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Trip to the Korean DMZ

Seoul, Seoul, South Korea
2 Kudos
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Took at 6 days / 5 night trip to Seoul a few months ago and it was great. It's my second time and I'm spending twice as many days as the last time. The first day was of one of rest, but I headed off early the next morning to the DMZ. The guided tour had several stops inside the South Korean side of the DMZ, with the key attraction being the underground tunnel that the North Koreans built to invade the south. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed at the tunnel and viewpoints overlooking the DMZ to the north was met with clouds and haze, so visibility was limited. The 3 stops in the DMZ allowed for souvenir shopping each time, but at a rather quick 15 minute period unless you skip the sights. Have I had known that each store sold similar items, I would've been less stressed out. The last stop was at a grocery store at a village and was probably the best place to pick up snacks and drinks as souvenirs as it had the most variety. Note that some food items could also be bought out in Seoul, so you're really just getting the DMZ version. There were some items, such as grape wine that comes from the North, but there are usually southern versions as well.The rest of my trip was filled with more standard stuff, such as the Hangang River cruise, a non-verbal comedy show called Bibap, a visit to a two temples, castle ruins with a great nighttime view of the city, and Gyeongbokgung Palace. I highly recommend the Bibap show because it was hilarious, especially if your friend gets picked to go on stage to participate, and the palace tour because it was just a beautiful location. While the tour guide told me a lot about the palace, I never got the chance to just roam about and enjoy the scenery. Oh, if you want to go to museums, do it any day except for Monday. Most of them are closed on Mondays!
Story Details

Bars and nightlife

Magpie Itaewon - Brewshop & Basement
Magpie Itaewon - Brewshop & Basement
Good beer and pizza selection. Feels like a US craft beer bar restaurant.

Culture and experiences

Bongeunsa Temple, COEX North Gate
Bongeunsa Temple, COEX North Gate
Buddhist temples seem to be beautiful everywhere. Serene gardens and a short hiking trail available.
Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Palace
Large palace with some sad history of a relatively modern day assassination and more in its past.

Points of interest

The Blue House
The Blue House
Right next to Gyeongbokgung Palace, you can look, but you can't touch.
Cheonggyecheon-ro
Cheonggyecheon-ro
Long river that you can walk besides. On occasion, there are cool, lit up statues.
Lotte World Tower
Lotte World Tower
Tallest building in Seoul. Lots of nice urban walking areas in this part of town.
Jogyesa Temple
Jogyesa Temple
Big temple, but small grounds in the middle of downtown Seoul.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza
Dongdaemun Design Plaza
Bigger than expected with many indoor exhibits, if you show up early enough. Wasn't able to find a good high point nearby to take an encompassing photo. There's a mall nearby that supposedly has a good view, but I showed up too late.
DMZ Tour
DMZ Tour
Souvenirs shops, North Korean viewpoints, secret tunnels, oh my. Worth the visit, even if you can't go to the JSA area.

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