South Korea in the Perspective of a Filipino Expatriate

Saturday, May 30, 2015

DMZ Tour Part 3: A Glance at North Korea at Dorasan Observatory

In front of the Dorasan Obsevatory
(c) Anny Martinez

Of all the places we’ve visited during our DMZ Tour, I guess the most exciting part was when we went to the Dorasan Observatory because this is where we had the chance to view North Korea through the binoculars. This is the second stop of our tour right after the 3rd Tunnel. If you wish to read the first two parts of our DMZ tour, please feel free to visit the links below:

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


Our shuttle bus took us from 3rd tunnel to Dorasan Observatory which is about 15 minutes away. While we traveled, all I saw were military schools and green trees. I realized that DMZ area is not congested with villages and people, which is why the ecological system in the area is good.
When we arrived at the observatory, a lot of people were taking turn to take a peek at North Korea. They have strict rules when it comes to photography. You will see a big yellow line in the observatory which means you are not actually allowed to take photos after the line.

Photo opp behind the yellow line. No pictures allowed after the yellow line. At the back are people looking at North Korea through the binoculars available.
(c) Jack Rusl


What did I see in the binoculars?

Let’s use this photo as a reference.

A view of a fake village of North Korea from the distance
(c) Jack Rusl


In the photo, you can almost see a village. This village is called Kijongdong. According to history, this village was made by North Korea to show to South Korea how they are living a luxurious life. However, when they further checked on it, they found out that the buildings in the village are actually made of concrete shells… boohoo!!!! AND the controversy doesn’t stop there, they also found out that the windows of the buildings do not have glass. That is why they called this village a Propaganda village, which means a village made by North Korea for the purpose of showing off.



You can actually see the village clearly though the binoculars. I can also recall that I saw the world’s second tallest flagpole holding a Korean flag, in the photo, you can see in the middle part that flagpole I am talking about.

North Korean Flag standing tall and proud. This is the second tallest flag in the world
(c) Arman Carinan


I also saw some North Korean farmers working on their lands and some vehicles carrying some unknown stuff. I must say that North Korea is a busy country, well, at least for this fake village. There are a lot of things going on in the area. I wonder if they know they were being spied on by the curious tourists.

Area surrounding the Dorasan Observatory
(c) Arman Carinan

Our tour bus only allowed us to stay at the observatory for like 20 minutes, but I must say it’s enough time to have a good view of Kijongdong village. For me, it was a memorable 20 minutes of my life because for some reason, I have this strange heavy feeling while looking at a parcel of North Korea and I also felt like I went to this restricted country eventhough I am few kilometers away. I don’t know if I could ever see that again but I will be forever proud I had the chance to take a glance at Kim Jeung-Un’s Kingdom.

18 comments:

  1. That looks like an interesting trip that you guys were able to go on. The observatory gives you a good view of the surrounding area.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Omg these are some great photos!!!! Looks like he all had a great time. Korea looks like it would be a great place to visit!

    ReplyDelete
  3. When I was in S.Korean end of April this year I wanted to go to the board but did not have much time but since I am heading back soon I will definitely check it out and it's nice to know what's what.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting photos and even more interesting is your commentary on what that village in the distance really is like!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks like an awesome trip with so many lovely places to capture. I'd love to visit the country.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This looks like an amazing trip you went to!! Your photos looks amazing and are breathtaking.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow - I can not even imagine the heaviness of being in a place like that. I'm sure you will remember it for the rest of your life - thanks for sharing your journey!

    ReplyDelete
  8. this is wild. I did not even know you could get that clear view of north korea from the observatory. So interesting and thanks for the photos.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What an interesting trip. The fake village reminds me of the scene from the movie "The Interview" which has a fake town just for "show." I've been to S. Korea twice, but never to the DMZ. Now I am curious and want to see for myself the next time I go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah right. I remember that. Probably this is where they get that idea.

      Delete
  10. Wow - this looks like an amazing trip. I'd love to visit sometime and see it for myself. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. How fun. I like learning about places like this. I would find a tour like this one very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I always enjoy viewing places through other people's eyes! I would love to experience North Korea one day!

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a great trip. Looks like you had an awesome time and it was so interesting to read about the photography laws. I did not know this.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow, this looks like an incredible trip! I love your pictures.. they are breathtaking.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is an awesome post and thanks for showing us this part of history. I don't know to much about it but have learned so much more from your posts than I did know. Thanks for sharing and these are amazing pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  16. WOW! The trip sounds lie you've been in on a little secret. Nice photos!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Interesting place. I wanna check it out too should we decide to visit!

    ReplyDelete