THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SEOUL
Photo by: grego1402
Also check out: 25 DAMN DELICIOUS KOREAN FOODS – WHAT TO EAT IN SEOUL
Seoul sees all four seasons, summer, spring, fall and winter. This is a real treat for Angelenos like me, who only get to see an endless summer. The winters and summers in Seoul are as long (great time to visit the beaches) as the spring and fall are short.
Pay attention to some of the holidays detailed in the article below, you may want to avoid the congested streets during certain holidays. Or you can just be prepared to join in the festivities!
Best overall time to visit Seoul
The best overall time to visit Seoul is in the springtime, from about April to June. This is truly a beautiful time in the city, with blooming springtime flowers and bright color everywhere. Many people flock to Seoul during this time to enjoy the cherry blossom season and the spring festivals. What many tourist value during the springtime is that the weather is mild. Avoid summertime if you don’t want to deal with the oppressive heat and humidity, especially if you aren’t used to tropical climates!
Note that springtime is a popular tourist season in Korea so make sure to book your hotels and plane tickets in advance to get the best value.
Second best overall time to visit Seoul
September to November sees a clear-cut autumn in Seoul with the beautiful colors of fall in bloom. The weather is mild and similar to the weather of the springtime, yet you can avoid some of the crowds of spring tourism. There are many festivities taking place around the fall: The International Fireworks Festival, Hi Seoul Festival, and the Seoul Lantern Festival. Finally, the fiery food of Korea is especially delicious with the mild weather of fall
Best time to visit Ski in Seoul
Seoul is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding. Winters in Seoul get quite cold! There is snow on the ground and a quiet sort of beauty. Avid skiers definitely target Korea as an adventure destination as over half of Korea is covered by snowcapped mountains. Many of the most popular of Korea resorts are right next to Seoul.Seoul’s nearby ski resorts are nothing to blink at. In fact, they are quite epic, including supermarkets, golf, indoor water parks and pools, condos, bowling, karaoke, clubbing and of course delicious food. It’s pretty epic that you can spend all day enjoying the beautiful slopes and then party your night away at Seoul’s hottest nightclubs and karaoke joints.
BONUS: Korea’s hot springs are also best enjoyed in the wintertime
Worst time to visit Seoul
Personally, I love the tropical weather but most tourists seem to want to avoid that climate while in a bustling city. Monsoons season takes place in Korea around July to August. During monsoon season, heavy rain showers can appear out of nowhere and soak anyone not properly equipped with a strong umbrella. Also with all the students off from school and families taking summer vacations, most of the tourist hotspots are a nightmare with endless lines.
A Month by Month guide to Seoul
Seoul in January
Park your parkas, cuz January is the coldest month in Seoul! January is smack dab in the middle of Seoul’s winter season. The length of the day is gradually increasing this month and there’s an average of 35% chance of rain. January is a great time to ski and ice fish and enjoy all kinds of fun winter activities. The snow covered palaces are also breathtaking during, this time, make sure to plan a sightseeing trip to check these out. Heavy coats, scarves, mittens, long johns, snow shoes or boots would be appropriate for your packing list. Lotions would be good to pack as January is very dry. Finally, make sure to bring Sunscreen because the sun shines even on the cold days.
Average Temperature: -10°C – 3°C
January Events in Seoul
New Years Day Along with the entire world, Seoul celebrates New Years Day and it is a national holiday. The city actually becomes quite calm as many locals leave out of town to be with their families.
Seollal/Korean Lunar New Year – Seollal is the first day of the lunar new year which falls on January 28th, 29th, and 30th in 2017. It is celebrated over the course of three days and is commonly celebrated with the family. Koreans may travel all over the world to be with their families during this holiday. Much is such down during this time so make sure to check in advance for store hours, etc. However, Korea’s four major palaces have free admission during the lunar new year so make sure to take advantage of the palace tours! Also, many traditional foods that aren’t as available year round are abundant during these celebrations visit traditional markets to take these new years treats.
Seoul in February
February is great for budget travel to Seoul, hotels and airfares drop in price. February in Seoul is still very cold, pack similarly as you would for January. You shouldn’t see snow in Seoul at this time but definitely bring boots for slippery streets and sidewalks. One thing that’s great about the city is that they are super prepared for the wintertime. Shops and subways and more are well heated so you can easily dip into a public place to escape from the outside cold. The Korean Lunar New Year holiday also sometimes falls in February.
Average Temperature: -10°C – 3°C
Seoul in March
March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb! The beginning of March is still quite cold but starts warming up by the end of the month. Pack as you would for January and you can drop layers accordingly for warmer days. During your travels ,you can conveniently dip into a jjimjilbang to warm up. Jjimjilbangs are public bathhouses complete with warming showers, saunas, and hot tubs. You can even sleep there overnight!
Average Temperature: 4°C – 39°F
March Events in Seoul
Independence Movement Day Also known as March 1st movement, this national holiday celebrates Korea’s independence from Japan. Offices and banks are closed but most other stores should be open
Seoul in April
April weather in Seoul is mild but it can also get chilly. Pack a light jacket and outerwear like a cardigan. You can also bring a variety of items, jeans, shorts and skirts would be ok with tights underneath. Light long sleeved shirts would also be appropriate. Finally, sunglasses would be a good bet.
Average Temperature: 11°C – 52°F
April Events in Seoul
The Yeouido Spring Flower Festival This springtime festival takes place at the beginning of April. Last year it ran April 4th-10th. The festival promises beautiful foliage along the Han River inside Yeouido Park. There are thirteen varieties of flowers in bloom and their intoxicating fragrance permeates the air. Attendees can also enjoy street performances, music, a parade and much more.
Seoul in May
Springtime is a great time to visit Seoul and the weather is clear and mild. Spring is in full bloom and the city is beautiful at this time. It can still get pretty chilly in the evening so be sure to pack a jacket and a cardigan or a light sweater. Hats, light scarves, and sunglasses are also appropriate.
Average Temperature: 17°C – 63°F
May Events in Seoul
Yeon Deung Hoe (Lotus Lantern Festival): This festival celebrates the birth of buddha. Lotus shaped lanterns are hung all across the city of Seoul. It’s also known as the “Feast of Lanterns” and the event celebrates Buddhist teachings of love and compassion. Over 300,000 attendees join to admire over 100,000 lanterns. The event officially starts with the lighting of a giant lantern and attendees can enjoy Buddhist food, culture, art, and performances.
Boryeong Mud Festival: Get wild and dirty at the mud festival. It’s just outside of Seoul with about an hour and a half drive. This event is one of the biggest draws for foreign visitors with over 2 million in attendance. Koreans place a high value on beautiful skin and the Boryeong mud is used in cosmetics. Enjoy a plethora of mud-related activities, such as mud bodypainting, mud skiing, mud pools and so much more!
Children’s Day: On May 5th, loving parents dress up their cherished babies and kids and take them out for a day of fun. Expect amusement parks and many sights to be packed on these days.
Buddhas Birthday: Buddhism is a major religion in Korea. Enjoy parades and festivities and ceremonies at Buddhist temples.
Seoul in June
June warms up a bit but you can still pack according to the guidelines of April and May. The Rainy season gets started around mid-June so make sure to pack hats, umbrellas and maybe a light rain parka.
Average Temperature: 21°C – 70°F
June Events in Seoul
Ultra Korea Ultra Korea is an epic EDM festival that spans three days in Seoul. Many fans follow this festival as it tours around the world. The 2016 event featured world famous DJs such as Afrojack, Avicii, and Armen Van Buren
Memorial Day: Taking place on June 6th, the nation celebrates those who have sacrificed their lives to the country. This is a national holiday and banks and government offices will likely be closed.
Seoul in July
Seoul in July is extremely hot and humid. Early July rainfall is lighter but late July is right in the heart of monsoon season so don’t be startled by the sudden heavy rains that can appear out of nowhere. Pack very light tops as you might get wet and want your clothing to be breathable and dry quickly. Wear shorts as jeans and slacks might be too much in the heat. Make sure to have an umbrella on hand and maybe even a light raincoat. You’ll also need sunglasses and hats to escape from the sun.
Average Temperature: 24°C – 75°F
July Events in Seoul
Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival: It’s like Seoul’s version of ComicCon! Taking place at the beginning of July, the best of Korea’s animators and cartoonists are featured to the public audience. Attendees can also enjoy screenings, exhibitions, activities, and installations.
Seoul in August
Pack similarly as you would in July. Also, the purpose of the umbrella is not just to avoid getting wet but also to hide yourself from the acidity of the rain. Also, dress lightly but Korea is more conservative than some other countries, you probably want to stay away from showing tons of cleavage, it’s considered crass.
Average Temperature: 24°C – 75°F
August Events in Seoul
Seoul Fringe Festival: Art lovers rejoice at the Seoul Fringe Festival’s celebration of all things indie. It’s a performing arts festival that features all indie mediums: music, dance, painting, and much much more. Pick up one of a kind artwork from an emerging talent and support art! Over 160,000 attended the festival in 2016.
Liberation Day: Liberation Day celebrates the liberation of Korea from Japan. This is a national holiday and banks and government offices will likely be closed.
Seoul in September
September starts to cool down again so pack your long sleeved shirts, jeans, and pants. Light sweaters and jackets would also be a great addition. This is a very beautiful time, as the leaves turn to red and orange all over the city.
Average Temperature: 19°C – 66°F
September Events in Seoul
Cheseok Cheseok is the Korean Thanksgiving also known as the Harvest Moon Festival. Similarly to the American Thanksgiving, this holiday is all about food, family, and gratitude. This is a legal holiday in November and roads are super congested. Families visit their ancestral homes and congregate to celebrate. It’s a three day holiday and it’s celebrated on the 15th of every September. Keep in mind that many attractions and shops might be closed during this time so make sure to check store schedules.
Hi Seoul Festival – This event starts at the end of September and goes a couple days in October. Celebrate international culture and traditional Korean culture at the Hi Seoul Festival. Featured in the festivities are delicious food and cultural trinkets for purchase. Also enjoy lots of live entertainment and activities. Some examples of entertainment include calligraphy, traditional Korean dance, Hanbok competitions, fireworks and more.
Seoul in October
Chilly at night but fairly warm in the daytime. The beginning of the month is rainier but there is much less rain as compared to the months of July and August. Monsoon season is essentially over. The end of the month gets cold so pack some heavier coats during this time.
Average Temperature: 13°C – 55°F
October Events in Seoul
Spectrum Dance Festival: Taking place at the beginning of October, over 60 international dance music artists gather of a two festival of music.
Seoul International Fireworks Festival is a showcase of the top fireworks masters from all over the world. Over 100,000 attendees come to the fireworks displayed. The event is thrown by the Hanwha company and they reported spending over 1.5 billion won on previous events. The event is incredibly crowded so make sure to show up super early to find seating.
National Foundation Day: This national holiday celebrates the founding of the Korean nation. This is a national holiday and banks and government offices will likely be closed.
Hangeul Day: Also known as Korean Alphabet Day this October 9th event celebrates the creation of the Korean alphabet: Hanguel. This is a national holiday and banks and government offices will likely be closed.
Seoul in November
Seoul in November is still mild but definitely gets quite cold by the end of the month. A wool coat would be recommended at the end of the month. You shouldn’t see any snow yet. Beanies and gloves
Average Temperature: 5°C – 41°F
November Events in Seoul
Seoul Lantern Festival: Not to be confused with the Lotus Lantern Festival in May, the Seoul Lantern Festival is celebrated throughout the month of November. It’s the beautiful time to visit, to admire the beautiful lanterns adorning the Cheonggyecheon. The Cheonggyecheon is a public recreation space in downtown which cost over 900 million to build. It’s a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
Seoul in December
December in Seoul brings some of the first snow. Winters can be bitterly cold in Seoul so make sure to pack earmuffs, beanies and gloves. Heat packs would also be great to have on-hand. While visiting Korea, always wear layers as indoor public spaces are always equipped with ample heating.
Average Temperature: -2°C – 28°F
November Events in Seoul
Christmas: Christmas is also celebrated in Seoul and it’s a national holiday!
Hi…I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles..its really useful…actually i have plan my trip to Korea nxt year early on January …to be frank im so scared about cold but still wanna feel d show ter..also scared about food there…hopefully my trip to Korea will be more meaningful…thank u for the sharing
So glad that it’s been helpful! It’ll be cold in January but all the indoor areas are going to be heated, just make sure to pack lots of thick layers of clothing and you’ll be fine. The food in Korea is amazing but don’t worry there are plenty of American food options too. Let us know if you have any other questions!