This tour allows you to learn more about the history and culture of Korean and is ideal for those with limited time to explore the major highlights of the city. In this trip, you will be visiting two major attractions of South Korea.
In the morning, you will visit the Demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea. Here, you will get to learn about the history of the war and how people still hope for peaceful unification. After lunch, you will be visiting Seoul’s historic spots, including the Gyeongbokgung Palace and Insadong Alley.
The tour goes like this
Half-Day DMZ Tour [Hotel→ Imjingak Park → Freedom Bridge → Pass by Unification Village → DMZ Theater → Exhibition Hall → The 3rd Infiltration Tunnel → Dorasan Observatory → Dorasan Train Station → Imjingak Park→ Lunch → Gyeongbokgung Palace (Changdeokgung Palace on Tuesday) → Insadong Antique Shop Alley
The demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea is one of the most heavily guarded borders in the world. The demilitarized zone has territory on both sides of the cease-fire line as it existed at the end of the Korean War and formed by retreating the own forces along each side of the line. The zone stretches for about 150miles across the peninsula, from the Han River on the west coast to the south of the Kosong of North Korea on the east coast. This is the site used for peace discussions during the Korean War and still is the location for conferences over issues involving North and South Korea, their allies, and the United Nations. The north and south areas of DMZ has large contingents of troops and are heavily fortified. In 1966, when the U.S. president Lyndon B. Jhonson was visiting Seoul, North Korean infiltrators ambushed an American patrol about 800 meters south of the DMZ, which sparked a low-intensity conflict and hundreds of Koreans and dozens of Americans lost their lives over the next three years. The conflict reached a peak in 1968 when a 31-man North Korean commando team crossed the DMZ and tried to assassinate South Korean President Park Chung-Hee. A few days later, North Korean patrol boats captured a U.S. Navy Intelligence ship with its 83 crewmen. Then, the United States responded by increasing counter-guerrilla patrols along the DMZ by offering 100 million USD security assistance to create an anti-infiltration fence that ran the length of the DMZ. Again in 1976, tension rose when a routine tree-pruning operation brought the peninsula close to open war. For few months out of a year, a poplar tree blocked the view between a U.N. observation post in the P’anmunjŏm Joint Security Area and a U.N. guardhouse referred to as Checkpoint 3 (CP 3) at the Bridge of No Return. Then, the North Korean Soldiers attempted to kidnap U.N. and South Korean troops who were posted there. Finally, in 1976, U.N. and South Korea dispatched a squad of enlisted men, two U.S. Army officers, a South Korean Officer, and a crew of South Korean auxiliaries to trim the tree. One thing led to another, and conflict occurred when two American officers lost their lives, and many U.N. troops were severely wounded. Then, the U.S. and South Korea launched an operation with more than 300 officers with overflights of fighter aircraft, B-52 bombers, and dozens of assault helicopters to trip the tree. Due to the international repercussion from communist and non-aligned nations, violent incidents along the DMZ decreased sharply over the following decades. Since the end of hostilities, the DMZ has remained untouched and has returned to nature to a huge extent, making it one of the most natural undeveloped areas in Asia. The zone serves as a sanctuary for hundreds of species of birds, including the endangered red-crowned cranes and white-naped, and also is home to many fish species, Asiatic black bears, lynxes, and other mammals. The major threats for the habitat of the zone are the remaining over a million landmines and other unexploded ordnance.
Gyeongbokgung Palace, built in 1395, is also known as the Northern Palace due to its location in the furthest north compared to other neighboring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeonghuigung (Western Palace) Palace. Among the largest five palaces of South Korea, Gyeongbokgung Palace is undoubtedly the most beautiful palace. During the Imjin War, the premises were once destroyed; however, King Gojong restored all of the palace buildings under the leadership of Heungseondaewongun. One of the must-see things in the palace is the Ceremony of Changing Royal Guards. This ceremony takes place at the top of every hour at 10 am and 3 pm. This ceremony takes about 10minutes from start to finish and is a popular tourist attraction. This ceremony features lots of bright colors and is always fun to watch. There is also Gyeonghoeru Pavillion, which is one of the most beautiful pavilions in the palace. It is a banquet hall formerly used when any foreign visitors visited the royal family. The building stands above a man-made lake and is stunning. You can also visit two museums at Gyeongbokgung Palace; The National Palaces Museum of Korea and The National Folk Museum of Korea. The National Palaces Museum of Korea lies on the other side of the central courtyards and is dedicated to the royal palaces of Korea. This two-story museum can give you a lot of information regarding the traditions of the royal family and the history of Korea. This museum will also give you a lot of information about Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Korean royal family. The National Folk Museum lies on the right-hand side near the back of Gyeongbokgung Palace, and you can access it either from the inside of the palace or from the sidewalk. The museum has its exhibits on both inside and outsides, with outdoor showing old buildings and stores. The museum displays a lot of the cultural and folk aspects of Korean culture, and children seem to enjoy it.