North Korea, the most closed country in the world, synonym of torture and dictatorship raises some interest from foreigners. This enigmatic country doesn’t give any information to the outside world and maintain an inexplicable mystery.
Obviously, foreigners can’t go to North Korea as tourists or if they go the trip will be regulated and you’ll not discover the real North Korea. Despite the fact of going in North Korea I went to its border.
My first stop on my trip to learn more about North Korea was the unification observatory. This place is basically a high building on top of a mountain and is in front of North Korea. Indeed, a river is dividing the North Korea and South Korea parts. There you can look through binoculars and see the North Koreans working in the fields. Of course, you can’t see precisely people but you can still see them, their houses…
One of the most interesting parts of this trip was in the bus which guided us. A North Korean women who escaped North Korea one year ago was with us. She explained to us why she left North Korea, her journey through China, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand before coming in South Korea. She gave us a lot of details and she had a touching story. However, I will not tell it here because a part of her family is still in North Korea and if they find them, the North Korean government will kill them (or at least put them in working camps).
Another stop on this tour was the bridge of freedom. We stayed about 15 minutes there and it was enough. It’s a bridge between North and South Korea which before connected both lands. Nowadays, the bridge is close and nobody can go on it. Instead of crossing the bridge people put some Korean flag or ribbon. It symbolizes the hope of unification between North and South Korea.
Finally, the last stop is the one that everyone was waiting for : Panmunjon or JSA tour. Once the checking of all the passports by the militaries is done you’ll go in a UN bus to start the tour. The first thing that militaries (from USA and South Korea) told us was all the rules to follow. There are many rules but the most important ones are to not wave or point with your finger North Korean soldiers.
We finally arrived at the place where North and South Korean soldiers are face to face. (the slogan of the militaries there is “face them all”). The soldiers which have these jobs are the most trained one. They should not move under any circumstances and look their enemy in the eye all the day long .
We also could visit the room of negotiations because there were no North Koreans inside. If there is North Koreans inside the room, the door is lock and you can’t visit it. In the middle of the room, on the central table, there is a string which separate North and South Korea. This is the only place where you can cross the border and go to North Korea.
Here the end of my tour of the DMZ. The day wasn’t funny but really interesting and full of emotions.
Published by Tina Meunier