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Draped in the shimmering embrace of Christmas lights, December awakens an unmistakable festive mood across South Korea. The cool weather is perfect for strolling through illuminated cities, joining locals on outdoor ice rinks, and warming up with hot chocolate and street snacks. If you prefer nature, head to Seoraksan National Park or Namsan Park for a winter hike, followed by a soothing soak in heated onsen baths. A trip to South Korea in December is filled with lively festivals and beautiful festival displays. For visitors, it’s the time to take advantage of low tourist crowds and explore the top attractions at their own pace.

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South Korea Weather in December

Snowfall during dusk in park near Busan in South Korea.
Coastal areas like Busan may see less snow, yet the winter chill persists, offering a unique blend of coastal serenity and seasonal ambiance

The weather in South Korea in December brings a shift to the winter season, with average temperatures ranging from -6 °C (21°F) to 5°C (41°F). As the country experiences the onset of winter, you can anticipate cooler temperatures and a change in the overall climate. December in South Korea is characterized by crisp, chilly air and occasional snowfall, creating a winter wonderland in certain regions.

If you're planning for a trip to Seoul during this time, temperatures typically hover between -3°C (27°F) and 2°C (36°F). In the coastal city of Busan, December temperatures range from 2°C (36°F) to 9°C (48°F). While milder compared to inland areas, the seaside location may bring a cool breeze, so packing a mix of warm clothing is recommended. Coastal areas might experience less snowfall, but the winter chill still prevails.

For a more seasonal overview, check out our guide on the best time to visit South Korea.

Weather in South Korea in December - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)1031
Avg Nightly (°C)-1-7-9
Avg Daily (°F)503834
Avg Nightly (°F)312016
Avg Rainfall (mm)532123

Why Visit South Korea in December

Palace of Seoul during winter in South Korea in December.
Experience December in South Korea, where crisp air, occasional snowfall, and a magical winter wonderland come together.
A tourist snowboarding during dusk in South Korea.
Discover the ultimate snowboarding adventure in South Korea on breathtaking slopes during winter.

Besides low winter season deals on tours and accommodations, there are many other compelling reasons to plan a trip to South Korea in December. Here are some of them:

  • Festivals and events: December in South Korea is filled with festive spirit, featuring events like the Seoul Lantern Festival and various Christmas markets. Immerse yourself in the vibrant celebrations, illuminated streets, and cultural performances that add a magical touch to your visit.
  • Scenic winter landscapes: Experience the enchanting winter beauty of South Korea in December. From the serene landscapes of Nami Island to the snow-covered palaces in Seoul, the month offers a picturesque background for your holiday.
  • Low crowds: Enjoy the perks of off-peak travel with lower accommodation prices and fewer crowds. December provides a more relaxed atmosphere to explore popular tourist attractions like the National Museum of Korea and Namsan Seoul Tower without the usual hustle and bustle.
  • Winter sports: Adventure seekers can indulge in winter sports in popular resorts like Yongpyong and Alpensia, such as skiing and snowboarding. The crisp winter air adds an exhilarating touch to these adrenaline-pumping activities.

Where to Go and What to Do

Traditional Hanoks in Gyeongju, South Korea.
With its ancient charm, Gyeongju is home to Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto, showcasing rich cultural heritage.

December in South Korea invites travelers to embrace a winter wonderland filled with diverse experiences. Explore the captivating winter scenes in Seoul, where iconic landmarks like Gyeongbokgung Palace and Namsan Seoul Tower come alive with festive decorations. The city’s enchanting atmosphere provides the perfect backdrop for leisurely strolls, capturing the essence of the holiday spirit. For adventure enthusiasts, the snowy slopes of Gangwon Province beckon, offering world-class skiing and snowboarding at resorts like Yongpyong and Alpensia.

Immerse yourself in Korean traditions by participating in a kimchi-making workshop, an experience that will allow you to connect with the local culture. Experience the magic of light festivals in Seoul, with captivating displays along Cheonggyecheon Stream and Dongdaemun Design Plaza. These illuminated spectacles transform urban spaces into breathtaking visual feasts, adding a touch of warmth to the winter nights.

Consider a temple stay amidst the serene winter landscape for a tranquil escape. Engage in meditation and find solace in the peaceful surroundings, offering a unique perspective on South Korea's spiritual traditions. Explore Christmas markets in cities like Busan, where festive cheer permeates the air, allowing shoppers to shop for unique gifts and indulge in seasonal delights. Whether you seek adventure on the slopes, cultural immersion, or festive celebrations, South Korea promises a memorable and diverse travel experience in December.

Whether you're interested in winter sports, city sightseeing or cultural tours, South Korea in December offers a wide range of activities and sights for visitors. Just remember to wrap up warm before diving headlong into the festive season vacation.

Planning your dream trip to South Korea can be challenging, with so much to see and do. However, with our customized trips to South Korea, you only need to provide a few details, and our expert travel team will tailor the perfect Turkish itinerary just for you.

Published by Astha Joshi, updated on March 21, 2024

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