Blogs from Panmunjom, South Korea, Asia

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Asia » South Korea » Panmunjom November 4th 2011

Two years after my eight-day exploration of the surreal Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) it was time to visit their Southern neighbours, the Republic of Korea, and to compare the divergent paths of a region cleaved by politics and power. My arrival held a few nervous moments for evidence of my North Korean travels (in the form of entry and exit stamps from Dandong in China) could be found in my passport, which may have resulted in a few questions. Thankfully, these stamps were not discovered and all proceeded smoothly. The differences for the traveller between the two Koreas are immense. In the South a foreigner is embraced instead of feared; the result of one society immersing itself in the international community, the antithesis of the hermit kingdom on the other side. In the ... read more
Flags of the 21 UN countries who participated in the Korean War - War Memorial of Korea, Seoul, South Korea
Captured North Korean submarine - Unification Park, near Gangneung, South Korea
Guard post overlooks the ocean and the cpatured North Korean submarine - Unification Park, near Gangneung, South Korea

Asia » South Korea » Panmunjom November 3rd 2007

No visit to South Korea would be complete without taking advantage of the opportunity to step inside the empire of Kim Jong Il ... even if it is only a couple of steps into the North ... and under the protection of the Joint Services Area (JSA) personnel. I decided to do a tour with the USO (United Services Organisation) as this tour guarantees a visit to Panmunjom and is about a 3rd of the price of some of the other tours. It did mean an early start as the tour leaves from one of the US bases in Seoul, Camp Kim at 7.30am. The drive by bus along the Hangang River starts to set the scene as all along the river are a couple of rows of razor wire lining the banks with manned security ... read more
The Briefing
Panmunjeom
The Border

Asia » South Korea » Panmunjom May 21st 2006

It's a must see. You need to do it, get the t-shirt, like the pyramids or the Great Wall. It is the thing people ask you if you saw when you go to Korea. So I climbed my sleepy suburban ass out of bed bright and early and took the bus to the big ol' city in a wild pack of teachers, all chomping at the bit for a bit of "fresh air". Everyone said it would be a long day. Uh, yep, they were right. Apparently they needed to tell Jen that staying out all night drinking the night before would significantly increase the length of the day. It begins at dawn, quite literally, and slowly works its way throught the day. I believe the buss pulled back into the USO station in Seoul around ... read more
ROK soldiers
The JSA, looking onto North Korean "teritory"
The JSA, looking onto North Korean \"teritory\"

Asia » South Korea » Panmunjom May 6th 2006

This past weekend I went on the DMZ Tour with the Korean Conflict class. Even though I had already been to North Korea, I thought taking advantage of this opportunity would be educational. We woke up bright and early and left on the 1-hour bus ride to the Joint Security Area (JSA). It was cold and rainy, but over 90 people still showed up to go. At the JSA, both North and South Korean armed forces co-exist in the same work environment. Though it is common to see troops from the North in the JSA, this by no means takes away from the seriousness and constant threat that exists between the two groups. There is no harmony, only the necessary respect that comes with wanting to keep peace and doing one's job. Both sides are allowed ... read more
South Korean Soldier
JSA
Panmungak of North Korea




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