The Korean Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, has been called “the most dangerous place on Earth” by some media outlets. This four-kilometer-wide zone is what separates the North and South Korean militaries, who from 1950 to 1953 fought an extremely bloody war that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Because no peace treaty has ever been signed, the two sides technically remain at war, making it the longest-running conflict of the modern era. Numerous border incidents have occurred over the years since then, keeping both militaries on a constant high alert. However, the border has remained largely calm over the past two decades, to the point that foreign tourists are allowed to visit. Most tourists go to the area around Panmunjom Village in the middle of the DMZ, where negotiations between the two sides take place. It’s an incredible glimpse at the history and current state of this frozen conflict in what is the most militarized zone on Earth.
Tours to the DMZ take visitors to numerous site in the Panmunjom Village area, including an observatory where visitors can get a glimpse into the world’s most secretive country, museums detailing the history of the war and division of Korea, a former North Korean infiltration tunnel, and even the Joint Security Area, where visitors can go into the negotiation rooms and even take a few steps into North Korean territory. One can truly feel not only the tension at the DMZ but also the heartbreak and tragedy that Korea’s division has caused on both sides of the border. In order to visit the Joint Security Area, a tour must be booked at least a week in advance and you must bring your passport to present at the security checkpoint to access the area.
What to Expect
The Joint Security Area (JSA) is the only area along the DMZ that South and North Korean forces stand face-to-face. It’s home to the Panmunjom Truce Village, where diplomatic meetings between the two sides usually take place, and the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, which monitors the 1953 armistice between North Korea and UN forces. The negotiation rooms in Panmunjom Truce Village cut right through the middle of the DMZ, with one half in North Korea and the other half in South Korea, which means visitors can technically step into North Korean territory. You can really feel the tension at this part of the DMZ, as South Korean soldiers stare out towards the North with faceless expressions, standing ready for anything that could happen.
The observatory at Unification Hill gives visitors a panoramic view of both North and South Korea, allowing them to get a glimpse inside one of the world’s most secretive countries and a chance to compare and contrast the two sides. Visitors can catch an up-close glimpse of the North Korean city of Kaesong, the center of the country’s light industry, located just ten kilometers from the DMZ, and even catch a glimpse of Seoul on clear days. The observatory also houses a museum detailing the history of Korea’s division and attracts many people who still have loved ones in North Korea.
In order to visit the Joint Security Area, you must book a spot on a tour at least a week in advance and bring your passport to present at the security checkpoint to access the area. Those without a passport will not be allowed to enter the JSA. Tours can be booked through WorknPlay.
|Package Type||Operating Company||Price|
|JSA + 3rd Tunnel + Imjingak Park + Dora Observatory||Panmunjom Tour Center||130,000 won||Book Now|
|JSA + Imjingak Park + Odu Observatory (with a North Korean Defector)||Panmunjom Tour Center||100,000 won||Book Now|
|3rd Tunnel + Imjingak Park + Dora Observatory + Odu Observatory (with a North Korean Defector)||Panmunjom Tour Center||85,000 won||Book Now|
|3rd Tunnel + Imjingak Park + Dora Observatory||Panmunjom Tour Center||65,000 won||Book Now|
|JSA + 3rd Tunnel + Imjingak Park + Dora Observatory||Korea Travel Bureau||130,000 won||Book Now|
|JSA + Imjingak Park||Korea Travel Bureau||85,000 won||Book Now|
|3rd Tunnel + Imjingak Park + Dora Observatory + Galbi Lunch||Korea Travel Bureau||80,000 won||Book Now|
|3rd Tunnel + Imjingak Park + Dora Observatory||Korea Travel Bureau||65,000 won||Book Now|
- You must bring your passport on the day of the tour. Passports will be checked by ROK military personnel at the Unification Bridge before passing through the Civilian Control Zone. Those without a passport will not be allowed into the JSA nor any other sites within the Civilian Control Zone.
- Children under 11 years old are not allowed into the JSA.
- Casual clothing such as dungarees, sleeveless shirts, sandals, slippers, and mini skirts are not permitted in the JSA tour area.
- Tour itinerary and locations are subject to change due to military and other official considerations.
- 30,000KRW will be refunded if guests fail to enter DMZ/JSA due to military or other official considerations.
- Cameras with lenses over 90mm are not permitted in the JSA.
- Please arrive at the meet-up point at least 10 mins in advance.
|Company Name||DMZ - Demilitarized Zone (비무장지대)|
|Category||Outdoors & Adventure Tickets & Passes Tour & Sightseeing|
Gunnae-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea Gunnae-myeon