea. This viewing deck and attraction was built by the army in 1983 and gives a glimpse of nearby islands and mountain peaks, including Ilchulbong, Chaehabong, and Oknyeobong. Similar to other DMZ attractions listed in this blog post, Goseong Unification Observatory also has monuments that aim to promote reunification.
Goseong Unification Observatory is located in Geumgangsan-ro, Hyeonnae-myeon, Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do.
Book a DMZ Tour from Seoul
WAUG offers a guided DMZ day tour in English that stops at various points in the Korean Demilitarized Zone. It departs from Seoul and costs only ₩36,000 or $31 if you book here.
Here is the original itinerary:
|8am||Meet at Koreana Hotel (near the City Hall of Seoul)|
|9:30am||Arrive in DMZ via Imjingan Park|
|10am||3rd Infiltration Tunnel Tour & Exhibit|
|12pm||Departure to Seoul via Imjingak Park|
|2pm||Arrive in Koreana Hotel or Myeongdong Station|
However, given the COVID-19 situation and the subsequent closure of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the tour is currently following this alternative DMZ itinerary:
|TBA||Meet at Koreana Hotel (near the City Hall of Seoul)|
|TBA||Ganghwa Peace Observatory|
|TBA||6.25 Veterans Memorial Park|
|TBA||Art Space BEAT 131|
|TBA||Arrive in Koreana Hotel or Myeongdong Station|
This guided DMZ tour includes transportation and admission to the DMZ. You can find more details below:
How to Book a DMZ Tour Online
If you’re unfamiliar with using WAUG, you can follow these steps to book your visit to the DMZ:
- Log in or sign up for an account here. (New users get a discount coupon!)
- Proceed to DMZ Tour booking page here.
- Choose the date and provide other participant information.
- Check out using your Visa, Mastercard, or AMEX.*
- Wait for your voucher/s in the WAUG app, which you can download here.
*Is your method-of-payment issued in South Korea? You can switch the page’s currency to KRW so you can see the other local payment options, like phone payment!
Enjoy your DMZ trip!
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