Visiting the North Korea DMZ

Apr 29, 2019 | ESCAPE, N.Korea

N.Korea DMZ – Dickson Phua

Whether you are coming in from the Northern side, or the Southern side, a DMZ tour is infinitely unique and enlightening.

North Korea’s DMZ (demilitarized zone) is a buffer zone between the two Koreas, and is also one of the richest natural reserves in the peninsula.

Since this area is undeveloped, it has become a sanctuary for a lot of local wildlife, and it would actually be a good idea to visit the North Korean DMZ if you want to make your trip to South Korea more well-rounded and meaningful, as the division of the two Koreas is part of Korean history.

The DMZ has become a more historic area in recent years because of recent gestures between the North and South, suggesting that there will be more lasting peace in the future.

Inside DMZ South Side

Inside DMZ South Side – Marcelo Druck

Surprisingly, the DMZ welcomes upwards to 1.2 million visitors every year, with no reports of military incidents arising from the tourism. The demilitarized zone spans almost three miles, and is heavily guarded by both the North and South military guards.

DMZ Train Lines

If this is your first time to visit the DMZ, it would be best to opt for safer tourist options, like the DMZ Peace Train, located at 405, Hangang-daero, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. The two-hour train trip features the splendor of that natural reserve, and spans the following areas:

  • Yongsan Station (starting point)
  • Imjingang Station
  • Dorasan Station
  • Dora Peace Park
  • Tongilchon (meal)
  • Dora Observatory
  • The 3rd Tunnel
  • Unification platform
  • Yongsan station
N. Korea Dorasan Station

N. Korea Dorasan Station – Masaru kamikura

There are two other lines that you can ride on: Gyeongwon Line DMZ Train and Yeoncheon Dreaming Tour. The Gyeongwon Line DMZ Train will give you the opportunity to see Durumi Village, Baengmagoji Battle Monument, and the DMZ Barbed Wire Fence Road. The Yeoncheon Dreaming Tour on the other hand, heads to the Taepung Observatory, Herb Village, Hantangang Water Culture Center, and Jaein Falls.

How To Get There

Whether you are coming in from the North Korean side or South Korean side, you need to book a tour with a company.

Koryo Tours will give you access to the anti-tank barrier and the Concrete Wall observation post from the North Korean side.

Unfortunately, residents of the United States have been banned from visiting the country since late 2017, so if you are an American, you will have to pick Seoul and book your DMZ tour from there.

DMZ Public Art Sculpture

DMZ Public Art Sculpture – Bjornman

Viator is a top tour provider from the South Korean side, and as you have already read, there are several places of interest from this side of the demilitarized zone. Now, in some instances, you may have access to North Korean defectors who may help you understand how life is on the other side of Korea.

Defectors are people who have escaped North Korea and have defected to the South, risking life and limb to cross the DMZ.

Tour Guidelines

To put things into perspective, North Koreans who are seen escaping by the military will be shot – generously, and without remorse. While the buffer zone is arms-free, it doesn’t mean that there is absolute peace at all in the Korean peninsula – so just keep this in mind when you visit from either side.

Entrance to DMZ

Entrance to DMZ – Michael Day

Some things to remember to keep your trip safe and enjoyable: follow the proper dress code, follow the instructions of the tour guide, and do not take photographs without first asking if it is safe to do so.

Signaling to the other side, or to people (like farmers) who are living in the DMZ from the North Korean side is not a good idea, unless the tour guide says so. Be sure to book your trip at least seven days in advance, and enjoy your trip to this historic site that continues to define North and South relations in Korea.

Get to Know Natsuko Shoji of Été, Asia’s Best Pastry Chef

Since the start of her culinary career, Natsuko Shoji has been stunning her guests with flavor, presentation, and exclusive experience. Her creations will make you rethink everything you know about decadent dessert. Find out why the chef behind Été was hailed as Asia’s Best Pastry Chef.

The Shop YOHJI YAMAMOTO Will Now Carry Main Line & Brands

One of the leading Japanese designers Yohji Yamamoto is finally launching The Shop Yohji Yamamoto, his web store that will carry all his brand labels. The Tokyo and Paris-based designer is best known for his unique tailoring featuring traditional Japanese aesthetics.

Ghosn Stunning Escape Sparks Outrage Over Japan’s Bail System

Updated as of 05/21/20 – Carlos Ghosn’s stunning flight while on bail awaiting trial has vindicated prosecutors who said he should have been kept in custody, and sparked calls to toughen Japan’s justice system that critics say is already overly harsh.

Thailand Arrests Two for Posting ‘Fake News’ on Coronavirus

Thai authorities arrested two people for posting “fake news” about the coronavirus as a senior official on Thursday warned internet users to think twice before sharing incorrect information about the pathogen.

Pandemic Dead Give New Delhi Gravedigger Sleepless Nights

Death had not fazed gravedigger Mohammed Shamim up to now, but since the grip of the coronavirus crisis has tightened in New Delhi, a shiver runs up even his spine each time he sees a hearse pull up at the cemetery he tends.

Top Things to do in Bintan Island, Indonesia

If you love beaches, mountains, and culture, Bintan Island should be on top of your list. This breathtaking destination is filled with so many treasures and surprises that will leave you wanting more.

Streaming Giants Battles on for the Asia Market

Asia is seen as an important part of the global streaming industry’s growth plan. In conjunction with the main event, Busan International Film Festival also hosted its first Asia Contents Awards reflecting how the market is rapidly changing.

China Expels US Journalists in Biggest Crackdown in Years

China on Wednesday expelled American journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal in the Communist government’s most severe move against foreign media in recent memory.

Citizens Battle to Save China’s Most Critical River

Water has been a source of death as well as a source of life for a generation in Shenqiu, a region fed by a tributary of China’s heavily polluted Yangtze river and pockmarked with notorious “cancer villages”.

Cryptocurrencies in Asia: Singapore & China

Cryptocurrencies are finding a comfortable forever home in Singapore and China

Indian Cosmic Guru Turned Fugitive Wanted by Officials

Indian border officials and embassies have issued an alert for a fugitive guru accused of rape, the government said, days after the holy man announced the creation of his own “cosmic” country.

Asia: Innovative Ways to a Greener Planet

Save the world and forever cut plastic out of your life with these innovative measures

Mobile Verdict: A Glimpse into the Future World of China’s Digital Courts

Artificial-intelligence judges, cyber-courts, and verdicts delivered on chat apps — welcome to China’s brave new world of justice spotlighted by authorities this week.

The Rundown: All about India

Visiting India? Here Are the Things You Need to Know About the Land Of Snake Charmers

Tearful Reunion of Mother and Dead Daughter via Virtual Reality

A tearful reunion between a mother and her dead daughter via advanced virtual reality for a South Korean television has become an online hit, triggering fierce debate about voyeurism and exploitation.

China Seizes Over 89 Million Shoddy Face Masks

China has confiscated over 89 million poor quality face masks, a government official said Sunday, as Beijing faces a slew of complaints about faulty protective gear exported worldwide.

Hollywood Movie Stars in Asian Films

15 Hollywood stars who were cast in major Asian films

Cannabis Coffee: The Contraband Brew Is a Hit in Indonesia’s Aceh Province

Agus plunges a wooden paddle into his coffee and marijuana-filled wok, taking care to roast just the right mix of ingredients — and stay one step ahead of the police in Indonesia’s Aceh province.

Malaysia: Asia’s Hottest Transit Hub for Drug Mules

Since 2013, an estimated 425 Malaysian drug mules are detained globally in 19 different countries. Singapore has the largest chunk of arrests, with 175 Malaysian drug mules arrested since 2013. Next in the list is Thailand with 49, Australia with 34, and 21 for Japan.

Indonesia Opens First Subway In Jakarta: Commences Extension Project

Indonesia has finally opened its first subway station on Sunday in Jakarta, with the aim of relieving the gridlocked capital from worsening traffic congestion. Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo spearheaded a groundbreaking ceremony marking the beginning of the subway extension project.

Commercial Building in Shanghai Collapses

A commercial building that was under renovation collapsed in Shanghai. Local officials report that the death toll has risen to 10 people

Japanese Chef Makes History to Win Three Michelin Stars in France

Chef Kei Kobayashi became the first Japanese chef ever to win the maximum three Michelin stars in France on Monday.

South Korea Task Force Daily Crackdown on Illegal Porn

In a drab government office in Seoul, a team of broadcast regulators spend their days watching online porn — the front line troops of South Korea’s attempts to crack down on spycam videos that mostly expose women.

Stories of Vietnam War Told From the Women’s Perspective

Women bore much of the burden of the Vietnam War but their voices have long been absent from the trove of literature on the topic, says acclaimed author Nguyen Phan Que Mai.

Himalayan Kung Fu Nuns Battle Against Stereotypes

They train with swords and fighting fans after their prayers and morning chants. Meet the Himalayan kung fu nuns using their martial arts skills to challenge stereotypes about women’s roles in the region’s patriarchal societies.

Taiwan Expels Chinese Tourist for Damaging ‘Lennon Wall’

Taiwan has expelled a Chinese tourist for damaging a “Lennon Wall” that was put up in support of Hong Kong’s democracy movement, a move likely to irk Beijing.

Chinese Coronavirus Researcher’s Death Labeled as Murder-Suicide

An ethnic Chinese scientist working on the novel coronavirus in the United States has been shot dead in what police said was a murder-suicide over an “intimate partner”.

The United States Bares Teeth to Chinese Territory

Tensions are high surrounding three nations with much to fight for in the South China Sea

Under Pressure: Grindr to Sell for $608 Million by Chinese Tech Firm

One of China’s biggest mobile gaming companies is selling popular gay dating app Grindr for $608 million after pressure from US authorities concerned over the potential misuse of user data.

Chronic Shortage of Face Masks Prompt the Rise of Social Enterprise

With chronic face mask shortages in the midst of a virus outbreak, Hong Kongers have started making their own — with a pop-up production line and seamstresses churning them out on sewing machines.

Deadly Micro-Pollution Ravaging China and South Asia

Nearly 90 percent of the 200 cities beset by the world’s highest levels of deadly micro-pollution are in China and India, with most of the rest in Pakistan and Indonesia, researchers reported Tuesday.

Virus Pushes Pakistan’s Transgender Dancers Out of Their Homes

Before the virus shutdown, dancer Adnan Ali had carved out a comfortable living performing at parties for newlyweds and newborns, avoiding the financial hardship faced by many in Pakistan’s transgender community.

Sales Boom for South Korea Drive-in Cinemas Amid Social Distance

A long queue of cars forms in front of a drive-in cinema in Seoul, as South Koreans look for safer spaces to enjoy a movie without the risk of contracting the coronavirus raging across the world.

Virus May Spark ‘Devastating’ Global Condom Shortage

A global condom shortage is looming as the coronavirus pandemic shutters factories and disrupts supply chains, the world’s top maker of the contraceptives said, with the United Nations warning of “devastating” consequences.

Live your K-Pop Fantasy: 5G Opens World of Possibility

With AR Live, dance along to your favorite K-pop idols in real-time with 5G’s fast and reliable internet speed bringing a wonderful superstar experience

‘Pink Pinky’ Campaign Launches for LGBT Rights in Myanmar

LGBT activists in Myanmar campaigning to decriminalize same-sex relations are urging thousands of people to paint their little finger pink as they try to highlight the issue ahead of elections later this year.

Masks are Widely Used in Asia, but How Effective is it?

The use of face masks in Asia during the coronavirus outbreak has been far more widespread than in the West, where governments have urged people to reserve supplies for frontline medical staff, so have they helped limit infections?

Pope Meet with Japan Disaster Survivors

Survivors of Japan’s so-called “triple disaster”, the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, told Pope Francis on Monday they were “thankful for being given life” and urged solidarity with victims.

World’s Most Expensive Crab Priced at $46,000 in Japan Auction

A Japanese bidder may be feeling the pinch after forking out $46,000 at auction for a snow crab — a price that “probably set a new world record”, local officials said Thursday.

Animal Rights Group Welcomes the End of China Dog Meat Trade

Draft rules by Chinese authorities that specify dogs as “companion animals” rather than livestock were hailed by a rights group Thursday as an “encouraging” step towards ending the dog meat trade in the country.

Japan School Lunches Rated Most Nutritious Among Developed Nations

Japan manages a rare feat for a developed country when it comes to feeding its children — high scores for nutrition but very low obesity rates. One major key? School lunches.

China to Abolish ‘Custody and Education’ Punishment for Sex Workers

Chinese lawmakers Saturday voted to abolish the “custody and education” punishment system, which allowed police to hold sex workers and their clients without charge for up to two years, state media reported.

Reality Show ‘The Day I Ran China’ A Hit Worldwide

Discovery’s new show “The Day I Ran China” allows international business apprentices to experience China’s unique industries for themselves. Take a look at how the show presents a deeper understanding into the culture, workmanship, and challenges of Today’s China.

Himalayan Viagra: The Natural Wonder Drug From Asia

The “yarchagumba,” also known as “Cordyceps” is the prized caterpillar fungus from Asia deemed more valuable than gold

Why Netflix’s 37 Seconds is a Wonder Surprise

Netflix recently released a wonderful coming of age film entitled 37 seconds which centers on a Japanese artist’s struggle with cerebral palsy. The movie beautifully tells a realistic tale of a person with disability filled with elements of compassion, empathy, and humanism.

Japan’s Internet Cafe ‘Refugees’ Seek Shelter Amid Lockdown

Thousands of homeless “net cafe refugees” in Japan risk being turfed out onto the streets as the coronavirus pandemic forces the sudden closure of their uniquely Japanese 24/7 comic book havens.

Meet Miky Lee: The Heiress Behind Oscar-Winning Parasite

The woman who stepped up to make the final acceptance speech when Bong Joon-ho’s satire Parasite -– about the gap between rich and poor –- won the Oscar for Best Picture is herself a member of South Korea’s wealthiest family.

Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Represents ‘What Matters’

Australia’s wildfires seemed an age ago amid the glitz of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, but Saturday’s celebration brought the firefighters who battled them together with climate change activists.

Asia: Love in the Age of Online Dating Apps

“Love capitalism” has dodged even the most dogged of cultural norms that stump even the locals.

Japan’s Problem With Celibacy and Sexlessness

Japan is on the brink of a national calamity with its declining birth rates that will affect a third of its population by 2060.

Pets Face Quarantine After Dog Tests Positive in Hong Kong

All pets of people in Hong Kong infected with the coronavirus will be quarantined, with one dog already in isolation, the city’s authorities said Friday.

Simon Cheng Claimed Chinese Police Tortured Him with ‘Tiger Chair’

A former employee of Britain’s consulate in Hong Kong said Wednesday that Chinese secret police tortured and interrogated him about London’s role in protests in the semi-autonomous city.