about We are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
Browse by Travel
Browse by Food
the absurdity of the dmz
in north korea

The DMZ - a video post

We walk halfway across the blue building in the Joint Security Area and are in North Korea though our other foot is still in South Korea.  It is the closest to North Korea that we, as American citizens, can come.  We cannot meet the people, eat the food, or enjoy the beauty of the country as we can in so many other places in the world.  Here, we are surrounded by South Korean soldier with guns and stern faces and our only interaction with a North Korean is watching him stare through his binoculars at us.

This is the place where absurdity, fear, hilarity, and uncertainty join hands and dance in a whimsical circle that we cannot understand.  This is the DMZ.

South Korean officer at DMZ South Korean officer at DMZ
South Korean DMZ

South Korean officer DMZ


If you want to watch more about North Korea and the DMZ, we highly recommend the Vice Guide to North Korea , a three-part video series documenting two journalists' no-holds-bar journey into the DMZ and North Korea and this short BBC special on North Korea.

When we were in Beijing, we heard that the ban on restricted American travel to North Korea had been lifted but, given the recent escalation in conflict, it is likely that North Korea is no longer allowing Americans in.

Although there are many tour operators for the DMZ, the USO Office is the only tour group that will allow you into Camp Bonifas and the Joint Security Area; the other tour groups skirt around the edges of the DMZ.  To book a USO Tour, you need to register and pay through the Koridoor tour website .  You must show your passport to enter the JSA.  South Korean passport holders are not permitted on the USO Tour.