Saturday, June 15, 2013

A walk under the mines

The 3rd infiltration tunnel into South Korea

The most fun part in the DMZ tour was the descent into one of the 4 infiltration tunnels that the South Koreans have discovered so far. Our guide said that there could be as much as 20 tunnels leading into the South!

3rd infiltration tunnel

This is third tunnel that was discovered after a North Korean defector gave information about the existence of the tunnel in 1974 and it is just around 50kms from Seoul. Unfortunately, photography is strictly not allowed inside this tunnel. We were guided in English by a guide when we took the DMZ tour into Paju.

It was cool and easy to walk down into the claustrophobic walkway leading to the tunnel because of its 11 degree slope. Climbing up was another matter altogether as we were competing against the people who are hikers by birth! It is not an easy climb and people with respirator, heart conditions and people suffering from claustrophobia are generally not advised to enter in. The walkway was well-lit, covered with rubber mats and had railings throughout and small rest areas for people to rest. There is no rest place in the actual tunnel.

Walkway leading to the 3rd tunnel


  • The actual tunnel itself is 2m wide and 2m high and runs for a total length of 1635m.
  • Of the total length of the tunnel, 1200m lies to the North of the Military Demarcation Line (the actual border) in North Korea and the remainder 435m runs into South Korea, just 50km short of Seoul.
  • The tunnel is dug 73m under the ground through tough granite rocks. The sides of the tunnels was wet, cool and remains painted in black to corroborate the story of that the North Koreans used that this tunnel was dug to mine for coal. The tunnel is surprisingly built almost straight with 0.03degree slope towards the North to drain the water. We were able to see the places where the dynamite sticks were used to blow up to make the tunnel.  
  • The tunnel was very low in many places and it was tough to walk bending low and even with the bright yellow helmets that are mandatory, got a lot of bumps to the heads.
  • We walked up-to the 3rd blockade which is a solid, metal and concrete wall with a tiny opening through which we could see the 2nd Blockade. At that point, were just 170m from the MDL right under the million mines :) Exhilarating!
  • The North Korean side of the tunnel is said to be blown up and that there is no big threat of an army walking this way! 


Map of the 3rd tunnel which runs from North Korea to South Korea
The three blockades of the third interception tunnel

10 comments:

  1. Loved the last comforting sentence :)

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  2. Interesting...I shall never be able to make it. Oh, that climb must have been treacherous!! Thanks for sharing...

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    1. It was a bit hard but oh! so worth it :)

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  3. Hi! Very interesting post. A little bit fearful. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I have moved into the tunnel of Mettur Dam once. I know how exciting and thrilling it should been... I need to write on it sometime. Great knowing about this tunnel !

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  5. Interesting post! I like reading these stuffs , so thanks for this one :)

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