JSA (Joint Security Area for short) is the only area where the South and North can meet together without a wall or a barbed-wire fence at disarmed/unarmed state. It is also a special district without an administrative jurisdiction for the South and North parties. It is a historic place that holds significance of representing the tension and conflict that existed during the Cold War and is testimony to the division of the Korean Peninsula.
Panmunjom is considered to be the most militarized, dangerous (seems secure though) and tense border all across the world. This place is definitely something you can't find anywhere else in the world since Korea is the only remaining country that is divided into two.
You must make a reservation at least a week in advance for the tour. Check the USO’s website. They don’t offer tours every day as they are restricted by the military as to when a tour group can visit. The tour usually starts early in the morning and goes on for half of the day, 3 times a week so you're gonna have to coordinate your schedule when you decide to visit Panmunjom.
1. Click Official website of DMZ tour for more details/ info.
- Contact details for inquires : Tel 82-2-706-4851 / Fax 82-0505-115-2132 / E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Bookings through tour agencies also possible. (Price may vary)
1. Registration (Hotel President /Passport and Attire check)
- Start for Destination (Freedom High way).
2. Guide will be provide an overview description of the DMZ
- Arrive at United Nation Command Security Battalion "Camp Bonifas"
- Slide show provided on JSA (Panmunjom)
- Take military bus to JSA area, Freedom House, Military Armistice Commission Building, Bridge of no return
- Imjingak park (Freedom Bridge)
- Lunch (Bulgogi or bibimbap)
- Arrive at Hotel President
* Schedule may be subject to change due to special circumstances of the local military site, traffic
or natural disaster.
* Tour schedule is depend on departure time
* Tour is provided from Tuesday to Saturday, except for the designated No Tour days.
- Weekdays (Tue ~ Fri) : 7:20am ~ 1:30pm (only Tuesday) / 8:50am~ 2:40pm / 9:30am~4:30pm
- Saturday : 8:50am~2:50pm / 11:30am~5:30pm
- 85,000 KRW (When booked through the official DMZ Tour website.)
- Transportation, DMZ tour special guide and Lunch included.
As you make your way to the DMZ, you will be passing the Freedom road. As you are leaving all the skyscrapers behind, it will make you feel like the tour has really begun and tense for the extraordinary experience.
The bus will stop at a few checkpoints as it goes through the Unification bridge. The bridge is the first gateway to the DMZ. That being said, all of the passengers in the bus will have their passports/ ID checked at this point. Once it's all checked and good to go, you can cross the bridge.
Your next stop is Camp Bonifas, where your IDs and attires will be checked again. Soldiers in charge will then be giving you a briefing about the Panmunjom visitation. The camp also has a gift shop which sells DMZ/ JSA related souvenirs.
House of freedom
House of freedom is a joint security area by the United Nation Force and ROK army. If you are a foreign tourist and have a passport, you can visit this place.
Military Armistice Commission Building
This building is where the military armistice conference took place after the agreement of ceasefire of the South and North in 1953. There's high chance that you might get intimidated by the face and appearance of the soldiers guarding this place. It's very silent and tense inside the building but you are still allowed to take pictures.
You will then be moving on to Bridge of no return, Limjingak and having a lunch time (the menus is usually bulgogi or bibimbap) and finish your tour.
The tour takes time and the cost is not too cheap but it sure is something that you can only experience in Korea. JSA Tour is full of the history and military tension of Korean Peninsula and will leave you awed by how unique the sites are.