Seoul: Finding the Perfect Souvenir

Photo with a North Korean Soldier

seoul taking a picture of north korean soldier Kim Jae-Hwan / AFP / Getty
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Getting a picture of yourself with a North Korean soldier at the DMZ, or demilitarized zone, is a coup d'état and definitely a keeper for the photo album. You can snap such a shot in Panmunjom, a truce village at the border between North and South about 50 km (31 miles) northwest of Seoul in the Joint Security Area, but don't expect the North Korean soldier to say "cheese." This is one of a few places along the highly militarized border where you can practically step up to the line that separates the two countries. It's not a village in the strict sense, but North Korean brass meet here with United Nations and other officials to discuss military matters. You can contact a number of tour operators to get information about the different trips around the DMZ, including stops at tunnels dug by the North Koreans. The U.S.O. (02-795-3028) has very popular tours. You can also try the Korea Travel Bureau (02-778-0150) or the Panmunjom Travel Center (02-771-5593).

If you don't want to go all the way to the border for souvenirs, another fabulous choice is celadon — jade-green-colored pottery. The vases are especially popular, and yes, the cracks under the glaze are what you want. Plenty of shops in the Insadong shopping district, where you'll find lots of art, antiques and traditional crafts, just east of the U.S Embassy, carry celadon as do Seoul's major department stores and markets.

  • 1. DMZ
    Panmunjom, South Korea More Info
  • 2. Insadong District
    Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea; 82-(0)2-731-1622 More Info

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