"Visiting the JSA from both the North & South" P'anmunjom-ni by DSwede
P'anmunjom-ni Travel Guide: 25 reviews and 88 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: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!
I've read mixed reports about if the DPRK's flag just outside the JSA is the world's tallest, but I will say that I've... more travel advice
DSwede's Related Pages
P'anmunjom-ni Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Panmunjom, from the North and South Sides"
- "Visiting the JSA from both the North & South"
- "Looking at the South through the eyes of the North"
- "Snap Frozen Cold War"
- "Middle of Military Demarcation Line"
- "The DMZ - the most ironic place name on earth"
- "Panmunjeom, North & South Korea"
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- Hotels in P'anmunjom-ni
- Warnings and Dangers in P'anmunjom-ni
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