The DMZ isn’t your typical tourist attraction,
so being fully informed will help ensure the best travel experience.
1. Sometimes tours are cancelled.
Military activity may require tour operators to cancel specific tour locations, or the tour altogether. Please note that such decisions are made by military personnel (not tour operators), and are done so with your safety in mind.
2. Please obey photo rules
Of course, you’ll want to snap photos of your DMZ experience. However, once you enter the DMZ, your tour guide will most likely inform you when and where it’s permissible to take photographs. Should you take snapshots in prohibited areas, be prepared to yield your film, memory card or even your camera! Please note that cameras with a zoom capability of over 100 mm are prohibited.
3. Some nationalities face restrictions
Please note that access to the Joint Security Area (JSA) within the DMZ is restricted to certain nationalities. Furthermore, even citizens from some approved countries may need to pre-submit their passport information several days or weeks ahead of time for clearance. Please check with the tour operator for details.
Specifically, Chinese and South Korean citizens who wish to visit the JSA must apply to receive permission. Chinese tourists typically must apply 10 days in advance, while South Koreans must undergo a background check, which can take two months. Please contact the tour provider for details.
4. Dress with respect
Parts of the DMZ (especially the Joint Security Area) strictly enforces a dress code. Military policy requires all visitors to display a “neat and presentable appearance.” Generally, this means no ripped jeans, flip-flop sandals or clothing with profane or provocative text. Sports or athletic clothing (including gym shorts or track/stretch pants) are also prohibited, as are sleeveless shirts, tank tops and excessively baggy clothing. Please contact
your tour provider for details.
5. Consider the weather
The weather will impact your DMZ tour experience! This may seem obvious, but on an especially cloudy, foggy or rainy day, it may be difficult to see into North Korea at the observatories. There’s plenty else to see, but it’s just something to keep in mind.
6. This isn’t Disneyland!
Finally, although the DMZ represents Korea’s most popular tourist destination, it’s not your typical attraction. The two Koreas remain technically at war. Especially inside the JSA, you’ll be just a few meters from armed North Korean soldiers. Any provocative action can literally put your life (and the lives of others) in danger. It’s critically important that you listen carefully to instructions from military personnel and tour operators.