by Mark Albert
Top Travel Tips in Two Minutes
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USO DMZ Tour
There are several tours offered by the USO. Mark took the “DMZ/JSA and 3rd tunnel tour”, which runs from about 7:30a to 3:30p and includes lunch. There is a dress code and the tours do not run on Mondays, Tuesdays, or South Korean national holidays.
There are many other tour groups that offer the DMZ visit, as well. Be sure the tour includes a visit to the JSA (Joint Security Area) or you will not get that iconic shot of the border with the guards facing off on either side, nor the visit to the conference room, half of which is in North Korea.
Tours can be cancelled at any time if there is tension at the border, so be flexible.
Many tour groups will take you to Pyongyang, the capital, for several days, on guided and chaperoned trips. Such travel by Americans is strongly discouraged by the US State Department.
The United States does not maintain an embassy in North Korea or any diplomatic relations. So any American traveling to North Korea outside of a US-sanctioned tour to the DMZ does so at their own risk.
The US State Department, in its ongoing travel warning, says at least 16 Americans, traveling both in tour groups and independently, have been detained inside North Korea in the past decade. Mark covered one of those detentions, of a 24 year-old American tourist, for CBS News in 2014. That tourist was later sentenced to six years hard labor but released months later, along with another American
The Travel Warning includes this paragraph: “If you decide to enter North Korea against the advice of this Travel Warning, you should have no expectation of privacy. All electronic and multimedia devices including USB drives, CDs, DVDs, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, Internet browsing histories, and cookies are subject to search for banned content.”
Have you taken the DMZ tour? What did you think?
Share your favorite tips and tricks in the comment section below!
For more advice on DMZ tours, check out LONELY PLANET’S KOREA guide on Amazon.com. Please consider using our referral (“affiliate”) link to support our journalism.
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Who: 25,115,311 people
What: 74,898 sq miles
Where: Asian continent
Why: There is an active travel warning by the US State Department warning against “all travel” to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to the “serious risk of arrest and long-term detention…”
Source: The World FactBook