About two months ago, my dad and I went on a day tour to the DMZ, or the Demilitarized Zone. It was a great day trip! I learned so many interesting facts about Korea’s history and walked away from the tour much more knowledgable than at the beginning of the day.
During the tour, we stopped along several major locations along the DMZ such as Gyeonju Railway Station, the Bridge of No Return, the Third Tunnel of Aggression, and the Joint Security Area.
By far my favorite part of the tour was seeing the Third Tunnel of Aggression. Discovered in October of 1978, the tunnel is 1.1 miles long, 6.6 feet wide by 6.6 feet tall, and 240 feet below ground. As the title suggests, it was the third tunnel discovered (out of a total of four) running between North Korea and South Korea. North Korea declares the tunnel’s use to be of coal mining, though the walls of tunnel are actually composed of granite.
The rest of the locations were very fascinating, too. At Gyeonju Railway Station, my dad and I saw where trains will transport passengers to travel between North and South Korea upon reunification. We also had the chance to see the Bridge of No Return. Used for prisoner exchanges at the end of the Korean War in 1953, the Bridge of No Return gave prisoners the option to stay in the country of their captivity or return to the other country. Once they made the decision though, they were never allowed to return. The last place we stopped was the JSA where we were able to walk inside the conference building and see North Korean soldiers stand by Panmon Hall.
Going on this tour was such an eye opening experience. From viewing North Korea’s Kijong-dong, also known as “Propaganda Village”, to viewing South Korean guards stand face to face with North Korean guards, it truly made me understand the sad reality of the split between the North and the South.