Amid Korean Peninsula Tension, South Korea Launches Photo Contest on the DMZ for Peace

A South Korean solider guards a section of the border. Photo courtesy of Gyeonggi Tourism Organization

Note: This story was updated on July 1, 2017 after the winners of the competition were announced.

While the exchange of threats between the U.S. and North Korea has intensified over the past few weeks and has kept everyone in East Asia on their toes, a travel destination in South Korea is trying to remind the public of why everyone must work for peace — via a travel photo collage contest on the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone).

Recently, Gyeonggi Provincial Government and Gyeonggi Tourism Organization (GTO) announced the winners of the global competition called DMZ Half&Half Photo Contest on Facebook and Instagram, which ran over the summer.

The winner, Instagram account @artanastacia, received USD 5,000 (PHP250,000) in cash and free travel:


The campaign aimed to redefine DMZ as a symbol of world peace and reconciliation by inviting the contestants to fill the missing half of DMZ photos with their imaginations, according to the organizers.

dora observatory dmz south korea seoul paju north korea
From Dora Observatory along the DMZ, one can view one of North Korea’s largest cities. Binoculars offer a more detailed view, revealing streets and people on bicycles. Photo by Paolo Abellanosa

The Korean DMZ is a strip of land that lies between the borders of South and North Korea. While the area around the DMZ is considered to be the most heavily militarized region in the world, it paradoxically also stands for the hope of unification.


DMZ travel tips:

  • From Seoul, DMZ is best enjoyed by joining a tour group that will take you to select sites near the border. DIY tours are available via the DMZ train (from Seoul), but check which sites you can visit without a tour bus to take you there.
  • Half-day guided tours are available (usually 8am to 2pm) but will not include the JSA (a facility which crosses the South and North Korean border). Tour operators like Cosmo Jin and Trazy offer good rates for starters.
  • Always bring your passport when taking a tour in Paju or the DMZ


READ: 6 Day Trip Itineraries in South Korea

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