19.06.16 – DMZ and JSA Tour, Seoul, South Korea
Doing a tour of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was high on the priority list when we arrived in Korea. As only a few companies offer it, it books out quite quickly, so book in advance. There are generally three types of tours the companies offer; DMZ only, Joint Security Area (JSA) only or a tour that combines both areas. We highly recommend a tour of the JSA or Panmunjom (names are interchangeable and are the same place).
The tour of the JSA takes you deep inside the Demilitarized Zone and gives your the opportunity to go into the “Neutral Room” where diplomats from the North and the South meet and you can technically cross the border into North Korea. A pretty cool perk! It is the history and political landscape behind the tour that makes it so intriguing, not the sights and attractions. The best stop was when we had the chance to peer into North Korea through binoculars and see some farmers working. Made us feel a bit “Big Brother-ish” but it’s super interesting. What made our tour extra special was the fact that we had a North Korean defector on our bus. We were able to ask her questions and gain insight into her reasons and journey to escape North Korea.