Korean DMZ: A Vestige of the Cold War

We departed early on Friday to go to my most anticipated site of visit in the Korean Peninsula: the Demilitarized Zone at the 38th parallel N.

Panmunjom Summit (Image: AP).

As the bus drove closer and closer to the region, we could almost feel the eerie atmosphere of an ongoing war zone: border patrol troops, guard towers, security cameras, electrical fences, land mines signs, U.S. and R.O.K. soldiers marching side by side to protect the country from Northern aggression.

A guard tower can be seen roughly every 500 feet to defend the border between the Koreas.

There were several sites we got to see including an observatory where you got to see into the city of Kaesong, North Korea and its 4th tallest flag pole in the world. We took a walk down the 3rd Tunnel of Aggression after. It was dug by the North Koreans during the periods after the Cold War, in violation of the armistice, as part of its plans on pulling a surprise attack on Seoul, but was infiltrated by the South. This is now a creepy tourist site, but very interesting. We also visited a train station that was built for the day when Inter-Korean traveling could be achieved, as a train route from Seoul to London is possible.

Jefferson B. and Micah H. looking astounded as they glance towards the hermit kingdom of North Korea

Unfortunately, the one place I wanted to see the most, the Joint Security Area—Panmunjom—where President Moon, of the South, and Chairman Kim, of the North, met last year, shook hands, and had diplomatic talks. Regardless, it was a fun and interesting experience.

Jordan A. and I at the eerily quiet train station at the DMZ

We went on a boat cruise down the Han River afterwards. We fed seagulls and enjoyed the spectacular views. After getting off the boat, we played a game where the group that gets back to the hotel first without using GPS would get a free Korean BBQ meal. We came in second, but it was still very exciting.

Won’t comment much on our last evening here but I couldn’t have asked for a better night.

And that was the city of Seoul.

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