Best time to visit South Korea

The best months to visit South Korea is from April to June (Spring), and September to October(Autumn). In April, the mountains become carpets of wildflowers and cherry blossoms fills up the parks.

Summers in South Korea are hot and humid, often accompanied by monsoon rains from mid-June to August. The average temperature is 22°C. Most rain falls in July and August.

Autumn is also one of the best times to visit South Korea. Once the risk of typhoons has passed (usually early Sep) the temperature becomes mild and pleasant with sunny days and cool evenings. During Autumn, the country is bathed in stunning shades of orange and red as the autumn leaves start to bloom.

From December to March, winter brings freezing cold temperatures to South Korea and is ideal for visitors looking to enjoy winter sports. 

Best time to go

Seoul

The best months to visit Seoul are from March to May and from September to November when the weather is mild and dry.  The winter months from December to February is cold with average daytime temperatures at freezing with occasional snowfalls. Summer months from July to August are hot, humid and battered by the monsoon rains.  

 

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
-9℃ -7℃ -2℃ 5℃ 11℃ 16℃ 21℃ 22℃ 15℃ 7℃ 0℃ -7℃
 Average maximum temperature
0℃ 3℃ 8℃ 17℃ 22℃ 27℃ 29℃ 31℃ 26℃ 19℃ 11℃ 3℃
 Average hours of sunshine
6 7 7 8 8 7 6 7 7 8 6 6
 Average rainfall in mm
31 20 38 76 81 130 376 267 119 41 46 25

Busan

The best time to visit Busan is in Spring and Autumn when the weather is pleasant with clear blue skies. Most rain falls during the summer months from Jun to September and temperature is hot with high humidity. Winters are mild in Busan, making it a year-round destination.  

 

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
-2℃ -1℃ 3℃ 8℃ 13℃ 17℃ 22℃ 23℃ 18℃ 12℃ 6℃ 1℃
 Average maximum temperature
6℃ 7℃ 12℃ 17℃ 21℃ 24℃ 27℃ 29℃ 26℃ 21℃ 15℃ 9℃
 Average hours of sunshine
7 7 7 7 8 7 6 7 6 7 7 6
 Average rainfall in mm
43 36 69 140 132 201 295 130 173 74 41 31

Jeju Island

Jeju enjoys a pleasant climate and can be visited year round. The winter months receives fewer tourists with the advantage of low season prices. The coldest month is January averaging 6°C and the sea is too cold for swimming.  During this time, the southern shores are preferred to the northern coast that feels the full force of the winds.

July receives the most rainfall with August, the peak time for travellers looking for a beach holiday.

 

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
6℃ 7℃ 9℃ 14℃ 18℃ 21℃ 26℃ 27℃ 23℃ 18℃ 13℃ 8℃
 Average maximum temperature
8℃ 9℃ 12℃ 17℃ 21℃ 24℃ 28℃ 29℃ 25℃ 21℃ 16℃ 10℃
 Average hours of sunshine
4 6 7 9 9 9 9 9 8 8 7 5
 Average rainfall in mm
22 24 46 77 102 133 328 248 138 49 53 25

General travel tips

Time: South Korea is 9 hours ahead of GMT and does not observe daylight saving.

Electricity and Voltage
The standard voltage in Korea is 220 volts (and 60 Hertz, or cycles), and the outlet has two round holes.

Korean Currency
The currency of South Korea is the South Korean Won (KRW)
Pound Sterling, US Dollars, Euro and other major currencies can be converted into South Korean Won (KRW) locally. Foreign currency can be converted at foreign exchange banks and other authorised money changers. Most major credit cards can be used in more upmarket restaurants and hotels and ATMs are common throughout larger cities.

Health
You should seek medical advice before travelling to South Korea from your GP and ensure that you receive all of the appropriate vaccinations.

Water
The tap water in Korea is generally considered safe to drink, but as a precaution against stomach upsets, you may want to drink bottled mineral water, which is readily available from shops, hotels and restaurants.

Food
Largely based on rice, noodles, tofu, vegetables and meat, Korean cuisine is delicious and healthy. Traditionally with main meals, a quantity of side dishes are served known as banchan, the most popular of these being kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional fermented dish made with vegetables, typically cabbage, radish, onions or cucumbers and flavoured with salt, garlic, ginger, and gochujang – a fermented chilli paste, it can have a very salty and spicy flavour.
A speciality is a Korean barbeque which usually involves beef, pork or chicken. The dishes are typically cooked at your table on a gas or charcoal grill built into the centre. One of the most popular dishes served is galbi, beef short ribs, often marinated in spices before grilling. In specialist restaurants, you can cook your own food at the table, with a waiter on hand to offer help.

Shopping
Considered a shopper’s paradise, great deals can be found in South Korea on shoes, clothes, leather goods, silk, antiques, handbags, and suitcases. Most department stores have fixed prices but bargaining is expected in the major open air markets such as Namdaemun or Dongdaemun in Seoul.

Tipping
Tipping is not expected and most top-end restaurants will add a service charge. A gift fo your guide is always appreciated.

Transportation
South Korea has an efficient public transport system. Planes, KTV trains and express buses link major cities and ferries link up with offshore islands.

Visas
British citizens receive a 90-day entry permit on arrival.