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When travelling in one's own vehicle on public roads in South Korea is there any road freely accessible that also runs relatively close to the North Korean border?

I'm not really after the shortest distance but rather interested if one can get a glimpse of North Korea or see those cement obstacles from outside the DMZ. I think to remember that I saw TopGear magazine having a photo shoot with such.

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The closest you can get on your own would be going to right before the DMZ. The North and the South each control 2km of the DMZ. Other than some special tour packages such as these, access to the DMZ is very controlled. You can see the North from several of the sites that are on the tourist packages.

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You can also catch a glimpse of North Korea on the Jayu-ro highway, for instance around 37.802870, 126.683044. Nothing very interesting though, just some hills across the sea. The tour I took to DMZ (you can't get there without a tour) took us via that road, because it's one of the easiest places to see North Korea close to Seoul. According to our tour guide, you notice that all trees are chopped down, hence it must be North Korea.

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    Those hills you can see in your street view link are still South Korea, check how the border lies and you'll confirm. – downhand May 6 '15 at 9:18
  • There's a similar picture though from the same highway where you can still see North Korea: goo.gl/JMc9Sv – downhand May 6 '15 at 9:24
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    Yes, you're right about the link I posted: it's obvious from the "terrain" view on Google Maps. I knew the border was a couple of kilometers beyond the river but I think I misinterpreted the not-terrain map view as saying that the flat part was South Korea and the hills were North Korea. Sorry for the confusion. – David Richerby May 6 '15 at 9:25

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