DMZ is the Demilitarized Zone between South Korea and North Korea – was the original boundary between the US and Soviet Union’s brief administration areas of Korea at the end of WWII. It is about 250km’s long and runs somewhat along 38th parallel north, divides the Korean Peninsula into two, each side is about 2km wide. Within the DNZ, there is a meeting-point between the two nations with joint security where many of negotiations took places.
We left hotel just before 7am for the long bus ride towards DMZ. It took us 3.5 hours through the country sides from Pyongyang to this little town called Panmunjom, which is right next to the DMZ. After the local military searched our buses at the gate, we took the bus and went further south.
The empty lands between the towns. We stopped for a pit-bathroom-stop, where the bathrooms in the country sides has no running water and toilet papers. A little market was set up outside the bathrooms just for us to buy the survivors.
Panmunjom Town, just before we reached DMZ.
The propaganda posters at the gate: 1) We united as one nation; 2) Let us pass on the united country to the next generation”
Before we reached the Joint Security Area, we first visited the memorial hall where the Korean War Armistice Agreement was signed between the commander-in-chief, United Nations Command, the supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army and the Commander of the Chinese People’s Volunteers. The tables and chairs below were the original ones that were used during the signing ceremony.
The Joint Security Area is mapped out as below. Both North and South Korea maintain peace villages in sight of each other’s side of the DMZ. We can see farmers farming in the DMZ area and living their everyday life.
The Joint Security Area facing the South Korea Side.
To my surprises, the security from the North Korean side was very relaxed. We were allowed to take photos wherever and whenever. In contract, you can see that the security on the South Korea is a lot stricter, as you probably see all the cameras they have installed on their second level facing toward the North Side to monitor every single move from the North. I guess it make sense, as the people probably will only flea from the North side toward the South, instead of the other way around.
The blue buildings are controlled by the South Koreans and the white ones are controlled by the North Koreans. However, the middle one among the 3 blue ones is the joint security building, where all the negotiations were held. Tours from the South Korea side will enter this build from the south side and north side will keep their side of the door, and wise versa.
A photo with our beautiful North Korean guide from the North Korea side.
The Joint Security Area facing the North Korea Side
This is probably your view, if you visited DMZ from the South Korea side.
A memory stone was built on the North Korea side of the Joint Security Area for Kim Jong-il.
A traditional North Korea lunch at Panmunjom, where Jinseng Chicken and Dog meat were served. I took a photos of it, but I couldn’t touch the soup that was cooked with ‘Men’s best friend’.