Ultimate DMZ and JSA: Private Tour including North Korea Spy Commando Invasion Route - Reviews

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Troy B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2017

We attended the tour while visiting South Korea in December, our guide Shrek was great, very knowledgeable, taught us a lot about the North Korea spy invasion that took place in the 70's, as well as a great guided tour at one of the Out Post, then a great lunch a local restaurant, we then joined another tour group to the JSA before he dropped us off near our hotel in Seoul. All in all a very great day, despite the cold we learned so very much.

Eric M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2017

This was one of the best tours i have ever been on. BJ Kwon was our guide and did a fantastic job! He was so knowledgable and clearly loves Korean history. I recommend doing this tour at the start of your Korean trip if you can. It will give you some good background on the history of Korea so that you will be informed as you visit other sites. By far, the JSA was the highlight. It was surreal. Be sure to follow instructions of the JSA personnel. You get to actually go into the blue buildings where you can cross over into North Korea! The briefing from the overlook into the DMZ was very good as well. The ROK soldiers are very professional and know their business! The only downside is that you are packing so much into this tour that you move quickly from one site to the next. If you have the time, book another tour to the tunnels and peace park. Thank you so much for the great tour!!

Robert G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2017

I had an amazing day on this tour. My tour guide, BJ, was highly knowledgeable, spoke great English and was a perfect guide. We toured the key areas in the 1968 Commando invasion Blue House Raid, visited the Gloster Memorial and spent a long time with the 25th Infantry overlooking the DMZ.
We then had a great lunch of Korean barbecue duck, then ventured up to Panmunjom to visit the JSA.
This was a trip that will live long in the memory and I cant recommend it highly enough - return door-to-door pick up at the hotel, with quite a relaxed schedule, apart from the JSA part of the tour which is time-fixed. It was a pleasure to meet BJ and to discuss in detail many of the incidents that have occurred in the history of the Korean peninsula.

Rory M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2017

This was an excellent day-trip. Our guide BJ picked us up at our hotel we were a bit late as we had found out minutes earlier that our apartment building at home was on fire...but figured there was nothing we could do about it! After a couple of very informative stops in Seoul city, BJ took us to the DMZ, where we joined a few other small groups to see the fences/bunkers up close, and met a few S. Korean soldiers who spoke about their day-to-day experiences there. We then went for a very tasty bbq duck lunch My wife is vegetarian, and she was catered for very well also. Then the highlight of the day of course, was going in to the JSA not all DMZ day-tours include the JSA, so be aware of this when you are booking a trip. For the JSA we needed to join the larger affiliated Bus tour there is no other way to visit the JSA as an independent visitor. This was seamless, and BJ was there to collect us when the bus tour into the JSA was finished.
BJ was a gentleman throughout, very friendly, helpful, and informative, with lots of info about the sites being visited and lots of tips for the remainder of our stay in S. Korea. Along with the haenyo divers and volcano climb in Seongsang Ilchulbong in Jeju island, and Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, this Ultimate DMZ and JSA: Private Tour was the highlight of our 2 week trip to Korea. We would not hesitate to recommend this tour for anyone visiting Korea.

John R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2017

Nothing short of amazing. Very professional, very educational and absolutely fun. It was the highlight of my vacation. Our tour guide (Shrek) was great. The lunch they provided was delicious. Would highly recommend booking the private tour. Exceeded all our expectations.

Joel J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2017

This was an amazing tour! We were picked up early, got quite a few things done on the itinerary and had an absolute blast! The guides and drivers were really informative and funny, spoke excellent English. Definitely worth the time and money!

Marcelo A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2017

This tour was amazing!

Karen H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
May 2017

Have you ever had a distant relative in a foreign land who, once you connected, you were immediately at ease and knew you were in good hands? Well, this is exactly the way we felt the second BJ introduced himself to us when he picked us up in our hotel lobby in Seoul. The day went without a hitch. BJ has such enthusiasm for his country, its rich history and constantly evolving present day world position. Details of the trip are abundant on this website so I needn't repeat them, but I cannot say enough about our guide and newfound friend, BJ - he is a kind and lovely man and I would highly recommend this tour. BJ's enthusiasm for his Korea, its history and current day news make him the best guide we have ever had - anywhere. One thing to note, however, is that the tour company did not give us enough information about the trip - we just happened to bring along our passports and to dress conservatively - these details should have been properly conveyed in the instructions. Do yourself a favor and contact the tour company before you leave to inquire about exactly what is required and you will be set up for a memorable day at the DMZ and JSA.

Joshua L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2017

Great tour! The morning at the DMZ was the best part - it was just Shrek and I walking along the southern line discussing the history and current events. The afternoon at the JSA was very intersting. However, there was some standing around waiting for that climactic moment to experience the JSA.

Colin W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2017

I think that Ultimate is an excellent way to describe this tour. Our guide, BJ, was stellar. From the moment he picked us up at our hotel, it felt like we were greeting an old friend. Throughout the day, he had so much information to offer, including many stories that you'd never get on a standard bus tour.

Each of the stops observatory, military guard outpost, lunch, and JSA are well thought out and spaced throughout the day. The military guard outpost isn't on the normal bus tour routes and provides a fascinating glimpse into how the Korean War continues to this day.

The JSA portion of the tour where you go into the DMZ itself and can even step foot into North Korea -- don't worry, it's safe! is almost sobering. First, the waiver they have you sign is ridiculous but necessary. Basically, the guards/soldiers will try to protect you, but if something goes down, they can't guarantee it. The tension in the air is almost palpable between the two sides.

Really, I can't say enough good things about this day and our guide.

One minor comment: you have to go through passport verification checks ahead of the tour completely understand this!. It is a little confusing as you have to submit your information through the forms on Viator when purchasing the tour and then remember to submit photos separately. Would like to see this process streamlined/ given better form.

Steve

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2016

It was very interesting tour with a highly competent guide. Great way to see JSA and the DMZ. Lunch was also fantastic. Thank you BJ

kmisener

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2016

Our DMZ Tour Guide, Shrek Lee was extraordinary. He tailored the tour to our teen and preteen sons' interests and delivered a day long adventure that they will never forget. As happens often, the JSA cancelled at the last minute, so we switched to the Private DMZ Spy Invasion Route 2nd Tunnel. Prior to the tour, Mr. Lee communicated the status of the JSA and was very responsive to our requests. Shrek can get access to just about anywhere you want to go within and outside of the DMZ. Submitting your passport information to Mr. Lee is necessary for him to secure the booking and you must have your passport with you on the tour.
You simply can't go to South Korea without taking this tour. Shrek Lee is fluent in English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese and the best tour guide we've ever had.

spacepod7

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2016

The real value of this private tour vs the group tour for the 2 of us was spending a full day with an ex-senior officer in the ROK military police who drove us to the various DMZ and JSA highlights. It was a great opportunity to ask him many questions not just about the DMZ and its history, but also South Korea itself. Though we weren't able to visit all the promised attractions such as Imjingak Peace Park and the War Memorial of Korea the latter we ended up doing on our own another day, this was still an amazing tour. The first major half consisted of joining a group bus tour that led us into the JSA/Panmunjon with all its various restrictions on everything, i.e. what to photograph, wear, how to behave, line up, etc. Note: although Viator didn't indicate it, shorts that expose the knee are prohibited and continual accompaniment by an armed soldier. Tense is the best adjective to describe the atmosphere at Panmunjom, the former truce village. The JSA portion ends with a visit to the gift shop but you should skip this and go upstairs to the 2nd floor museum, which was vastly more informative and interesting. When we rejoined our tour guide/driver for the second half, we went to the DMZ where we surrendered our passports temporarily and visited a military observation outpost. There we were given a briefing about the 4 km-wide buffer zone. At the outpost, one could see views of the North Korean countryside of which we weren't allowed to take pictures and manned observation posts. We also walked part of the foot patrol path taken by ROK soldiers alongside the southern barbed wire fence. All in all, a day well spent!

Fodder

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2016

Wow. This tour was one of the most interesting things I have ever done. Unfortunately, the JSA component of the tour was cancelled at the last minute due to a situation, but the company refunded that part of the price. I decided I would pay a bit more to book this tour as it seemed a bit more in depth and it is worth every penny. Shrek is friendly and very well informed. The day was misty, which impeded views into North Korea, but again - still fascinating. And the BBQ duck lunch was to die for. Highly recommend.

Kenneth M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2016

Seeing both the JSA and DMZ is a must. Don't just do one of the tours that does not do both. This was wonderful.

Alexandra A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2016

Shrek was fun and informative. My father really wanted to go on this tour and he absolutely loved it. The trip to an actual Korean millitary observation post on the border was not only amazing but a once in a lifetime experience. Unfortunately the JSA was canceled due to UN things but still awesome!

Florence C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2015

This is a highly flexible tour excellent for a small group of people. I am glad that we didn't waste anytime on picking up others in the morning and waiting for other tourist at every single spot to get back on the big bus. We get to see the real bunker and places that are not available for tourists traveling on big bus

Timothy W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2015

Wow! What an experience! Mind blowing and massively eye opening. Our guide was excellent and the tour was soooo informative. Our guide educated us on the border, the conflicts and the current state of affairs between North and South Korea. I highly recommend for anyone to take a private tour of the DMZ and JSA if they want their mind blown and to have an experience like nothing else. Thanks Viator and we look forward to booking our next tour.

Jack M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

Shrek Lee the tour guide was fantastic. he really brought the tour to life. i'd highly recommend this tour if you have a full day in Seoul. Shrek Lee is a great guy, very knowledgeable and my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour.

patrick s

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2015

Best tour I took during my stay in South Korea. Michelle and her driver were outstanding!! her knowledge of the DMZ and history were spot on. loved seeing the DMZ without a large group. the outpost were very interesting. very well worth the money.

Bruce G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2015

Fascinating visit through the DMZ with knowledgeable tour guide, and access to infrequently visited military instillations. Plus a wonderful and generous authentic Korean lunch.

Alan

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2015

While visiting South Korea, I decided to take a DMZ/JSA tour. I selected this particular tour because it appeared to offer something which other less expensive tours did not... The North Korea Spy Commando Invasion route. I was expecting to with a group, but to my surprise this was a PRIVATE tour with just my driver (a seasoned military veteran with relatively high ranking) who was able to take me places and share insight which the general public might not be able to see or experience. At one point, we needed to meet up with one of the few authorized tour buses to take me to the DMZ/JSA. When we met up with the bus, they were having their lunch. I noticed that the lunch I had with my tour guide was WAY better than the lunch the bus folks were having. The bus portion of the DMZ/JSA tour was very controlled (it had to be) and was great. However, the extra value which my private tour guide was able to provide before I got on the bus and after the bus dropped me off more than compensated for the difference in price. Do your self a favor and read up on the Korean War and the history since the war. Your private tour guide and you will be able to have a deeper and more meaningful conversation and you will learn more. I happened to do this, it seemed to surprise my tour guide that I knew so much about Korea, the Korean War, and history since the war that I was able to really learn so much more. Also, my genuine and sincere interest seemed to spur my tour guide to take me to even more places which he said "are not on my normal tour". Also, my tour guide picked me up and dropped me off at the private residence where I was staying. I did not have to venture to one of the "pickup hotels" where the normal DMZ/JSA tour buses pick up. This tour was really worth every penny and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants more than just a "tourist" experience. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Jannsegal

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
May 2015

Worst trip I have ever had w a Viator booking. I paid for a private tor the group tours were not yet available for purchase for the date I needed when I left the country Asia, so I purchased this private tour. But they had to pick up another gal for the tour, who had paid considerably less, as it really was not private tour. I had them call the owner, but of course he spoke no English so we just proceeded w the day. The guide and driver barely spoke any English so for the spy commando and DMZ part of the trip, we had no idea really what the story was. I am allergic to shell fish, so really could not eat much lunch I told them this. They brought a pork dish, but the rather boorish guide kept using the same utensils that had been in the shell fish, and I cannot even touch shell fish. For the JSA part of the trip, they pretty much had to speed to get me there on time, and of course that was a proper bus tour not private, but it cannot be due to UN regulations. Th JSA bus dropped me off at the Lotte hotel, and the folks from dmz tours were there to drive me to my hotel. Private, I guess, but not worth the money I had spent. For 3 I could have taken a taxi back myself. I had so drastically overpaid for this, I did not tip anybody. I mean, screaming at me in Korean is not the same as explaining to me. The guide just kept screaming louder and louder as though that would matter. I have also contacted my credit card company and disputed this charge since services were not adequate.DMZ Tours should not be used under any circumstances, although from what I could tell by the JSA part of the trip not given by DMZ Tours, but another company, it was a fascinating part of Korea to see. Sorry, Viator. You guys really let me down this time, and I recommend you to just about everyone and have been giving your business by word of mouth and in unrelated travel forums for some years now. Hopefully Vaitor will do right be me on this one. They are usually excellent.

monel h

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
March 2015

Very poor

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