By Jung Joo-ri and Kim Young Shin
Photos = Korea Tourism Organization
Tourist attractions near Panmunjeom, the site of the upcoming 2018 Inter-Korean Summit, are getting more and more attention from spring picnickers.
Gyeonggi-do Province’s Paju, the city nearest to the North Korea border, has many landmarks that represent the harmony and exchanges between South and North Korea. Here are some of the places located along the way to Panmunjeom and the events that they’re hosting this season.
1. Imjingak Resort
Located 7 km south of the Military Demarcation Line, the Imjingak Resort is full of monuments that symbolize the two Korea’s harmony, such as the Imjingak building, the Bell for Peace, the Mangbaedan Altar and Pyeonghwa-Nuri Park. Behind the Mangbaedan Altar, the memorial altar where displaced Koreans pay respect to the family members they left back home in North Korea every holiday, lies the Bridge of Freedom, across which some 12,773 South Korean war prisoners crossed to return from the North after the signing of the Armistice Agreement in 1953.
2. Dorasan Station
Dorasan Station was rebuilt in 2000 as part of a restoration project along the Gyeonggui Line. That railway line used to connect Seoul and Sinuiju on the North Korea-China border. On Feb. 20, 2002, former U.S. President George Bush visited the station. Inside the station, there’s a sign that says, “This is not the last station in the South, but the first station in the North.”
3. Odusan Unification Observatory
The Odusan Unification Observatory is located atop Odusan Mountain. This observatory is only 460 m from North Korea, as it’s next to the narrowest part of the DMZ. From the observatory platform on the third floor or the observation lounge on the fourth, visitors can get a view of Songaksan Mountain in Gaeseong in North Korea and see parts of Hwanghae-do Province, North Korea. Here, monthly performances by the Imjingang Art Company, which consists of North Korean defector artists, will take place until November this year.
4. DMZ bicycle tour
Starting April 29, the Gyeonggi Tourism Organization is hosting DMZ bicycle tours near Imjingak Resort in Paju, Gyeonggi-do Province. The tour takes place along a 17.2-km course and some of the route is inside the Civilian Control Line. For more information, please call the DMZ tourism department of the Gyeonggi Tourism Organization at +82-31-956-8306.