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“DMZ Tour” 5 of 5 stars
Review of DMZ

DMZ
Munsan-eup, Majeong-ri, Imjingak Tourist information center, Paju, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
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Private Tour
$176*
and up
Ultimate DMZ and JSA: Private Tour including...
Ranked #2 of 40 things to do in Paju
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Group tours/bus tour
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Los Altos Hills, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“DMZ Tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2011

If you are making a connection via the Seoul/incheon airport, you will find the transit tour of the DMZ an excellent way of seeing an "other world" attraction. There is probably no other attraction in the world like the DMZ. As a visitor, you will get to look in to North Korea from an observation hill, walk down or take a train into a tunnel that the North Koreans dug to "sneak attack" troops in South Korea, visit an emotionally moving museum, and walk thru a modern, ghost-like train station that South Korea eventually hopes will be a stop on a train line to the Hermit Kingdom. You can do this by booking a transit tour (allow six hours) while making a connection in the Incheon airport. Check out the website of the tour operator that we used--www.freedomtour.co.kr. My wife is claustrophobic, so she could not go all the way down into the tunnel. She loved the tour anyway because her father was a marine who fought in Korea all the way up to the Yalu river.

Visited April 2011
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Tampa, Florida
Top Contributor
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23 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
“Surprise day at the DMZ”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2010

This was a surprise for me back in 2004. I was stationed in S. Korea and that day a few friends and I jumped into a car and just took off to see how far north we could get. We actually made it all the way to Mt. Dora Observatory (Yes we followed the tour bus in and bought the tickets at the gate, we got lucky). The observatory was very large, about 500 people could fit in but there were less than 70 that day. The S. Korean soldiers were very helpful and knowledgeable about the observatory and the DMZ history. You can use the pay telescopes to look into N. Korea and all the anti-American signs written in Hangul... with a Large LED sign on the S. Korean side broadcasting the news. There was a bilingual S. Korean soldier that translated for us and as a show of appreciation we paid for the noodles for all the soldiers there (About 12 in total). With that seeing the guard towers and the barbed wire with the land mine signs, it was a unique experience.

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Jinan, China
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“DMZ...interesting, expensive, perhaps overrated”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2010

I am an expat living in Korea and recently hosted friends. My work schedule, and my friend's quick trip (he was only in Korea for the weekend) had us agreeing on the DMZ as our first choice of sights to see. This is based on all the mystery that surrounds the stalemate between N. and S. Korea and the press that I read. My friend only had one day to sightsee, so we booked a tour with the USO/Koridoor at USD 77 per person.

Unfortunately, our guide spoke only intermediate level English; she was not equipped to explain much more than a cursory overview of the site's history. We began the trip in Seoul at Camp Kim at 7:10 AM (and were told to be prompt), then proceeded by tour bus to the DMZ (about 75 minutes). This time is heavily padded due to unpredictable traffic, so the bus was left to wait in the parking lot (we were unable to get off) for over 30 minutes until a U.S. soldier greeted us and we boarded another bus.

You then enter a briefing area which is run by U.S. military before proceeding to any sites. By the time you see anything, it's well past 10 AM. We then saw the UN building where both nations meet for discussions. Certainly fascinating, and you do venture, technically, into N. Korea for a few minutes, if only within the confines of a meeting room. The S. Korean guards stand at the ready as you wander about the room and the tension is palpable...but then you board the bus, drive around for a mile or so looking at various sites (for example, the site of the axe murders in the 1970s) where you can peer into N. Korea, and then the trip is over.

From there, you go to the 3rd tunnel, which is strange. Historically significant, but the value of entering a tunnel by walking down a steep grade, then walking, hunched over, with a plastic safety helmet in tightly confined quarters, is up to the individual. We're both over 6 feet tall, so bending over is required. You really don't see much, but you march with the throngs of tourists into, then out of the tunnel. Outside is a "Sesame-Street" like sign of the DMZ in bright metal letters where you can take a picture. Here you will also see a 10 minute film (which we waited to enter for 40 minutes) which is interesting, but unremarkable. There is also a display which details the history of the nations, and a description of the wildlife which flourishes nearby, but you will not see any on this tour.

Following a mediocre Korean lunch (I had bibimbap), you are dropped at a train station which hopes to service Pyongyang in the future; currently, service is disrupted because of tensions between nations. George Bush gave a speech here during his presidency.

You return to Seoul by 3:30 PM. An expensive day out, having seen a few interesting sites, but full of waiting around. Your day is shot for seeing any other significant places in Seoul- and you need to book your place on the tour days in advance.

I marked an historic site off my list and I have the refrigerator magnet and photos to prove it, but had wished that I saw some of the sites in Seoul on this beautiful autumn day instead.

Recommended only to those fascinated with war and historical sites.

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Comox, Canada
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152 helpful votes 152 helpful votes
“Thought provoking”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2010

The DMZ line, barbed wire, military history, tunnel, and Bridge to Freedom are a must see for travelers to Korea. Merely appreciating that this remains an area of conflict makes the trip all the more powerful and reflective. Having lived in Germany when the Berlin Wall forced a similar separation - this one appears to be of a much greater scale.

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Serbia
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
191 helpful votes 191 helpful votes
“DMZ: A sad reality”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2010

The longest tourist trip I decided to take during my visit to Korea was a full-day visit to DMZ – the 'demilitarized zone' near the North Korea border. A visit to the DMZ is going to show you not only nonsense of disintegrating a country into two (or more) parts because of different political or ideological points of view, but to present a global-wide stupidity that is deeply integrated within the human beings. Therefore, I can only say it is strongly recommended to go and visit the DMZ.

Many travel agencies in South Korea offer various kinds of DMZ excursions, which include either morning-tours or afternoon-tours, or both tours combined. I am not going to promote any travel agent, but probably the best way is to ask your hotel's receptionists for information about the reliable agent(s) they work with. My tour started at 7.55 am, by a limousine collecting me at my hotel's door and transferring me to the tour's main hub where we entered a big bus. Among the passengers, there were several nationalities so the two guides were giving us information in Japanese, Chinese and English.

The morning part of the tour included the UN Camp Bonifas, Joint Security Area (JSA), as well as the visit to the famous Conference Room where representatives of two Korea meet from time to time. In fact, the conference house (that you have already seen on TV for many times) is actually the place where the distance between two Koreas is just a brick-wide, or even less.

The afternoon part of the tour (after a hearty lunch) included the 3rd infiltration tunnel site. It was an extraordinary experience to go down to the underground where the tunnel begins, and to go through the tunnel for some hundreds of meters. Once again, it is hardly to imagine what humankind is capable to produce to show its shortage of rational behavior. The tour continued to Dora Observatory that offered a clear view to the closest part of North Korea, including the first signs of a mutual goodwill: a joint manufacture that was built by the South where the workers come from the North (and paid by the South).

The tour finishes by a visit to the last train stop of the South Korea railway system that is closest to the North. Although the beautiful, modern building is already equipped with offices clearly described as intended for selling tickets for Pyeongyang, the station seemed to me as unlikely to have passengers traveling to the capital of North Korea soon. In addition, the word of so-called 'reunification' is one of the most-used words in the South Korea nowadays, but …

The tour ended at some 5.30 pm when we entered downtown Seoul again and where we had a chance to buy souvenir albums that included our pictures taken at the site by the official photographer. For those who want to learn more about North Korea, it seems that some travel agents slowly begin to sell daily trips to a ski-resort or so in the lowest part of the North.

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