How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (2024)

One of the most popular one-day tours from Seoul is to tour the DMZ, the Demilitarized Zone which is the 240km / 150 mi long border along the 38th parallel between North and South Korea.

After recently visiting the DMZ ourselves, in our experience, we can definitely recommend that you plan to visit the DMZ when you visit South Korea, as it is an opportunity to learn more about the Korean War, and the impact that it has had on Korea which continues to this day.

Learn more about the options to visit the DMZ, including details of the major attractions and tour options and how to book your tours.

DMZ Korea Tour Comparison Table

Below are your quick links to see the options to book your DMZ tour, more information about the DMZ attractions is detailed further below in this article. Use the table below to book your DMZ tour through Viator, Get Your Guide or Klook.

Note that due to Private Travis’s unauthorised crossing into North Korea on 19 July 2023, the JSA tours have been indefinitely cancelled. If you see dates available, then book ahead, but expect that it is highly likely that they will be cancelled. If this occurs, you should receive a full refund. Other DMZ tours are not affected, as they do not go as close to the border with North Korea.

ImageProductFeaturesPrice

From $US 184

How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (1)

JSA Tour

  • Only available on limited days, book early as this tour books out quickly.
  • Group day tour
  • Meeting point at President Hotel (near City hall), tour finishes in Myeongdong
  • Visit Imjingak, Unification Bridge, the Third Tunnel, and the JSA
  • Note due to the JSA there are restrictions on which nationalities can visit, you must also adhere to clothing and speech restrictions

9

Click Here ViatorClick here Klook

From $US 69

How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (2)

DMZ Half Day Tour

  • Group morning and afternoon tour
  • Multiple Seoul departure points, with hotel pick up add-on option
  • Visit Dorasan Observatory, Third Tunnel and Imjingak
  • No Shopping
  • Options to add on Shooting Club experience (14+) or Seoul City Tour (Get Your Guide only)

8

Click Here Get Your GuideClick Here Klook

From $US 163 (min. 4 people)

How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (3)

Private DMZ Morning Half Day Tour

  • Private morning tour with hotel pick up and drop off
  • Visit Dorasan Observatory, Third Tunnel and Imjingak
  • No shopping

9

Click Here Get Your Guide

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make your trip planning easy, hassle-free and organized. Click here to download your FREE printable checklist, to help you to plan your trip step by step and tick off items as you finalise your preparations.

Join the South Korea Travel Planning Facebook Group

You are also welcome to join ourSouth Korea Travel Planning Facebook Group – it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to South Korea!

How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (4)

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

About the DMZ in Korea

The DMZ was created as part of the truce which was agreed upon after the Korean War following three years of combat and approximately 3 million casualties. The truce date is now commemorated annually on 27 July as Armistice Day. The DMZ is a 4km / 2.5 mi wide corridor which provides a buffer zone between the two countries.

Of note that the Korean War still continues today as the armistice was only temporary. That is why the DMZ still exists, and in the news, you will see a lot of news coverage about the actions of North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-un. That is also why DMZ tours are regularly cancelled – whenever issues arise they cancel the tours.

If you would like to learn more about the Korean War, a good overview for beginners is in The Korean War Trivia Book: Interesting Stories and Random Facts From The Korean War by Bill O’Neill.

Where is the DMZ?

As you can see in the below map, the DMZ stretches along the entire 240km / 150 mi long border along the 38th parallel between North and South Korea. There are three main options for tourists to visit the DMZ as detailed below.

  • The part of the DMZ normally visited by most tourists is the section north of Seoul called Paju which is a drive of approximately one hour. You can visit the Imjimbak Resort without requiring a tour or security checks, however, to visit the DMZ-located attractions, you are required to be on a military run DMZ tour bus. You can join a military run DMZ tour either by booking into a tour from Seoul – note that your tour bus will transfer you to the Imjimbak Resort area and also guide you around the local points of interest. To enter the DMZ, your guide will separately book you into a military run tour into the DMZ. Your guide will also travel with you and provide commentary about the points of interest. Alternatively you can either drive a car or take public transport to the Imjimbak Resort area and after you arrive you can book into the military run DMZ tour.
  • Cheorwon is noteworthy for the battlefield of Baekma Hill which was the location of one of the largest battles during the Korean War. Cheorwon is also accessible via a two hour each way bus trip from Seoul. Similar to Paju, you are required to be on a military led tour to go into the DMZ. Click here to see the Cheorwon DMZ tour options available through Klook.
  • The Northern Limit Line is the maritime border between the two countries, the dotted red line on the western side of Korea, again about a one hour drive from Seoul. There are tour options to visit this area and several observation decks provide the opportunity to view North Korean villages on the other side of the river.
  • The Goseong section of the DMZ is located on the eastern side of Korea and can be visited either via self drive or a tour from Sokcho.

In this article, we will focus on Seoul DMZ tours as the most popular and easiest option for tourists to visit the DMZ.

How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (6)

What to See on a DMZ Tour from Seoul

The major locations which are visited on DMZ tours from Seoul are as detailed below and shown in the below map. Of note is that there are a lot of attractions gathered in Paju before crossing the Imjin River, before driving through several attractions to the northernmost Joint Security Area (JSA).

Joint Security Area (JSA)

The Joint Security Area (JSA) is located in the village of Panmunjeom where the Armistice Agreement was signed and sits inside the DMZ itself. It is the location where North Korean and South Korean soldiers stand guard face to face. The JSA also has a conference room located half and half in each country which is used for meetings between countries.

When the JSA tour is running, to go on this tour there are strict rules about which nationals are able to visit and what you can take with you. Before visiting the JSA you will receive a briefing at Camp Bonifas, the United Nations Command military post which is responsible for enforcing the Korean Armistice Agreement of 1953. After the briefing, you will be taken by UN bus to the JSA for a short visit to the conference room, where you are able to take photos.

Note that if conditions are unsafe the JSA tour can be cancelled at short notice and an alternative activity included in your tour. Click here to check out and book your JSA tour through Viator or Klook

The Third Infiltration Tunnel

Over time North Korea has made several attempts to dig tunnels under the DMZ to enable a surprise attack. Four tunnels have been discovered so far as shown in the below map, however there are believed to be many more yet to be found.

The Third Infiltration tunnel was discovered in 1978 as a result of information provided by a North Korean defector. The tunnel was subsequently blocked by South Korea. You can now do a tour of the Third Tunnel where you are able to descend and walk in one end of the tunnel. You are not allowed to take cameras or phones inside.

Note that the Third Tunnel consists of two parts, a long steep, smooth walkway to access the actual tunnel dug by North Korea and then a section of the actual tunnel itself. The long steep tunnel is very hard if you have a knee injury (like me), to the point where I re-aggravated old injuries just completing the descent, which still caused me knee pain a couple of weeks later.

To re-ascend this tunnel is quite physically demanding. However, there are seats at two locations along the way to enable you to rest, so consider your fitness before choosing to descend. The walk along the original tunnel section to the blockade has a very low ceiling. Fortunately, they provide you with a helmet which I was very grateful for as I banged my head quite a few times along the way. I am 177cm or 5’11” tall for context. For taller people, expect that this part of the tunnel will be a lot more challenging!

How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (7)

Dora Observatory

The Dora Observatory enables visitors to view North Korea. From this viewpoint, you can see Kijong-Dong, the ‘Peace Village’ which is a fake town with no residents. You may be interested to learn that you can see the fourth-tallest flagpole in the world in Kijong-Dong! From Dora Observatory you can also see the city of Kaesung.

Dorasan Peace Park

You can visit Dorasan Peace Park near the Dora Observatory where you can visit the memorials and learn more history about the Korean War.

How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (8)

Imjimgak Resort Attractions

You can visit the Imjimbak Resort attractions without being on a tour, however, to cross Imjim River and visit the DMZ itself you must be on a tour and pass through security checkpoints. The following are the main attractions you can visit at Imjimgak Resort.

  • Freedom Bridge. Freedom Bridge was used to return Korean Prisoners of War to their homes in 1953.
  • Imjingak Tourist Information Center. Visit to learn more about the DMZ and Imjimbak Resort attractions.
  • DMZ Gondola. The DMZ Gondola is a newly built attraction where you can ride in a gondola across the Imjim River. On the other side, there are various attractions, including an art museum, as well as some short walks. The Gondola activity is inside the Civilian Control Line (CCL) area, so not technically inside the DMZ.
  • Dorasan Station. The Dorasan Train Station is the northernmost train station in South Korea, built in hope of reunification. You can pay a fee to visit the station.
  • Imjingak Pyeonghwa Nuri Park. The park is worth a wander to see many displays and history.
  • Mangbaedan Altar. The Mangbaedan Altar is where Koreans separated from their families in North Korea come to perform ancestral rites every New Year’s Day and Chuseok.
  • Food and drinks. There are many restaurants, cafes and street vendors you can access.

Note that you can also visit Imjimgak Resort using public transport or by car, the green Gyeongui-Jungang Metro line from Seoul runs to Imjimgak Station for a normal metro ticket cost. Note that this service only runs periodically, so check the timings before planning your visit. After arrival you can then book a ticket to visit the DMZ area.

Best DMZ Tours Seoul

DMZ tours run every day except for Mondays. Make sure you carefully check and understand the cancellation conditions for your preferred tour option, as they usually reserve the right to substitute an activity if the DMZ is closed. Check out the table below to make your DMZ booking through Get Your Guide, Klook or Viator. For more details about the different DMZ tour options check out our detailed article.

ImageProductFeaturesPrice

From $US 184

How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (9)

JSA Tour

  • Only available on limited days, book early as this tour books out quickly.
  • Group day tour
  • Meeting point at President Hotel (near City hall), tour finishes in Myeongdong
  • Visit Imjingak, Unification Bridge, the Third Tunnel, and the JSA
  • Note due to the JSA there are restrictions on which nationalities can visit, you must also adhere to clothing and speech restrictions

9

Click Here ViatorClick here Klook

From $US 69

How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (10)

DMZ Half Day Tour

  • Group morning and afternoon tour
  • Multiple Seoul departure points, with hotel pick up add-on option
  • Visit Dorasan Observatory, Third Tunnel and Imjingak
  • No Shopping
  • Options to add on Shooting Club experience (14+) or Seoul City Tour (Get Your Guide only)

8

Click Here Get Your GuideClick Here Klook

From $US 163 (min. 4 people)

How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (11)

Private DMZ Morning Half Day Tour

  • Private morning tour with hotel pick up and drop off
  • Visit Dorasan Observatory, Third Tunnel and Imjingak
  • No shopping

9

Click Here Get Your Guide

Northern Limit Line Disputed Border Day Tour

The Northern Limit Line Disputed Border Day Tour is a full-day tour which will take you to visit the Northern Limit Line maritime boundary between North and South Korea. Attractions you will visit include the following.

  • Aegibong Peak Observatory, where you can view North Korea across the DMZ, including the city of Gaeseong as well as a fake rural village.
  • Yeonmijeong Pavilion, where you can view where the Han and Imjingang Rivers merge.
  • Other local attractions.

Click here to check out and book the Northern Limit Line Disputed Border Day Tour through Klook

How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (12)

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make your trip planning easy, hassle-free and organized. Click here to download your FREE printable checklist, to help you to plan your trip step by step and tick off items as you finalise your preparations.

Join the South Korea Travel Planning Facebook Group

You are also welcome to join ourSouth Korea Travel Planning Facebook Group – it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to South Korea!

How to Tour the DMZ from Seoul [2024] | South Korea Travel Planning (13)

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Anne Sutherland-Smith

Anne Sutherland-Smith is a seasoned travel writer and a passionate explorer of South Korea’s vibrant culture, history, and landscapes. With decades of travel experience, Anne deeply understands what makes Korea a unique and captivating destination for travelers worldwide. As the lead author for koreatravelplanning.com, Anne’s work is based on thorough research and firsthand experiences. Her insights are regularly sought after in the travel community, and she has been featured in various travel forums and publications. Her expertise extends to Korean destinations, transportation, cuisine and the latest trends in Seoul’s bustling city life.

Dedicated to providing reliable and practical travel advice, Anne ensures that every piece of content on koreatravelplanning.com is accurate, up-to-date, and useful for travelers at every stage of their journey. Her commitment to authenticity and her personal experiences traveling across Korea make her a trusted voice in the travel community.

Follow Anne’s adventures and get valuable Korea travel tips on koreatravelplanning.com and through her social media channels. Whether you’re planning your first trip to Korea or looking to explore deeper, Anne’s insights will be your invaluable guide.

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