So you’re planning a trip to South Korea? Or maybe you’re just thinking about it at this point, and wondering when you should go. I’ve been asked many times when it’s best to visit Korea.
Surprisingly, majority of people I’ve talked to think that Korea is one of those tropical Asian countries where it never snows and just hot all year round.
That is not true. Korea has four distinct seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. And each season has its own advantages, of course, and it all depends on what you plan to do while you’re in Korea.
So I will summarize what each season feels like, although it may be a little too obvious, but may be helpful for some of you.
SPRING (BOM) March – May
So Spring is probably the best time of the year you could go visit Korea along with Fall. Spring starts around in the end of March and lasts til the end of May.
One of the best things about visiting Korea in the Spring time is the cherry blossoms. They are everywhere!
There are many places (I’d say pretty much every city and town) that have cherry blossom festivals where they have all kinds of food vendors in the streets, music, dances, events, etc.
PROS – Nice, warm weather, beautiful scenery including flowers, cherry blossoms, events, outdoor activities such as picnics and hiking, etc.
CONS – A bit crowded at festivals, some school field trips to the zoos and historical sites
SUMMER (Yeo-Reum) Early June – Early September
Summer time is nice and all if you’re a Summer person but you need to remember, Korean summer may be a little different from what you’re used to unless you’re from a humid area.
Korea is SUPER HUMID during Summer. As some of you might already know, Korea is a peninsula which means three sides of it are surrounded by the Ocean.
It gets hot, muggy, and very humid. 99% humidity means you are more likely to feel irritated which may result in one annoying trip in your memory forever. But there are definitely ways to still make it a memorable trip despite all the crazy hot, humid weather.
Korea is surround by the Oceans after all. There are many beaches in Korea along with lots of little streams, lakes, and rivers where people go to cool off. And it is relatively cheaper to camp out, too.
But if I were you, I’d look for a private resort where you can rent a room at a reasonable price and enjoy all the beautiful views and quietness.
Being humid also means everything Green. There are lots of mountains you can hike, too, and they are all green and beautiful.
However, avoid Mid June to July as it’s the rainy season. It rains, rains, and rains for 2-3 weeks straight, and it’s not light rain. Very heavy rain with a Typhoon warning. So plan accordingly.
PROS – All kinds of outdoor activities, Ocean, and the Summer food
CONS – Humid, hot weather, very crowded, rainy season, Typhoon warnings, mosquitos, loud crickets at night
FALL (Ga-Eul) Mid September – Early November
Fall is also one of the best times to visit Korea as the weather cools off and the leaves turn red, orange, and yellow.
It is by far the best time to go hiking. One of the things I love the most about Korea is the mountains.
I love that Korea has both oceans and mountains. The weather requires a light jacket, but it feels pleasant and it’s not too crowded, either.
Planning a trip around this time around would be the best. It may rain occasionally but definitely manageable.
PROS – Perfect weather, Beautiful colors in scenery, not overcrowded, cheap street food
CONS – Many schools go on field trips to famous locations so it may get a little crowded at historical sites
WINTER (Gyo-Wool) Mid November – Early March
Winter could also be a good time to visit South Korea but I recommend November to December as the cold is somewhat bearable.
However, January and February are awful cold, like you feel like your skin is being cut by a sharp knife cold.
At least that is how I felt growing up. If you do plan to visit Korea during this time, I recommend you wear lots of layers of clothes, and you will definitely need some winter underwear for your legs as well.
Leggings will work wonders! The road may get slippery from the snow and ice. Be very careful. One of the perks of visiting Korea in the winter, though, is the beautiful scenery in the mountains and all the snow related activities.
And all the street food, arranging from fish shaped redbean bread to teokboki (Korean spicy rice cake snack), dimsum, all kinds of different potstickers and dumplings are all wonderful and enjoyed during winter time.
PROS – Winter food, street food, not crowded, winter activities
CONS – Cold, snow, slippery road
Whenever you decide to go to Korea, you will find a way to enjoy your trip. There are many locations there that are seasonal, where you can enjoy the best features of each season to the fullest.
I am sure that you will have a memorable trip to tell many of your friends and families no matter when you decide to go.