Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea for Imjingak Village and Homemade Bulgogi

Near to the infamous Demilitarized Zone, a safe area in what is otherwise the most secure border in the world, lies Imjingak Park/Resort. This place was built sometime in the 1970s with the hopes that the two Koreas will once again unify and Imjingak would be at the center of this process. In the meantime, Imjingak serves as a tourist attraction where people from all over can revisit various monuments dedicated to Korean War and the issue of Korean reunification.

This is a usual stop for those who book the DMZ tour and we were taken here after our visit to the Joint Security area. However, you can also drive up from Seoul and visit on your own, since the entrance doesn’t require that you carry passport or have UN escort. At Imjingak, we saw many monuments related to the Korean War, but perhaprs the most striking spot was the Bridge of Freedom, which was built so over ten thousands POWs could freely cross from North Korea into South Korea after the war. Nowadays, the bridge is full of memorial ribbons, commemorating separated relatives or pleas for reunification. We also saw an old train car that was destroyed during the war and the more curious among us used the telescope to take a peek into nearby villages of North Korea. After our tour, we were taken to a family-owned restaurant where we were served homemade bulgogi. Lunch was mostly spent exchanging impressions about this sobering experience.

Where I stayed / started

Koreana Hotel, Seoul

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