/**/ Travel Journal: A Trip to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) From Seoul South Korea - Travel + Decor + DIY

Travel Journal: A Trip to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) From Seoul South Korea

DMZ Korea

As I mentioned in my previous blog
, I went on a solo trip to South Korea, but in the latter part of it, I was joined by some of my friends from the Philippines, and we toured Busan and Seoul together.

When I was searching for things to do in Seoul, one of the interesting activities that always popped up was a visit to the Demilitarized Zone, also known as the DMZ. Instead of doing it myself during the first leg of my Seoul trip, I asked my friends if they wanted to do it together. Apparently, it was also on their list, haha. So it was not a hard decision for us.

I skipped this and waited a few weeks before booking the tour. I met many people who had done the trip, and all of them raved about it. Some even said that our legs should be ready for the “Third Infiltration Tunnel” tour, which is the most challenging part of the tour.


The Demilitarized Zone is a buffer zone between North and South Korea. It is called such as it is a “peaceful” strip of land across the Korean Peninsula between the two nations. It was established by the Armistice Agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953.

DMZ Korea Tour Dosang Observatory

There is a Civilian Control Zone (which isn’t really part of the official DMZ) that is accessible to tourists to learn more about the history between North and South Korea.

And yes, you can see part of North Korea from this point.

We booked our tour via KLOOK Travel. As with most KLOOK bookings, this one was pretty easy. There are many DMZ Tours available. You can also book it through your hotel/hostel concierge, but at our hotel, it was a little bit complicated, so we opted to use KLOOK.

DMZ Korea Tour

DMZ Korea Tour klook freedom bridge
You can use my KLOOK Travel code KENNETHSURATKLOOK to get discount on this tour Klook.com

Because we stayed in Myeongdong, which is practically the center of the Filipino tourist destination in Seoul (lols), this is one of the pickup points for our bus. We just needed to walk from our hotel to the metro station.

Where I stayed in Seoul: 

Important Notes:

  • You need to bring your passport as it will be collected and needed during a checkpoint before entering the DMZ. It was a quick checkpoint, so you should not be alarmed or anything.
  • For the dress code, we were not asked to dress a certain way. I think just wear something comfortable. We went during the latter part of autumn, so we wore coats and long pants.
  • There are shops for souvenirs, and most (if not all) accept international cards. I didn’t encounter a shop without a card machine.

The moment our bus arrived in the “allowed zone,” I am sure all of us were thinking about that particular scene in "Crash Landing on You." This moment alone made us feel that we got our ROI already.

DMZ Korea Tour
View of the check point between South Korea and North Korea from the bus

I don’t know if it is just me, but the whole feel of the DMZ is the idea that someday, this border will not exist anymore, and people can freely go to both countries without any restrictions. But as we all know, as of now, that is still far from reality.

Here are the things we did during our time in the DMZ:


Imjingak Park is the starting point of our tour. It is on the edge of the Civilian Control Zone. I think all tours around the DMZ go here. This is where we see a lot of memorial sites that serve as an introduction to what you’ll expect in the DMZ and the conflict between the North and South.

DMZ Korea Tour Freedom Bridge
Freedom Bridge


  • Freedom Bridge
  • Mangbaedan Altar
  • Peace Bell
  • Steam Locomotive at Jangdan Station
  • Imjingak Pavilion
  • DMZ Ecology Park

DMZ Korea Tour imjingak parkA preserved train that was used to travel between North and South Korea. There is still the hope that someday this "iron horse will run again"

With our guide, we walked around Imjingak Park. What really caught my attention was the statue of two girls beside an empty chair. These symbolize the numerous young girls that were used as comfort women during the Japanese occupation. As a Filipino, we also had this part of our history; this might be the reason why these statues struck a chord in me.

DMZ Korea Tour imjingak park comfort women
The statues of two young Korean girls as a memoriam to comfort women during the Japanese occupation

DMZ Korea Tour imjingak park

DMZ Korea Tour imjingak park

DMZ Korea Tour imjingak park
Steam Locomotive at Jangdan Station

If you want a piece of North Korea, there is also a small stall that sells North Korean money (which at this point I forgot where I kept it, huhuh).

DMZ Korea Tour imjingak park
North Korean money that you can buy as souvenir


This is where you need a lot of stamina and endurance. It is roughly a 350-meter walk inside a tunnel that was supposed to be secretly dug by North Koreans under the DMZ to send troops to the South.

There was a short film detailing the history of the tunnel. According to the information given to us, there are several tunnels like this around the border that were discovered.

While the Third Infiltration Tunnel can be accessed by tourists (well, just part of it), we were not allowed to bring our phones and cameras. It is also a narrow tunnel, so we needed helmets (which they provided) to avoid accidental head injuries.


Our last major stop was the Dora Observatory. This is one of the most surreal experiences in the DMZ, as you can see parts of North Korea from the observatory.

DMZ Korea Tour dora observatory

DMZ Korea Tour dora observatory
There is a cafe where you can wait for other tour group members...or have a group photo with the city of  Kaesong as your background

There are binoculars provided, and you can see a North Korean flag and a South Korean flag. A fun story from our guide: they said that both countries tried their best to build the highest flagpole, and at one point, the South Koreans just gave up and stopped the pettiness (I don’t know how true this one is, haha). But according to my Google search, currently, the North Korean flag stands at 160m high, while the South Korean is 98m high.

DMZ Korea Tour dora observatory
Aside from binoculars, there is also a digital screen/camera that can zoom in to the direction you want to see 

DMZ Korea Tour dora observatory

From the binoculars provided, you can see the Kaesong Region, which is the southernmost city of North Korea. At one point, I might have seen some people walking around also.

DMZ Korea Tour dora observatory kaesong city north korea
South Korean flag that stands around 98m

DMZ Korea Tour dora observatory kaesong city north korea
North Korean flag that stands around 160m

DMZ Korea Tour dora observatory kaesong city north koreaThe city of Kaesong

After all the sites, we went to a small market to buy some souvenirs. I got some ginseng extract as this is famous in the region…so ok, why not.

DMZ Korea Tour dora observatory kaesong city north korea
Bought this ginseng extract as a souvenir

It is indeed a very interesting attraction to see/book. As a tourist, this is something that, for most of us, is a “fun experience.” Walking where a momentous history happened, taking photos, and buying souvenirs. But if you think about it, the DMZ is a reminder that the conflict between these two nations is not yet resolved. There are still families that got separated due to this conflict.

DMZ Korea Tour

DMZ Korea Tour

I find that visiting such a place is not just an attraction but an eye-opener that there are people who are still stripped of the same freedom that we take for granted every day.

DMZ Korea Tour


*Some of the links in the blog are affiliate links which help me keep this blog running. If you support and use these links, I will appreciate it so much.

*Accommodations are based only on the ones I used. These are budget hotels, hostels, and guesthouses, and the prices are fairly reasonable for what they offer. Most of these accommodations are located in town centers and are accessible to bus stations and train stations, which were the criteria for my chosen lodging.

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