No, I didn’t get to visit Gangnam. No, I didn’t even go shopping at Insadong. No, I didn’t check out the campus at the all girls university. But I did visit Panmunjom / JSA / DMZ between DPRK (North Korea) and ROK (South Korea).
A very surreal experience, it’s been a while since I got really excited over a guided tour.
The building in the back is officially in North Korea territory. This is definitely the highlight of the trip. Gone are the days where you get to walk in a room with both sides of the solders staring each other down. (A surely intense and potentially escalating situation.)
Now, when one side goes in with toursists, door to the other side is locked to prevent any encounters. We were allowed to take pictures once inside the blue room. The middle of the room sat a table, with one side of it on DPRK soil and the other side belonging to ROK.
Outside there is a clear marking of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) shown with the concert slab. Left side being in the North and right side in the South.
Another cool site is Dorasan station. It’s part of an ambitious project meant to connect Seoul and Pyongyang by train. The construction started but got cancelled indefinitely with the passing of Kim Jobg Il about 5 years back.
Glad to see the South having a sense of humor/ adventure though, and turning this station into a tourism spot.
You can buy tickets to enter the station. Supposedly, K Rail will also honor these tickets as a one way ride to Pyongyang should it ever be completed one day.
When I find some spare time, gotta re-read operation Paul Bunyan again. Highly recommended reading.