Best time to visit South Korea

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South Korea

Best time of year to visit South Korea

Mild spring and autumn are the best time to visit South Korea. As cherries, azaleas, and lotuses are in bloom, April through June is the period when the whole country is dressed up pink, and the national parks are at their finest. However, mind that South Korea is a bit crowded at this time. You should avoid visiting this country in summer because of unbearable mugginess and the monsoon season.
In autumn the rainfall is low and hotel rates are more affordable. September through November is high time to taste hangwa and fresh persimmons. Winter is long and freezingly cold, but worth visiting for its quiet atmosphere, Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, and skiing.

17 THINGS TO DO IN SOUTH KOREA (SEPTEMBER 29 - OCTOBER 08)

Hiking High Season

Hiking High Season

September–May • activity

The numerous mountains of Korea are home to gorgeous treks, Buddhist temples, cute squirrels, and other forest critters

Persimmon Harvest and Gotgam Making

Persimmon Harvest and Gotgam Making

October–early December • food

Fresh juicy persimmon is good, but dried fruit ('gotgam') might appeal to you even more

Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve

Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve

All year | April–October (best views) • nature

South Korea is home to one of the world's largest coastal marshes which boasts a vast field of tall reeds

Ginkgo Nuts

Ginkgo Nuts

October–December • food

When fruit from the outside smells like puke or poo, it's hard to believe the inside can be better, but you'll never know without trying

Watch Squirrels and Chipmunks

Watch Squirrels and Chipmunks

March–November • nature

According to a local belief, meeting one of these little fellows can bring you luck

Flowers in the Garden of Morning Calm

Flowers in the Garden of Morning Calm

March–November • nature

The oldest private garden in Korea showcases 5,000 plant species, 20 themed sections, dozens of scenic walkways, and a series of festivals held throughout the year

Andong Mask Dance Festival

Andong Mask Dance Festival

September 24–October 03, 2021 • event

Get ready for your heart to burst with excitement at this exuberant celebration of the Korean tradition

Pine Mushrooms (Songi)

Pine Mushrooms (Songi)

mid-September–mid-November • food

Pine mushrooms are treasured in Korea not just for their subtle flavour and limited availability, but also as cancer preventors

Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo)

Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo)

March–May | September–November • nature

While Korea and Japan try to solve the ownership issue, these small rocky isles inhabited by a single Korean family draw tens of thousands of tourists

Traditional Villages (Agricultural Season)

Traditional Villages (Agricultural Season)

May–November • activity

Fly away from the city buzz to enjoy peaceful rural surroundings, the indigenous lifestyle, and the living ancient traditions of Korea

Nonggyo Bridge

Nonggyo Bridge

all year round • activity

Can you imagine that a stone bridge constructed without cement could survive a thousand years in rising and falling river waters?

Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital

Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital

all year round • activity

Psychiatric hospitals are creepy in general and abandoned ones twice as creepy, and when they also have a reputation of being haunted—that's even worse!

Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

all year round • activity

Paradoxically this is one of world's most militarized areas, labeled the scariest place on Earth, and still drawing lines of curious tourists

Beach Season

Beach Season

June–September • activity

The beaches of South Korea are delightful in terms of scenery and entertainment

Seaweed Soup for Birthdays

Seaweed Soup for Birthdays

all year round • food

The idea to eat seaweed after giving birth might have been borrowed from whales, today seaweed soup is also eaten for birthdays to honour mothers

Buckwheat Bloom

Buckwheat Bloom

September • nature

Pyeongchang's buckwheat fields are amazing during the blooming season

Fake Funerals

Fake Funerals

all year round • event

How about discovering the joy and meaning of life through experiencing your own fake funeral?

32 THINGS TO DO OUT OF SELECTED DATE RANGE

Lotus Lantern Festival (Yeon Deung Hoe)

Lotus Lantern Festival (Yeon Deung Hoe)

April 24–26, 2020 • event

Established over 1,300 years ago, this annual Buddhist lantern festival brightens the hearts and skies of both Korea and the world

Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival

Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival

October 01–11, 2020 • event

You'll be amazed at the amount of lanterns and their style diversity, but this is more than just a matter of beauty

Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom

April • nature

South Korea is blessed with cherry blossoms that turn the country into a fairy tale every spring

Jeju Fire Festival

Jeju Fire Festival

March 12–15, 2020 • event

A scary, and at the same time majestic spectacle—the sight of burning island is

Green Tea Fields

Green Tea Fields

April–August • activity

Check where your favourite beverage comes from and don't forget to try some green tea ice cream and green tea noodle soup

Boryeong Mud Festival

Boryeong Mud Festival

July 17–26, 2020 (virtual event) • event

Ten days of mud-packed activities are an excellent chance to wake up the inner child in you

Chuseok (Harvest Moon Festival)

Chuseok (Harvest Moon Festival)

September 20–22, 2021 • event

Chuseok is the Korean version of American Thanksgiving—an important holiday when most locals leave for the countryside and grandma's house to carry on a number of ancient traditions and most importantly to feast on abundant homemade delicacies

Pohang International Fireworks Festival

Pohang International Fireworks Festival

May 31–June 02, 2019 • event

If you're into fireworks and other festivities, you're going to like this mix of sparkling clouds, live concerts, and art

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival

January 27–February 16, 2020 • event

Winter festival provides an excellent way to beat the cold—enjoy ice fishing along with ice racing competitions and other amusing festivities

Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival

Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival

March 21–24, 2019 • event

The image of a parting sea evokes a figure of Moses and the Red Sea, but in the Korean version the miracle happens to a woman at the Yellow Sea

Lotus Flower

Lotus Flower

May–mid-July • nature

At the lotus festival one can walk among thousands of flowers, drink lotus flower tea, learn how to make lotus flower soap and paper, and so much more

Skiing

Skiing

December–March • activity

Mountains occupy nearly three-quarters of the country's territory, which makes it a great skiing destination

Cool Down with Patbingsu

Cool Down with Patbingsu

June–August • food

Instead of traditional ice cream, Koreans have another ice dessert for hot summers—shaved ice topped with sweet red beans

Damyang Bamboo Festival

Damyang Bamboo Festival

May 01–06, 2019 • event

Did you know bamboo is used in fishing, cooking, alcohol brewing, and numerous other crafts? Try them all at the bamboo festival in Damyang

Poppy Fields

Poppy Fields

June • nature

A meadow of red wildflowers set amidst the mountains is the perfect place for your mind and soul to relax

Azaleas

Azaleas

mid-April–mid-May • nature

You may occasionally see beautiful pink mountainsides in Korean movies, but reality is often better than the pictures

Entrance Exams Fever

Entrance Exams Fever

December 3, 2020 • event

On the examination day friends and parents gather at school gates to pray for examinees and cheer them up—all want to pass the exam with a perfect score

Gwangalli Eobang Festival

Gwangalli Eobang Festival

April 26–28, 2019 • event

This festival is about fishing activities, cultural performances, and a spectacular night show of 30 fishing boats with torches

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

late July–mid-August • nature

A chance to enjoy the view in a field of sunflowers occurs just once in a long while—for a few weeks in the summer

Hangwa

Hangwa

September 20–22, 2021 • food

If you miss Chuseok festival in mid-September, your hunt for bright-coloured Korean confectionary won't be easy

Sweet Potatoes and Chestnuts

Sweet Potatoes and Chestnuts

December–March • food

Korean winter offers rare street treats—cheap, delicious, and healthy at the same time

Haeundae Sand Festival

Haeundae Sand Festival

May 23–24, 2019 • event

This event is all about sand art, beach sports, and night parties at the seaside

Gimje Horizon Festival

Gimje Horizon Festival

October 07–11, 2020 • event

If you've never tried anything like maneuvering a cart driven by a cow, or catching grasshoopers, this festival offers some new funny experiences

Kimchi

Kimchi

November–February • food

If you want to try all available varieties, you'll have to make a long stay, for there're 250 types of this side dish

Cold Naengmyeon Noodles on the Coldest Day

Cold Naengmyeon Noodles on the Coldest Day

January • food

Despite the general trend, Eastern Asian medicine principles still encourage to eat this cold buckwheat noodle soup in the cold season

Canola (Yuche) Bloom on Jeju Island

Canola (Yuche) Bloom on Jeju Island

late March–early April • nature

Scenic colorful landscapes show that spring has arrived in South Korea

Figs

Figs

June–August • food

Korea bears juicy figs, distinguished by their sweet flesh and pleasant texture

Eat Samgyetang on the Hottest Day

Eat Samgyetang on the Hottest Day

July–August • food

Koreans obey Eastern Asian medicine traditions and consume their hottest dish—boiling hot stuffed chicken—on the year's hottest day

Birdwatching during Spring and Autumn Migrations

Birdwatching during Spring and Autumn Migrations

April–May | October • nature

South Korea offers rich birding grounds to observe a variety of species, some of which are hard to see anywhere else in the world

Polar Bear Swim Festival

Polar Bear Swim Festival

January 04–05, 2020 • event

Thousands of "polar bears" gather in the south of Korea every winter to bathe in the freezing sea water

Gochang Moyang Fortress Festival

Gochang Moyang Fortress Festival

October 21–25, 2020 • event

Walk three times around the fortress with a stone on your head—and you'll live a long, happy, and healthy life ever after

Fugu (Puffer Fish or Blowfish)

Fugu (Puffer Fish or Blowfish)

November–March • food

Every year six people die from eating this fish. If you get thrills from life risks, you are welcome to challenge your fortune

Last updated:
jan
6.4
feb
6.4
mar
6.8
apr
7.5
may
8.4
jun
8.6
jul
7.1
aug
6.4
sep
8.3
oct
8.5
nov
7.2
dec
6.5

South Korea weather in January

6.4/10 score
Good
-2° average
average temperatures
14 mm
precipitation
9h 53m
daylight duration
January is the coldest month of the year in South Korea, however, there are still clear and sunny days. In the south, the weather is milder, meanwhile if you are visiting Seoul get ready for freezing temperatures. The capital of South Korea in January often has below zero temperature in Celsius or about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Sometimes after New Year cold waves bring temperatures up to -17°C (0°F). January also brings the most snow to Seoul. The snow doesn’t stay on the ground in the city, though. The skies are mostly overcast in Seoul with about five hours of daily sunshine. If you want to see the real Korean winters with lots of snow and frost, go to the mountainous Seoraksan and Songnisan parks or the northern provinces of Gangwon-do and Gyeonggi-do where skiing and snowboarding are available at this time. The southern coast experiences mild temperatures in January. In Jeju Island, you can even expect 10 °C (50 °F). In case you plan to visit Korea in January, pack a heavy winter coat, hats, gloves, and winter boots.

South Korea weather in February

6.4/10 score
Good
0° average
average temperatures
15 mm
precipitation
10h 46m
daylight duration
February is a dry and cold month in South Korea. It is the second coldest month in Seoul and the coldest in many provinces of the country. In the mountains, the temperature can drop to -20°C (-4 °F). In Seoul, freezing northeasterly winds bring cold and snow from the Siberian plains. The temperature stays slightly above freezing level, the skies are cloudy, and light snow is possible. The snow doesn’t stay on the ground for long, though. There are just about five hours of daily sunshine this month. The best thing you can do in South Korea in February is to visit the ski resorts of Pyeongchang, Yongpyong and Alpensia in Gangwon-do province. You can experience the real winter wonderland there with lots of snow and frost. If you want to visit the warmest place in South Korea, visit the southern coast. The temperature rarely drops below freezing in Jeju Island, where winters are quite moderate and dry. You will need a heavy coat, gloves, winter boots and a hat for your trip to South Korea in February.

South Korea weather in March

6.8/10 score
Good
6° average
average temperatures
15 mm
precipitation
11h 57m
daylight duration
March is still cold and dry month in South Korea. However, it also brings warmer temperatures and the first signs of spring. Seoul is still mostly cold and unpleasant in March with temperatures ranging from above freezing to 10°C (50°F). However, daily sunshine increases to about six hours. Light snow is possible, but it doesn’t stay on the ground. It also rains a little in March. Beautiful mountains at Songnisan National Park are still covered with snow. Northern provinces offer excellent skiing at this time. Southern cost is the first to welcome spring to South Korea. Busan and Jeju Island experience pleasant daily temperatures in the comfortable range. If you plan to visit South Korea in March, you will still need warm layers, an insulated jacket and a hat for those cold winds coming from Siberia.

South Korea weather in April

7.5/10 score
Very good
11° average
average temperatures
16 mm
precipitation
13h 10m
daylight duration
April is an excellent time to visit South Korea. The country is blossoming and nature is especially beautiful. There is just a bit of rain, and the temperatures are pleasantly warm. In Seoul, April is sunny and pleasant. The temperature increases and you can already walk around without a jacket. The skies are clear and the blossoming cherry trees everywhere. There are about 7 hours of sunshine in April. The rainfall is moderate with about seven rainy days. The Northern and mountainous regions are a bit colder. Seoraksan and Songnisan national parks still experience frosty weather. However, the snow is melting, and spring arrives everywhere. Southern Busan and Jeju Island are the warmest spots in April with pleasant and sunny weather throughout the month. If you wish to visit South Korea in April, pack an umbrella and a light jacket for early mornings and late nights.

South Korea weather in May

8.4/10 score
Excellent
17° average
average temperatures
17 mm
precipitation
14h 11m
daylight duration
May is one of the best months to visit South Korea. The countryside is especially lush and green, flowers are blooming everywhere, and the weather is sunny and warm. In Seoul, May is pleasantly warm with some rainfall. Day temperature can rise up to 23°C (73°F). Humidity is also increasing. May had nine rainy days, a significant increase in comparison with dry winters. With about eight hours of daily sunshine, you can plan various outdoor activities. Hiking season starts in the National Parks of Jirisan, Songnisan, and Seoraksan. The southern part of the country is perfectly sunny and warm. Busan and Jeju Island enjoy wonderful balmy weather.

South Korea weather in June

8.6/10 score
Excellent
22° average
average temperatures
17 mm
precipitation
14h 42m
daylight duration
June is another great month to visit South Korea. Even though it marks the beginning of the monsoon season, it’s still not too rainy for sightseeing and outdoor activities. Temperatures rise to balmy levels throughout South Korea, flowers are blooming, and nature is beautiful and lush. In Seoul, the temperature stays in the 20s Celsius or 70s Fahrenheit. Heavy rainfall and stormy weather are possible, especially in the second half of the month. Sunshine decreases to about 6 hours per day, and the skies are often cloudy. June is a great time for hiking in Seoraksan, Jirisan, Songnisan and the other National Parks where the weather is perfectly warm and pleasant. June also marks the beginning of the beach season on the southern coast. Go to the seaside city of Busan or Jeju Island to enjoy some sunbathing and swimming. Water temperature is about 18-21°C (65-70 °F) in June.

South Korea weather in July

7.1/10 score
Very good
25° average
average temperatures
23 mm
precipitation
14h 27m
daylight duration
South Korean summer is hot and very wet. Humidity is rather high at this time. After all, July is the wettest month of the year. Expect monsoon rains and cloudy skies throughout the country. Seoul experiences the peak of East Asian Monsoon influence in July. The skies are overcast, there are frequent downpours and thunderstorms. There are less than 4 hours of sunshine at this time. Flooding can be expected as a result of torrential rains. Landslides in the hills around Seoul is another problem. Typhoons that pass through South Korea in July usually don’t cause significant damage, like in some neighboring countries. The temperature stays in comfortable 20s Celsius or 70s Fahrenheit in July. In the South, it can be higher. However, the sea breeze on the southern coast brings some relief from the heat.

South Korea weather in August

6.4/10 score
Good
26° average
average temperatures
20 mm
precipitation
13h 34m
daylight duration
Hot and humid South Korean summer brings temperatures to 30°C (86°F). Thunderstorms and torrential rains continue throughout the country. Floodings, landslides, and typhoons are possible during this month. In Seoul, heavy rains and grey skies can hardly make you enjoy the summer. There are just 5 hours of sunshine, and it’s so hot and humid outside that people are longing to get inside, closer to an air conditioner. The heat affects less the mountainous areas of Seoraksan National Park and the southern coast. Visit Busan and Jeju Island to spend some quality time on the beach in between the rains.

South Korea weather in September

8.3/10 score
Excellent
22° average
average temperatures
17 mm
precipitation
12h 25m
daylight duration
September marks the end of the monsoon season in South Korea. That means that rains and the heat are easing up. The beginning of the month is still rather hot and rainy, but the second half features dropping temperatures and drier days. In Seoul, September is overall wet and cloudy. Humidity drops below 70%, and temperatures mostly stay in a comfortable range. About 6 hours of sunshine per day promise great sightseeing and outdoor activities. Typhoons, downpours, and heavy rains are still possible, however, in the second half of the month skies are mostly clear, and sunny dry weather is dominating. Late September is when fall starts to display its gorgeous colors. It’s a great occasion to visit national parks such as Seoraksan. In Busan, September is still a warm month that is suitable for a beach vacation. Temperatures are still balmy. Coastal resorts take advantage of drier and sunnier weather.

South Korea weather in October

8.5/10 score
Excellent
16° average
average temperatures
15 mm
precipitation
11h 13m
daylight duration
October is one of the best times to visit South Korea. The temperatures are still very warm, and fall foliage colors are simply amazing. This is a good period for all kinds of outdoor activities. Blue skies, sunny days and comfortable temperatures are ideal for exploring Korea, visit sites like Beopjusa temple and beautiful national parks. In Seoul, moderate temperatures and pleasant weather conditions last through the whole month of October. Rains are not frequent, calm sunny weather is perfect for long walks and sightseeing. The southern coast of South Korea enjoys mellow season in October. Temperatures are still high enough to spend a day on the beach and enjoy cloudless blue skies. Water temperature is around 20-22 °C( 68-73 °F), which is still warm enough to swim.

South Korea weather in November

7.2/10 score
Very good
8° average
average temperatures
15 mm
precipitation
10h 10m
daylight duration
Even though the air is cooling down, November is still a good time to visit South Korea. The temperature remains quite comfortable throughout the country. It’s dry and sunny. Clear skies and crisp air create excellent conditions to explore the beautiful nature dressed in gorgeous fall colors. Seoul can see first cold waves in November when the temperature drops to slightly above freezing. However, there are also many warm days with moderate temperatures and sunshine. Nights get really chilly though. If you want to visit Seoul in November bring a warm jacket for late evenings and early mornings. Southern coastal regions like Busan and Jeju Island still enjoy warm weather in November with temperatures often reaching perfect 20°C (68 °F). It may be too cool to go to a beach, however, the water is still warm if you decide to go for a swim. In the mountains, November is already a cool month so bring some warm layers and insulated clothes.

South Korea weather in December

6.5/10 score
Good
0° average
average temperatures
15 mm
precipitation
9h 37m
daylight duration
December brings frosty weather to the northern regions of South Korea and the snow in the mountains. The southern coast is warmer and still enjoys moderate temperatures. It’s still a relatively good time for a visit since the weather is dry, and cold is not too extreme. December features many sunny and dry days which are suitable for sightseeing. In Seoul, you’ll see a mix of clouds and clear skies. At night the temperature can drop below freezing. But during the day it warms up a bit. Days get shorter. However, it’s not as freezing as during January and February. Temperatures in Busan, Jeju Island, and other seaside towns are much higher and stay within a comfortable range during December. Even though the beach season is over, it’s still pleasant to spend time outside. Ski resorts in northern provinces of Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do usually welcome skiers and snowboarders in December after the first major snowfalls cover the mountains.