DMZ JSA tour

Looking at Panmungak from Freedom House during our DMZ JSA tour

Experience the mystery of the Korean Demilitarized Zone and the unique Joint Security Area! These sights should be at the top of every adventurous traveller’s bucket list. No other country in the world has such a remarkable historical division and simultaneous desire for peace. Create unforgettable moments and get insider cultural knowledge on our DMZ JSA tour!

* JSA tour bookings need to be made at least 7 days before your tour. * Children under 12 years old are not permitted to join this tour.

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  • Reviews (6)

What is the DMZ – Demilitarized Zone

The DMZ is the area surrounding the Demarcation Line (DML), which separates North and South Korea. About a half-century ago, the DML was drawn to keep the two countries physically separated.

This border came about from the need for peace between the two countries after the prolonged military and political tension. The DMZ is 250 kilometres long with a four-kilometre diameter.

North Korea is famous for being mysterious and very hard to visit. Our DMZ tours will allow you to get as close to the infamous country as possible and even look across the border!

What is the JSA – Joint Security Area

Looking ahead at the bridge of no return through the windscreen of the DMZ JSA tour bus in Korea

The JSA (Joint Security Area) is a shared space between North and South Korea. Here the two countries can coexist with the help of the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC). This is the only place where South and North Korean forces stand face to face – a sight not to be missed!

The former village (Panmunjeom) sits just 60 kilometres northwest of Seoul and was initially called “Neolmun-ri.” The area is rectangular, with a size of 400×800 meters and is set up on the Military Demarcation Line, essentially making it neutral ground.

Here, you will find various buildings that accommodate negotiation talks and a few bridges of great historical importance.

Following our tour group on our DMZ JSA tour. In the background you can see the UNCMAC Conference rooms and North Korea's Panmungak

Don’t miss this chance to see one of the unique corners of the world! Our DMZ JSA tour from Seoul is one of Korea’s most popular and loved tours, and we make sure that you see all these incredible landmarks in comfort.

JSA tour Regulations and Restrictions

The JSA is a unique area due to its purpose – to preserve peace, and therefore the United Nations Command (UNC) have some strict regulations to bear in mind.

Everyone wishing to visit must supply their passport and register at least 7 days in advance. We, therefore, request a full-colour copy of your passport page when booking. All members of your group should be at least 12 years old, and those younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

In addition, the UNC limits the number of people that can visit daily. This limit means it can get booked up very quickly.

If you wish to avoid the restrictions and ensure there is enough space, we suggest you book our DMZ Half Day Tour . This way, you will still see everything there is to see at the DMZ but will not have to deal with pre-registration and limitations.

What to expect on our DMZ JSA tour – key features

Our tour has a very well-organized itinerary that makes sure you don’t miss a beat and are as comfortable as possible. Our pickup and drop-off location is City Hall Subway Station (Exit 6), a central and easily accessible location in Seoul to start and end the day.

We provide professional, licensed tour guides who will be there from start to finish to answer all of your questions. All transportation is included and we take care of all the entrance fees for you, so you don’t have to worry about the details!

One of the key features not to be missed on our DMZ JSA tour is looking into North Korea. You can get a very clear view across the border when the weather is good!

In addition, we will walk through the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel dug by North Koreans in an attempt to attack the South. Don’t miss this chance to walk in the steps of the soldiers! The tunnel has a steep slope and is two meters tall and two meters wide. If you don’t feel comfortable in confined spaces, we invite you to wait for us by the exit.

Lastly, we will visit the infamous border between North and South Korea! This is an experience you cannot get anywhere else in the world!

Charge your camera – these are our tour highlights not to miss

Since this area is so rich in history, there are a few buildings and landmarks that you can not miss! We will make sure to cover them all on our tour. Here are all the details you need to know about these spots in advance.

Imjingak – a spiritual place for mourning

A sign at Imjingak showing that the distance to Seoul is 53 km, while Kaesong is just 22 km away.

Sitting 53 kilometres northwest of Seoul, Imjingak is where South Koreans come to mourn their lost ancestors who have fallen in the Korean War.

This ritual happens on every Lunar New Year’s Day. It aims to comfort about ten million people who pay respects to their families lost in the North.

The Bridge of Freedom – crying “Hurrah!”

Until 1998, the Bridge of Freedom was the only direct link to Camp Greaves, Liberty Bell, and Panmunjeom.

According to the history books from the war period, about 13,000 captives crossed the bridge yelling “Hurrah!” for freedom, which gave this structure its name.

People crossing the Bridge of Freedom at Imjingak. In the background you can see the railway bridge that connects with Freedom Bridge.

Feel the spirit of exaltation as the war has come to an end at this historic place on our DMZ JSA tour.

The Third Tunnel of Aggression – crawling through time

This hidden tunnel was discovered in October of 1978. Resembling Tunnel II, which both the North and South knew about, this one was secret! The tunnel’s location lies just 4 kilometres away from Truce Village (Panmunjeom).

The measurements of the tunnel are 1,635 kilometres long, 1.95 meters high, and 2.1 meters wide. It was made big enough to move an entire division per hour and was clearly built for a surprise attack on Seoul! So on our DMZ and JSA tour, we will have the chance to go inside and see the secret tunnel for ourselves!

DMZ Theater and Exhibition Hall – an organised look into past events

A glass box gun display in the DMZ Theater and Exhibition hall

If you’d like to track the events of the Korean War and see a significant amount of evidence, you would love the DMZ Theater and Exhibition Hall. Here, you can expect to see leaflets, bayonets, military letters, pottery, and empty cartridges.

These objects will give you an idea of what life was like during this challenging period and will transport you back in time.

Dora Observatory – see across the border inside North Korea

The view of the closest North Korean village through binoculars at Dora Observatory

Due to stringent regulations, we aren’t allowed to go into North Korea, so instead, we make sure to get you as close as possible so you can have a look at the mysterious country! Dora Observatory is the closest point to North Korea.

Dorasan Station – the railway connecting North and South

An information board directing passengers to board the train for Pyongyang at Dorasan Station located inside the DMZ

Unification Bridge – the idea of peace is manifested

Crossing Unification Bridge over Imjin River

The Unification Bridge (Tongildaegyo) started as an idea of unification. It was built symbolically in 1998 by the Hyundai Business Group of South Korea and towers over the Imjingang River, which flows from North Korea.

The bridge got a peculiar nickname – “Cow Bridge.” This is because of the founder of Hyundai, Mr Jung Juyoung, who crossed the bridge going to North Korea in 1998, bringing 1001 cows.

Camp Bonifas – remembering a hero

Camp Bonifas is a military post that belongs to the United Nations. The site was previously known as “Kitty Hawk”, but on August 18, 1986, the name was changed to honour Captain Arthur G. Bonifas. The American captain was killed in the “axe murder incident”, so the camp was dedicated to him posthumously.

Entering Camp Bonifas on our JSA tour

We will visit this camp during our DMZ and JSA tour. Here you will receive a briefing and watch a slide show from UN military personnel before visiting Joint Security Area.

Freedom House – a safe space for peace talks

A border guard standing in front of Freedom House inside the Joint Security Area

The Freedom House is located on the south side of the JSA and was finished in July of 1998. The building has a modern design and four floors. It serves as the home to the “South and North Liaison Office” and “South and North Red Cross Liaison Office.”

This space aims to provide a safe zone for discussion, inter-Korean dialogues, and cultural exchanges aimed at peace.

Military Armistice Commission Conference Room – enforcing the historic agreement

The United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) was assembled in July 1953 at the end of the Korean War. Its goal is to ensure that peace is maintained and that the Korean Armistice Agreement is strictly enforced.

JSA border guards securing one of the Military Armistice Commission Conference Rooms

The conference room is where it meets. The North and South take turns using the conference rooms in the JSA, which have doors on both ends to ensure privacy and equal access.

Inter-Korean Peace House – leaving military matters aside

The Peace House was completed on December 19, 1969. It is used for talks that have nothing to do with the government or the military and is located 130 metres south of Freedom House.

This building was first constructed in 1980 when the two countries’ prime ministers needed a neutral place to meet and have a dialogue. It was later rebuilt in 1989 and is still used to this day.

Tongilgak (Unification Pavilion) – the hidden office

Tongilgak is a conference hall on the northern side of the JSA that has a similar function to the Peace House. It has mainly been used to house North Korea’s “South and North Liaison Office”, which has been the case since May 1992.

This is where various inter-Korean talks have taken place. Similar to the mysterious image of North Korea, this building is not easily visible. It’s located 100 meters northwest of Panmungak, and you need to actively look for it to see it!

Panmungak (Phanmun Pavilion) – a place for propaganda

Panmungak’s role in the Joint Security Area is to represent North Korea. The building was first constructed on September 2, 1969, and is where North Korean officials have their offices. The building also serves as the waiting room for UN officials who want to have a dialogue with North Korea.

Looking across the demarcation line in the Join Security Area at the Panmungak building aka Phanmun Pavilion

The curious fact about Panmungak is that propaganda efforts take place here. The North is famous for its efforts to promote propaganda information against South Korea. One such example is the “Pan-Korean Convention” that happens every 5th of August. Moreover, this building was completely closed off to the North Korean public until 1964.

The Bridge of No Return – a place marked by a shocking event

A soldier standing guard in front of the Bridge of No Return facing North

You may recognise this bridge from the popular James Bond movie “Die Another Day”. This is also the bridge where the famous “axe murder incident” happened on August 18, 1976. The bridge became infamous as the spot where General Arthur Bonifas and First Lieutenant Mark Bennett were killed.

However, the original purpose of this bridge, which gave it its name, was to be a place where POWs (prisoners of war) were exchanged. Once a prisoner chose the country he wanted to go to, there was no coming back, hence the bridge of “no return”. Don’t miss the chance to see this tense and historically rich place on our DMZ JSA tour!

The Bridge of 72 Hours – a desperate need for access by North Korea

After the “axe murder incident” happened, the Bridge of No Return was shut down and was no longer in use. That meant that North Korea lost its access to the JSA. Shocked and desperate, the government decided to build a new one.

This is how the Bridge of 72 Hours appeared. It only took 72 hours for its completion, which was a massive effort on behalf of the North. This bridge connects Panmunjeom and the city of Kaesong to the north.

As you can see, the DMZ and JSA are two places extremely rich in history and unique in their cultural aspects. Be sure not to miss the chance to discover their mysteries with our DMZ JSA tour!

DMZ + JSA tour Itinerary

  • Meet at City Hall Subway Station (Exit 6)
  • Bridge of Freedom
  • Third Tunnel of Aggression
  • DMZ Theater and Exhibition Hall
  • Dora Observatory
  • Pass by Unification Village
  • Lunchtime at Imjingak Park
  • Unification Bridge (Passport Check Point)
  • Camp Bonifas (Slide Show and Briefing)
  • JSA (Freedom House, Conference Room etc)
  • Drop Off at City Hall Subway Station (Exit 6)

Our DMZ and JSA tour includes

  • Fully licensed tour guide
  • Transportation to and from the DMZ and JSA
  • Entrance fees and tickets
  • NO forced shopping stops

Additional Notes

  • Please  bring your passport on the day for UNC military checkpoints.
  • A full-colour scan of your passport picture page including the bar code at the bottom should be sent to us by email at least 7 days in advance.
  • Payment has to be fully arranged at least 7 days before the tour date (by credit card).
  • A 100% cancellation charge will be applied when cancelling within 7 days of the tour date.
  • The above itinerary, time and price can be changed depending on the current situation.
  • JSA tour bookings need to be made at least 7 days before your tour .
  • Korean nationals cannot join this tour.
  • The following dress code applies: Normal blue jeans are OK to wear, but no sleeveless shirts, t-shirts without the collar, short pants, skirts, sandals, military-looking clothes, or clothing with a country flag or name of the nationality on it.
  • Children under 12 years old are not permitted to join this tour.
  • The JSA is controlled by the United Nations Command (UNC), so there are limited seats due to restrictions.

6 reviews for DMZ JSA tour

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Chris (verified owner) – May 5, 2023

Wow, all I can say is do this JSA tour if you possibly can. I did the normal DMZ tour which was great, but then did this JSA tour – it was fantastic and takes you even closer to the frontline and actually inside the DMZ itself to the JSA. Our guide Nancy was quite amazing and brilliant. I have done many great tours around the world – this is up there amongst the very best.

Wiola kawasaki – January 11, 2023

We had the most remarkable family tour.

Marsha – October 14, 2022

JSA DMZ Tour Option? Hello, is this tour still available?

Gareth Singh – September 25, 2019

So glad I booked this tour. Knew I wanted to do it after doing some research before arriving in Korea. I booked early after reading that this tour is difficult to get on dude to all the restrictions and military / political events. Found myself on a bus full of people from all different places. Some people on the bus could only do the first part of the tour because they didn’t book early enough, so be sure to book as early as you can!

Holly – November 5, 2019

Dear , Gareth Above all thank you for review of the DMZ + JSA tour .

Yes , as the JSA is managed by UN community , the tour is only available on certain days with limited seats … So most of time the tour is fully booked in advanced .

You were very lucky to join the DMZ + JSA tour with VIP : )) Haha Hope you can join the tour next time with us if you ever come back to Korea .

Thank you Holly

Tony – September 20, 2019

When we asked our hotel to recommend a tour that visited both dmz and jsa they told us VIP Travel. They said they are well known for having the best dmz and city tours. The hotel staff gave us VIP’s brochure and left us to it, so we decided to give them a try. They quickly managed to get us a spot on the DMZ JSA tour 6 days later. Sophie from the booking staff was super helpful and informative and took care of everything for us. The tour was incredible. You can feel the emotion as you walk around, through tunnels and visiting the camp. So glad we booked it and had such a good time that we are booked on a city tour for tomorrow aswell.

Dear , Tony Above all thank you for the review of DMZ and JSA tour.

Yes Sophie is one of our fast staff that always trying to help our customer . Really great that you got spot for the DMZ and JSA tour as the seats are very limited for tour and always fully booked .

Hope you have enjoyed the city tour as well with us : ) Please come back to VIP if you every comeback to Korea.

We always treat our customer as VIP Holly

Dave and Michele – August 27, 2019

Can now say we have visited both sides of the DMZ JSA border, having previously visited North Korea. Really enjoyed VIP’s take on this tour. Guides were top class and everything went smoothly. Managed to get some great pics and wife enjoyed herself too even though she was originally not that keen to visit again just 2 weeks later.

Dear, Dave Above all thank you for the review of DMZ and JSA tour .

I will pass to the tour guide that you have enjoyed the tour with us : ) Hope you can join some other tours with us if you every comeback to Korea!

We always treat our customer as VIP Thank you Holly

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Meet Location

  • City Hall Station (Line 2) Exit 5
  • Round-trip transportation
  • English speaking tour guide
  • Entrance fee

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Overall rating

seeing DPRK from the unification tower was very interesting and thought provoking. You can see the little hamlet on the other-side and ponder how they must be living over there sometimes without roofs or heating. You can ... also see the border clearly and witness a-lot of barbed wire. I freedom bridge itself and JSA checkpoint were very interesting. Unfortunately due to swine flu we were unable to go directly to the JSA.

We went with the alternative tour because DMZ was closed due to African Swine Flu. Regardless, still very pleased. Our guide on the day (Dec 27) was outstanding - informative, friendly and super helpful. Tour will have b ... een perfect if more time was allowed at the War memorial. Its a huge place and will require a couple hours to really enjoy all the exhibits, however we were there for only 50 mins at best.

Good service

Our tour guide is professional. She tell about the history of place where we visit, South and North Korea. She take care all group members very well. Lunch is good also. All activities are in agenda and on time.

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  • Any cancellations made between 18:00 local time, 4 business days to 18:00 local time, 3 business days prior to the activity will be subject to a charge of 50% of the total amount.
  • Any cancellations made after 18:00 local time, 3 business days prior to the activity will be subject to a charge of 100% of the total amount.
  • Any changes (dates or number of people) made between 15:00 local time, 4 business days to 15:00 local time, 3 business days prior to the activity will be subject to a charge of 50% of the total amount. Any changes (dates or number of people) made after 15:00 local time, 3 business days prior to the activity will be subject to a charge of 100% of the total amount.

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Ultimate DMZ and JSA: Private Tour including North Korea Spy Commando Invasion Route

  • Enjoy a lunch of barbecued duck, a North Korean specialty
  • Private DMZ and JSA day trip including North Korean spy commando infiltration route
  • Experience a private tour of the Joint Security Area at the infamous north-south border: the Korean Demilitarized Zone
  • Visit Imjingak Park, the JSA's Freedom House and the Bridge of No Return near Panmunjom with a knowledgeable guide
  • See the battlefield where US and South Korean forces confronted North Korean infiltrators in 1968
  • Stop at a civilian observation post for a glimpse of a North Korean village and tour the War Memorial of Korea at Yongsan-dong
  • Includes pickup at your hotel and drop-off in Myeong-dong by private vehicle

Inclusions & Exclusions

  • Entrance fees
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Hotel pickup
  • Food and drinks, unless specified
  • Hotel drop-off
  • Gratuities (optional)

Departure & Return

From your Seoul city hotel

7:30amHotel pickups commence prior to this time

Returns to original departure point

What To Expect

Travel in the convenience and comfort of a private vehicle to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) after pickup from your hotel in Seoul. During the drive, ask any questions of your knowledgeable guide who describes your full-day itinerary and provides background information on the fortified border between North and South Korea. Following your morning JSA (Joint Security Area) tour - see Itinerary below for details - enjoy a North Korean-style lunch of barbecued duck (vegetarian meals arranged upon request) and continue along the spy invasion route of the DMZ. Here, look for evidence of the 1968 infiltration when 22 North Korean spies crossed into South Korea more than a decade after the Korean War. You'll spot a North Korean village from a civilian observation point, visit Imjingak Peace Park and see the Bridge of No Return before a final stop at the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan-dong on the return drive to Seoul, with drop-off in the Myeong-dong district.Please note: This tour operates under strict guidelines. Please visit the Important Information tab to read about passport requirements, dress code, and other pertinent details.ItineraryDriving along the banks of the Imjin River, make a stop in Imjingak Peace Park to see artillery used during the Korean War. Then pass the Unification Bridge and a series of checkpoints, where your ID will be verified, en route to the UN camp. Learn how the JSA - used for diplomatic dialogue by the two Koreas - was established as the negotiating site between North Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC) in the former 'truce village' called Panmunjom, where the 1953 Armistice Agreement split the peninsula in two.Upon arrival, your guide accompanies you to the briefing room for an orientation, including an informative slideshow. Then step inside a conference room to learn about inter-Korean dialogue at the Freedom House, a facility where North and South representatives meet. Afterward, visit the Bridge of No Return, named for the POW exchanges that began in 1953.After lunch, continue to an artillery base for a look at weapons such as an M109 Howitzer, currently aimed toward the DMZ to back up infantry soldiers under patrol. Then head back into the DMZ to an army base where 22 North Korean spy commandos infiltrated the border in 1968. It's a short climb to a South Korean military observation post (OP), where you'll discover how the spies got so close to the Korean Presidential House in their mission to assassinate President Park Jeong Hi and destroy the American Embassy.Visit a US Army fire drill center and then make a short trek to a civilian observation point, where you can peer through a telephoto lens to observe a North Korean village just across the border. Then stop by a site where a 3-day battle took place as the South Korean and US armies joined forces against the spy commandos. Here, just a mile (1.5 km) from the Presidential House, you'll find dozens of bullet traces around rocks and trees.Your last must-see location is the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan-dong, with exhibits on Korea's military history. After viewing wartime equipment on display at the former Korean Infantry headquarters, your guide drives you back to Seoul, where you're dropped off in Myeong-dong, one of the city's main shopping districts.

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • A minimum of 2 people per booking is required   
  • Minimum age is 12 years 
  • Please note that tour schedule is controlled by the military and may not be determined at the time of booking
  • A moderate amount of walking is involved; comfortable clothes and shoes are recommended
  • Due to uneven surfaces, this tour is not recommended for those with walking disabilities or using a wheelchair
  • A strict dress code applies for all visitors: "faddish, extreme, torn, tattered, frayed, overly provocative or otherwise inappropriate" clothing is not allowed. Sports clothes (including tracksuits), military clothing, oversized clothing, sheer clothing, sleeveless shirts
  • tops, tank tops, and flip flops and similar sandals are specifically banned
  • The UN requires copies of all passengers' passports at least 7 days before the travel day. Please send a copy of your passport to the local tour operator upon making the booking. Your reservation will be canceled automatically if your passport copy is not received on time
  • Please do not consume alcoholic beverages before the tour
  • Please follow the instructions of your tour guide on when and where to take photos
  • If a part of tour itinerary is canceled by unexpected military conditions at Panmunjom, there will be no refund
  • Please be sure to reconfirm you reservation on the day before the tour as there can be schedule adjustments made due to the sudden scheduling of meetings, military training or VIP visits
  • Please check the restricted countries for this tour: Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria   

Cancellation Policy

  • If you cancel at least 7 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is No cancellation fee
  • If you cancel between 3 and 6 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is 50 percent cancellation fee
  • If you cancel within 2 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is 100 percent cancellation fee

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