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Dun Dun .... DUN! Part 2

Panmunjeom

Panmunjeom (판문점) is also called the 'Truce Village' because it is where the armistice for the Korean War was negotiated. It contains the Joint Security Area (the only place where North Korea and South Korea armed forces stand face-to-face at the DMZ), the Bridge of No Return and other significant places.

The original Panmunjeom village was destroyed in the war and lies on the DMZ. The southern side of the village is mostly restored and the name of Panmunjeom is now mistakenly used coincide with the Joint Security Area (JSA).

The Joint Security Area has held many interactions between the North and the South.
Map of the Joint Security Area

Map of the Joint Security Area


Panmungak, Main North Korean building

Panmungak, Main North Korean building


The blue buildings you see in the picture are where the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) and the United Nations Command (UNC) would be when meeting with the North Koreans because the buildings are built right at the DMZ.

The Bridge of No Return

The Bridge of No Return


The Bridge of No Return was a bridge between North Korea and South Korea to exchange prisoners captured at the end of the war. Prisoners were given the choice of either to stay in the country where they were captured or return home. Once decided the prisoner can never be allowed to return, hence the name. After the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) was clearly marked to never be crossed, North Korea had no way of going to the JSA so they built a new bridge leading from the north in 72 hours. The bridge is called '72 Hour Bridge'.

Tourists are able to enter the DMZ from various tourism companies and the United Service Organization (USO), but they must sign a document that states clearly "The visit to the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom will entail entry into a hostile area and possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action." South and North Koreans are not allowed on tours and background checks may be required if the tourists are from Russia or China.

We didn't get to go in the DMZ because we aren't on a tour, but we shall keep that in mind for next time!

Posted by roksait10 19:29 Archived in South Korea Tagged educational

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Comments

Very fascinating information! When was the 72 Hour bridge constructed?

Aside from the document you sign when you enter are there any other requirements to enter the zone?

by JAPANTVT10

How long is the bridge?

How did it feel?

by asia2010

Let's see ... the 72 Hour Bridge was built in 1976 after what is called the Axe Murder Incident, several North Koreans went into South Korea and killed two United States Army officers. The Military Declaration Line was established and it cut in the middle of the Bridge of No Return, therefore North Korea no longer had access to Panmunjeom. So they built the 72 Hour Bridge to have access to Panmunjeom.

Other than the document that pretty much signed your life away if anything happens is all that is needed. Remember though that you must be with a tour to be able to sign the document.

The Bridge of No Return is not that long, probably takes less than two minutes to walk across, but it is no longer used and not allowed to be crossed because it means to cross over to North Korea halfway on the bridge. (Meaning we didn't and couldn't walk on that.)

As said above, we weren't with a tour group and didn't have access to enter the DMZ. We did ask a couple people part of another group how it felt to walk on the 72 Bridge and they said it's just a bridge, but you feel eyes staring at you from nowhere. The 72 Hour bridge is also more modern using metal to be built (the Bridge of No Return is wooden) and there is a road for cars to cross, but there is what looks like a big check-stop with guards checking for authorization to cross the bridge.

by roksait10

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