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

DMZ Gondola Tour

Tour Code
Tour No: 25-1
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Family Friendly
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Group Discount
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Min 2 People
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Hotel Pickup
Local authorities have now fully re-opened the DMZ to the public. So book now to avoid disappointment!

Our DMZ Gondola tour gives you the perfect bird’s eye view of the Demilitarized Zone, allows you to spy on North Korea from Odu Observatory and walk across Freedom Bridge. Don’t miss this chance to learn about the world’s most dangerous border on this “only in Korea” experience!

Free Cancellation When cancelling by 5pm the day before most tours. See Details.

What to expect

Our DMZ Gondola tour is a 6-hour adventure into the DMZ and is packed with a range of experiences to give you an authentic feel of what the Korean conflict was like to live through. You’ll also discover how it has affected and shaped both North and South Korea and the current state of affairs as it stands today.

A woman looking into North Korea through binoculars from Mt Odu Unification Observatory
Peer into mysterious North Korea with high powered binoculars at Odu Unification Observatory.

Your tour will begin with our complimentary hotel pickup service in Seoul. Simply wait for us in the lobby, and we’ll take care of everything from there.

We’ll begin by first visiting Imjingak Park, located just 7 km away from the demarcation line between South and North Korea. It’s also a key area with a lot of history.

Along the way to the Paju Imjingak Peace Gondola, we’ll also stop by Mangbaedan Memorial Altar, have an opportunity to walk across The Bridge of Freedom, ring the Peace Bell, gaze upon the iconic Dokgae Bridge, and look around Beat 131 Bunker Exhibition Hall.

Next up is a ride on the DMZ Gondola to get a birds-eye view of the DMZ before finishing our tour by spying on North Korea over at Mount Odu Unification Observatory.

We’ll then drop you off at either City Hall or in Itaewon, two convenient locations from which to continue on with your day.

DMZ Gondonla tour – Course Overview

Our DMZ Gondola tour is one of our most popular DMZ tours and can also be an excellent alternative to our DMZ Half Day tour and JSA tour when political or military events restrict access to some of the stops on those tours.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the highlights of this experience.

Imjingak Park

A sign at Imjingak Park showing the distance to Seoul is 53 km, while Kaesong is just 22 km away.
North Korea’s 9th largest city, Kaesong, is just 22 km away from Imjingak.

Located roughly 56 km from Seoul City Hall and only 7 km from the demarcation line between North and South Korea, Imjingak Park is an important area within Korean history.

It was initially built back in 1972 to console those from both sides of the divide who can no longer return to their hometown, friends, and families.

The park itself also contains an array of statues and monuments about the Korean War, as well as a 3-story observation deck, pond in the shape of the Korean Peninsula, North Korea centre, and even a small amusement park.

Mangbaedan Memorial Altar

Mangbaedan memorial inside Imjingak Park
Mangbaedan memorial is located nearby Freedom Bridge at Imjingak Park.

Mangbaedan Altar is a memorial altar used by 10 million displaced Koreans to pay respect to their ancestors and family members left behind in North Korea.

During major holidays like Lunar New Year and Chuseok, those from North Korea or with families in North Korea visit the Mangbaedan Memorial alter to perform ancestral rites by bowing toward their hometown.

This memorial holds many sad memories of families separated from the Korean War.

The Bridge of Freedom

The remains of the Bridge of Freedom located at Imjingak Park inside the DMZ
The remaining Piers of the Bridge of Freedom

Freedom Bridge was originally built as one in a pair of railroad bridges (one heading North and one heading South) across the Imjin River. However, the bridges were destroyed during the conflict of the Korean War.

Later, after the Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953, a hastily built temporary wooden bridge was erected in place of the South heading rail bridge to exchange Prisoners of War (POW). About 12,773 Korean and UN POWs returned to South Korea by crossing this bridge.

The bridge received its name after the POW shouted, “Long live freedom!” as they stepped back onto the Southside of the bridge.

The temporary wooden Freedom Bridge has since been demolished, leaving just its piers, while the adjacent Imjin Railroad Bridge has been rebuilt and now serves as part of the rail line track between Munsan Station and Dorasan Station.

Bell of Peace

The Bell of Peace or Peace Bell was built in 2000 to celebrate the new millennium. Its purpose was to create a place to symbolise and pray for the peace of the human race and national re-unification of the Koreas.

A photo of the Bell of Peace at Imjingak taken during Autumn with colourful trees in the background
The Bell of Peace inside the DMZ

Every year, a bell-tolling event is held to welcome the New Year and serve as a reminder.

Dokgae Bridge

Initially built in 1906 as a railway bridge to take trains North across the Imjin River, the bridge had been severely damaged during the War, leaving only its piers remaining.

A new skywalk has been built upon the remaining piers of the old Dokgae Bridge to symbolise the pain of war and separation. The skywalk experience is divided into 3 themes depicting the past, present and future.

The “past” section is decorated to look like a passenger carriage of the former steam train that operated on the railway line that once connected Seoul to Pyongyang.

The “present” section features a restored section of the Gyeongui railway and railroad ties on a glass floor. Here visitors can view the bank of the Imjin River and even the remaining bullet holes located on the piers of Dokgae Bridge.

The “future” section is made up of two floors. The lower is a semi-open observatory deck to view the foot of Dokgae Bridge and the river. At the same time, the upper floor offers a broader view of the river, its ecosystem, and the civilian-restricted zone on the South of the DMZ.

Beat 131 Bunker Exhibition Hall

This underground military bunker used during the war has been converted into a unique exhibition hall that still maintains its original form.

From the moment you enter, you can feel the eerie and tense atmosphere of a military structure with the appearance of an anti-tank mine placed on the stairs leading to the basement.

When you reach the bottom, you will find a space that reproduces the appearance of a wartime command and situation room. There are many military items on display, such as guns, canteens, helmets with bullet holes, and walkie-talkies.

Here you can experience interactive media of various themes surrounding the Korean conflict with urgent message sound bites, interview videos, and real-time video of the DMZ and North Korean villages.

Being a bunker, it’s not very spacious, so it can only hold about 20 people at a time.

Paju Imjingak Peace Gondola

Completed in 2020, the Paju Imjingak Peace Gondola offers a birds-eye view of the DMZ while carrying its passengers across the Imjin River.

Watching the black and red Paju Imjingak Peace Gondola leaving the boarding station
See a bird’s eye view of the DMZ, including Camp Greaves.

The DMZ Gondola experience goes beyond the Civilian Control Line, and therefore passengers will be required to bring their passport or identification documents.

Each Gondola can carry up to 10 people, and some have a crystal (transparent glass) bottom providing an even great visibility range during the 850-metre long trip.

Overall the Paju Imjingak Peace Gondola provides an excellent view of the DMZ and allows you to see many of the main sites from a unique vantage point, including a glance at Camp Greaves. Camp Greaves was the filming location of the drama “Descendants of the Sun”, as well as being famous for being home to the 506th Regiment where the main character of the drama “Band of Brothers” and “Saving Private Ryan” were stationed.

Mount Odu Unification Observatory

Odusan Unification Tower is located at the top of Mount Odu, 118m above sea level. Situated at the northernmost ceasefire line of the western front where the Han and Imjin River meet, it lies just 460m from North Korea.

View of North Korea looking across Imjin River from Odu Unification Observatory at the top of Odu Mountain
View of North Korea from Mount Odu Unification Observatory

Odu Unification Observatory offers wide-ranging views from Songaksan Mountain in Gaeseong, North Korea, to 63 Building in Seoul. Views of ancient fortress ruins can also be seen, dating back to the history of the Three Kingdoms of Korea and the Baekje dynasty.

The observatory was completed on September 8, 1992, with the hope of Korean reunification.

No trip to Korea is complete without a visit to the DMZ. Don’t miss out on this only in Korea experience by booking your DMZ Gondola tour today!

Tour Availability

This tour is closed every Monday.

DMZ Gondola tour Itinerary

  • Hotel Pick-up (Seoul)
  • Imjingak Park
  • Mangbaedan Memorial Altar
  • The Bridge of Freedom
  • Bell of Peace
  • Dokgae Bridge
  • Beat 131 Bunker Exhibition Hall
  • Paju Imjingak Peace Gondola
  • Mount Odu Unification Observatory (Odusan Unification Tower)
  • Drop off at City Hall or Itaewon

Our DMZ Gondola tour includes

  • Free Hotel Pickup
  • Fully licensed tour guide
  • Transportation to and from the DMZ
  • Entrance fees and tickets
  • NO shopping stops

Additional Notes

It is required that you bring your passport with you during your tour for UNC military checkpoints.

3 reviews for DMZ Gondola Tour

  1. 5 out of 5

    Luu N

    Due to COVID-19 and the Omicron outbreak, the government closed the JSA, so this was my option to see the DMZ. Even so, this was a solid half-day trip to see bits of the areas that are open.

    I got great views of the Imjin river and the surrounding landscape at each destination. The gondola lets you see the river from directly above, and it’s beautiful in January when it’s frozen with untouched snow. The sky was clear too, so you can see North Korea and it’s people through the mounted binoculars.

    I had a great time going on this tour with Nancy as the group’s guide. She had explained the history and current status for each of the areas we went to, and gave fun facts and stories with her own experiences and it was very personable. Then there was enough time to freely take a look at the destinations. Also, a brief amount of time was spared to see the small gift shop at the park to get some souvenirs.

    It was a smooth tour, so I would like to come back to VIP Travel to see the JSA when it opens back up!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Subba K

    Visiting the DMZ was great experience and Nancy our tour guide was thorough in providing the history of the place.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christopher T

    Sunny was very knowledgeable and had excellent stories during the bus ride between locations! She speaks multiple languages and everything is spoke in English. Great overall tour. We will be bringing people back on this tour when we have people visit.

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