Panmunjom is the village where in 1953 the armistice that stopped the Korea War was signes. It is located on the dividing line between North and South Korea. To visit Panmunjom you need a special permit, which will be arranged with the approval of your itinerary.
There is not much to see in Panmunjom, but it is one of the highlights of a visit to North Korea. The reason is because this is the focus of an absurd border, which has existed now for half a century.
Panmunjom GateYou will stop at the gate where a military guide will join you. He will take you to the General Lecture Room and explain the situation using a model of the Panmunjom area.
Armistice Talks HallAfter passing the gate a road with fences on both sides after about one km leads to two buildings. Here in 1953 the Armistice Agreement was signed by the government of the DPRK and by the USA under the UN-flag. You can see the tables and the flags used.
Peace CooperativeOn the road again you will see behind the fence a village. It is called Panmun and also the Peace Cooperative. The local guide will tell you about the misery of the local farmers who have to live here divided from their relatives in the village Taesong-dong on the southern side of the demarcation line. They used to one village before the war.
Joint Security Area
About 800 meters south from the Armistice Talks Hall is the Joint Security Area of the Central Demarcation Line.
From the Panmun Pavilion you will have a view of the area and into South Korea. Sometimes you can see tourists at the other side of the border who are viewing into the forbidden North.
Then you will go down, pass the Monument to the Authograph of the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung, and reach the five barracks at the demarcation line. Here are the Military Armistice Commission Conference Hall and the meeting hall used by the Neutral nations Supervisory Commission.
The Demarcation Line is, strangely enough, a 10-cm high concrete threshold, that goes through the barracks and the space between the barracks. On one side are the armed Northern guardians, on the other side, only a few meters from each other, are the militaries from the South. Behind the Line there used to be a small pavilion. This however was moved and replaced in 1999 by the South with a big modern-style building, seemingly constructed to impress the other side. A little further back is the building supposedly used by the Southern and American intelligence.
Concrete WallAlthough the demarcation line is only 10 cm high in the Joint Security Area, a few km from her it becomes a 5 to 8 meters high and 240 km long concrete wall. The wall was constructed in 1976-79 by the South and by US forces. According to the North it proves that the South is not willing to have peace and re-unification in Korea. You do not get to see that much; from a viewpoint you can get a glimse by using the telescopes. But it is interesting in its historical/political context.