Blogs from Panmunjom, North Korea, Asia

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Asia » North Korea » Panmunjom October 5th 2018

Another early start as we were heading down to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). After another filling breakfast in the 'pink room', we headed out to board the bus. It seemed to take ages for us to get going. That was a bit annoying as our guides had said it was better to get to the DMZ early. We drove out of the city and onto the Reunification Highway, which connects Pyongyang with the Joint Securtiy Area at the DMZ. The highway runs for around 170 kilometres, but due to the conditions of the road, it would take about three hours or so to reach the DMZ. The route also passes through/besides the towns of Kaeseong and Sariwon, which would visit on the return journey. Construction of the highway began in 1987 and was finished on the ... read more
Arch of Reunification
DMZ
DMZ

Asia » North Korea » Panmunjom February 6th 2014

Yes, according to the local tour guide I was the first Italian to visit the northern North Korean city of Sinuiju! What an honor! I am a pioneer to where nobody except myself and Chinese tourists looking for bear bile want to go! I know you are enthusiastic about these news but just try to keep it calm and finish reading before the party starts! During my stay in the DPRK I had my chance to visit the "other" North Korea, i.e. places outside the showcase capital Pyongyang. Luckily I could go to the southern city of Kaesong, which used to be the capital of the whole peninsula back in the days, as well as visit the border town Sinuiju in the extreme north of the country. Of course with my government minders but hey, something ... read more
Pyongyang to Sinuiju
Sinuiju
Sinuiju

Asia » North Korea » Panmunjom August 24th 2012

So.....that was intense! I'd read in a few reviews that the atmosphere at the border was supposed to be quite tense but it is definitely one of those things that you have to experience in person. And on a plus it turns out I'm the perfect height for tunnel warfare. We travelled by coach from the USO office in Seoul, based next to the US base, and drove for about an hour and a half to the DMZ (Demiliterized Zone) to begin the tour. There was no mistaking that we were in the right place. The road is a mass of wire fences, barbed wire, road blocks and is heavily armed by South Korean soldiers. Once through the checkpoint we drove over a bridge known as 'Reunification Bridge'. There was a lot of perhaps over optimistical ... read more

Asia » North Korea » Panmunjom April 2nd 2011

Last weekend I went to North Korea! It was probably the coolest thing I've ever done. First we took a bus up from one of the military bases in Seoul up to the Panmunjom, which is the area between North Korea and South Korea. We had to watch a short video that was both informative and funny, in that it was a sort of propaganda. I already knew North Korea is messed up. I didn't need to be constantly reminded. Then we went to the Joint Security Area, which is the only area where North Korean and South Korean soldiers look directly at each other. While we were taking pictures of North Korea and their buildings, some North Korean soldiers started filing out of their building, which made our security escort nervous, which made ME nervous. ... read more
sp1 027
sp1 030

Asia » North Korea » Panmunjom October 2nd 2010

This would be my last full day in North Korea. Unfortunately, due to the extortionate prices charged to visit this secluded republic, my meagre teaching wages couldn’t afford a longer stay. Again leaving the hotel at the crack of dawn, with other buses and their armed escorts waiting for Workers Party members in the hotel car park, we were on our way to what many call the most guarded place on Earth: Panmunjom. Panmunjom was once a village on the border between South and North Korea. This was the place where the 1953 Armistice Treaty was signed, which halted the Korean War. With the creation of the 250km long and 4km wide de-militarized zone (DMZ), inhabitants left Panmunjom. Falling in to ruin, the village eventually disappeared from view. Now it’s one of the safest places you ... read more
Panmunjom
Pyongyang to Panmunjom
Pyongyang Reunification Monument

Asia » North Korea » Panmunjom August 20th 2010

The DMZ On the the 3rd day of the trip, we made our way to one of the most surreal tourist attractions in the world - the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which separates North and South Korea. We had to wake up earlier than expected and depart at 7:30am, because the tour guides received information that the DMZ would be closed in the afternoon due to an "event". (Later I found out from the news that the "event" referred to the return of South Korean pastor Han Sang-Ryol from North Korea. Pastor Han arrived at North Korea in June and paid a two-month visit (which included a meeting with DPRK's number two leader, Kim Yong-nam). After he returned to South Korea via the DMZ on 20 Aug, he was arrested because South Korea's "security law" prohibited its ... read more
General Lecture Room (Beside the entrance to DMZ)
Map of the current border in the General Lecture Room
Map of Panmunjom in the General Lecture Room

Asia » North Korea » Panmunjom June 28th 2010

Altough I had read many blogs about trips from South Korea side to the Korean Demilitarized Zone, having the opportunity to visit this historic & still front page news site from the North Korea side had somehow awaken once more my curiosity!! So, on this Sunday menu…. As a starter, a great two and half hours drive all the way from Pyongyang across the countryside For the main course, the visit of the Joint Security Area (Panmunjom), the room where the armistice was signed (on North Korean territory) and its small museum Finally, as a dessert, a fantastic "picnic" Koryo dynasty style along the waterfall of Kaesong forest followed by a small hike and some fun in the waterfall pool. This trip was as well the occasion to spend some quality time with the entire team ... read more
ok guess I would have been waiting for a while...
At the entrance of the bulding where the armistice was signed
North & South

Asia » North Korea » Panmunjom September 8th 2009

Within the North Korean psyche, nothing is more despised than imperialist aggressors. Those evil, external forces that threaten to usurp the Juche idea of self-reliance, and besmirch the Great Leader. Public enemy number one in this regard are the US - and they have held this title for the past sixty years, when they overtook Japan (and their imperialist efforts in the first half of the twentieth century) as the most despised nation. It was rare to hear the word “US” or “American” without the phrase “Imperialist Aggressors” spat out immediately after. This term was so common that I would automatically say the words “imperialist aggressors” in the rare instances when our hosts forgot to add this sobriquet to any reference to the US. This always received a nod of approval from our Guide and Official. ... read more
Captured US weapons and gear - Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, Pyongyang, North Korea
The tables where the Korean War armistice was signed - Panmunjom, North Korea
The North's view of the Korean War

Asia » North Korea » Panmunjom June 22nd 2004

Thursday 17th June –Sokcho – Seoul Our first task was to find an Internet café so we could print out our Russian invitation letters to take them with us to the embassy tomorrow. We managed to find an Internet place with a printer and printed off some copies, so that was easy for once. We than went for a walk around Itaewon, there are yanks everywhere, and lots blacks as well, who aren’t soldiers, with their “rap” clothes and beaded hair. Naturally everyone thinks we are Americans too. You can use both Korean won and USD everywhere including the McDonalds. For tea, we had hot dogs and then wandered back to our hotel, avoiding the hookers, Tony is not allowed out by himself!! Friday 18th ... read more
Traditional mounted warrior
Outside the Seoul War Memorial
This gun takes me back to my Army days

Asia » North Korea » Panmunjom December 30th 1986

The demilitarized zone forms the heavily guarded border between North and South Korea, and it is the most dangerous and volatile border in the world. In fact the DMZ is often referred to as the most dangerous place on earth. An uneasy truce prevails between the soldiers of the North and the South, who are assisted by 60,000 US troops. Although the Korean war ended in 1953 a peace treaty has never been signed and the official status of the two armies is still classified as a ceasefire. As you can imagine, this is a very serious hot spot in the world, and it was with some trepidation that I signed up for a tour of the DMZ from Seoul that was run in conjunction with the US military. We climbed into the bus, dear reader, ... read more
Nice temple
By the lake
Temple spire




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