Back in September, Louis (the boy) came to visit and one thing we really wanted to do together was visit the DMZ. We were curious to learn more about North Korea, South Korea, the separation, and what this means for the future. To be honest, I knew some things about NK from being in student orgs during university, but there was still much to learn. I was a little nervous about the tone of this trip: would it be serious? Would it feel dangerous? Would it be casual or not taken seriously? I guess we would find out.
We first arrived in Imjingak, a town quite close to the border. It seemed fairly well maintained but kind of eerie in which there was an amusement park, audio playing of propaganda, pained persons, and some bridges. From what I could gather, this place was meant to be an area to try to show happiness and unification between the Koreas. I was kind of confused but went with it.
Our next stop of the tour was to Dorasan where we were traveling even further north. We visited the station, which was once connected from South Korea to North Korea. In the past there was access between the Koreas, but only to restricted areas. Now it seems pretty closed off. I’m not sure how true this exact spot is as far as transportation, or if it’s just a sign to show what it looked like in the past, but either way we got a touristy photo to remember it by.
Our last two stops were right up against the DMZ. We watched a short film about some history of the Koreas and viewed North Korea through the lookout. We could see North Korean flags and even some cities. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but it was kind of surreal to see. After viewing NK, we went through a tunnel which was technically inside of the DMZ. Unfortunately, I have no photos of this as we couldn’t bring any cameras or phones. The tunnel was a decent length, filled with tourists and military men.
Overall, it was an interesting experience and informative. It just made me think and wonder how much is propaganda and how much of it is true. NK and SK ties still feel a bit of a mystery to me. Have you been to the DMZ? What was your experience? Feelings? I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below if you’d like to have a discussion!