Seoul Excursions & Tours: Joint Security Area (JSA) is the only portion of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), where South and North Korean soldiers stand face-to-face.
* Visit famous landmarks such as the Conference Room of MAC (Military Armistice Commission), the UN Guard Post Three (GP 3) or the Bridge of No Return
* Let yourself be surprised by the best quality Jinseng Center or Amethyst Factory Outlet
* Relax on-board our air-conditioned vehicles
You can feel the heightened tension of the most hostile area in the world. Technically speaking, two Koreas are still at the state of war. JSA, or Panmunjeom in Korean, is the official conference area between the two parties. It has been renowned since an armistice agreement was signed there in 1953.
More than sixty years ago, the armistice was signed after the three year Korean War. It was intended to serve as a temporary ceasefire agreement, soon to be replaced by a permanent peace treaty, which has not yet been realised.
Can you imagine how much time it took to try to negotiate the armistice amidst the three year war? It took two years with 765 meetings! However, the signing of the armistice took only twelve minutes with no handshake, no saluting, and no ceremony. The representatives of the North Korea and the UNC (United Nations Command) were stone-faced and indignant with each other. They walked into the room from the opposite doors and withdrew using the same door respectively as soon as they signed the paperwork.
The resentfulness was just a prelude of all the shouting matches and countless fistfights at an official conference room between the representatives of two sides. Don’t you want to visit the conference row and enter the central room of the seven conference buildings? You can even step over the division line which is marked in the middle of the room.
At the UNC Guard Post Three outside of the conference room, you will find yourself surrounded by North Korea at your three sides. There you can take photos of the North Mountains and villages from the closest possible point.
You will eventually cross over what is known as the “Bridge of No Return” which was the focal point of the most brutal incident of JSA, which is called the “Axe Murder Incident of 1976”. Two US Army officers were axed to death under a huge tree. The tree had to be pruned because it was in-between two UNC guard posts, blocking the line of view between the two points. The officers were carrying shot guns on their waist belts but these were not even used. They were then brutally murdered with the axes that were intended for the tree trimming job. This is only one episode of the sixty year old tragedy of JSA.
You will have the opportunity to walk around Camp Bonifas, a United Nations Command military post; which took its name from one of the soldiers brutally murdered in 1976. This camp houses what was possibly the most dangerous gold course of all time.
Visit “Freedom House” where all negotiations between North and South Korea are still carried out, this is situated in Panmunjom “the truce village”. This is quite possibly the closest that a tourist will ever be able to get to North Korea.
Visit JSA and face in person the longest and most bitter confrontation of world history.
DMZ includes JSA as a small portion of its territory. The two areas are inseparable because the whole DMZ was created under the armistice agreement signed at JSA in 1953. Logically, the DMZ tour should include a visit to the JSA. However, the JSA tour has been operated as a separate one just for the convenience of travelers who are not available for a whole day tour. So, you are recommended to have the combined package of DMZ tour and JSA tour.
The combined tour gives you the overall picture of the Korean War. The DMZ tour shows you relics of the battle fields, while the JSA tour concentrates on the political confrontation between the two sides for the armistice arrangement. The combined tour can provide you a complete insight of the North and South relations in just one day. br />
The highlight of the DMZ tour is to explore a tunnel dug by North Korea. The tunnel was discovered by South Army as the third one among four tunnels, hence the name “The Third Tunnel”. It is a surreal experience to find a 1,635 meter tunnel at the depth of 73 meters underground. The infiltration tunnel was made by dangerous manual excavation work with dynamites, shovels and pick axes. The tunnel is located only four kilometers away from JSA, where the representatives of North Korea repeat their version of peace and reunification. What can you expect from the tour? Real stories of Korean War, an objective perspective on the political showdown of Communism and Capitalism, and a new paradigm of the North/South Korean relationship.
If you are going to check the actual confrontation of two Koreas, visit the conference row of JSA and enter the central room of the seven conference buildings. You can even step over the division line which is marked in the middle of the room.
At the UNC Guard Post Three (GP 3) outside of the conference room, you would find yourself surrounded by North Korea at your three sides. There you can take photos of the North Mountains and villages at the nearest distance. You will eventually pass by the focal point of the most brutal incident of JSA, which is called the “Axe Murder Incident” of 1976. Two officers of US army were axed to death under a huge popular tree. Visit JSA and face in person the longest bitter confrontation of the world history, still going on in the conference hall.
You shall visit Imjingak Park which has many war monuments. There is also a restaurant, an observation deck, a pool in the shape of the Korean peninsula and more. You shall also go to Dora Observatory which is the closest you can get to North Korea without going in to the DMZ zone. You can take a look around the last train station in South Korea “Dorasan Station” if the two Korea´s ever reunite this will connect the two of the countries by train once more.
The tour allows you to get a comprehensive understanding of the historical and cultural aspects of Seoul. Take a trip up Seoul Tower to get a 360 view of the city which looks even better at night. Korea´s Amethyst and Ginseng are known to be the highest quality and you will have the chance to buy them directly from exhibition centres.
Meeting/pick-up point: Pick up at hotel in Seoul area.
Duration: 9 hours.
Pick-up time: Variable time according to military situation.
Start/opening time: At 8am.
Drop-off location: Variable according to tour date.
End/closing time: At 5pm.
Opening days/period: JSA Tour is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Required documentation: Passport is required.
Medical restrictions: Anyone who suffers from a weak heart, claustrophobia, or asthmatic symptoms is not allowed to enter the tunnel.
Others: If there's an unannounced military training or official event in JSA the tour may be cancelled on the day of the tour with short notice.
Restricted nationalities for this tour: Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria.