When to visit - South Korea

Best times to visit South Korea

Best times to visit South Korea

Like neighbours Japan and northern China there are two times of year which are ideal for visiting South Korea: the temperate spring and autumn months between March and May, and then again between September and November. These periods are characterised by clear skies, pleasant temperatures and low levels of rainfall allowing you to get the most out of your trip to South Korea. Those who time their trips especially well will see bursts of colour in the largely mountainous interior with the pinks and whites of spring giving way to rich oranges and reds in autumn – perfect for hiking and photography.

Good times to visit South Korea

Good times to visit South Korea

South Korea has a climate similar to northern Europe and north America, with four distinct seasons. As such there are still good times to travel to South Korea outside the main spring and autumn peaks. February can be chilly but still pleasant and dry; June is very warm but not unbearably so, with usually less rainfall than July and August; and November can also be a great time to visit Korea to catch the tail end of the Autumn colour, and before the coldest weather kicks in. 

Green season in South Korea

Green season in South Korea

South Korea is not a tropical destination and as such does not have a pronounced rainy season. However, there is a notable increase in rainfall over the summer months between June and August - known as jangma, or the East Asian Monsoon. Summer in South Korea can be steamingly hot with long periods in the low 30s during July and August. This is also the stickiest and the most humid time to travel to South Korea, so it is advisable to avoid travelling during this time if at all possible. That said, summer can still be a good time to for a tour of South Korea if you enjoy warm weather and also if you are planning on spending time in coastal or island regions.

Winter weather in South Korea

Winter weather in South Korea

Winter in South Korea is usually very dry and bitterly cold, with temperatures never much above freezing throughout December, January, and February. Snowfall is common, especially in areas at elevation, and temperatures will occasionally dip as low as -20C. On the other hand, this is the best time for skiing in South Korea, especially in the winter sports hubs around Pyeonchang and Seoraksan. 

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Seoul & Around Weather Information (Seoul)

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Best time to travel
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Green season
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Very cold
Max Temp °C251113232729302620124
Min Temp °C-6-3281318222217103-3
Hours Daylight160163189205213182120153176199153153
Rainfall (mm)211894765106133394364169525322

January – April

January in Seoul can be bitterly cold with temperatures averaging around freezing, and also sees occasional heavy snowfall.  From February onwards temperatures begin to rise, with an average of of 5°C in March and then 12°C in April. Travelling in March and April is the best time to see cherry blossom in Seoul, and also a fine time to travel country-wide. January to April is generally a very dry time of year in Seoul, with little rainfall and low humidity. Lunar New Year is celebrated in Korea, usually falling between late January and mid-February. This festival, known as Seollal, is one of the biggest in the calendar with public holidays lasting up to a week.

May - September

May continues to be an excellent time to travel to Seoul with fine temperatures and little rain. The trend does not continue however , with the arrival of Korea’s rainy season seeing wetter weather into the months of June and July. The months between June and August are also hot and sticky with occasional heavy storms, with humidity levels sometimes reaching 100%. This is a time to enjoy popular Korean summer foods such as cold noodles (naengmyeon) , shaved syrupy ice (bingsoo), fresh watermelon and juicy peaches. By September temperatures start to cool again and there is markedly less rainfall leading into the autumnal peak season.

October – December

The climate in Seoul during October & November sees low rainfall, becoming progressively drier and cooler as winter approaches. Temperatures throughout this period average around 14°C in October dropping to -1°C in the coldest month of December. October & November are fine times to travel, and also the best time to see autumn colour in and around Seoul. Early autumn also sees Korea’s biggest festival, known as Chuseok, or the harvest festival. This festival is unique to South Korean and usually falls sometime around October.