The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a 4-kilometre wide belt stretching 250km, splits the Korean peninsula in half, creating a buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea. Technically, the countries are still at war – so “demilitarised” is a bit of an overstatement. Think 1 million North Korean troops, 700,000 South Korean and nearly 30,000 Americans. As they say, they is no ‘D’ in the DMZ.
What to know: don’t expect to see the impressive war stage: the zone consists of merely a few buildings and an observatory desk, from which you get a glimpse of the other side. From the potentially exciting moments: getting a selfie with the North Korean military and listening to the North Korean side of the story – on war, capitalism and world order. Prepare to be amazed.
When to go: open throughout the year. As long as there is no rising tension between the countries you should be pretty safe. Talk to Young Pioneers about organizing a tour – the guys are pretty awesome.
How to book: technically, DMZ can be visited from both sides, but those are very different experiences. South Korean offers more tour options but is often cited as way too touristy. North Korean comes in a set package and can only be included as part of the longer trip. It is also supposed to be a much more exciting – after all you are visiting the most closed country in the world. The choice is yours to make.
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