The DMZ is near Paju, where I initially planned to visit. I figured I could visit the DMZ in the morning and tour Paju city in the afternoon. WRONG. Visiting the DMZ is a whole day activity. Also since I decided to visit the DMZ the day before going booking a tour wasn't an option. I'm glad I didn't though. The tours are exactly the same as what I did except double the cost (verified this with a hostelmate who did book a tour).
|KTX ticket booth in Seoul Station|
To get to the DMZ go to the KTX ticket booth in Seoul Station and ask to buy a roundtrip ticket to Dorasan Station. You will be riding on the DMZ train.
Above is the latest DMZ train timetable, updated on July 1, 2015. The blue column is the weekday train (excluding Monday) and the red columns are train times for the weekends. These are the only available trains so make sure you plan accordingly!
You'll also be asked to fill out the form above. Remember to bring your passport because they will check it at the checkpoint in Imjingang Station.
The DMZ train is easy to recognize because of its loud exterior and interior decorations. Each car has a different theme with pictures of different spots you'll pass along the way or during your tour.
|Taken at Imjingang Station|
First stop, the DMZ area. The most exciting part of this place is that you can see into North Korea. Below is what I could see on that day.
After this stop we visited a rest stop area where we were forced to take an hour break for lunch. I was very displeased with this part of the tour because this is supposed to be a self-tour, yet it is still rigidly structured much like a tourist group. In addition we had to pay for our own lunch, so remember to pack your own! This also ruined my plan to see other parts of Paju.
And that was my underwhelming DMZ experience, though I don't regret spending my day there. It's just one of those things you feel obligated to do because of its historical significance.