The DMZ

It’s very easy to go on a tour of the DMZ – pay bout $48 for a half day.  If you want to go to the JSA you need 2 days’ notice for security clearance.

The tours all start with the Freedom Bridge

Messages at the end of the bridge

There’s a memorial here, and a locomotive that was moved to make a better tourist spot.

It had the crap shot out of it during the war

You can also look at the security measures on the North-South border.

If someone disturbs the fence the stones fall.

From here we went to the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel.  There’s a museum here showing how the North has tried to infiltrate and provoke South Korea over the years.  The tunnel itself does not allow photography, but it’s quite long, 1.6m high, and has very visible marks from where the dynamtite was placed.  There’s also coal smeared on the walls, for use as an excuse that the tunnel was actually a mine.

The plan of the tunnel.

After this we went to OP Dora – the closest place to North Korea.  There’s a large viewing area, but you can’t take photos beyond a yellow line – it’s to stop people from photographing the South Korean defences.  Not that they tell you that.  If you want to look at the defences, they’re quite visible, but otherwise you can stare in to the heart of the enemy:

Flagpole and very dingy propaganda village. There are binoculars at the OP so the view is much better.

 

Factory built by South Korea to train workers in the North.

 

Actual North Korean village. I saw some peasants and a horse on a dirt road.

This was the highlight for me.  It’s like the Fulda Gap.

After that we went to a railway station.  It’s new, functional, and not used by anyone, because . . .

it goes to Pyeongyang. And they won't let anyone in.

So it’s just a big tourist trap.  You can stamp papers with the station stamps, but DON’T put them in your passport!  There are also some extremely sharp soldiers available for photos.

Needs a bigger aigulette

As someone that appreciates a good crease I can say there were no tricks here!

One, two, three, four, FIVE creases in the shirt - count 'em!

From here the bus returned to Seoul.  I had a wander around the City Hall area.  It was raining and awful.  I went to one of the temples but it looked so Chinese I couldn’t be bothered.

Downtown Seoul

Unlike China, Korea is CIVILISED.  Not only do the toilets have electronic bidet seats, they also have doors.  I had an expensive sandwich ($1.50!!) and went to the Namdaemun market.

On the way I saw this - from a group lobbying for a bigger defence budget.

 

The market

It’s a mixture of proper shops and stalls.  There’s a lot of clothing, some military clothes, coffee stalls, and stationery.  The lingerie is . . . different.

A prosthetic bum?

They have a section called ‘imported goods’.  It’s awesome – jam-packed with electronics, random kitchen bits, and other things that must be useful, like fancy camping knives.

I returned to the hostel.  Because South Korea is so civilised, I could go out to A GYM!  With weights!  And treadmills!  And mats!  And ab machines!  It was so civilised they gave you two towels AND a shirt, so you didn’t get your own one all sweaty.

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