If you’d like to see a glimpse of life inside North Korea without actually visiting North Korea, Dora Observatory is the place to do it.
Constructed in 1987 by the South Korean government, Dora is actually a replacement for an older viewing station, the Songaksan Observation Post. It includes dozens of coin-operated tower viewers, a helpful map of the DMZ, and a 500-seat auditorium. Some of the landmarks visible from Dora include the Kijong-dong Propaganda Village in the DMZ, and the outskirts of the North Korean city of Kaesong.
On an especially clear day, you just might be able spot a few North Koreans riding bicycles through your tower viewer. You may also be able to hear North Korean radio broadcasts through the observatory’s speakers, depending on the time of day you visit.
Know Before You Go
Dora Observatory is a standard stop on any guided DMZ tour. Visiting with a pre-approved tour group is strongly recommended. Visitors without valid identification cannot enter the civilian-restricted area. Foreigners must bring a passport. Private vehicles are not allowed.