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DMZ, Paju

Take a monorail to explore a blame-game tunnel of DMZ, the only official venue for meetings between the ROK and DPRK. With the U.S. overseeing the peace process in the Cold War-divided peninsula, the zone gives you a rare opportunity to tour a military administration line amid heavy security. Official English or Japanese-speaking guides accompany your tour, showing you the venue where the 1953 armistice was signed. Observe a change of joint guards and use a telescope to see the northern part of the divided Korea. You must register at least four days prior to the tour, and for some countries a scanned color copy of your passport is required. Certain nationals may be banned from entry--check before you go. For travelers who use our international travel planner, Paju holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the DMZ and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
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  • I went with the half day tour with the DMZ, tunnel, dora san station/observatory and imjin bridge. it was quite interesting (though walking in the tunnel is really tiring!), but it seems I got a half ...  more »
  • Interesting place. It is worth visiting for people interested in history and politics. There are several tour agencies which offer daily trips. Prices are acceptable. A half day tour gives quite a lot...  more »
  • It is best to arrange this visit in advance because you can get to this area without being accompanied by a guide. This "trip" since Seoul takes half a day and allows you to learn more about this buffer zone separating the North and the South of Korea (248km long by 4km wide), one of the few "remnants" of the cold war. Along the 60 kilometers between the capital of the most militarised border in the world, the "tourist circuit", in the middle of the barbed wire, sentry boxes every 200 meters, begins... This area mined, as reminds many panels, is watched by 700,000 North Korean soldiers and 410 000 South Korean soldiers, ready to launch the assault on the enemy on the other side. Reached an amusement (!) with our guide, we will go to the liberty Bridge: the latter has been the place of passage of 13 000 prisoners of war from the North or South to the armistice was signed formalizing the end of Korea war. The South Korean families come put colored ribbons to remember their family members remained in the North. As no. explains our guide ' these people are desperate: they are more older, and they know that they no longer have a lot of time. It's a busy visit history, suffering: this area represents in fact the tearing of the Korean people, the drama of families of loved ones separated was unable to communicate with each other for years. An old locomotive steam engine destroyed early in the conflict and abandoned in a full DMZ was moved and restored in 2006. Perforated by more than 1,000 projectiles, it shows the tragic fate of the Korea today. The demilitarized zone is a true sanctuary for expect them natural and animals. Space having known no sign of human life for decades, it's nature which has reasserted itself, making it one of the best places in the world in the development and the conservation of the species. Some also argue that this strip of land, attractive for scientists and researchers, be classified in the world heritage of Unesco. Then we join a group in a car to access this area. The guide informs us that he must now put away our cameras and get out our passports. An officer of the South Korean army goes aboard to inspect each passenger's passports and confirms that it is strictly forbidden to take out his camera, and we are entering a zone under control of the army. The mood turns suddenly. His descent of the bus, the tent guide to lighten the mood by indicating that officers boarding the cars are chosen for their looks! First stop, the tunnel number three: four unfinished tunnels dug by the North Korea were discovered under the DMZ between the 1970s and 1990s. We visited the most known, the third discovered in 1978: long almost 2 kilometers, from a height of less than two meters, to 73 meters deep, he could pass 30,000 troops at the time. Seoul located 50 km from there would have been the likely target. Before entering store smartphones, cameras and cameras in lockers with keys, left in free service! Unloaded our bags, equipped with great helmets, we take place aboard a cable car for a slow descent of a few minutes in a tunnel so narrow and low, it is better to keep your head down: claustrophobic refrain! When one reaches down, down the train to follow in line Indian on almost 500 meters, in this section, built by the South Koreans during the discovery of the tunnel and set up for tourists, stooping very often. The ceiling being as Koreans, the round trip is indeed in a concert of "Ouch!" and knocking. At the end of the armoured doors, grids, cameras, which symbolize the demarcation of the two countries, let us imagine the rest of the tunnel under the North Korea... The ascent on foot, that climbs hard, and the expression see the end of the tunnel then all makes sense! Back to the surface, we reach the car direction... The Dora observation post, which overlooks the DMZ: it is the place that you can best observe the North Korea, peeled mountains and decrepit buildings. Again, the atmosphere is very special, solemn, strange at the sight of this forbidden territory. Indeed, in front of the concentrated military, can be observed through binoculars, North Korean farmers working in the fields. We hear traditional music from the North Korea and huge speakers emit night and day music and propaganda messages. The South Korea actually as well apparently. We notice that each country proudly the flag: the South Korea has indeed erected in 1980 a mast of 98 meters, the North Korea responded immediately with a mast of 160 meters carrying a huge flag. The "tourist circuit" continues... 3rd stop: Dorasan station. Built following the North-South Summit in 2000, this ultra modern station on the edge of the DMZ should be as a crossing point to the North Korean capital Pyongyang. Today, this almost new station symbolizes the hope of reunification. A strange climate, science fiction movie, prevails however in this hall ghost icy and sanitized. In a surreal atmosphere, the demilitarized zone, symbol of the tension between the two Koreas, became somehow a "Museum" of the cold war still present in this corner of the world. However, this tourism of war is important for Koreans, our guide to conclude "it's sad to show the wound of the country, but it is important for history."
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Where to stay in Paju

Paju offers a large amount of hotels for its visitors, with all brackets represented across the diverse urban area. Look close to the river for some of the spa and retreat options, along with hotels and guesthouses boasting luxury rooms and river views. In the urban center to the north, you'll find a good deal more standard hotels and budget options. Still, many more people head to Paju to see its sights (primarily the DMZ) on a day trip from Seoul.
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