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Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

When is the best time to visit South Korea?

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

The best time to visit South Korea is between March and May if you want to see the vibrant pink of the cherry blossoms in bloom. If you want to see the landscapes come alive as the leaves change in the cooler weathers, then we’d recommend visiting between September and November. Temperatures during these times are generally pleasant and suitable for outdoor activities.

June, July and August offer the best conditions for hiking, but the weather is hot and humid away from the mountains.

Winters in South Korea are bitterly cold, so we wouldn’t recommend visiting in December, January or February.

It’s important to take local holidays into account when planning your trip. The Korean New Year is the first day of the lunar month, and Chuseok is the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. During these times, many residents head to their rural hometowns to celebrate and many businesses are closed.

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Month-by-month guide for traveling in South Korea

Pagoda in the winter

Visiting South Korea in January

South Korea typically sees its highest amount of snowfall this month. Tourist sites are less crowded, but it’s too cold to recommend as a good time to visit.

Seoul in the winter

Visiting South Korea in February

Attractions remain less crowded, but snow is still possible in the north until the end of the month. The Korean New Year generally falls in January or February, so it’s best to avoid that time. The temperatures are still too cold to recommend visiting.

Events & Festivals

  • Jeju Fire Festival (late February, early March): A giant bonfire, fireworks and K-Pop concerts are held on Jeju Island to celebrate the arrival of spring.
Bukchon hanok village

Visiting South Korea in March

Temperatures begin to increase during March, but overall, it’s still chilly. Depending on the weather, the cherry blossoms may begin to bloom near the end of the month.

Events & Festivals

  • Jeju Fire Festival (late February, early March): A giant bonfire, fireworks and K-Pop concerts are held on Jeju Island to celebrate the arrival of spring.
Gamcheon culture village

Visiting South Korea in April

This is one of the best times to visit, when the cherry blossoms are likely to be in full bloom. However, the most popular destinations are busy. Additionally, the yellow dust from the Gobi Desert often covers South Korea at this time — people with allergies may want to avoid visiting in April.

Anapji pond

Visiting South Korea in May

This month features warm, pleasant temperatures and plenty of sun. It’s an excellent time to try outdoor activities, such as climbing Mount Hallasan on Jeju Island. Do be aware, however, that the cherry blossom bloom will be completely over by May.

Events & Festivals

  • Yeon Deung Hoe Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul (beginning of May): Entertainment, a parade and a procession of lanterns light up the Seoul streets.
Busan Tower

Visiting South Korea in June

Crowds tend to die down in June, and popular attractions become less crowded. The caveat is that the upcoming monsoon season means rain is very common during this time of year.

Mount Hallasan descent

Visiting South Korea in July

July is peak monsoon season, so we don’t recommend visiting then. Additionally, the temperatures are very high with lots of humidity. This is one of the worst months to visit.

Haeundae beach

Visiting South Korea in August

August is very hot and sunny, making it the best time to visit the beaches. However, restaurants, shops and popular sites will be crowded. South Korean schools are on break and there is a surge in domestic travel.

Autumn mountains in Korea

Visiting South Korea in September

The crowds dwindle a little as the schools head back into session. The weather is still very hot, and South Korea can sometimes be hit by typhoons, which deliver rainfall for a couple of days at a time. Chuseok often falls this time of year, so it’s best to avoid that week.

Pagoda in autumn

Visiting South Korea in October

This is one of the best months to visit — the weather is comfortably warm, making it pleasant for outdoor activities. Toward the end of the month, mountain ranges in the north start to show signs of autumnal hues as the leaves begin to change.

Events & Festivals

  • Busan Fireworks Festival (October): Fireworks light up the sky and a laser light show dances among the stars at Gwangalli Beach.
Pagoda in the autumn

Visiting South Korea in November

Temperatures this month are generally pleasant, though they start to get chilly toward the end of the month. It’s the best time to see the bright autumn leaves, particularly at the beginning and middle of the month.

Events & Festivals

  • Seoul Lantern Festival (November): Large, bright lanterns are set in the Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul.
Gyeongbokgung in the snow

Visiting South Korea in December

We wouldn’t recommend December for a visit, as the temperatures can be quite cold. The weather isn’t as icy as January, but Seoul in particular can be frigid later in the month.

Events & Festivals

  • Seongsan Sunrise Festival (New Year’s Eve): Concerts, fireworks, campfires and other festivities kick off the celebration as festivalgoers await the first sunrise of the New Year on Jeju Island.

South Korea Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Busan 43°F 1" 46°F 2" 54°F 3" 63°F 6" 70°F 6" 75°F 9" 81°F 11" 84°F 8" 77°F 7" 72°F 3" 59°F 2" 48°F 1"
Gyeongju 41°F 1" 43°F 2" 52°F 2" 64°F 4" 73°F 3" 77°F 6" 82°F 7" 84°F 7" 77°F 6" 68°F 2" 57°F 2" 46°F 1"
Jeju island 45°F 2" 46°F 3" 52°F 4" 59°F 6" 66°F 6" 72°F 10" 79°F 10" 82°F 9" 75°F 6" 68°F 3" 59°F 3" 50°F 2"
Seoul 34°F 1" 37°F 1" 48°F 2" 63°F 4" 73°F 4" 79°F 5" 82°F 14" 84°F 11" 77°F 6" 66°F 2" 52°F 2" 37°F 1"

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Travel advice

Practical tips for traveling to South Korea, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest US State Department travel advice.

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