A DMZ tour from the North Korean side is quite unique and very much a different experience in comparison with a visit from the South. Such a tour from the North is much more, in fact, than a simple ‘DMZ tour’; you’ll also have the chance to see the massive arch of reunification on the Thongil Highway, as well as visit a couple of other North Korean towns/cities.
How do I get there?
In an ideal world you could simply walk across from the South! Alas, we do not live in an ideal world.
Any North Korean visit to the DMZ starts in the capital city of Pyongyang, and necessitates a somewhat bumpy three-hour bus ride down to the DMZ. Luckily, the bus is pretty comfy and is fully air conditioned. There are also some stops on the way there and back – supplement your DMZ tour with trips to the cities of Sariwon and Kaesong!
What can I see on a Northern DMZ tour?
As previously mentioned, it’s about much more than just the DMZ itself (impressive as this is). You’ll visit Kaesong and the Koryo Museum (where you can buy hand-painted propaganda posters) and it associated teahouse, the Arch of Reunification just outside Pyongyang, and the Thongil restaurant that you’ll visit on your way back to Pyongyang. At this restaurant you can optionally try ginseng stuffed chicken (delicious and ideal for splitting with your group) or dog soup (obviously not to everyone’s tastes!).
Is it strict?
We know what you’re thinking – surely a DMZ tour from the North is way stricter than one from the South, right? Not so! When visiting from the South, you’re accompanied by US soldiers who like to make a big song and dance about the gravity of the situation. There’s no pointing or making gestures from the Southern side. However, the Northern side of the DMZ is ironically one of the most relaxed places you’ll visit! Feel free to take pictures to your heart’s content (even with soldiers – something forbidden in the rest of the country).
If you would like to go on a DMZ tour from North of the border, check out our list of tours!.