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When to visit South Korea

by SmarterTravel Staff

The best times to visit South Korea are in the spring (late March through May) and fall (September through November). The weather is moderate, with flowers blooming in the spring and leaves changing in the fall. The summer can be very warm and humid, while winter is very cold. Although spring and fall are heavy tourist times, summer is also popular with visitors from around the world.

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  • high season: May to June, September to November
  • low season: December to February, July to August
  • shoulder season: March to April

Weather Information

Korea experiences four distinct seasons. Spring and fall are pleasant with mild temperatures in the 70s and low humidity. Rain can occur, but most days are dry with clear skies. The heaviest rain falls from late July through mid-August; however, it does not fall continuously. Temperatures can reach an average high of 98 degrees with 80 to 85 percent humidity. Coastal areas are more temperate due to sea breezes. Typhoons are possible from late July through early September, but they usually subside before hitting the peninsula. Winter can be quite cold, with average temperatures from 10 to 35 degrees in the interior. The coastal regions stay just above freezing.

Crowd Information

The month of May experiences high visitor traffic from Japan. During national holidays, locals visit their hometowns and families, causing scarce availability in air, rail, and bus transportation, as well as traffic jams throughout the country.

Closure Information

Offices and banks close for official holidays, while palaces, museums, most restaurants, department stores, and amusement venues remain open. However, during the Seollal (Lunar New Year's Day) and Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day), most shops and restaurants will close for at least one day. Department stores close on January 1 for at least one day as well.

When to Save

Airfare prices are generally lower during the winter and higher during the summer. During the winter, hotels also offer reduced prices and travel providers package vacations geared toward foreign tourists.

When to Book

Book at least three months in advance if visiting during national holidays. Book as early as possible in general.

Information provided by the Korea Tourism Organization.

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