Incheon International Airport
South Korea's Incheon Airport offers eight tours to travellers on a layover. Generally you need around 2 to 6 hours for these tours. In total, there are 14 departures per day. The first is at 8.00am and the last finishes at 3.00pm.The shortest tour is an hour long and takes you to Yonggungsa Temple, a Buddhist temple built in 1376. For those who have two hours to spare, there is an Incheon Temple tour, which includes the Heungryunsa Temple, Incheon Grand Bridge and the Memorial Hall. And if you have 3 hours and a wild heart, then you can take the Gwangmyeong Cave Tour.Have even more layover time? Take the Songdo City Tour, which lasts 4 hours or the Seoul City Tour, that lasts 5 hours. And if you have time but don’t want to leave the airport, you can take the Incheon Airport Culture Tour, which leads visitors to the Arrival Hall's Culture Street, then through security to a traditional craft gallery, Walk of the Royal Family, and Traditional Korean Culture Center before rounding off the tour with a classic concert.How to do it: Reservations can be made online or at the main Transit Tour desk in immigration section B, near the KoreanAir desk, 2nd floor of the passenger terminal.
Being at Dorasan Station was a very moving experience. Many people, including our tour guide, donated money to build the station. Dorasan Station is the northernmost station in South Korea, and has tracks that go to North Korea. There was a special economic zone built some years ago in the North and workers from South Korea used to commute daily to North Korea via this station. Some tensions arose and they stopped this.
DMZ - The Third Tunnel
Day 5: DMZ - Still technically at WarWe took a tour to the De-Militarized Zone today. I was so surprised at how near Seoul it was. It reminded us that South Korea is still at war, and I understand now how any small incident can be cause for concern.To visit the DMZ (the 4 km wide zone surrounding the border between North and South Korea that is 2km wide on each side), you must go with a tour. You can sign up with any tour agency. Only certain people are qualified to be tour guides at the DMZ, so the tour agency will just forward you to a specialised guide. There are many things to see in this area, and one of the most popular sites is the Joint Security Area (JSA) at Panmunjeom, which is the one in photos you might have seen of blue sheds with North Korean and South Korean soldiers inches away from each other. We realllly wanted to visit the JSA but unfortunately, throughout the entire time we were going to be in Korea, the JSA was closed for military training. No matter, the other sights within the DMZ were very interesting as well.On our tour, we visited Imjingak Park, Freedom Bridge, the Third Infiltration Tunnel, Dora Observatory, and Dorasan Station. The Third Infiltration Tunnel was very interesting because we got to go down into one of the tunnels that the North Koreans built as they were trying to invade South Korea. 30,000 soldiers could pass through in an hour - that is very scary. This tunnel is only big enough for 2 people to pass through side by side. The museum above the tunnel showed the entire history of the tunnel and how each of the 4 tunnels that were build by the North Koreans were discovered.