* Date : 2018-05-30
Surrounded by water on three sides, the Korean Peninsula is virtually an island. Its only land route is not accessible at present due to North Korea. Its such unique circumstances leave Korea with two gateways to the world. One is Incheon International Airport for air routes, and the other is Busanhang Port for sea routes. These are the places where special stories of meeting and parting, and those of excitement and wistfulness exist side by side.
Incheon International Airport is a gateway that most of people from all around the world pass to visit Korea. The number of people transiting through the airport amounts to 60 million per year. The purpose of the visits is countless, from family visits to business. The airport, which accommodates such a large number of people, is not just a transit facility, but offers users with cultural facilities and amenities as well. It has regular performances for the airport users and is even equipped with a capsule hotel. We will meet a number of people with different purposes at Incheon airport, which links Korea and the world.
Korea has many ports throughout the country as it is surrounded by water on three sides. Among all of them, Busan is the largest, and it is a prominent logistical gateway. The North Harbor, where there are 11 piers dotted along a concave bay around the city center, is Korea's first modern trade port that opened its door in 1876. This historic port is busy with large vessels coming in and out with various things on them. Behind the scene of bringing in and shipping out over 200,000 gigantic containers per month are hard-working crane operators with 20 plus years of experience on the job. The freights that have made it to the port safely through the rough seas go out to their next destinations from here. It is not an overstatement that Korea's industrial logistics all begins from Busanhang Port.
Sea routes are not just for the freights. Vessels move people around, too. There are regular routes to nearby Japan from Busan Port International Passenger Terminal. It takes about one hour to Tsushima Island and just about three hours even to Fukuoka, which is shorter than a Seoul-Busan trip. Japan is the closest foreign destination to Korea that attracts over 700,000 Koreans a year from those on fishing trips to those on various group get-togethers. Quite a few foreign tourists say they purposefully pick ship over airplane to travel. We will hear from them what are the unique appeals of traveling on a ship.
The only land route to go overseas from the Korean Peninsula is through the north. However, the route is not accessible due to North Korea. DMZ Train, running northward from Seoul, is a type of tourist train that operates once a day to Dorasan Station, Korea's northernmost train station. If one can pass through North Korea, the route of the trans-Siberian train linking Vladivostok to Moscow to Europe will lead all the way to Korea. DMZ Peace Train is an interesting experience for foreigners visiting Korea, the one and only divided nation in the world. An old gentleman, who said he used to work at DMZ when young, came back to the spot in decades. Koreans never give up hope that one day they will be able to travel to the north on this train and the land route will be open for business again.