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January 9, 2008

One-day Tour to Gaeseong (N.Korea) Will Begin

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

The one-day tour to the North Korean city of Gaeseong that begins next month will cost 180,000 won ($193.4) per person, Hyundai Asan said on Tuesday (Nov. 27). The company responsible for the majority of inter-Korean economic cooperation programs said the fee will cover transportation, lunch and money that will be given to North Korea, which will go toward tour guides and maintenance of the historic sites.

North Korea is to receive $100 for each tourist who visits Gaeseong, which lies just north of the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas. The city was the capital of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) and is currently home to a budding industrial complex that is fueling economic cooperation between the two Koreas.

About 50 South Korean companies have set up factories in the industrial complex that mainly produces clothing, shoes, industrial parts, cookware and watches.

Hyundai Asian said the tours that begin on Dec. 5 will be limited to 300 people each day.

Tourists will visit the Parkyeun Waterfall and Kwaneum Temple in the morning, followed by lunch and then visits to the Goryeo Museum and Seonjuk Bridge. They will then drive by the Gaeseong industrial complex before returning to South Korea.

Separate tours to the tombs of Wang Geon, founder of the Goryeo Dynasty, and King Gongmin can be arranged if there are enough tourists. Tours to Ryongthong Temple, considered the birthplace of the Cheontae Order of Korean Buddhism, can also be arranged.

Hyundai Asan, meanwhile, said about 5,000 people have booked visits to Gaeseong for December, and the number is expected to increase.

“Compared to Mount Geumgang on the east coast, which is harder to reach, Gaeseong is near Seoul,” said a company official.

The company that arranges tours to the scenic mountains aims to also open tours Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city, and Mount Baekdu on the North Korean-Chinese border.

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