From May 4th 2022, all Half Day DMZ tours are now open! Book Now

DMZ Tours from Seoul

Our DMZ tour from Seoul offers a truly unique and unforgettable Korean experience. Glimpse into North Korea from across the most heavily fortified border in the world! But be sure to be on your best behaviour, as this is a politically sensitive and military-controlled area. This tour is not to be missed!

Read more for Restrictions & Schedules

A Brief History and Introduction to the DMZ

A warning sign about landmines at the DMZ
Experts believe that somewhere between 1.8 – 2.2 million landmines have been planted at the DMZ.

Korea is a divided nation. Since 1953 a 4 km wide stretch of no man’s land, known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), has separated South and North Korea. This buffer zone has become the most heavily fortified and guarded border in the world.

Experts believe somewhere between 1.8 – 2.2 million landmines have been planted here, roughly 1 to 1.2 million by the US and South Korea, and another 800,000 to 1 million by North Korea.

On a DMZ tour looking across the border at Panmungak
South Korean border guard blocking the way to North Korea’s Panmungak during a DMZ tour in Korea.

The DMZ was established as a result of the Korean Armistice Agreement between North Korea, China and the United Nations Command (UNC). This “ceasefire” agreement has effectively put the Korean War on hold. The DMZ now reaches 250 km long by 4 km wide, roughly dividing the Korean Peninsula in half.

Inside the DMZ is an area where both nations can meet for negotiations. Today it’s known as the Joint Security Area (JSA), while the original village was called Panmunjom and was located 800 metres further North. However, regarding tours of the DMZ, the JSA and Panmunjom can be considered the same place.

The DMZ today is it safe?

A group photo of our tour group during a tour of the DMZ
Our happy guests taking a group photo inside one of the Conference Rooms during a tour of the DMZ

Considering its history and that the DMZ (especially the JSA) has suffered various incidents with both military and civilian casualties, you might be wondering if it’s safe to take your family on a DMZ tour.

Well, you’ll be glad to know that it has become safe for travellers these days. In fact, our DMZ tours from Seoul are one of our most popular day tours.

In addition, since October 2018, both sides have removed all firearms from the Joint Security Area, cut personnel stationed there to 35 on each side, removed 11 guard posts along the demarcation line and removed some landmines.

NO forced shopping stops on our DMZ tours

Our tours are unique in that we offer high-quality DMZ tours from Seoul with No shopping stops along the way. VIP Travel is currently the only tour operator offering this. Therefore, book your DMZ tour with us to make the most of your time during this truly unique Korean experience.

Booking Restrictions for tours of the DMZ

Due to this being a military-controlled area run by the United Nations Command (UNC), there are some restrictions we have to abide by:

DMZ tour

A man looking at North Korea from Dora Observatory using high powered binoculars
Use Dora Observatory’s high powered binoculars to look into North Korea. Can you spot the statue of Kim Il Sung?

Our DMZ Half Day tour offers very few restrictions and can be booked the day before. All visitors are required to bring their passports. Soldiers will check passports at the Unification Bridge and before entering.

Children are also welcome when accompanied by an appropriate parent or guardian as there are no age restrictions in place for this tour.

  • Can be booked on relatively short notice.
  • Bring your passports on the day!
  • No age restrictions! Children accompanied by parents are welcome.

JSA / Panmunjeom Tours

The JSA / Panmunjom, on the other hand, have very tight security restrictions for those who wish to visit. We, therefore, require all guests to book a minimum of 72 hours in advance of their preferred tour date, although we recommend booking as far in advance as possible!

Entering Camp Bonifas on our JSA tour
At Camp Bonifas, we will watch a slideshow and have a briefing before visiting the JSA.

We will also require a full-colour copy of your passport photo page. This is necessary, so we can send it to the UNC to register your visit. Note you will still be required to bring your passport on the day for further ID checks during the tour.

There is also a minimum age restriction for children; children should be at least 12 years old, with no exceptions to this rule.

Our final word of note is that there are limited spaces available. The UNC caps the number of visitors who can visit Panmunjeom per day. Once this limit is reached, booking will no longer be possible. Please feel free to reach out to us regarding your preferred dates to see if there is availability before booking.

  • Need to book a minimum of 72 hours in advance.
  • Recommended to book as far in advance as possible.
  • Passport colour copy required during booking for UNC registration.
  • Bring your passport on the day!
  • Age restriction: Minimum 12 Years old (No exceptions).
  • The UNC limits the number of visitors per day.

DMZ tour Schedule

Tours of the DMZ are possible every day except for Mondays, National Holidays and military training days. We run 2 Half Day DMZ tours daily, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

JSA / Panmunjeom tours run a similar schedule, except they are also unavailable on Sundays and are more affected by military training and political events. Both our Panmunjeom tour and DMZ JSA tour visit Panmunjom (Joint Security Area).

  • DMZ tours: Unavailable on Mondays, National Holidays and some military training days.
  • JSA / Panmunjeom tours: Unavailable on Sundays, Mondays, National Holidays, military training days and during some political events.

Panmunjom Dress Code

Someone posing in front of a sign at the Third Tunnel of Aggression on one of our DMZ tours from Seoul
At the Third Tunnel of Aggression on our DMZ tour from Seoul

Tours that visit the Panmunjom / JSA have a strict dress code. This is partly because it has been known for North Korean soldiers to take photos of poorly dressed tourists to be used in propaganda efforts.

Visitors are therefore asked to be respectful and abide by the following rules as they will be enforced on the day:

  • No sleeveless shirts.
  • No t-shirts without a collar.
  • No short pants or skirts.
  • No sandals.
  • No military-looking clothing.
  • No clothing showing flags or name of nationality.

So what are you waiting for? Book your DMZ trip now to avoid disappointment!