DMZ, a Symbol of Peace and Culture

28-09-2018 05:12 AM

The Demilitarized Zone, more commonly referred to as the DMZ, was set up and agreed upon during the armistice agreement. Roughly 20 years later in the 1970s, North and South Korea met again and agreed on the continuation of the DMZ, effectively protecting the area from human contact for over 40 years. This restriction has only made people more curious about visiting. While travel within the region still remains extremely limited, with some spots only open to special tours, there are many areas which are open to the general public. Visit for yourself to feel the peace of the DMZ.

Culture Blooming from Peace, Imjingak Resort

 

Imjingak Pyeonghoa-Nuri Park

Built in 2005 in celebration of the Peace Festival, Imjingak Resort is located on an expansive, nearly-100,000㎡ grassy area. Just 7km from the DMZ, the park’s 3,000 pinwheels spin freely in the winds blowing across the Korean peninsula. However, changing this site filled with the coldness and horror of the war and its aftermath into a symbol of peace and unity required the sincere efforts of many people. In order to change the energy of the land, cultural programs such as concerts and exhibitions were held here, and it has now become a multipurpose park. Every year, many people come to see the beautiful landscape and enjoy the programs available.

 

Pyeonghwa Land inside Imjingak Resort

Imjingak Resort also includes a small amusement park, Pyeonghwa Land, popular among family tourists. The harsh history of the war will feel distant as you see parents smiling as their children laugh and play. There are 24 rides here, although there are no roller coasters for thrill seekers. Despite its small size, Pyeonghwa Land offers a unique ambiance, not found at any other amusement park.

Imjingak Resort

  • ☞ Address: 618-13, Majeong-ri, Munsan-eup, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 파주시 문산읍 마정리 618-13)
  • ☞ Directions: Take a taxi for approx. 20 min. from Paju Station (Gyeongui-Jungang Line)
  • ☞ Inquiries: +82-31-593-4744 (Korean, English, Chinese)
  • ☞ Website: www.pajusisul.or.kr (Korean only)

 

Pyeonghwa Land

  • ☞ Address: 148-33, Imjingak-ro, Munsan-eup, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 파주시 문산읍 임진각로 148-33)
  • ☞ Operating hours: Summer 11:00-18:30 / Winter 11:00-17:30
  • ☞ Admission: Adults & Teenagers 30,000 won / Children (ages 2-13) 28,000 won
    ※ Above fares are for ride pass. Visitors wishing to purchase admission only can use the rides after paying an additional fee for each ride.
    ※ Infants under two years enter free when entering with parent
  • ☞ Inquiries: +82-31-953-4448 (Korean only)

The Pain of Separation, Odusan Unification Observatory

 

Binoculars at Odusan Unification Observatory

Odusan Unification Observatory is located in the northern part of the Western Front, atop Odusan Mountain overlooking the meeting point of the Imjingang and Hangang Rivers. Opened to the public in 1992, the observatory has been visited by over 19 million people. As one of the must-visit attractions for reunification tourism, the observatory offers the use of high-powered binoculars for free. While the binoculars will make it seem as though you could take just one step forward and be in North Korea, they also magnify the awareness of how closed off the country is.

 

Odusan Unification Observatory exhibition hall

In addition to the observation deck, the observatory’s basement level 1 through floor four feature exhibition spaces based on a variety of themes. The basement offers fun learning experiences aimed at young visitors. The second floor exhibition hall, Missing My Hometown, is very touching; Korean War refugees unable to return home drew images of their home and life before the war on over 4,000 tiles. The other exhibitions and videos also explain the pain of separation felt in Korea.

While visitors can tour Odusan Unification Observatory freely, it is important to note that due to its location within the Civilian Control Line, all visitors must leave one hour before sunset. The closing time may also change depending on the weather or circumstances on-site.

Odusan Unification Observatory

  • ☞ Address: 369, Pilseung-ro, Tanhyeon-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 파주시 탄현면 필승로 369)
  • ☞ Directions: Take a taxi for approx. 30 min. from Paju Station (Gyeongui-Jungang Line)
  • ☞ Operating hours
    March-October: Weekdays 09:00-17:00 / Weekends & public holidays 09:00-18:00
    November-February: Weekdays 09:00-16:30 / Weekends & public holidays 09:00-17:00
    ※ Closed Mondays (the following day in the case of a public holiday falling on Monday)
  • ☞ Admission: Adults 3,000 won / Students (ages 8-19) 1,600 won / Free admission to seniors (ages 65 and older), preschoolers (ages 7 and younger) & people with a disability
    ※ Seniors and people with a disability (levels 1-3) must present their ID for free admission
  • ☞ Inquiries: +82-31-945-3171 (Korean only)
  • ☞ Website: www.jmd.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Aromatic Site, Herb Village

 

Herb Village

Herb Village, located in Yeoncheon, is a popular attraction among visitors to the DMZ. The vast field of herbs fills one’s line of sight, with Imjingang River winding in the distance. The colors of the many herbs are as different as their scents, providing visitors with the perfect aromatic ambiance for relaxation. Enjoy walking through the field, with the various herbs lined up in orderly rows by color, as if a rainbow was taken from the sky and planted here.

 

Herb Greenhouse

The plants growing within the greenhouse will make it feel as if you have stepped into a picture book. As you walk within the warm, herbal-scented air, you will feel a sense of peace and calm. The greenhouse is home to the nation’s five oldest olive trees, each over 300 years old, in addition to lemon trees, hydrangeas, and lavender. The greenhouse also features an herb museum and restaurant. Additional attractions at Herb Village include a small pond and stone garden, perfect for photos. If you’re lucky, you might even get some friendly photo bombers, in the form of swans and other birds living here.

Herb Village

  • ☞ Address: 222beon-ji, Buksam-ri, Wangjing-myeon, Yeoncheon-gun, Gyeonggi-do
    (경기도 연천군 왕징면 북삼리 222번지)
  • ☞ Directions: Take a taxi for approx. 16 min. from Yeoncheon Station (Gyeongwon Line)
  • ☞ Operating hours
    Regular season (April 20 – October 30) 09:00-21:00
    Winter season (November 1 – April 19) 09:00-19:00
  • ☞ Admission
    Regular season: Adults (ages 14 and older) 7000 won / Children (ages 3-13) 4000 won / Pension guests & infants (under 3 years of age) enter free
    Winter: Adults (ages 14 and older) 4000 won / Children (ages 3-13) 3000 won / Pension guests & infants (under 3 years of age) enter free
    ※ Fare is the same for weekdays and weekends
  • ☞ Inquiries: +82-31-833-5100 (Korean only)
  • ☞ Website: herbvillage.co.kr (Korean only)

Forget the Heat of Summer at Jaeinpokpo Falls

 

Jaeinpokpo Falls as seen from the skywalk

Jaeinpokpo Falls is one of Yeoncheon’s most representative attractions, even though it is located within a military controlled area. The valley water falls into the Hantangang River, created by an eruption of lava roughly 270,000 years ago. Many tourists visit in summer and early fall to enjoy the cool mist coming off the waterfall. In order to get a better look at the falls, don’t forget to use the skywalk! The glass floor provides an even fuller view of all the natural surroundings, including the rock walls around Jaeinpokpo Falls, which are slowly receding each year due to erosion.

Jaeinpokpo Falls

  • ☞ Address: 193, Bugok-ri, Yeoncheon-eup, Yeoncheon-gun, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 연천군 연천읍 부곡리 193)
  • ☞ Directions: Take a taxi for approx. 17 min. from Yeoncheon Station (Gyeongwon Line)
  • ☞ Operating hours: Saturday & Sunday, sunrise-sunset
    ※ Jaeinpokpo Falls is located within a military controlled area and is therefore only open to the public on Saturday and Sunday.
    ※ Visitors can enter area without inspection on weekdays May-September.
    ※ Due to safety concerns, the use of the staircase is prohibited as of June 12, 2018. Visitors may only view Jaeinpokpo Falls from the skywalk.
  • ☞ Inquiries: +82-31-834-2061 (Korean only)
  • ☞ Website: tour.yeoncheon.go.kr (Korean only)

Scars of the War, Korean Workers’ Party Headquarters

 

Korean Workers’ Party Headquarters

The Korean Workers’ Party Headquarters in Cheorwon is a very clear remnant of the Korean War, with its pockmarked walls protecting an open ruin. Originally part of North Korean land after the end of the Japanese occupation, the headquarters were built to strengthen the regime as well as manage the citizens. However, the area was right in the war path, suffering many attacks and bombardments, which left the building as it is now.

In the 1990s, the site was used in a music video by Seo Taiji and The Boys, drawing much attention. These days, the headquarters are used as the venue for a variety of events, including the DMZ Market and cultural performances.

Cheorwon Korean Workers’ Party Headquarters

  • ☞ Address: 3-2, Gwanjeon-ri, Cheorwon-eup, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 철원군 철원읍 관전리 3-2)
  • ☞ Directions: Take a taxi for approx. 5 min. from Baengmagoji Station (Gyeongwon Line)
  • ☞ Operating hours: Open 24 hours
  • ☞ Inquiries: +82-33-450-4468 (Korean only)

Hopes for Reunion, Cheorwon Peace Observatory

 

Cheorwon Peace Observatory (top), monorail & Unification Postbox (bottom)

Cheorwon Peace Observatory is very popular for its views of the DMZ and North Korean land on the Central Front Line. The observatory also exhibits photographs taken during the Korean War, and displays a miniature of The 2nd Tunnel, so visitors can get a better feeling of life during the war. Despite being located atop a hill, tourists can still visit with ease by taking the monorail for just 2,000 won (adult fare). Another unique attraction near the monorail is the Unification Postbox. Although it’s not a real part of the postal system, people still drop in letters and cards with their sincere wishes for the reunification of the two Koreas.

 

Tank on display at Cheorwon Peace Observatory

One point to be very careful of at Cheorwon Peace Observatory is restrictions on photography. Due to the Military Facility Protection Act, photographs can only be taken within the exhibition hall on the first floor, at the observatory plaza, southern views and Pilseung Church. Areas prohibited from photography include the observation decks on floors one through three, military facilities (guard post, general outpost & iron railing), and views including the guard post to the east. If you are unsure about what is allowed, just ask before taking any pictures, and be sure to comply with any requests to delete photos you may have taken.

Cheorwon Peace Observatory

  • ☞ Address: 588-14, Junggang-ri, Dongsong-eup, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do 
    (강원도 철원군 동송읍 중강리 588-14)
  • ☞ Directions: Take a taxi for approx. 17 min. from Baengmagoji Station (Gyeongwon Line)
  • ☞ Operating hours: 09:30-16:30 (Closed Tuesdays, January 1, Children’s Day (May 5), and Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day) & Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day) holidays)
  • ☞ Admission: Adults 4,000 won / Teenagers (ages 13-19) 3,000 won / Children (ages 12 and younger) 2,000 won
    ※ Monorail fare charged separately
  • ☞ Inquiries: +82-33-450-5559 (Korean only)
  • ☞ Website: hantan.cwg.go.kr (Korean only)
  • ☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)
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