Strange Gifts From Korea’s Demilitarized Zone for Under $50


Ashtrays -- $6.83

The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land on the Korean peninsula, roughly running along the 38th parallel. Visitors to the DMZ can purchase these ashtrays to commemorate visiting the world's most heavily militarized border.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


Wire fence -- $31.25

The DMZ is nearly 160 miles long and dotted with farm land, land mines, fencing, wilderness and surveillance cameras. You can take a piece of the DMZ home with you if you purchase this piece of wire fence.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


North Korean alcohol -- $12.71

Every year thousands of tourists visit the DMZ to see one of the last remnants of the Cold War. If you're curious about North Korean alcohol, you can buy liquor from a DMZ gift shop. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly spent $30 million importing high-end alcohol to his nation in 2012.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


Shot glasses -- $7.81

The DMZ was created as part of the Korean Armistice Agreement, which ended the Korean War in 1953. If you get a chance to visit a gift shop around the DMZ, you might be able to purchase these shot glasses.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


Magnets -- $9.75

A popular tourist gift, these magnets were for sale at a gift shop located at the site of the Third Tunnel of Aggression, one of four known tunnels dug by North Koreans to infiltrate South Korea. Soldiers regularly drill for tunnels in the DMZ to discover if there are others.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


Chocolate -- $2.92

A strict dress code is enforced if you’re planning to tour around the DMZ, which means no flip-flops or ripped jeans. Why? North Koreans could use pictures of poorly dressed foreigners as propaganda. Pictured above, DMZ chocolate from the "only divided country in the world."

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


Mirrors -- $13.69-17.61

There’s a “truce village” located within the DMZ called Panmunjom. Before entering the area, tourists sign a release stating that the trip to Panmunjom "will entail entry into a hostile area and possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action." Commemorate your visit to Panmunjom by buying these trinkets.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


Panmunjeom book -- $11.73

Panmunjom is located in the most sensitive area of Korea's demilitarized zone. Though the 1953 truce ended hostilities between North and South Korea, peace was never agreed to. The two nations are technically still officially at war.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


Toy soldiers -- $7.82

Along the DMZ, thousands of troops from North and South Korea stand ready to fight. In 2013, the U.S. had 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea. If you want to purchase toy soldiers at a DMZ gift shop, it'll cost you about $8.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


Patches -- $1.95

Over the years, several incidents have occurred at the DMZ. One of the most recent incidents occurred in September 2013, when a 47-year-old man was killed by South Korean soldiers as he attempted to swim to North Korea.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


Sunscreen -- $19.56

The DMZ is about 2.5 miles wide -- and filled with mostly mountainous land. If you're worried about protecting your skin during a DMZ tour, you can pick up some Ariesys Prism Slim BB Cream at a gift shop. BB creams, which protect skin and provide coverage after laser treatments, are very popular in South Korea.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


Rice -- $27.39 or $52.83

There's a town called Daeseong-dong in the DMZ -- within sight of a North Korean propaganda village. Approximately 250 residents live in Daeseong-dong, most of them farmers. They have a nightly curfew and must maintain residency at the village for at least 240 days per year. The government subsidizes some famers with salaries as high as $82,000 a year. A gift shop in the DMZ sells rice and produce.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


Spoons -- $9.78

Sujeo is the Korean word for the set of eating utensils used by Koreans to eat. A popular gift, you can pick up these spoons while visiting the DMZ. According to a report from the United Nations, 1 in 4 kids in North Korea suffers from chronic malnutrition.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


Mug -- $11.74

North Korea suffers from widespread food shortages. The United Nations report, released in 2013, found that 2.8 million North Koreans are in need to regular food assistance. Unfortunately, food aid to the nation is also drying up.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)


President Obama photos -- no price tag

These photos of U.S. President Barack Obama visiting the DMZ in March of 2012 were on display at a gift shop. There was no price tag displayed on either photo.

(Image credit: Daryl Paranada)

  • KK

    Regarding slide #4. Technically… the war did not end. The armistice agreement only suspended the fighting. Please choose your words carefully.

    • Daryl

      Yes, the nations are still technically at war. If you continue to slide 8 you will see how that’s referred to. “Though the 1953 truce ended hostilities between North and South Korea, peace was never agreed to. The two nations are technically still officially at war.”

  • Michael Treglazoff

    President Obama being briefed by the JSA Commander on top of OP Ouellette in the President Bush bunker.


    do they sell?