The demilitarized zone (DMZ) and Dokdo mark South Korea borders with North Korea and Japan respectively. Each borderland is a socially constructed symbolic cultural landscape shaped in part by tourism. In this study, a sample of 2202 online images was inspected using content-semiotic analysis to understand how visual representation of border tourism works. It was found that visitors via social media and government censorship play major roles in constructing representations of (i) alienated borders with iconic war heritage attractions at the DMZ and (ii) an alienated and isolated Dokdo. Both borders highlight patriotic/nationalistic ‘flagging’ and the gaze across. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.