A Visit To South Korea and Looking Over North Korea

South Korea Day 1

Went to the airport and changed out some of my Japanese yen to Korean won. The flight from Osaka, Japan to Incheon airport, South Korea, took only 1 hr and 30 mins. I didn’t book any hotels or anything like that, I used couchsurf ( , the same thing I used when I went to Germany in 2008. This is my first trip by myself where, I am not going to a conference or mission visit etc. I am supposed to meet up with 2 Jamaican friends but not sure how that is going to go either.

I made sure to get some information before hand from my couch surfer friends, about different places to visit etc. I also went to the tourist information area in the airport to ask them for directions. In the airport, already there were taxi guys trying their luck to make
easy money. But luckily, I learnt before hand not to pay these guys any mind and to head

straight for ether the bus or the train station. Also my trip to the Philippines gained me some knowledge about taxi men in most Asian countries.


While heading for the train station, at least 3 different taxi guys asked me where I was going… when I told them that I was heading for the train station they were trying to convince me to take the more expensive taxi… I pity them.

I took the train to this huge mall like area name Yonsan, to look at some electronics stuff. I had to change trains about 3 times but it wasn’t a big deal except that I had no clue where to go. The good thing about most Koreans, unlike what I have experienced in Japan, is that, most Koreans speak English and they are far more helpful to foreigners it seem. All I did was stand up in the train station, looked at the signs confused with a map in my hand, and in no time, some random person will come to your assistance. This is what I did for most of the time while in South Korea. In 2 years while in Japan, this has happened to me only 2 or 3 times. Koreans seem to be far more bold than the average Japanese person to me. But, they will also push you out of the way if you are blocking them and sometimes just bore right in front of you, no questions asked…The average, mainland Chinese is also expert at pushing you out of their way.

Ohh and when Koreans stare at me, ooh boy, its different from the Japanese stare. The Japanese stare, then as soon as they sense that you are going to look at them,                  they turn around in a flash. However, when the Koreans  stare at me, it almost never ends, even when I stare back at them.

Anyway, at Yonsan, I went to a camera store and there too had some rip off guys in the stores. I told this one guy that I was looking around and he was like “why do you need to look around? Just buy from me” … yeah right !!! Hey, I’m from Jamaica, I know all about this kind of selling. After Yonsan, I made arrangements to meet with another couchsurfer tomorrow… And also to meet with my couch surfer for tonight.

So I took a train to an area known as Shinonheyon and met up with my couch surfing host name Bina. Bina is a wonderful girl and she called the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone ) tour organizers for me, because I am planning to go see the North Korean/ South Korean border area.


{ DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) Tour }


South Korea Day 2

This morning, I woke up at about 6 am then took a taxi to the station to meet the DMZ tour people. I was at the station, but I didn’t know where exactly to meet them. So I was walking all over the place, then suddenly a lady came and said “are you Dave” then we hurried to the bus for the tour. There were about 5 Japanese persons on the bus as well as this guy and lady from England. There was also this married couple who I hung out with most of the time, who were both living in Canada but born in China. When I told them I was from Jamaica, they said they visited there maybe a month ago and went to Sandals Montego Bay for a week. They both said they enjoyed it thoroughly. I myself have never been to any of the famous Jamaican hotels like Sandals or beaches resort. I hope I get to one day.

The tour guide then started telling us about the North Korean / South Korean border history, which all started with World War 2. She said Japan occupied Korea for about 35 years before the war. Which is why there is kind of a chasm between both sets of Koreans and the Japanese. The only 2 countries out of China, Japan, North Korea and South Korea that seem to cooperate with each other somehow, is North Korea and China. The other 3 are at odds with each other. And unless the persons of these countries are open minded, don’t ever mention about the other country to them.

So after world war 2, North Korea belonged to the Soviet Union, and South Korea belonged to the USA. Just like East and west Germany, only that, East and West Germany are now back together. North and South Korea are a bit more uncooperative, especially North Korea… Anyway, So North Korea became a poor communist nation, while South Korea became a wealthy democratic nation. So eventually, South Korea got independence from the USA, then shortly after, North Korea gained independence from the Soviet Union… It wasn’t long after their independence, when North Korea invaded South Korea, capturing almost all of the entire South Korea. They then got help from the USA and UN and forced the North Koreans back up, almost capturing the entire North side. But then, the Soviet Union and China joined the proxy war and pushed back the US and UN down to where is now the DMZ… In that little area, no one should even attempt to cross. Because you can get shot, land mined or anything can happen to you there, but nothing good. However, there is a vibrant wild life there… Its just too bad that you can’t go there to see it.

Since the DMZ was made, North Korea was still trying to recapture South Korea and started to build tunnels. So far 4 tunnels have been discovered since 1974. The 4th one being in 1990.

Anyway, during the tour, the guide warned us not to take pictures at certain areas, and that we are not allowed to take photos in the bus. After we exited the bus, we went to the first area where there is a bridge that separates North and South Korea. We then went underground to the third tunnels that the North Koreans dug, trying to re-capture South Korea. Pictures are not allowed here at all. So we all have to just keep it in out memories. I however found some on the internet so what tha heck.

We also went to an observatory area where we could look over into North Korea. Here is a very short clip that I took. Sorry but my memory was almost done and the place was cloudy, so this is the best I could do

There was a little competition going on between the 2 Koreas to see who could build the biggest flag. Eventually North Korea won that, and the flags are at the borders.

We then went to an area where the South Koreans have a train station. They really are hoping that the 2 Koreas will someday get back together. So they are preparing in advance. We also went to a souvenir area where they had products built in North Korea. There are some buildings at the border operated by South Korean companies… Chiefly Hyundai…… The tour guide said that it is because the Hyundai boss is from the North Korean area.


After the DMZ tour, we went back. I then went to 2 temples with the Chinese/Canadian couple. Unfortunately, it was raining, and I had to be walking around with my luggage in the rain. It was not fun at all. One temple name was Gyeong Bok Gung and the other was Chang Deok Gung but luckily the second temple had a locker for me to keep my stuff.

After the 2 temples, I went to an are    a to buy some souvenirs then to meet up with another couch surfer friend name Ji, who is half Korean and Half Japanese. Then we met another couch surfer, Camara who has been living in South Korea for the past 6 months and teaching design stuff. We all went to a restaurant and a coffee shop, chatted and had loads of fun. We took a picture at this really cool outside camera thing, which are all over the street in this area of Seoul name Gangdam.

Back to Japan tomorrow very early…. 🙁 🙁 🙁

{ Back From South Korea / Sannomiya / Osaka }

South Korea Day 3

Woke up at 5 in the morning and left Camara’s apartment at 5:30 then took a taxi to the train station, then 3 different trains to the airport. Took a flight back to Japan and sent my luggage to my apartment through the very convenient system there.


While in the line, I saw the singer Brian Mcknight a long with about a dozen cronies. He was acting cool and everything but the cronies?? Oh Lord….. Loud singing and what not, I guess trying to gain the attention of the masses. Only a few persons probably recognized Brian Mcknight, and Japanese people generally would not have a clue who he is. 

I then went to the Sannomiya / Kobe area in Hyogo prefecture, walked around a bit, took some pictures there and went to an internet cafe to check my mail then back to Osaka.

Contributed by Dave Collymore: Visit his blog at:

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8 years ago

Thanks for the great post. I was always interested in DMZ tour but didn’t had some useful information.