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Unless you have been living in a cave, you already know about North and South Korea. Well, why not visit the demilitarized zone between the two countries.
The Korean War has to be one of the longest in the history of man. While I don't know whether that it necessarily true, it has to be up there on the list. Why? Well, it officially never ended.
The Korean War was one of those indirect wars between the USSR and United States during the Cold War era. Although the countries never officially went to war, they would do battle indirectly through other countries. Korea was one such place. The intricacies of that war are beyond this article, but the important thing is to understand how it all ended. It didn't!
In 1953, hostilities stopped and negotiations began. An agreement could never be reaches, but hostilities did not restart. The end all of the process was you now have a demilitarized zone dividing South Korea and North Korea. The zone is little more than a mile wide. There are no troops in it, but plenty of land mines and other nasty things. On either side of the zone, there are troops. Lots of them.
The rather odd thing about the Demilitarized Zone is it has become a tourist attraction. There is no fighting whatsoever. As such, you can take tours where you learn the history of the war, the negotiations and how things stand now. You can also take a guided tour up and down the line from which you can see North Korean troops on the other side of the zone. Your guide will tell you not to waive and so on, but then does it himself. It is all so surreal, it is a bit difficult to take it all in.
One of the more odd elements of the visiting the zone is actually getting there. You can sign up with a variety of tour companies. They will then take you out to the zone along the Freedom Road. Pay attention as you traverse it. Things go from a lively country to near silence as you approach the zone. It will make your skin crawl.
Obviously, visiting a demilitarized zone is not for everyone. If you are looking for something different, however, this definitely fits the bill.
About the Author
Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - makers of travel journals to preserve your travel experiences.
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