"Looking at the South through the eyes of the North" Top 5 Page for this destination P'anmunjom-ni by Willettsworld

P'anmunjom-ni Travel Guide: 43 reviews and 148 photos

Panmunjom is the general name for the area where buildings are located on both sides of the 38th parallel or DMZ which splits the Korean peninsula into two following World War 2. In fact, Panmunjom was actually a small village on the northern side of the border but nothing of it remains today except for a few buildings where the Korean War ceasefire Armistice agreement was signed on 27th July 1953. You'll get to see the Korean and UN copies of the agreement in one of the buildings before visiting the JSA (Joint Security Area) and the MAC (Military Armistice Commission) building, where talks now take place. This area is full of tension between the two sides and you can still sense the stand-off between the North Korea soldiers and the South Korean soldiers who stand in a provocative taekwondo stance. Throughout your trip here, you'll be accompanied by a member of the Korean People's Army (we had a lieutenant colonel, no less!).

It's best not to step out of line or say anything that can undermine yourself or anyone else within your tour group as things are taken very seriously here and there's good reasons why as there's been many conflicts and shootings within this area between the two sides over the years. For me, it was another highlight of my time in North Korea. In fact I actually came back here one week later as part of a South Korean tour which was very different to the North Korean one. For example, on the South Korean tour we had to sign agreements so that the UN will take no responsibility in any actions that may arise whilst visiting. We didn't sign anything or were told nothing as part of our North Korean tour. We were told not to take any bags, point, run and to walk in single file as part of the South Korean tour. We could take bags and virtually 'fool' around on the North Korean tour. So, the differences are even there to be seen on the tours yet alone the places themselves.

  • Last visit to P'anmunjom-ni: Jun 2008
  • Intro Written Sep 7, 2008
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  • Greggor58's Profile Photo
    Feb 6, 2011 at 6:40 AM

    Strange seeing such an imposing highway and NO traffic on it...as well as the contrast in "stances" that the opposing guards assume.Ill try to get up to the DMZ in April...but wont be able to see it from the North..Thanks for the tour!

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“"Don't listen to what they say. Go see." ~ Chinese proverb”

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