The Serious Side of Seoul

This is the 2nd post about my trip to Seoul with a focus on the history and culture of South Korea.

Changdeokgung Palace: one of the Joseon Dynasty palaces. Its renowned for its traditional architecture and gardens, and we spent a relaxing afternoon here admiring the beautiful pavilions, woodland and ponds.

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It was quite surreal going to the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ). Its surrounded by electric fences, land mines and soldiers. Think about it: you’re in the strip of land separating North Korea and South Korea.

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We put on our hard hats and walked inside the 3rd tunnel, 73m underneath the DMZ. This tunnel was dug by the North Koreans for a surprise attack, and it was discovered by the South Koreans in 1978. Apparently the North Koreans then painted the walls of the tunnel black and claimed it was a coal mine. So far 4 tunnels have been found under the DMZ. We walked for 265m to the end of the tunnel (which is now blocked with a triple concrete wall) but it felt a lot longer than that! The taller of us were hunched over and knocking their hard hats on the rocky ceiling. I’m quite short, so I was walking fairly comfortably.

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Entrance to the 3rd tunnel

There’s also an option to go to the Joint Security Area (JSA) which will take you even closer to North Korea. It is a really restricted area and you can only go via an organised tour. We didn’t go due to time constraints but it would have been an experience!


We went to the War Memorial of Korea for completeness. It is the #1 thing to do in Seoul according to TripAdvisor. Its quite big and has a good collection on the Korean War. Outside the building, they have military tanks, helicopters and planes which are quite cool.

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Bye Seoul.

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JUL 2013

Suitcase Bunny x

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