Day 12 | January 23
Today we head to the Demilitarized Zone in the border between South Korea and North Korea. Our bus departed from the university and we drove an hour to a restaurant in the closest civilian city to the boarder. We are getting used to the spicy food and to have to take our shoes off wherever we go.
On our DMZ tour, first we stopped at the “Freedom Bridge” which was used to exchange the prisoners after the Korean War. This is the last place where South Korean citizens can go to without having to go through a background check. There is a place for South Korean’s to write messages, the train that was on the border got moved to here for display, and we got to walk on yet another frozen lake
Then we drove to the first checkpoint at to enter the Civilian Control Area. An officer checked our passports. We then kept driving and made it into the briefing room, saw a presentation on the past of the DMZ and the rules of the DMZ and signed our waivers.
Everything was very serious, we could only walk in a single file line and we were told not to point or to make the soldiers laugh because that could give them a reason to fire towards the South side. We finally reached the iconic Conference Room which is built on the Military Demarcation Line which is the border between the two.
Inside the building, we were able to step on the other side of the MDL which means we were in North Korea! This cement line marks the boarder, I am taking a picture of it as I stand in North Korea. We were inside for about 5 minutes until the guards rushed us out of the building.
We then drove by the Bridge of No Return which is next to the famous Stump of a Felled Tree where Captain Bonifas was killed in the Axe Murder Incident.
We made it back safely to the souvenir shop where I went to the museum while everyone else did some shopping. You can see more pictures from the Axe Murder Incident here.
I then visited the souvenir shop for a brief moment before we had to go. We all took a nap on the 1.5hr bus ride back to a fancy hotel where we met up with Professor Lee and then went street shopping.
From there we went to dinner.
We ended the evening’s activities by attending the longest running show in Seoul, Cookin Nanta. It was a comedy with a mix of traditional Korean cooking.
We then went back to the dorm and explored the surrounding area for a bit. We found a karaoke parlor for a bit and we sang our lungs away! Tomorrow we have most of the day free and I planned a trip to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, we’ll see who wants to join!
Today was an unforgettable experience to be able to say I saw and was in North Korea. I learned a lot of history and details about the relationship between the two. I would be more than happy to share it with you, comment below!