WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SOUTH KOREA? WHAT IS THE BEST MONTH TO GO TO KOREA? WHICH MONTH IS THE CHEAPEST TO TRAVEL TO SOUTH KOREA?
Choosing the best time to visit South Korea can greatly influence your experience. Whether you’re drawn to cherry blossoms in spring, vibrant festivals in summer, colorful foliage in autumn, or winter wonderlands, this guide will help you make an informed decision about when to explore the Land of the Morning Calm.
There are 4 distinct seasons in South Korea
Planning a trip to South Korea? Be aware of the 4 very different seasons, which can make your trip the most amazing one, or the worst one depending on which month you are going to South Korea.
Winters from late November to early March are Siberian cold, fairly dry, especially in the northern area. Summer, on the other hand, is rather hot and humid and is accompanied by sometimes quite dangerous typhoons. Note that during this monsoon period, the rains are generally torrential. Spring and Autumn are the most pleasant seasons (cool and sunny).
In general South Korea is rather sunny the whole year except for the months of Summer. Clear blue sky is the norm.
However, because of the extreme change in temperature, it is therefore very important to choose the right time for your trip to South Korea. This will influence drastically what you should pack in your suitcase!
COMPLETE MONTH-BY-MONTH GUIDE ON THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SOUTH KOREA
For us no doubt, Spring from April to May and Autumn from September to October, are by far the best time to visit South Korea.
Before moving to South Korea, we spent many years in Hong Kong and Singapore where seasons are practically non-existent. During our first year in Korea, we were so amazed by all 4 seasons which were very distinct and all so beautiful in their own way.
However, if you come to visit short term and want to maximize what you can see, Spring and Autumn should be your targeted months.
Here we made a list month by month about the weather and the best time to visit South Korea.
1. January, the coldest month
The climatic conditions in the north of South Korea are quite difficult to bear with morning temperatures sometimes reaching -20 °C! Fortunately, the weather is generally quite clear and sunny and there is rarely any rains.
However, January is not the ideal month to travel to South Korea unless you want to go skiing!
>> READ: BEST SKI RESORTS IN SOUTH KOREA
In winter, we practically spent most of our weekends in Phoenix Park Resort in Pyeongchang, our favorite ski resorts. But if you are not into skiing, then visiting South Korea in January is not the best idea…
2. February, still very cold in South Korea
The north is a little less icy and the snow is starting to retreat. Temperatures can reach 4° C during the peak of the day. The center of the country in Gangwon and Pyeongchang area still remain super cold.
It is still possible to go skiing in February. The southern tip of South Korea such as Busan is much warmer with mild temperatures, sometimes reaching 9 to 10° C.
In February, the whole country celebrates “Seollal”, the Korean New Year. Just like the “Chuseok” holidays in Autumn, the big cities are emptying and some businesses are temporarily closing their doors. Hence, we would not recommend February as best time to visit South Korea.
3. In March, South Korea is getting warmer
March is the last month of winter and temperature are usually raising above 10 ° C depending on the region. It is not uncommon to still see a sudden cold wave from time to time.
March is your last chance to hit the slopes if you ski.
The good part about March, is that towards the end of the month, flowers are starting to come out. If you are lucky you can already see a few cherry blossoms. South Koreans start to go hiking again in March to enjoy the warmer days.
4. In April, check out the cherry blossoms
The main highlight in April is the cherry blossoms! Take the time to walk in the parks, temples and palaces where you can really admire all those amazing colors. Besides, the temperatures are now really comfortable with an average of 15 ° C.
If you go to the seaside at this time of year, head rather to the north, which is less rainy. Head to Gangneung the pine city and enjoy the first days at the beach soaking up some sun and vitamin D. This place is perfect for romantic strolls by the water and eating its delicious fresh seafood.
Spring is one of the most recommended season for a successful trip in South Korea. Between April and May, temperatures are ideal, the air is cool, although you can expect a few rainy days.
Hence do not hesitate any longer, April is one of the best time to visit South Korea.
5. May, one of the best month to visit South Korea
May is another beautiful month in South Korea Temperatures are rising and days are getting longer. Spring is definitely here!
Many celebrations take place during this auspicious period, including the Lantern Festival celebrating Buddha’s birthday. A must-see if you are in Korea as all Buddhist temples are decorating the streets with colorful lanterns. (Check out Jingwansa, one of the most impressive temple in Seoul)
It is a good time to explore the southern area of South Korea and the more country side, which is absolutely stunning. We recommend Boseong Green Tea Plantation, the island of Namhae and Geoje for sea lovers.
May is another fantastic time to visit South Korea
6. June, the beginning of Summer
June marks the beginning of summer with rising heat and humidity. In the north, the heat is in full swing with 29 ° C during the hottest days and it is barely a few degrees cooler in the rest of the country.
The Korean summer can be particularly difficult to endure because of its high temperatures and its high humidity.
Be careful, from June to August, it is the monsoon season. Heavy rainfall can affect the country, sometimes turning into typhoons.
>> READ ALSO: 25 BEST BEACHES IN SOUTH KOREA
7. July, avoid South Korea
July is without a doubt the hottest month of the year which easily reaches 30 ° C or more.
Also it is usually the peak of the rainy season. The northern region is the most affected, although the whole country is not left out. Avoid the country at this time, you probably won’t enjoy South Korea as much as other months.
8. August, still wet…
If in the month of August the rain starts to drop however, there is a higher chance of typhoons.
August is still the second wettest month of the year and similarly as hot and sticky as July. Usually it is recommended to avoid the southern area and Jeju Island. It is therefore recommended that you wait for the autumn season, which is fresher and brighter.
9. September, the best month to visit South Korea
Ahhhh September. The end of the monsoon season. The temperature starts to drop to more comfortable level. With an average of 24 °C, you can take advantage of the mild climate. It is time to head to South Korea and for a perfect trip to Jeju Island.
However be aware of the Chuseok Holiday, the biggest holiday in South Korea. Usually it falls somewhere between late September and early October. You’ll want to avoid traveling in Korea during Chuseok as most people will travel to see their families.
Expect traffic on the road, trains fully booked, some shops to be closed and hotel prices going through the roof!
Apart from Chuseok, September is absolutely one of the best time to visit South Korea
10. October, the most colorful month
With October comes the arrival of autumn, which is considered the best season in South Korea.
Autumn is Koreans’ favorite and most enjoyable season to experience the Land of the Morning Calm. The temperatures are mild between 10 ° to 20 ° C, the sky is clear and we can still see people in shorts and t-shirts, a period particularly favorable to walks along the Han River and to visit temples.
The maple trees are adorned with a pretty red dress and the forests take on different shades of yellow-orange. The streets are then peppered with golden leaves nicknamed gingkos. The icing on the cake is that the country receives very little to no rain.
Nature lovers can head to Seoraksan National Park famous for its amazing hikes! (full guide for visiting Seoraksan National Park). With its pine forests and immense granite valleys drawing the landscape in a thousand colors, it is one of the most beautiful natural sites in the country.
In October, we also enjoyed traveling to Nami Island, this is where the above picture was taken. Nami Island is located near Seoul.Klook.com
So don’t hesitate to plan your trip to South Korea in October. It is the perfect month!
11. November, it’s starting to get chill
In November, the temperatures slowly slide into winter. There is 10 ° C on average in the country with the exception of the southern part (extreme south and coasts), which is still fairly mild with 14 to 15 ° C on average.
Take the opportunity to visit Busan full of local markets, bars and restaurants. The northern coastal part, on the other hand, is much cooler, around 7 ° C.
November is still a good time to visit South Korea, however bring warmer clothes.
12. December, the first snow
December is cold and you may expect the first big snow in the country. While the temperature still stays mostly above zero in Seoul, the ski resorts are starting to open. The south of the country is still fairly preserved with around 8 ° C.
IN CONCLUSION ABOUT THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SOUTH KOREA?
To sum up, we recommend that you discover South Korea in autumn (particularly in October) or in spring (ideally in April or May) in order to benefit from the best weather conditions and to make the most of all the outdoor activities that you can enjoy. This beautiful country has so much to offer!