Walking over frozen rice paddies, I arrived at the Togyo Reservoir. It isn’t a place listed on my must-see travel itineraries, but local residents are proud because it’s the sight of several migratory geese and cranes. When the sun, which I couldn’t see, broke the horizon, waves of geese called out and took to the sky. Their calls were almost deafening to those of us on the ground.
As we continued through the DMZ, several Red-crowned cranes picked at bits of rice still in the field. These are the largest of the Asian cranes and are known to be a symbol of good luck, longevity, and fidelity.
The Cheorwon Peace Observatory is located atop a small mountain. Walking up the hill from the lower parking lot, I passed by the remnants of an old military bunker that dated back to when the area faced fierce fighting between North and South Korean armies. Moss grew in the fine crevices created by time and war, reminding me that nothing lasts forever. With thick fog still obscuring visibility, there wasn’t much to be seen; however, my thoughts drifted back to all those who had served here under similar conditions so many years ago and the terror they must have felt not knowing what lay in the mist.
- Address: 588-14, Junggang-ri, Dongsong-eup, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do / 강원 철원군 동송읍 중강리 588-14
- Phone: +82-2-1330, +82-33-455-8275, +82-70-4124-8275
- Closed Tuesdays, Children’s Day, Chuseok, Seollal
- Admission W2,000
- Parking is available; however, one must contact the observatory in advance to gain access. To get there, take a taxi from the local Dongsong bus terminal.
The last stop on the Gyeongwon rail line is Woljeongni station. It was the sight of intense fighting during the Korean war and while no longer in service, does show the remains of an old iron locomotive that once traveled into North Korea.
- Address: Hongwon-ri, Cheorwon-eup, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do
강원 철원군 철원읍 홍원리
- Phone: +82-2-1330, +82-33-450-5558/9, +82-33-450-5365
- Closed Tuesdays, January 1st, Children’s Day, Chuseok, Seollal
- Admission W4,000
- Parking is available; however, this is located inside the DMZ. Usually a tour or special arrangements need to be made before traveling here. Cars and buses are allowed entry only at specific times. Contact the offices for complete information.
The Taegukki, or Korean Flag flies high above Baekma Hill, a small piece of land that saw some of the fiercest fighting during the war. Over a period of ten days, North and South Korean forces battled back and forth for control 24 times. The landscape was virtually destroyed, making it look like a bare white horse. Towering twin spires rise into the sky remember those who have fallen, while the peace pavilion on top looks forward to North Korea.
Dopian Temple isn’t anything out of the ordinary, despite dating back to the 9th century. However, that doesn’t mean it was devoid of charm or secrets to be found by those with observant eyes.
- Address: 450, Gwanu-ri, Dongsong-eup, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do
강원도 철원군 동송읍 도피동길 23 (동송읍)
- Phone: +82-2-1330, +82-33-455-2471
From Suyu Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 3, take Bus 36 to Yeoncheon Station.
* Bus schedule: 03:50-25:00, 7min intervals
From Yeoncheon Station, take Bus 39-2 and get off at Sintanri Station.
* Bus schedule: 06:30-22:10, 20min intervals
Transfer to Bus 39-3 and get off at Dopiansa Temple Station.
* Bus schedule: 07:00-23:30, 1hr intervals
This video was filmed with the Canon EOS C100 provided by Canon Korea.
Transportation and accommodations provided by the Korean Tourism Organization.
And now for some extra clips from the series…