Best time to visit South Korea

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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.


Hiking High Season

September–May • activity

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

Watch Squirrels and Chipmunks

March–November • nature

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

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

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

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

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)

May–November • activity

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

Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital

All year • 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!

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

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?

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


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

July 13–22, 2018 • event

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

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

Persimmon Harvest and Gotgam Making

October–early December • food

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

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival

January 05–27, 2019 • event

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

Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival

October 01–15, 2018 • event

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

Chuseok (Harvest Moon Festival)

September 24, 2018 • 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

Jeju Fire Festival

late February–early March (TBA) 2019 • event

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

Pohang International Fireworks Festival

July 26–30, 2018 • event

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

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

May 02–07, 2018 • 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

Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival

May 16–19, 2018 • 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

Andong Mask Dance Festival

September 28–October 07, 2018 • event

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

Entrance Exams Fever

November 15, 2018 • 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

Poppy Fields

June • nature

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

Cherry Blossom

April • nature

South Korea is generously blessed with cherry trees that in spring turn the country into a fairy tale

Gwangalli Eobang Festival

April 27–29, 2018 • event

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

Gimje Horizon Festival

October 05–10, 2018 • 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


mid-April–mid-May • nature

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


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

January • food

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


September 12–14, 2019 • food

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

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


December–March • activity

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

Sweet Potatoes and Chestnuts

December–March • food

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

Haeundae Sand Festival

May 19–22, 2018 • event

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

Canola (Yuche) Bloom on Jeju Island

late March–early April • nature

These scenic flowery landscapes signify that spring has arrived in South Korea

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

Beach Season

June–September • activity

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

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

Gochang Moyang Fortress Festival

October 17–21, 2018 • 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)

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


June–August • food

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


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 short period in summer

Polar Bear Swim Festival

 • event

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

Buckwheat Bloom

September • nature

Pyeongchang's buckwheat fields are amazing during the blooming season