Saturday, May 23, 2015

DMZ Tour Part 1: The Remnants of War and the Symbol of Peace at IMJINGAK

Share it Please
Welcome to DMZ
(c) Meynard Ramirez

Finally! Yes, Finally! I was able to visit the DMZ together with the wanderlust friends. We actually planned this out last year but because of so many circumstances, we postponed it. However, we are so determined to tour DMZ, so we decided to really go there, by hooks or by crooks.

DMZ or also known as the Demilitarized Zone is an area in Korea that runs along the 38th Parallel which serves as a buffer between the North and South Korea. It sounds scary to some because this area has high risk of military conflicts, but for us, it sounds challenging.  We had toured 5 remarkable places at DMZ and a single blogpost will never be enough. So this is a 5 parts series and for part 1, I am going to talk about IMJINGAK.

The Imjingak
(c) Jack Rusl

When you take a DMZ tour, the first stop will be at Imjingak. You can go to Imjingak via bus or a taxi. If you are not paying a tour agency for this trip, you can take subway via Gyeongui line and get off at the last station which is Munsan Station. Then from there, take a taxi. It will take about 10 minutes from Munsan Station to Imjingak. There are also several DMZ tour packages available which is more expensive of course but more convenient I guess.

At Imjingak, you can see the contrast between war and peace. On the other side of the park, you will see the remnants of war including photos, artifacts and even locomotives which have been destroyed during the war in the early 1950s. On the other side, you will see a Pyeonghwa Nuri Park. It is a place symbolizing hope and peace, there are even rides and fun stuff. I may say that Imjingak is one bizarre place.

Let’s look at the area where remnants of war are placed. In this park site, you can see two historical things that played vital role during the war. One of them is this wooden bridge called Freedom Bridge which measures 83 meters long. It is called freedom bridge because during the war, North Korea released about 13,000 POWs and allowed them to return to South Korea and they walked through this bridge. The bridge gave them their freedom.

The Freedom Bridge at Imjingak
(c) Jack Rusl
We tried to set our foot at the Freedom Bridge so we could cross to the borders and step on the soil of North Korea, but after about 25 meters, this barbed fence full of ribbons with hope messages greeted us. So that means, we could not go far up to this point.




Another important item in the park is this original steam locomotive smokestack. This is considered to be the most important cultural heritage of South Korea. It was destroyed by bomb during the war and it has witnessed the tragic history that caused the division of North and South Korea.

Preserved Locomotive
(c) Meynard Ramirez

At the entrance of Imjingak park, you will pass through the Imjingak War Memorial and this preserved locomotive will welcome you. This is the MK3 244.

Preserved Locomotive MK244
(C) Meynard Ramirez

This garden is under the Freedom bridge, they created this to commemorate the Korean War.

Korean War Garden
(c) Arman Carinan

Adjacent to the Freedom Bridge is this altar called MANGBAEDAN. Those who are separated from their families in North Korea go to this altar to perform ancestral rights especially during New Year and Chuseok. Oh.... the feels..

The Mangbaedan
(c) Jack Rusl
There is also a pagoda where you can see a large Korean bell with a striker. This bell will ring once the North and South Korea will reunite. This is a good symbol of hope because it looks like they are anticipating that time will come, they will be one again.

The bell
(c) Jack Rusl

I guess one of the sentimental objects I saw aside from the photos of war which you can see all over the area are these messages written in ribbons that are hanging in the barbed wires to prevent people from going to the restricted areas. These are messages of hope that someday people of North and South Korea will unite. But be careful, because there are some defenses installed in these barriers because nobody is allowed to go beyond the line.


Message of peace and unity
(c) Arman Carinan

You can actually see the demarcation line from Imjingak. According to the agreement, nobody from the North and South can go in the area. We are at the observatory and at our back, you will see the restricted area. No man can go to that place.


The forbidden area at our back. Photo taken at the observatory at Imjingak
(c) Jack Rusl

I guess we have too much emotion to carry right now. Let’s take a look at the light part of the Imjingak, the Pyeonghwa Nuri Park.

Entrance to Pyeonghoa Nuri Park
(c) Jack Rusl

The park gives a complete opposite feel. It’s a place where anybody can just relax and enjoy especially the kids. I can see how kids love the park. They can fly kite, they can run freely and they can just play around despite the fact that this area is just few kilometers away from the enemy.

Kids enjoying at Pyeonghoa Nuri Park
(c) Kristine Bulanadi
I mean, who would not feel good with this kind of view. It is indeed something you want to see in the park. That is why the locals bring their family here to not only commemorating the war that had happened before but also feel the peaceful ambiance of Pyeonghwa.

Some piece of art at the park

I personally like the presence of pinwheels all over the park. For me, it symbolizes peace. I like it when it is windy because pinwheels in variety of colors look like dancing and entertaining you.
Pyeonghwa Nuri is indeed a place of hope and peace.

The pinwheels

It may look odd being situated adjacent to the heavy ambiance of war memorabilia but I guess it’s a good way to remind people of Korea that war is over and Korea is inching towards unification and peace.




 Our stay at Imjingak gave as a roller coaster feeling but that’s not just it. The DMZ tour hasn't ended yet. I have a lot of interesting stories to tell as we go nearer and nearer the soil of North Korea. This is just the first stop so stay tuned for the part 2 of DMZ tour.

Jumpshot at Imjingak
(c) Jack Rusl


30 comments:

  1. What an amazing opportunity you had to tour this area. I would love to get there myself someday. All your photos are absolutely gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What an amazing interesting post, the Korean War Garden looks beautiful and I like the messages of hope.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How gorgeous! I had no idea Korea was so gorgeous. I'd love to visit one day.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That is so beautiful! I especially love that old locomotive. It looks really cool!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hope that I live to hear that Korean bell ringing one day! What a beautiful place on one side and remnants of war on the other. So touching!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love studying about Korean history. It has made me SO aware of humanitarian needs this world needs and I can't wait to see the day where both sides are unified. I would love to visit soon. This was a great post.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a wonderful share of images. Can't wait to go. specially like the message of love and unity

    ReplyDelete
  8. I honestly didn't know much about this zone. It would be so emotional approaching the finite border between the countries.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Looks like such a wonderful tour, I truly hope you had an amazing time! I would love to go on a tour like this.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This looks like a really great tour. The photos are really beautiful and it looks like everyone was having such a wonderful time.

    ReplyDelete
  11. So many wonderful images. Sounds like a great tour. Something I would love to do at some point in my life!

    ReplyDelete
  12. It looks like you had a great time. I would love to visit Korea one day and enjoy all these great places

    ReplyDelete
  13. I do love to see trains. And all of those ribbons are amazing. I like your pics!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow, I bet this was an incredible experience! I can't wait to see the next parts of this series!

    ReplyDelete
  15. What an experience. It looks like a beautiful place and that everyone had a great time. My husband would love to visit this place he is very much a history person.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a beautiful place! Those locomotives are awesome. My hubby who is a history buff would certainly love to see those. I hope we get to visit Korea in the future. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. So much feels right here and it's still Part 1! I hope that someday, that bell will ring! They're still so hopeful that they'll be reunified one day.. Can't wait to see it happening.. :D

    ReplyDelete
  18. THis looks like an amazing experience that I hope one day to experience for myself. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos!

    ReplyDelete
  19. What a gorgeous place to visit! Loving all the photos you took. Totally makes me want to go there for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  20. What a gorgeous place to visit! Loving all the photos you took. Totally makes me want to go there for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a gorgeous place to visit! Loving all the photos you took. Totally makes me want to go there for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh my these photos brings back memoreis. I miss Korea, I miss the hikes and all the beautiful places we been to when we were living there.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Omg this looks like a very interesting place to visit!!! I will definitely be adding it to the travel bucket list! Fantastic photos by the way too!

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is such an amazing post! I've always been interested in the DMZ and my husband and I would love to go visit for ourselves. My husband is a history buff and has always had an interest in North and South Korea. I'm super looking forward to part 2!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. These are amazing photos. I love the Locomotive photos the best.

    ReplyDelete
  26. This looks like a great place to go for a tour. There would be so much history to learn. These are fantastic photos.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The message of peace and unity photograph is very pretty and colorful! I love all the vibrant ribbons. I would like to see this place in person!

    ReplyDelete
  28. These pics are gorgeous! What a fabulous opportunity to visit this place! So beautiful and colorful!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Your photos are always stunning... I love the action shots! Looks like a spectacular place!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Amazing photos you got here. It was nice that you were able to visit DMZ, it must be quite an experience.

    ReplyDelete

Live Traffic

Translate

Total Pageviews