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South Korea is a unique country. One on hand, its modernization is incomparable to any other country on the planet. On the other hand, it still maintains its age-old traditions and culture, proving that you do not have to choose between one or the other. Head over to South Korea, where you can enjoy dinner at the top floor of a glittering skyscraper, and then head over to a 600-year-old monastery for a meditative session. Who says you cannot have it all? But before you plan your trip to South Korea, there are a few things you should consider — first of all, what is the best time to visit South Korea?
- High Season: April - May, September - October
- High Tourist Season: June - September
- Low Season: November - March
- Ski Season: December - February
- All Seasons: April - May (spring), June - August (summer), September - October (fall), November - March (winter)
- The best time to visit South Korea is between April - May, and September - October, when the weather is perfect, and the tourist numbers are low.
- The high season is between June and August, and this is when most of the local and international tourists visit the country, so expect higher prices, and sweltering heat.
- July is a bad time to travel as the weather will be hot and there is heavy rainfall throughout the peninsula.
- November to March is winter, which is rather cold. But, if you are a fan of skiing, you should definitely visit the country between December and February, when there is sufficient snowfall for sporting activities.
South Korea is a spectacular country, one that has maintained its culture and tradition for hundreds of years, safe from foreign invasion for a long time. Sure you’ve heard about chic and modern South Korea thriving metropolises like Seoul, Busan, and Jeju-si. However, there is more to the country than just that. South Korea is also about rice paddies and mountains studded with pine trees. It is full of immaculately constructed monasteries and temples, and beautifully touching Confucian ceremonies. To explore all of this and more, you need to know when to visit South Korea.
The weather in South Korea is best during spring (April - May) and fall (September - October). During these months, the tourist footfall is lower, and the summer heat and the winter cold are both distant dreams. You can explore the country in peace if you travel during these months. Another good time to travel to South Korea is between December - February when the Taebaek Mountains get their snowfall. This is the ideal time to go skiing, and indulge in other winter sports!
March to May — Spring / Good Season
The spring weather in South Korea is close to being perfect. The sun is out, and there are some scattered showers, but not enough to spoil your day. The weather in the hills is also very pleasant, right after the winter, so most of the locals tend to head towards the mountains during this period. This is a popular period, but the tourist numbers are still low, so you won’t have to worry about being stuck in queues for too long.
- Avg. Temperature: 69 – 77° F / 21 – 25° C (in Seoul)
- Rainfall: 47 – 132 mm
- Season: Spring
- Highlights: This is one of the best times to visit South Korea as the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom, even in cities like Busan. Since the weather is this good, this is the perfect time to explore popular landmarks such as Incheon, Suwon, or explore the beautiful national park of Seoraksan. You can even head to Dosan Seowon, to experience the Confucian lifestyle, in a traditional academy.
June to August — Summer / High Season
The weather in South Korea can get incredibly warm during this period. The weather will be hot and humid, as there is quite a bit of rainfall in July (which is the wettest month). Japan and China shield Korea from heavy storms of typhoons, but some of them do get through sometimes, so keep a lookout for the weather if you’re traveling during the monsoon period. This is the high season, as schools break for summer around the world, so expect a slight hike in the prices.
- Avg. Temperature: 84 – 90° F / 29 – 32° C (in Seoul)
- Rainfall: 32 – 283 mm
- Season: Summer
- Highlights: If you are visiting South Korea only to explore the metropolitan lifestyle offered in big cities like Seoul and Busan, this is a good time, for you will definitely need the air conditioning and protection from the rain. However, this period has some amazing festivals happening in the country - from the Gangneung Dano Festival in June (a UNESCO recognized local cultural celebration) to the Boryeong Mud Festival in July.
September to October — Fall / Good Season
Fall is when to visit South Korea if you want to explore the countryside at its most beautiful. After the rains, the paddy fields come alive in the most vibrant shade of green. The fall colors become prominent throughout the country, even in the cities. The temperature is rather mild, and there is very little rainfall during this period as well.
- Avg. Temperature: 70 – 82° F / 21 – 28° C (in Seoul)
- Rainfall: 82 – 99 mm
- Season: Fall
- Highlights: This is the best time for you to explore the unexplored parts of South Korea - especially in the rural areas. Explore Gangwon at its beautiful best, with its numerous national parks. Head over to the trekking trails and Buddhist temples of Namsan, or Ulleungdo’s volcanic landscape, or the romantic Jeju. This is also the best time for you to hop on the ferries to the many islands in the West Sea, where you can enjoy the best seafood of your life, and great beaches as well.
November to February — Winter / Ski Season
Winter is a traditionally low season but if you are a fan of winter sports, this is when to visit South Korea. The winter can be bitingly cold, and there is a lot of snow. This must restrict your access to a few of the more remote areas in the peninsula, but all the cities will still be well connected. This is the best time to visit South Korea if you want to avoid the crowds entirely! The weather in South Korea can get really cold, and the snow can go out of hand. Before you travel, check the news to see if the roads are still open.
- Avg. Temperature: 33 – 53° F / 1 – 28° C (in Seoul)
- Rainfall: 2 – 47 mm
- Season: Winter
- Highlights: The weather in South Korea is conducive to skiing at this point. This is a good time to visit Seoul or Busan at a highly discounted rate as well. For those who are more adventurous, ski resorts await you in this beautiful country. Head to the Gangwon-do region in South Korea, which is where most of the snowfalls. You can also head to Pyeongchang county, which is where the 2018 winter Olympics are going to be held (imagine boasting about that once the Olympics are over)!
Travelling to South Korea? Chat with a local travel specialist in South Korea who can help organize your trip.
Nigel Sutherland Travel Expert in South Korea
Katrina Cao Travel Expert in South Korea & Japan
DaeHee Won Travel Expert in South Korea