One of the must-visit places for English teachers in Korea is the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone).. It is an experience that introduces you to the only country that is still divided in the world today. The best part about this tour is the opportunity to visit one of the four discovered underground tunnels that were dug by North Korea to target Seoul in a secret attack. Of course the thought of a war still freaks most of us out, but we are pretty persuaded that there will not be a war (an extremely slight chance).
Of the four underground tunnels that were discovered, the last one was turned into a popular tourist location. A foreign passport is required for entry and depending on the tour company that you travel with, you will visit a variety of different locations within the DMZ. All tours cover the basic grounds which include the underground tunnel that you can visit. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because you will walk down a steep tunnel to reach the underground tunnel. In addition, the hike up can be quite a challenge.
It has been claimed that the USO tour is the best, being able to visit more locations and getting closer to the North Korean base. That and the fact that the USO is so excited for their job makes the experience the touch greater, so does the price. Regardless of which tour company you go with, be sure to make this visit, you will not regret it. Not only will you learn about the two countries, but you will be able to actually experience a underground tunnel which is not likely in many areas.
It still amazes me that there are already four discovered underground tunnels, yet there can be many more that have not been discovered yet. I definitely recommend making a visit to the DMZ, especially if you are not from China. Only those from China are able to physically visit North Korea. As for everyone else, we are only able to get as close as the DMZ.
Be sure to also pick up ginseng products because Korea is known for their ginseng, especially in North Korea. North Korea has the best ginseng in the world. At the DMZ, they sell ginseng tea, candy and even a beauty product which I picked up. For just the price of $20, I had to get two ginseng BB creams for souvenirs. BB cream is extremely popular in Asian countries and ginseng is one of the best products for beauty and it is on the higher end of the market. Step outside of the box and try something new, you never know what you'll find!
A recommendation to make is to go with USO, the American tour. You get to actually go inside of the military office and "step" into North Korea zone. Of course, you will have to sign papers to acknowledge the fact that you are putting your life in danger, but hey, when else will you go to North Korea in the near future?
Check out Cindy’s blog to get a glimpse of what Korea has to offer!