North Korea – A Visit to the DMZ 


Recently I was lucky enough to be able to cash in some of my Avios points and visit the Far East. On the return journey home I had to fly back through South Korea so spent couple of days in Seoul and decided to visit the JSA / DMZ area for the day. 

The journey from Seoul by coach is approx 2 hours to Camp Bonifas. Security is tight as you would imagine as it’s still an active war zone. Look at the photos below.

Security at Camp Bonifas, Seoul
Security at Camp Bonifas, Seoul
Security at Camp Bonifas, Seoul
Security at Camp Bonifas, Seoul
Camp Bonifas, Seoul
Camp Bonifas, Seoul
 

The JSA/DMZ is situated on the 37th parallel and is the area between South and North Korea. It’s protected by an international peace keeping force, but mostly US troops.

On arrival at Camp Bonifas you have to go for a briefing At the Welcome Building and also to sign an indemnity form ( you are in a war zone) . This takes about 30 mins and then you are on your way to the JSA area in the DMZ on your coach.  

At the main JSA area again another briefing. No photos are permitted on the South Korea side you are told,  but it’s OK to take them towards North Korea.  You then come out of the JSA buiding to a range of small blue JSA buildings that are 50% in the South and 50% in the north.

JSA - North Korea Border
JSA – North Korea Border
JSA - North Korea Border
JSA – North Korea Border
 

Inside are South Korean guards and a conference table. Half of the room is in the south / half in the north. This is where negotiations are reported to take place. Bizarre experience.

Inside the JSA conference room
Inside the JSA conference room
On leaving the JSA area the coach takes you to The Bridge Of No Return. 

This bridge was used as a route where South and North used to exchange prisoners. It’s pretty desolate now and quite erie to think of all the things that happened here.

Bridge of no return , JSA
Bridge of no return , JSA
Finally after a visit to the ‘gift shop’ we return to the main entrance. All in all about a 2 hour experience but very well worth it.

If you are ever in Seoul try to go before it gets too dangerous. At the time of writing this in August 2017 it’s probably going to stop pretty soon. 

Twitter

If you want to follow me please do so @hardyneil or @hardy_ travel 

Email

Get in touch if you have any questions neil@hardytravel.co.uk

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