DMZ and Deoksugung

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EN: Well, this is it, I finally visited the unfamous Demilitarized Zone, which acts as a “problem bumper” between the North and the South Koreas. I ordered the bus tour from one of the local travel agencies, the half-day trip took roughly 6 hours including transport from and to DMZ and it cost only around 40 eur.

The itinerary was quite simple: First we reached the zone itself, we went through passport control, then we headed to the Third Infiltration Tunnel, which was discovered by the South Koreans in 1978 – the lads from the North wanted to used it for the invasion. Unfortunately for them, their plot was discovered.

I could not take any pictures inside of the tunnel, since it is prohibited and we had to leave all of our belongings, including mobile phones, inside of the lockers. It is quite understandable, since if everyone started to take pictures and the overly popular “selfies” inside of the small tunnel, it would remain jammed for hours. It was not easy to get down there, it is bad for anyone’s knees, since there is another tunnel leading to “the” tunnel – it is roughly 300m long and the descent is pretty steep. The way up was even more tiring, plenty of people had to take several breaks – definitely not a place for someone completely out of shape (I did it without stop, heavily breathing on the top – not nice in +35 and high humidity).

The second stop was the Dora observatory, from which we could see the North Korean land, the well-known Kaesong Industrial Area and the city of Kaesong. When we had enough of those views, we moved to our last stop – the Dorasan Station, which is brand new and is supposed to connect both countries once the war (they are technically still in it) is over. And then we headed back home. It was a nice experience and even the suffering in the tunnel was definitely worth it. If you are claustrophobic or you have other health problems, do not even attempt to go there.

When I reached Seoul, I stopped at the Deoksugung Palace, just to cross it out of my travel plans and I took some pictures.

SK: Tak dnes k tomu konečne došlo – navštívil som DMZ, teda demilitarizovanú zónu medzi Severnou a Južnou Kóreou. Vzhľadom na to, že zo Soulu je to iba krátka cesta, nebol žiaden problém objednať si výlet s jednou z lokálnych cestovných spoločností, ktorý trval asi 6 hodín a stál iba približne 40 eur. Pre vstup do DMZ potrebujete bez výnimky pas, pozor na to.

Program výletu bol vcelku jednoduchý – prvým krokom bola návšteva tunela číslo tri (Third Infiltration Tunnel), ktorý vytvorili Severní Kórejci s cieľom infiltrácie do krajiny svojho južného suseda. Južania doteraz objavili štyri takéto tunely, s rôznou vzdialenosťou od Soulu. V tuneli boli fotky zakázané, ešte pred zostupom sme museli všetky naše veci nechať v bezpečnostných skrinkách. Zostup nie je jednoduchý, pretože na samotný malý tunel nadväzuje jeden väčší, ktorým sa ľudia dostanú dole, je dlhý asi 300m a klesanie je značne prudké – nič príjemné pre kolená. Návrat späť je ešte horší, prevýšenie je značné a šliapať 300 metrov stále hore si u mnohých vyžiadalo viacero prestávok (môžem sa pochváliť – ja som sa úplne hore vyštveral bez zastávky, ale dýchal som ako po poriadne dlhej cyklistickej túre a v teplote +35 stupňov a s vysokou vlhkosťou to teda nebola žiadna výhra). Ak máte klaustrofóbiu alebo iné vážnejšie zdravotné problémy, tomuto sa radšej vyhnite, hoci ide o unikátny zážitok.

Druhou zastávkou bola vyhliadková plošina Dora, z ktorej môžu turisti vidieť časť Severnej Kórey, známu industriálnu zónu Kaesong, o ktorej sa hovorilo v správach aj u nás a aj samotné mesto Kaesong. Treťou a zároveň poslednou zastávkou bola úplne nová železničná stanica Dorasan, ktorá čaká na moment, kedy medzi obomi krajinami nastane mier (technicky sú totiž stále vo vojne). Potom už nasledoval návrat domov a krátka zastávka v paláci Deoksugung, odkiaľ je taktiež zopár fotiek.

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