JSA is located inside the Demilitarized Zone(DMZ) and is the closest location to North Korea for visitors to see. The tension is very high, only a limited number of people are allowed to visit Panmunjom at a time.
JSA DMZ combined Tour will be a special opportunity to experience the reality of North Korea and attain a better understanding of the situation. North Korean defector will brief about life in North Korea in Odu unification OP.
Panmunjom and 3rd Infiltration Tunnel etc. This program has been condensed from a two-day experience into a one-day tour for those who wish to see all the sites, but time is limited. The cost of this tour is very economical in terms of the variety of attractions. Tourist satisfaction is higher than any other tour program.
Koreana Hotel 8th floor Panmunjom Travel Center (PTC) desk
Take Freedom Highway to Imjingak
(Transfer to the shuttle bus to enter the DMZ area)
Lunch (Bulgogi) and move to Unification Bridge
Arrive at United Nation Command Security Battalion “Camp Bonifas”
Take military bus to Joint Security Area, Freedom House Military Armistice Commission Building
Arrival at Koreana Hotel in Seoul
Eye opening experience. I booked my tour with Koridoor and it was so worth it. If you go to Korea for any reason, you can not miss this. You can actually be in North Korea if you do this tour (once you’re inside the UN building).
This place shows what happened in the past and the guides also tells you the stories of the past. The roads leading up to this place was quite scary. Wired fences, bombs and other traps are every where. You have to listen to the military guide at all times. You are not allowed to take pictures of certain things for military reasons. The guide was very informative. The knowledge you acquire in this tour is amazing. The past and the present are very negative. But lets hope the future will be very very positive.
I’ve already written a review under Camp Boniface so thought I’d highlight a few things I would have found useful before I went;
1. You will only see Panmunjom if you book a joint JSA/DMZ tour. Some people on our coach seemed to think it was part of the half day DMZ tour but it isn’t. The morning is the DMZ tour then the afternoon is the visit to the JSA. I would hate to be sat on a bus going back to Seoul at 1pm knowing I was missing out of the best bit. Some tour companies don’t make it clear so do your research.
2. The dress code is strict and a soldier will check you. Tour guides have extra clothing with them but i wouldn’t count on it especially if you are larger than the average Korean!! That being said, men were able to wear shorts below the knee, small logos on polo shirts were fine, shorts sleeves were allowed as was round neck tshirts as it was incredible hot. I have attached a picture of the JSA dress code rules given by my tour company as it did stress me out quite a bit beforehand.
3. The waiver you sign before the briefing at Camp Boniface is given back to you on the way out so no need to worry about the legality of signing it.
4. The JSA tour can be cancelled at the very last moment for a whole host of reasons from the obvious security ones to dignitary visits. There’s no refund if this happens but you will be offered a transfer to another date as happened to me. There are specific days/dates that tours don’t run but the tour operators have this on their websites.
5. It’s unlikely that you’ll see any North Korean guards facing off against the South Korean soldiers across the DMZ line. They hate the JSA tours and complain constantly about them so refuse to “participate” according to the US soldier who briefed our coach. The only time you might see them is if there is a tour on their side in which case they’ll appear.
Notwithstanding all of the above, it is the most amazing experience so make sure you do it!!!
Highlight for my whole korea trip. Unfortunately I didn’t managed to see the north korean soldier at the border. Such a disappointment.
But it’s definitely a worth going trip.
Do remember to book the trip in advance as your name is required to be submitted for security clearance before entering the place.
You’re only able to visit this area with specific tour groups in Seoul and it’s a unique experience being at a place that is both well known and dangerous at the same time.
There were no North Korean guards when we visited and we have to follow many rules like specific clothing and no random photo taking, but the trip itself was well worth it.
Will strongly recommend visiting this place if you’re into history and politics, but be aware that trips here can be cancelled at any time due to various reasons, so be sure to go with a legit tour company. Be sure to go with a tour company where you can pay only on the day of the tour, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of a refund if anything happens.
We went with Cosmojin and the tour company allowed us to pay via cash on the day of the tour itself.
South Korea has truly honored the sacrifice of those from over twenty countries who fought alongosde them to ensure their freedom. This entire area is very classy and dignified unlike the North Korean side which we also visited and where they just outright lie about the whole war.