Sunday, July 12, 2015

DMZ Tour Part 5: The Unification Village Called Tongilchon

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Residential Houses at Tongilchon village
Welcome to Tongilchon, a small village in Korea which has a total of 493 residents and 133 families. A very peaceful place and rich in local farm produce. In all places in Korea, this village has been considered a “Preservation Zone for the Natural Environment” by the UN because it has a well-preserved natural environment. The three main products of Tongilchon are rice, soybean and Ginseng which you can buy at very affordable prices. It has rich soil, clean water and fresh air. I guess Tongilchon is a perfect place to live in for those who want to live a peaceful life and away from the hassle of the city.

However, there’s a setback. Tongilchon is located in the northern area of the Civilian Control Line. And if you don’t know what that means, the village is located right within the DMZ or the Demilitarized Zone. For more information about DMZ, you can check out the first four parts of this blog series by clicking links below.

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

DMZ Tour Part 2: Off to the Third Infiltration Tunnel

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

DMZ Tour Part 4: Visiting Dorasan Station

How does it feel to live in a village situated inside a DMZ? I am curious too, so when we went to visit the village, I checked what people are doing in the area. Basically, their primary source of income is farming. They have this market where people go during the tour which sells a lot of interesting products like the sundubu or Jangdan Bean Curd. I also saw some herbs, ginseng, liquors and other farm products cultivated in the land of the village.

The busy people of Tongilchon busy working on their farm produce

Because it is situated at DMZ, civilian entrance to the village is strictly controlled. That could also be the reason why it was able to preserve its natural environment. Some of the houses in the village has been renovated and remodeled.

One of the houses in the village

But there are some replicas of old houses in the village that represent the house design and the way of living of the first people who ever lived in this village.

Replica of old house in the village

The place is a dream village for people who are into laidback type of lifestyle but there are reminders everywhere that the village is not an ordinary one. There are symbols of war all over that remind everybody about the danger of living in this place.

It was such a nice experience to come and visit Tongilchon village. It’s ironic that I was able to find and experience peace in a village prone to the danger of war.


  1. What an amazing adventure! I love seeing photos of other cultures. Your photos make me feel like I was really there.

  2. That definitely must have been an amazing and an eye opening trip you took. I'm not sure I would want to visit a town or village in a DMZ zone. It does look peaceful from the pictures you took--but---

  3. This is the kind of place that I would dream of living when I retire. I like the laid back life where everything seems so simple and quiet. It doesn't even look like it's a DMZ zone.

  4. I can just imagine how peaceful and quite such a small little town like this one must be special to have been recognized as such by the UN!

  5. Wow - thanks for sharing. That looks like such a unique experience and definitely something we hope to do in the future.

  6. What a nice looking village! I would love to visit a place like that someday! It seems perfect! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Wow, what an interesting perspective on living in a DMZ zone. Seems like if you are a local, it's just the every day norm.

  8. Omg loving all of your photos! I was a history major in college so stuff like this is just so interesting to me!

  9. Makes you think how good most of us have it. Really an eye opening visit.

  10. WOW and what an adventure! I always enjoy reading your posts as they are eye opening! It is always good to be able to see and read about the world through another persons view!

  11. travel is so marvelous to learn and discover. thanks for sharing your adventure. I had never heard about this before. Love the idea and your photos

  12. This looks so cool! My mother and brother are going to Korea in 10 days to participate in the Mulympia for Tae Kwon Do!

  13. I would absolutely love to visit Korea! My husband was there during the war and has visited several times since to see the memorials but I've never had the pleasure. Hopefully we'll get to go soon. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with us! :)

  14. That's very cool about the ginseng being produced here at an affordable cost. I saw this special about how people pay a lot of money to get a hold of 'old' ginseng. The area looks like a nice place to explore and take in the local culture.

  15. Great post, fun shots! You captured your trip beautifully, sounds like a wonderful place. It is very easy for many of us to take our freedoms and safety for granted. This is an eye opener as to how good we have it! Thanks for sharing!


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