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May in South Korea is the middle of the spring season, offering delightful weather for outdoor exploration. The landscapes transform into a kaleidoscope of colors. Parks and streets in cities like Seoul and Busan are adorned with cherry blossoms. Jeju-do Island is particularly beautiful around this time. Foreign and domestic visitors flock to this island in the Korean Strait to enjoy the stunning natural scenery, beaches and waterfalls. Culture enthusiasts can check out the Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul, which celebrates the birth anniversary of Buddha. Gyeongju World Culture Expo is another major event that celebrates the art, culture, and history that you can experience during  your trip to South Korea in May. A perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural festivities, and culinary delights awaits this month.

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Cherry blossom in Gyeongbokgung Palace on a clear day during May in South K
In May, nature unveils its artistic side as cherry blossoms reach their peak, transforming landscapes into a breathtaking canvas of picturesque beauty.

In May, South Korea experiences a transition from spring to early summer, offering pleasant weather and an excellent time for outdoor activities. The average temperature in May ranges from 21°C (70°F) to 25°C (77°F). Cities like Seoul and Busan enjoy mild temperatures, making urban strolls and cultural festivities enjoyable. Coastal destinations like Busan and Jeju Island enjoy slightly milder temperatures, ranging between 17°C (63°F) and 24°C (75°F).

The month also marks the peak of cherry blossom season, adding a picturesque touch to the landscapes. For outdoor enthusiasts, the weather in South Korea in May provides an excellent backdrop for hiking and nature walks in national parks such as Seoraksan and Jirisan.

While May is generally a dry month, occasional showers may occur, particularly towards the end of the month. Travelers should be prepared for light rain and consider checking local forecasts before planning outdoor activities.

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

Weather in South Korea in May - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)172226
Avg Nightly (°C)51116
Avg Daily (°F)637279
Avg Nightly (°F)415261
Avg Rainfall (mm)9492134

Why Visit South Korea in May

A young woman in Seorakshan National Park posing with Taebaek
May transforms Seoraksan National Park in South Korea into a kaleidoscope of colors, where lush greenery and blooming flora create a mesmerizing symphony of nature's beauty.
Sunny day in Jeju Island in South Korea in May.
Discover the tranquility of South Korea's sandy shores in May, where relaxation meets exhilaration through a variety of water activities amidst the pristine coastal beauty.

Spring is one of the best times to visit South Korea for all kinds of activities, from outdoor exploration to city sightseeing to cultural immersion. Here are some of the many reasons for taking a trip to South Korea in May.

  • Festivals: Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene with festivals like Yeondeunghoe (Lotus Lantern Festival), which celebrates the birth anniversary of Buddha with lantern and float parades, and the Gyeongju World Culture Expo, which celebrates South Korea’s rich cultural heritage through performances, exhibitions, and interactive events.
  • National park adventures: Seorakshan and Jirisan national parks come alive in May with lush greenery and blooming flora. The mild temperatures make it an ideal month for hiking and nature walks, allowing visitors to explore scenic trails, ancient temples, and breathtaking landscapes.
  • Beach bliss: Coastal areas, particularly Busan and Jeju island, enjoy milder temperatures in May, making them perfect destinations for beach lovers. Relax on the pristine sandy shores, indulge in water activities, and savor local seafood delicacies while enjoying the coastal charm unique to these regions.
  • Cherry blossom spectacle: In May, South Korea transforms into a mesmerizing array of pink and white cherry blossoms. Cities like Seoul and Busan become enchanting floral landscapes, creating a dreamlike atmosphere perfect for leisurely strolls and capturing moments for your social media.

Where to Go and What to Do

Aerial View of Jeonju Hanok Village best places to visit in South Korea.

Jeonju Hanok Village, preserving traditional hanok houses, and vibrant cultural scenes, and renowned for its delectable local cuisine, a captivating blend of history and gastronomy.

Beyond the vibrant festivals, South Korea in May offers a plethora of activities catering to diverse tastes. On sunny days, venture into the nation's national parks, Seoraksan and Jirisan, where lush greenery and blooming flora create an immersive natural haven. Take a stroll along the stunning coastlines during your trip to Busan or explore the iconic cherry blossom-lined streets in Seoul, like those in Insadong, for a picturesque experience.

May is also the best time for cultural exploration in South Korea. Delve into the historical charm of Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, or visit the bustling markets to savor local street food. For a tranquil escape, Jeju Island beckons with its volcanic landscapes, offering a unique blend of coastal allure and natural wonders.

If you love hiking, head to Seoraksan National Park or Jirisan National Park. Visitors can also take advantage of South Korea’s pleasant weather in May to explore coastal gems like Jungmun Saekdal Beach and the dramatic cliffs of Jusangjeolli in Jeju.

From exploring historical sites to exploring national parks and participating in vibrant cultural festivals, South Korea in May promises a diverse and enriching travel experience. The weather is also pleasant, and there are fewer tourist crowds compared to the peak summer season.

Published by Astha Joshi, updated on February 15, 2024

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