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Panmunjom Tour (Without pick-up service)

Tour Code
Tour No: 26
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Min Age 12+
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Group Discount
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Bring Passport
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Min 1 Person
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No Hotel Pickup
Local authorities have not yet re-opened the JSA and Panmunjom to the public. We recommend our most popular DMZ tour instead. See Details

The ultimate Korea must-see for international travellers is a visit to Panmunjom. This area is rich in history, both factual and emotional. There are a few key sites to explore and things to see inside. Don’t miss this opportunity of a lifetime! Discover the most quintessential piece of Korean history on our Panmunjom Tour!

* Panmunjom tour bookings must be made at least 72 hours before your tour date.
* Children under 12 years old are not permitted.

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

What is Panmunjom? – Where the North meets the South

The original village where the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed is called Panmunjom. Today, this village is located a little north of the demarcation line (inside North Korea). However, these days, discussions between North and South Korea have moved to what is known as the Joint Security Area (JSA).

The JSA and Panmunjom are only 800m apart. Technically, the actual area where Panmunjom tours take place is the JSA, but nowadays, both terms (Panmunjom and JSA) are used interchangeably to refer to the JSA.

Panmunjom is the place often seen on the news, where the North Korean and South Korean border guards stand facing one another. The area is located 53 kilometres from Seoul and just 10 from North Korea’s Kaesong city.

Highlights and Logistics of our tour

There is a minimum age restriction of 12 years for children wishing to visit Panmunjom, and a parent or guardian must accompany them. Everyone needs to book at least 72 hours in advance to comply with the UNC restrictions and allow for a seamless experience.

There is also a restriction on the number of people who can visit Panmunjom each day. Unfortunately, this often results in tours becoming unavailable once that number is reached.

Alternatively, if you wish to see the history and key points of the DMZ without worrying about advanced booking and limitations, we welcome you to have a look at our Half day DMZ tour, which is, in fact, our number one DMZ tour by popularity and offers more convenience and flexibility.

Our Panmunjom tour includes lunch, transportation (excluding hotel pickup), entrance fees, and a visit to the infamous border between North and South Korea.

What you will see on our Panmunjom Tour

One of the best ways to experience the historical significance of the Korean conflict is by visiting Panmunjom. However, as this is a UN military-controlled area operated by the United Nations Command (UNC), the only way to visit Panmunjom is on an official tour with a fully licensed tour guide.

During the tour, you will see the following essential sites.

Imjingak Park – explore the emotional dimension of the Korean War

A photo of Mangbaedan Memorial which is a stone monument located at Imjingak Park.
Mangbaedan Memorial is a stone monument located nearby Freedom Bridge at Imjingak Park.

Imjingak Park is a special place. It was created as a safe zone to console the refugees who fled the North, seeking freedom. Here, you can see the train called “The iron horse wants to run”. It was made to symbolise the railroad that connected North and South Korea, which was dismantled during the war.

Next, on our Panmunjom Tour, you can see Mangbaedan. This is an alter where refugees bow to their ancestors lost in the North. You can walk the Freedom Bridge, which was built to free 12,773 prisoners in 1953. Finally, take a gander at the Unification Pond, which is the shape of the Korean Peninsula. Use this opportunity to take beautiful photos here!

The Unification Bridge (Tongildaegyo) – wishing for unity

Built in 1998, this bridge was a physical representation of the wish for the unification of North and South Korea. The bridge was constructed by the Hyundai Business Group of South Korea and stretches over the Imjingang River.

The bridge also serves as a passport checkpoint. While we pass through security, stop and have a look at this iconic construction.

Camp Bonifas – a commemoration of courage

Camp Bonifas is where the UN-controlled Command Forces stay and have jurisdiction. The area was named after the late Captain Arthur Bonifas, who was killed in an act known as “the axe murder incident” on April 18, 1976.

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

The UN guard forces came to Panmunjom in 1952 in order to protect and promote peace. By the time the Korean War was over, there were 1900 soldiers on the ground. Today, there are about 400. Witness the splendour of the military! Here, you will see a slideshow and have a briefing explaining the area’s deep history.

Freedom House – a space for peaceful negotiations

Outside of Freedom House in Panmunjom. The building has 4 stories and looks very modern
Freedom House in Panmunjom is located on the South Korean side of the Demarcation Line.

Another essential landmark we will see on our Panmunjom Tour is Freedom House. It was built as a safe space for negotiations between the North and the South. Construction took place back in 1965. Red Cross volunteers helped out, serving as a liaison between the two countries.

Today, the house still sits on the border, although it has been renovated since it was first built. You will see a sleek and modern design with four stories and a transparent roof, so take your camera out and snap some photos!

UNCMAC Conference Room – the room where crucial decisions are made

A photo taken of our tour group inside the UNCMAC Conference Room during our Panmunjom tour
During our Panmunjom tours, you will be able to enter one of the UNCMAC Conference Rooms.

UNCMAC stands for the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission, which was established at the end of the Korean War in 1953.

Its goal is to ensure that the Korean Armistice Agreement is being honoured. The United States president who spearheaded this commission was Dwight Eisenhower, who advocated for peace between North and South Korea.

A tour group posing with a border guard inside the UNCMAC conference building
Look around a conference room and grab a photo with a border guard.

Here you will have the chance to enter one of the UNCMAC conference rooms briefly!

Peace House – the centre of non-military negotiations

The Peace House is where all political talks that don’t have to do with military issues occur. It is located 130 meters from Freedom House.

The building was temporarily erected in 1980 specifically for the meeting of the North and South Korean Prime Minister. It was later rebuilt in 1989. Its design is modern and clean, with a circular park neatly lined by trees.

Tongilgak – a space for discussion

Located in the northern part of Panmunjom, Tongilgak (Unification Pavilion) was meant to be a conference hall back in 1985. Then, in 1992, it began to function as a “liaison” between North and South Korea and has been used as the place for critical political talks. The meetings held here are only those that have to do with non-military matters.

Panmungak – North Korea’s home in the JSA

VIP Travel's manager Sue standing in front of the Panmungak and blue UNCMAC conference buildings
VIP Travel’s manager Sue standing in front of the Panmungak and blue UNCMAC conference buildings

Next, on our Panmunjom Tour, we will see Panmungak (Phanmum Pavilion), the building that represents North Korea in the Joint Security Area.

Located 80 kilometres from Freedom House, this building was completed on September 2, 1969, and is where the offices of North Korean officials are located. Representatives from the North come here to prepare for armistice talks with the South.

The building has also been used to devise propaganda against the South every year on the 15th of August. One such example is the “8.15 Pan-Korean Convention”.

Looking at Panmungak from the South Korean side of Panmunjom
Panmungak, aka Phanmun Pavilion, is North Korea’s equivalent of the South’s Freedom House.

Initially, this building was not opened to the North Korean public, but this changed in 1964. So don’t miss the opportunity to see North Korea’s representative building!

The Bridge of No Return – a crossroads between the North and South

The Bridge of No Return crosses the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) and was used as the only entrance to the JSA from Kaesong city in North Korea.

A soldier standing guard in front of the Bridge of No Return facing North
You may recognise this bridge from the popular British spy movie “James Bond – Die Another Day”.

In 1953, a POW (Prisoner Of War) exchange was made right here, and the soldiers were given a choice of whether they wanted to go to North or South Korea. This is where the bridge’s name came from; once a soldier made his choice, there was no turning back!

Later, in 1976, the famous “axe murder incident” happened next to this bridge, resulting in its immediate closure. Today, the bridge is surrounded by trees and vegetation, making it much less intense. However, there is a lot of bad sentiment surrounding this bridge.

72 Hours Bridge – the North faces a tight deadline

After the “axe murder incident” happened, the Bridge of No Return could no longer be used. North Korea needed another way into the area, as that was its only entrance. The country spared no time and built another bridge. As its name suggests, the new bridge was built in just 72 hours.

You may actually have seen this bridge before without realising it. The 72 Hours Bridge is the same bridge a North Korean defector drove a military Jeep across in November 2017! The footage was shown across all major news outlets.

In his bid to escape the North, he got fired upon by North Korean border security, taking 2 bullets while crossing the demarcation line. He was then rescued by South Korean border guards and airlifted to hospital to receive emergency treatment.

Our Panmunjom Tour will give you a fantastic opportunity to learn about the Korean War and conflict resolution. Don’t miss the chance to visit Panmunjom and get a genuine glimpse into the past! However, for the ultimate experience, we would recommend our DMZ JSA Tour, which combines the most important highlights of both the Demilitarized Zone and Panmunjom. Create travel memories you will never forget!

Panmunjom tour Itinerary

  • Meet at President Hotel (Seoul)
  • Imjingak Park
  • Lunch
  • Unification Bridge (Passport Check Point)
  • Camp Bonifas (Slide Show and Briefing)
  • Panmunjom (Freedom House, Conference Room etc)
  • Drop Off at President Hotel (Seoul)

Our Panmunjom tour includes

  • Professional and licensed tour guide
  • Transportation to and from Panmunjom
  • Entrance fees and tickets
  • Lunch
  • NO shopping stops

Additional Notes

  • There is no complimentary hotel pickup service available for this tour.
  • Please bring your passport on the day for UNC security checkpoints.
  • The above itinerary, time and price can be changed depending on the current situation.
  • Panmunjom tour bookings have to be made at least 72 hours before visiting..
  • Koreans cannot book this tour.
  • There is a strict dress code: Standard blue jeans are OK, but no sleeveless shirts, t-shirts without collar, short pants, skirts, sandals, military-looking clothes, or clothing with country flag or name of the nationality.
  • Children must be at least 12 years old and accompanied by a parent or guardian to join this tour.
  • The JSA is controlled by the United Nations Command (UNC). There are limited seats due to restrictions.

1 review for Panmunjom Tour (Without pick-up service)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Antonio

    During booking process staff replied quickly and comfortably. Took copy of my passport so could register me to enter panmunjom. They gave me clear details and instructions about everything. We had to meet at the Hotel Predsident in the morning as there is no pickup available with this tour. Bus was comfortable and tour guide gave lots of information. Only regret is not booking VIP Travel’s full DMZ and JSA tour as this one only goes to joint security area and not the Observatory or 3rd tunnel.

    • Holly VIP Travel

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

      As we have the Live chat on our website , it is easy for us to response quickly 🙂
      From 2019 , the JSA tour doesn’t include the pick up service , really sorry for the inconvenience as the tour is managed by UN community the tour conditions are depends on them :'(
      Please join the DMZ half day tour with VIP if you ever comeback to Korea again : )

      We always treat our customer as VIP
      Thank you
      Holly

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