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[CARD NEWS] Panmunjom and the DMZ are hot places for foreign tourists in Korea, while Koreans themselves often don’t appreciate their value.

July 03,2017

1) Koreans aren’t interested in foreign tourists’ favorite destinations.

2) I am journalist intern named Cho Sung-jin. I spent my entire academic life from elementary to high school in Paju, Gyeonggi, where the slogan for the city is “Paju, preparing for unification.” People in Seoul call me a “country person,” but I actually love travelling abroad.

3) From the Trans-Siberian Railroad to the Camino de Santiago, I am confident to say that I have a lot of experience traveling overseas. However, I have one shameful memory.

4) I often ride the Gyeongui Line, where I occasionally see a foreigner. At that time, I didn’t care about them. I only thought about travelling abroad.

5) One day, a foreigner suddenly approached me and asked a question: “How can I get to Panmunjom or the DMZ?”


*Panmunjom Tour: For regular foreign tourists, tour is only possible through making advanced reservations in officially designated private travel agencies. For regular domestic tourists, tour is possible by submitting a group tour application form available on National Intelligence Service (NIS) website at least 60 days prior to the desired date of tour for minimum 30 people. - Sourced from NIS

* Paju DMZ Tour: Both domestic and foreign tourists with ID cards can purchase DMZ security bus tour ticket in Paju Imjingark Pavilion without advanced reservation or buy related products through travel agencies in advance.

I could not help but be abashed. Being a native of Paju, I have never visited Panmunjom or DMZ, as I thought they have nothing to do with me.

7) Come to think of it, there was one common thing that foreigners I met during travelling abroad said.

8) “A brilliant place that touched my heart.” “A place that foreign tourists in Korea should definitely visit.” Foreigners who visited Korea chose Panmunjom, the DMZ, and the War Memorial Museum in Korea as the most impressive places.

9) For decades, I did not know that a globally renowned tourist attraction was near my house.

10) “TripAdvisor,” a famous tour information website, designated the War Memorial Museum in Korea as the top landmark in 2015.
Thousands of foreigners left comments, recommending other people visit the place.

11) This is why I felt ashamed of myself, as I only thought about visiting well-known tourist attractions abroad.

12) Reasons for our negligence may be because we are so accustomed to the divided Korea, even to the extent of being indifferent about North Korean missiles. For foreigners, it may be intriguing since they consider the divided Korea under a treaty of truce as unusual.

13) However, it may be meaningful to think about the thankfulness of the peace that we enjoy in our daily lives, at least once a year, in June 25th. It is also a good idea to visit the DMZ or the War Memorial Museum in Korea at least once.