• ~ mins read

January is the coldest month and the low travel season in South Korea. Just make sure to wrap up warm, and you can see the top sites and attractions at your own pace during your South Korea trip. Despite the chilly weather, there are many things to do in South Korea in January. Dive into the dynamic fusion of history and modernity in Seoul, venture into the breathtaking winter landscapes of Seoraksan National Park, or wander through the lively markets and tranquil beaches of Busan. Winter is also the perfect time to indulge your taste buds in the exquisite flavors of traditional Korean cuisine.

  • Buster
5 - Excellent
“A phenomenal trip actually! My first time leaving Europe for Asia and I was welcomed ...” Read More
View Incredible Tours in South Korea

South Korea Weather in January

Snowfall in Baekyangsa Temple on dusk in South Korea in January.
Get ready to wake up to frost and occasional snow in South Korea's elevated spots during January.

The average temperature in South Korea in January typically ranges from -2°C (28°F) to 6°C (43°F), bringing chilly conditions throughout the country. Expect frosty mornings and occasional snowfall, especially in higher elevations. While Seoul experiences temperatures of around -3°C (27°F) to 2°C (36°F), regions like Gangwon Province may see even colder conditions with the mercury reading ranging from -10°C (14°F) to -1°C (30°F).

If you're planning a trip to Busan, temperatures might be slightly milder with the average high of 9°C (48°F), which is still chilly for seaside activities. While South Korea in January tends to be relatively dry, it's wise to be prepared for occasional rain showers and icy conditions.

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

Weather in South Korea in January - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)314
Avg Nightly (°C)-7-9-7
Avg Daily (°F)383440
Avg Nightly (°F)201620
Avg Rainfall (mm)212325

Why Visit South Korea in January

A tourist snowboarding during dusk in South Korea.
Discover the ultimate snowboarding adventure in South Korea on breathtaking slopes during January in South Korea.
Gyeongbokgung Palace on a winter night in South Korea.
Take advantage of fewer crowds and visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace during your trip to South Korea in January.

South Korea beckons travelers with its wintry charm and unique experiences in January. Here are a few reasons why you should plan a trip to South Korea during January:

  • Winter sports: In January, South Korea’s snow-covered slopes in Pyeongchang and Muju become havens for thrilling skiing and snowboarding adventures. From adrenaline-pumping descents to serene cross-country trails, there's something for every winter sports enthusiast to enjoy.
  • Lunar New Year: Seollal, the Lunar New Year, is when Korean traditions come alive with vibrant festivities and cultural rituals. Throughout January, families gather to honor ancestors, share traditional meals, and participate in age-old customs, which offers visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Korea's rich cultural heritage.
  • Hot springs: As temperatures drop, South Korea's natural hot springs provide a warm and inviting retreat from the winter chill. Nestled amidst picturesque mountain settings or serene countryside locales, these thermal baths offer relaxation and rejuvenation for weary travelers.
  • Ice fishing: For outdoor enthusiasts, January presents the perfect opportunity to try their hand at ice fishing on South Korea's frozen lakes and rivers. From the serene beauty of frozen reservoirs to the excitement of drilling holes and dropping lines, ice fishing offers a unique winter experience that's both thrilling and rewarding.
  • Fewer crowds: January in South Korea offers the advantage of fewer crowds, allowing visitors to enjoy popular attractions and cultural sites without the usual hustle and bustle of tourist crowds. You can explore historic landmarks and other popular sites more intimately and at a relaxed pace.

Where to Go and What to Do

Gyeongju during dusk in South Korea in January.
Embark on an enchanting journey through the cultural marvels of Gyeongju, South Korea, where ancient relics and timeless traditions await to captivate your senses.

Beyond the frosty landscapes, South Korea in January offers many activities catering to diverse tastes. For a serene winter escape, journey to Seoraksan National Park, where snow-capped peaks and icy streams create a picturesque wonderland. Hike through pristine trails adorned with frost-covered trees, marvel at frozen waterfalls, and breathe in the crisp mountain air. Seoraksan in January offers a tranquil retreat for nature lovers seeking solitude amidst breathtaking alpine scenery.

To experience the magic of winter festivals, attend the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, which takes place in January. Join in the festivities as locals and visitors alike gather on the frozen river to try their hand at ice fishing, enjoy ice sculptures, and indulge in traditional Korean delicacies. With its lively atmosphere and various activities, the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival promises fun and excitement for all ages.

To explore Korea's rich cultural heritage and culinary traditions, tour the historic streets of Jeonju Hanok Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its traditional Korean architecture and vibrant cultural scene. Wander through narrow alleyways lined with centuries-old hanok houses, visit artisan workshops, and sample local specialties like bibimbap and hanjeongsik.

Whether you're seeking adventure in the great snowy outdoors or looking to explore the rich Korean culture, January presents the perfect opportunity to discover the wonders of South Korea in all its wintry splendor. The crisp winter weather adds a magical touch to the landscapes, while the absence of tourist crowds compared to the peak seasons allows for a more intimate exploration of this captivating country.

For a more personalized travel experience, contact with our travel experts for a customized trip to South Korea.

Published by Astha Joshi, updated on April 2, 2024

Related Articles

Plan a trip to South KoreaWe offer different tour types. You can also chat with a local travel specialist if you want a customized tour to South Korea.
  • DaeHee Won
    DaeHee WonTravel Expert in South Korea
  • Nigel Sutherland
    Nigel SutherlandTravel Expert in South Korea
  • Katrina Cao
    Katrina CaoTravel Expert in South Korea & Japan
Our travel experts are recommended by:
  • BBC
  • Independent
  • Lonely Planet
0 COMMENTSWe welcome your questions or comments to this article. Our travel experts will respond within 48 hours.