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Visa-free entry from South Korea in North Korea

Visa-free entry from South Korea in North Korea

There is one place in North Korea that can be visited without needing any kind of North Korean visa:
  • Joint Security Area (often called by the misnomer Panmunjom), the jointly controlled truce village in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas, has regular one-day bus tours from Seoul.
  • Until 2009, visa-free (or, rather, special group visa) tours were possible to two other places in North Korea — however, at time of writing, these have been suspended until further notice.
  • Kaesong (Gaeseong), open to day-long group bus tours from Seoul organized by Hyundai Asan.
  • Kumgangsan (Geumgangsan), accessible by group bus tours from South Korea organized by Hyundai Asan. There are daily buses from Seoul to Hwajinpo, the marshaling area for tourists, who then go by special buses through the DMZ to Kumgang. Tours are normally 2 days-1 night, or more appropriately for foreign travelers, 3 days-2 nights.
  • All three locations are (were) accessible to Americans, South Koreans, and most other nationalities, although a different list of restricted nationalities applies for Panmunjom (see article). Hyundai Asan was planning to open up tours to Paektusan (Baekdusan), called Changbaishan on the Chinese side of the border, involving a charter flight from Seoul to Samjiyeon near Mt. Paektu, with the rest of the tour by bus and on foot. These never materialized though, so for time being, your options are to visit the Chinese side of the mountain (no special permits required) or add it as an expensive add-on to a standard North Korea tour.

    The Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions about North Korea

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    North Korea Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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