What you see on a DMZ tour: North Korean signal that shocked me

I’ve had some moderately memorable experiences abroad.

I’ve had the male model of a “vagina steam” at one in every of Gwyneth Paltrow’s favorite spas in LA, and I’ve watched useless our bodies being cremated on the banks of the Ganges in India.

However neither of these in comparison with my latest go to to the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, which Invoice Clinton as soon as referred to as “the scariest place on earth”.

It was unhappy, it was confronting, it was weird and it was even barely amusing due to an outrageous signal I noticed in North Korea (extra on that later).

What’s the DMZ?

The DMZ is essentially the most closely militarised border on earth, with hundreds of troops on both aspect and loads of landmines in between, making it one of the crucial surreal vacationer locations on the earth.

It’s primarily a buffer zone (250km lengthy and 4km large) that was established between North and South Korea within the Fifties after the Korean Conflict and was designed to cease an invasion of North Korea from the south and vice versa.

And it’s nonetheless very a lot wanted, in response to Dr Leonid Petrov from The Australian Nationwide College.

“Kim Jong-un would like to invade and destroy South Korea earlier than unifying the nation however two points cease him,” Dr Petrov instructed information.com.au.

“Firstly, the ROK (South Korea) is a US ally and instant navy retaliation is more likely to trigger chaos in North Korea and probably result in the South-led unification of the nation.

“Secondly, even when the US doesn’t assist the ROK and North Korea prevails in its navy marketing campaign towards the South, Kim Jong-un can have a severe hassle in ruling the 50 million compatriots who communicate, behave and suppose in another way in comparison with their northern brothers and sisters.”

What are you able to truly see on the DMZ?

The DMZ is about 50 km from Seoul and may solely be visited as a part of a guided tour.

Most excursions final between 5 to seven hours and embrace stops at a number of completely different places.

For my part, there have been two major highlights.

The primary was Dora Observatory, the place you may stand on prime of a viewing platform and use binoculars to peek into North Korea.

I used to be capable of spot some North Koreans using bicycles and dealing in a discipline, and in addition obtained a glimpse on the notorious Kijong-dong, which is named the ‘propaganda village’.

“The North Korean authorities says the village comprises a 200-family collective farm, a childcare centre, colleges, and a hospital,” Seoul Metropolis tour information Grace Cho instructed me.

“Nonetheless, the South says it’s a faux, uninhabited village constructed within the Nineteen Seventies in a propaganda effort to encourage South Korean defection, and to deal with native troopers.”

That’s not the one piece of propaganda seen in North Korea from the Dora Observatory.

On clear days, vacationers also can see an indication on a mountain in North Korea’s Kaesong metropolis which says: “Our nation is the very best”.

Fairly a daring declare for a rustic that’s rumoured to be battling a famine so severe that persons are ravenous to demise.

By the binoculars, vacationers also can see huge flagpoles on either side of the DMZ, flagpoles which completely reveal the petty one-upmanship between the 2 international locations.

You see, South Korea constructed a 100 metre tall flagpole with a 130kg flag on their aspect of the DMZ within the Eighties, and North Korea responded by constructing a 160 metre tall flagpole with a 270kg flag.

Something you are able to do, we will do higher …

The opposite spotlight of the DMZ tour was a go to to one of many 4 found tunnels that North Korea has dug into South Korea, allegedly for the aim of a shock invasion.

“There are believed to be a minimum of 10-20 extra tunnels that haven’t been found but,” Ms Cho instructed me, with the South Korean armed forces nonetheless dedicating sources to discovering and destroying them.

The third tunnel, which I visited, was found within the Nineteen Seventies and lies 73 metres under floor, stretching greater than 400 metres into South Korea from the navy demarcation line.

Vacationers are allowed to stroll down a steep ramp for a glimpse contained in the tunnel (no images are allowed).

How are you going to get to South Korea?

Jetstar has been flying direct from Sydney to Seoul for simply over a 12 months, providing three return flights each week.

Because of sturdy demand, a fourth return flight shall be obtainable from February subsequent 12 months, and across the identical time Jetstar may also launch a brand new route between Brisbane and


This author travelled to South Korea as a visitor of Jetstar

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