When to go to South Korea? What are the best months and seasons to fully enjoy the Land of Morning Calm? We explain how to choose the best time to go on a trip to South Korea, depending on the weather, the cities, or the holidays and festivals.
- 1 When to go to South Korea: The four seasons
- 2 When to go to South Korea: Holidays and festivals
- 3 Enjoy the typical dishes of Korean food
- 4 Visit Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon
- 5 Tour the historic center of Gyeongju and its temples
- 6 Go shopping for cosmetics and clothes in Busan
- 7 Going to karaoke with friends in Seoul
When to go to South Korea: The four seasons
Located between China and Japan, South Korea does not fail to seduce the most curious travellers. But to fully enjoy this multi-faceted country, it is important to choose the right period and season, in particular according to your desires and the cities visited. Here is a season-by-season summary of when to go to South Korea.
The best time to go to South Korea is undoubtedly autumn, which extends from the months of September to November. It is indeed at this time of the year that the climate is the most pleasant, the sun is shining and that nature is adorned with its most beautiful colors.
South Korea can be visited very well in winter. Between November and March, winter sees temperatures drop very significantly. The latter can indeed reach -15°C in the mountains, which occupy two thirds of the territory. But winter is the ideal time to see South Korea under the snow, and especially to ski. Nestled in the beautiful setting of Korea’s mountains, South Korea’s ski resorts offer a wide variety of runs catering to everyone from beginners to advanced skiers. In addition to the ski facilities, they have very modern equipment. Korea’s main stations are located in the Gangwon-do region.
If you don’t know when to go to South Korea, know that spring is also a great season to visit the land of morning calm. However, this is a fairly crowded period. It is indeed at this time that the Japanese and other neighbors of South Korea choose to come on vacation. Between the months of march and junehotels are often fully booked and tourist sites can be very quickly taken by storm.
If you like long periods of heat, summer in South Korea shouldn’t scare you. But note however that temperatures can climb up to 35° and the rains can be torrential at times, especially in July. Often very hot and humid, summer in South Korea, which extends from june to septemberis quite particular and not suitable for everyone.
When to go to South Korea: Holidays and festivals
One thing that you should always keep in mind is that South Korea is a perfect country to visit at any time of the year. Each season of the year has something special to offer the visitor, although it is true that depending on the weather it could be said that there is a better time to travel to South Korea than another.
To help you understand how the country’s weather varies at each time of the year, we leave you with much more detailed information below. We also remind you that it is best to always check the weather report as you make your trip. This way you will know at all times what time you will find in each of the destinations you want to visit.
If you do not know when to go to South Korea, we advise you to inform yourself about religious and national holidays, as well as festivals. Indeed, the festivals of a country can alter or not your stay. Certain national or religious celebrations can make a site inaccessible, or on the contrary, can reveal the traditions of the country.
If your idea is to visit South Korea on your next vacation, it is important that when you prepare your trip you know well when is the best time to make the trip depending on the weather that you can find and the tourist season that will be in the country.
So, if you can, try to get there during the month of January : We celebrate the snow during the Snow Festival by Taebaeksan. On occasion, ice sculptures, figure skating shows or even igloos will amaze you. Also, in January (or February depending on the year) takes place the Lunar New Year “Seollal” : Celebrations and parades take place in the biggest cities of the country.
In september (or in October, depending on the year), takes place Chuseok, the harvest festival and one of the most important Korean traditional festivals, which gives rise to 3 days off in South Korea: the same day, the day before and the day after Chuseok. Rituals such as Ssirum wrestling contests, Taekkyon competitions, and Korean dances are held across the country.
In July takes place the feast of dano, the third most celebrated traditional holiday in South Korea. This shamanic festival is most often celebrated within the city of Gangneung, called Gangneung danoje, and is classified as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. To see, therefore, if you are there.
Enjoy the typical dishes of Korean food
One of the best ways to experience Korean culture is through its culinary delights; discovering tasty hansik cuisine will allow you to savor a small part of all that Korea has to offer. We say this because here they base their cuisine on a philosophical attitude ( emuyang ohaeng ) that seeks to achieve harmony between the five colors of nature, with its five flavors: blue, yellow, white, black and red, with sweet, salty, sour, spicy and bitter. So in the end, as in the Japanese country, your table ends up being full of a thousand tiny plates with many garnishes or tapas.
From IATI we recommend you delight yourself by trying some of its delicacies. We warn you beforehand that Koreans love to barbecue everything (please don’t leave Korea without trying an authentic gogigui barbecue dinner !) and love kimchi – kimchi is everywhere. Kimchi is a fermented vegetable used as a garnish; it tastes very strong, but used correctly it is tasty because it manages to increase the flavor and power of the ingredients that your meals have, you have to try it!
Do not forget the following dishes either:
- Bibimbap : Star dish in Korea, apart from having a very striking image, it is more than tasty. It has a base of boiled rice and, on top, vegetables, marinated meat and egg seasoned with sesame oil and gochujang sauce.
- Bulgogi – slices of beef or pork marinated and grilled on a barbecue. The sauce has soy, garlic, onion, ginger, and sesame seeds.
- Samgyetang : delicious chicken soup stuffed with chestnuts with ginseng.
- Namul : The same ingredients as the bibimbap, in a separate dish and without the base rice. Basically vegetables cooked with soy sauce or fried with oil.
- Gimbap : Popularly known as the Korean sushi; It is something like makis, but in this case the rice is seasoned with sesame oil.
Visit Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon
South Korea is very small, so if you’re going to visit Seoul, there’s no excuse not to take a short excursion to the huge Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon : you can get there by subway or train, and it doesn’t take more than 50 minutes.
The history of the fortress is, in fact, quite tragic: it was built in 1794 as a tribute to the remains of Prince Sado, who was killed by his father after failing to carry out his own suicide (yes, his father had condemned him). to die locked inside a chest of rice). But what is really special about this fortress is its architecture, since it mixes Eastern and Western styles, something never seen in the entire country.
If you have a good time and you like to walk, we advise you to go all the way; It takes about four hours, and if you go clockwise, you will be able to pass the gates of the entire complex in order. As you progress, you will be able to see how the colors of the pennants that fly from the wall change: blue, white, red, black and yellow. This excursion is one of the essentials to do in South Korea.
Tour the historic center of Gyeongju and its temples
To get to understand South Korea and its history, visiting Gyeongju is a must . The city is magical; It was the capital of the country during one of the most important periods in its history, the Shilla dynasty, which lasted on the peninsula for more than 1,000 years, and now it is full of temples and small streets.
You cannot miss the tumulus park where you will find 23 royal tombs in the shape of a hill, just as you read. Daereungwon is a park-like area where Koreans go for weekend walks, and where important figures from the Three Kingdoms era are buried, not to be missed!
The star visit of the city is the Bulguksa temple – something yes or yes to see in South Korea-; It is original from the year 528 and you will need a whole morning to see it.
If the day is nice, we recommend you rent a bicycle and ride it through the streets of the historic center: pay attention to the eccentricities they sell, you can even find golden ice cream!
Go shopping for cosmetics and clothes in Busan
Although it is true that Busan is not a particularly beautiful city, it is worth visiting to walk along its beaches in the morning enjoying the walk and the views in the Igidae Coasal Walk, get lost in the colorful Gamcheon Culture Village and, in the afternoon , go shopping.
As you already know, Koreans take great care of their skin: the most curious thing is that it is not something exceptional for women, men also invest a lot of money in creams and cosmetics. It doesn’t matter how old you are: everyone will look younger than you.
Some of the things that we recommend you take home are: ginseng, kimchi, traditional teas, traditional liquors, clothes (in some markets in Busan you will find them at a very good price) and cosmetics (everything that has to do with facial care It is also at a very good price; go into a store and ask without fear to find out which one they recommend).
Going to karaoke with friends in Seoul
The number of things to eat, see, and do in South Korea is endless, but Seoul takes the cake within the country. It is the typical huge city where you set foot and you know that hundreds of unique experiences await you at every corner. To name a few, you can:
- Explore Bukchon Hanok Village : It is the old quarter of Seoul’s nobility and one of the most photographable places in the city. It is filled with beautiful traditional houses dating back to the Joseon Dynasty; the surprising thing is that they are still inhabited! If you go up to the top of the hill you can take good pictures: in the foreground you will have the residential area, with the small houses with the hanok architectural style and, in the background, the typical modern buildings of Seoul in the distance. Many Koreans often walk through the area dressed in the traditional hanbok in search of the perfect spot to take a picture; follow them a bit and you can easily steal a perch from them.
- Go shopping for cosmetics in Myeongdong: On this street you will find all the popular brands of Korean cosmetics (Innisfree, Etude House, Tony Moly, Missha…). Many give away free samples.
- Lotte World : It is the largest indoor amusement park in the world. No need to add anything more.
- The changing of the guard at Gyeongbokgung Palace : At 10 am and 4 pm there is a very curious changing of the guard at the gate of the Palace, pay attention to the outfits!
But apart from all that, there is no better experience than meeting Koreans in a bar and ending up with them singing karaoke. As we have already mentioned in the introduction, the coincidences between the Japanese country and South Korea are numerous and this is one of them.