"Visiting the JSA from both the North & South" Top 5 Page for this destination P'anmunjom-ni by DSwede

P'anmunjom-ni Travel Guide: 44 reviews and 154 photos

Countless hundreds of people make their day-trip tours of the DMZ from Seoul on a weekly basis. I should know, because I did it myself from South Korea (ROK).

However, the number of visitors from the north side may only number a few hundred during an entire year. The formalities of getting into North Korea, then traveling down to Panmunjom is a fairly large deterrent. I should know this too, since I overcame many of the hurdles and visited Panmunjom from the North Korean (DPRK) side during my 5-day visit to North Korea.

But the distinct differences of the officer's uniforms, their demeanor, the security protocols, the obvious biases in historical accounting are noteworthy.

I will not flood the reviews and tips here with historical tidbits and comments about why the guards face one way on the south and another on the north. Nor will I comment about the shared buildings which are alternatively occupied by both ROK and DPRK personnel. I believe the hundreds of tips on this page already document that fairly well.

I will humbly say however that after living in South Korea for several years, finally having the opportunity to visit the North provided a memorable experience. I would not recommend it to people who simply want to collect stamps in their passports or pins in their maps. But those who truly can appreciate the apparent closeness yet distance in historical, cultural and familial bonds would relish the chance.

Feel free to visit my North Korea (DPRK) for more general thoughts.

North Korean soldiers are not allowed to smile. Only after some polite persistence did our guide allow us to pose with him.

(for more pictures, feel free to visit my North Korea Gallery. If you enjoy the pictures, please leave a comment.)

The North Koreans all believe that they will pave the way to reunification of the two Koreas. They believe that only they have the will and strength to purge the outsiders from South Korean soil and reclaim their brother hood.

However, in my time in S Korea, I get the distinct impression that the majority of South Koreans do not want unification... the social, economic and political stresses would do irreparable harm.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:With the number of visitors coming here, you will easily have the place to yourself.
  • Cons:Only the dedicated travelers can find their way here.
  • In a nutshell:The history lessons taught here are not those you learned in school!
  • Intro Updated Feb 13, 2012
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Reviews (2)

Comments (7)

  • wabat's Profile Photo
    Jun 23, 2014 at 7:10 AM

    Interesting observations on a fasinating place.

    • DSwede's Profile Photo
      Jun 23, 2014 at 8:46 PM

      Thanks! It was an interesting 5 day visit... eye opening to say the least. If you get a chance, take it!

    • wabat's Profile Photo
      Jun 23, 2014 at 9:19 PM

      I did! Spent 10 days there in April and have finished page on Panmunjom and am well through one on Pyongyang with more to come. Do have a look .. I write more than most (prob too much!) but it serves as good memory for me and I love the research.... of course a great bonus if others find it interesting and or useful.
      Will be looking at your other pages on NK too.

  • bojomacaraig's Profile Photo
    Feb 13, 2012 at 7:00 AM

    WoW... I've been in DMZ from the South.. but you're from the North..great!!
    ...Have you tried to step on the line/boundary from north to south then back to north after 1 step? :)

  • Greggor58's Profile Photo
    Jan 10, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    There's ALWAYS THREE sides to a story isnt there...my story...your story...and then of course "what really happened"..I doubt that Ill get to see it from the North but theres a good chance from the South...if all goes well..Interesting page Dave..

  • AuTourDuMonde32's Profile Photo
    Oct 24, 2008 at 11:50 AM

    panynj.gov/commutingtravel/b... - American still does it better! hhaha Having a good time browsing your pages~ Happy trails

  • grets's Profile Photo
    Nov 2, 2007 at 1:40 AM

    I am looking forward to seeing the DMZ from both sides when I go to Korea next year.

  • CliffClaven's Profile Photo
    Oct 4, 2007 at 1:47 AM

    "How the US imperialists started the Korean War" - title of the book old Cliffie was given at the DPRK Embassy in Kathmandu

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Oct 1, 2007 at 7:54 PM

    I visited the DMZ from the south. Wow.. you visited DMZ from the north, a definite different perspective.


“What I lack in experience, I make up for in curiosity”

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