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Visiting the Demilitarized Zone in Korea

Visiting the Demilitarized Zone in Korea   by Rick Chapo

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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.

South Korean Rok Guard, Dmz, Demilitarized Zone, Seoul, South Korea
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South Korean ROK Soldier, Dmz, Seoul, South Korea
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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.

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About the Author: Rick Chapo is with - makers of rugged travel journals
A Bridge in Busan
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Busan Metropolitan City, also known as Pusan, is the largest port city in the Republic of Korea. With a population of about 3.65 million, Busan is also South Korea's second largest metropolis, after Seoul. The densely populated city is situated in the narrow Nakdonggang valley, with mountains separating some of the various districts. 

Busan was the host city of the 2002 Asian Games and APEC 2005. 

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It was also one of the host cities for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and is the center for international conventions in Korea. Administratively, it is designated as a Metropolitan City. On November 14, 2005, the city officially announced its bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics Games.


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Kukje Hotel Busan
Offering high quality service with comfortable accommodation, the Kukje Hotel is an ideal place for business and leisure travellers.  The Kukje Hotel is centrally located in Busan's business district. The hotel is within 10 minutes drive from Busan passenger terminal and 7 minutes from the Busan Station.  Take pleasure in the spacious guest rooms and suites that have been provided with modern amenities to ensure you a comfortable stay.  Guests can enjoy brewed coffee, fruit juice and some delicious light snacks at the hotel's coffee shop.  After a tiring day of business or sightseeing, you can pamper yourself at the sauna.
Lotte Hotel Busan
Ideal for business or vacation, Lotte Hotel Busan offers the perfect balance between the warm and relaxing feel of a stately home and the comfort of state-of-the-art facilities.  The Lotte Hotel is situated in the city of Busan, which is Korea's largest, trading harbour city and a major destination with unmatched romantic charm. The hotel is hugely popular among tourists and business persons travelling to the beautiful and ancient city of Kyungju, Hanryu National Sea Park, Ulsan-Pohang industrial complex and the Masan-Changwon industrial complex.   A wide selection of top class dining is available to guests in the hotel's restaurants that serve a variety of cuisine, ranging from Italian, Japanese to Chinese delicacies..
Nongshim Hotel Busan
Nongshim is located in the Dongnae neighborhood of Busan, close to Pusan National University, Bokcheon-dong Burial Mounds and Museum, and Geumjeong Fortress. Nearby points of interest also include Geumjeongsan and Chungryeolsa. Recreational amenities include a fitness facility. This 4.0-star property has a business center. Guest parking is complimentary. Refrigerators and minibars are offered. Bathrooms feature hair dryers. Televisions are available in guestrooms. Rooms also include air conditioning.
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Daegu, also spelled Taegu, officially called Daegu Metropolitan City, is the 4th largest city in South Korea after Seoul, Busan, and Incheon.  It is the capital of Gyeongsangbuk-do province, although it is not legally part of that province. As with South Korea's other metropolitan cities, Daegu's government reports directly to the national government. 
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Daegu has a number of popular parks including Apsan, Palgongsan, Dalseong, and Duryu Parks. Apsan is a mountain that has many trails, Buddhist temples, a Korean War museum, and a gondola ride to the peak. Palgongsan houses many historic Buddhist temples including Pagyesa and Donghwasa. Dalseong Park sits inside a 1500-year-old earth fortress. Duryu Park has many walking trails, sports facilities, and a large amusement park. Additionally, the Woobang Tower is located in the park at the summit of Duryu Mountain (131 m above sea level).

Nearby tourist attractions include Haeinsa—a Buddhist temple that houses the Tripitaka Koreana (a woodblock edition of the Tripitaka and one of the world's oldest extant complete collections of the Buddhist scriptures. Haeinsa is located in Gayasan National Park. The historic city of Gyeongju, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla is located southeast of Daegu.


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Crystal Hotel Daegu
Featuring a friendly hospitality and convenient facilities, the Crystal Hotel Daegu is a captivating inner city retreat in this vibrant downtown.  Conveniently located in downtown Daegu, this property enjoys an easy access to the business areas, sightseeing attractions and shops. The nearest train station is about 5 kilometres away.   The hotel offers comfortable guestrooms that are equipped with a host of convenient amenities to ensure you a pleasant stay.  Guests can dine at the in-house restaurant that serves delicious American and traditional Korean dishes. The hotel also features an Italian style coffee shop and a cocktail bar.  At leisure, you can unwind at the sauna, visit the fascinating nightclub or relax in the room salon.
Hotel Inter-Burgo Exco Daegu
Inter Burgo Hotel offers comfortable accommodation, convenient facilities and impeccable service for you to reside - within easy access of Daegu downtown area and is only 5 kilometres from the city centre. The hotel is 10 minutes away from Daegu Airport while the Daegu Exhibition and Convention Centre is 15 minutes away. Guests can also enjoy spectacular views of the Gumho River from their rooms.  Guests can dine any of the in-house restaurants, which serve delicious Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Western cuisine in a genuine local atmosphere.  The extensive recreational facilities at the hotel include gymnasium, swimming pool, indoor and outdoor golf range, racket ball and aerobic.
Novotel Daegu City Centre
Novotel Daegu City Centre is located in central Daegu, close to Kyungpook National University, Duryu Park Stadium, and Daegu National Museum. Additional area points of interest include Daegu World Cup Stadium. Dining options at Novotel Daegu City Centre include a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include a health club, a sauna, and a fitness facility.  Wireless Internet access (surcharge) is available in public areas. Additional property amenities include a coffee shop/café, barbecue grills, and multilingual staff. Extended parking privileges may be offered to guests after check-out (surcharge). This is a smoke-free property. 
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