Will we ever run out of things to do in Korea? Probably never!
This captivating country is strategically located in a temperate climate zone, which only means one thing – travellers have the chance to experience the magic of all four seasons! Every three to four months, Korea undergoes a seasonal transformation and is refreshed with a new landscape and novel activities. No matter when you go, there will definitely be a plethora of fun things waiting for you. Here’s what you can do during each season:
1. Chase those blossoms
We all know that Korea is a haven for all things Cherry Blossom, and there are so many places to catch themin the springtime. Check out Korea’s biggest Cherry Blossom Festival at Jinhae, where the whole city turns pastel pink with the arrival of these beauties. Pose with the stationary train at Gyeonghwa Station, or stroll along Yeojwacheon Stream to catch the best views and take the best pictures!
Gyeongju is another hot spot for cherry blossoms viewing – particularly from Bomunho Lake, an artificial lake at the centre of the Bomunho Tourist Center. While you are here, pay a visit to the Gyeongju Historic Area, which is registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Center. In addition, take the chance to marvel at various Buddhist temples and old observatories such as the Cheomseongdae, that dates all the way back to the Silla Dynasty! Not only do you get to admire those beautiful flowers, but you’ll also get to learn more about Korea’s culture and heritage.
While chasing those cherry blossoms, why not make your entire day all about nature? Start with paying Gyeongpo a visit to admire the cherry blossoms from the Gyeongpodho Lake before making your way to Seorak Mountain, a UNESCO Biosphere Preservation District. Imagine an entire day out in nature with fresh air, beautiful flowers and scenery – there’s no better way to celebrate spring than this!
People often forget that Korea has many other flowers that are just as charming, if not more, than the cherry blossom. It’s time to pay some attention to the Plum Blossom or Maehwa too! After these delicate buds bloom, the trees will soon bear the sweet plum fruit. In the spirit of finding out more about Korean flowers, also check out the Sansuyu, a vibrant yellow flower from the Cornus fruit that represents eternal love.
2. Enjoy the stunning night views of Seoul
After a full day of activities, kick back and relax by enjoying some of the best views of Seoul. The city really comes to life at night and you will be wowed by the evening skyline. Hop on an evening cruise that tours the Han River and enjoy a buffet dinner while jamming to music. In addition, make your way up the Lotte World Observatory and get a panoramic view of Seoul from 123 stories high (555 metres tall)! If you’re feeling exceptionally brave, step out onto the glass-floored sky deck on the 118th floor and be mesmerised by the view.
3. Soak up some sun in Busan
Summer is here! This means one thing – it’s time for the beach! Busan, the second most populous city in South Korea, is home to a variety of magnificent beaches. Swing by some of the most highly raved about beaches, like Haeundae Beach and Gwangalli Beach to get your vitamin D fix.
However, you cannot just go to Busan without checking out their other top attractions. The vibrant Gamcheon Culture Village is a must-visit, where the cheerful and colourful houses make for the perfect backdrop for your summer photoshoot. Also, head down to Korea’s largest seafood market at Jagalchi Market to bask in the lively atmosphere. The produce there is so fresh, you can even dig into (moving!) raw fish right there and then! With so many invigorating activities in Busan, be sure to maximise your time there and hit as many attractions as you can.
4. Explore an entire island
Take advantage of the balmy summer weather and explore South Korea’s largest island, Jeju Island! The popular destination is home to beach resorts, volcanic landscapes and even quirky theme parks. Start off with a leisurely hike up Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak) and enjoy the scenic views of the whole island from the high vantage point.
In addition, you cannot miss out on Hallim Park, a prominent landmark on Jeju Island. It is home to a variety of gardens, such as Jeju Stone and Bonsai Garden as well as the Subtropical Botanic Garden. Also, check out Manjanggul Cave, a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts to be one of the finest lava tunnels in the world. Aside from learning about the formation of a lava cave, you also enjoy the breezy temperatures inside the cave tunnel.
Apart from exploring nature, there are other forms of entertainment on Jeju Island. Make your way to Soingook Theme Park, where there are impressive miniature models of famous buildings all over the world. Enjoy an afternoon picnic that overlooks the Sydney Opera House, a London telephone booth and even the Statue of Liberty! Furthermore, Hello Kitty fans all over the world will rejoice at the Hello Kitty Island, an exhibition hall that showcases all things related to everyone’s favourite cartoon cat.
With these many attractions and more, Jeju Island is definitely a destination you should visit this summer.
5. Experience a blast from the past
With clear skies and comfortable weather, summer is the perfect time to explore the city. In particular, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Korea’s history and culture through its landmarks. One must-see sight is Gyeongbokgung Palace, the main royal palace from the Joseon Dynasty. Be enthralled as you navigate your way around the huge compound and imagine walking in the footsteps of the royalty that once lived there.
Situated close to Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village is a suburban area which is home to arrays of traditional houses. They date back to the Joseon Dynasty, and act as preservation centres for this important historical era. Many of them are open to the public as cultural centres and tea houses, while others remain as residential estates. For another glimpse of the past, head to the Insadong Antique Street, where traditional culture and crafts take the spotlight. Whether they are expensive ceramic pieces, intricate watercolour paintings or everyday items, they collectively exemplify traditional artworks and help to keep the culture alive.
6. Admire the Autumn Foliage
Koreans refer to autumn as a time of ‘cheongomabi’, which translates to ‘the sky is high and horses get fat’ – a novel way of referring to good weather and a bountiful harvest. Indeed, autumn brings about azure blue skies and beautiful, colourful foliage. Korea’s natural landscape becomes even more picturesque than before as landscapes start to change their hues, and leaves take on crimson, orange and yellow tones. To enjoy this exceptional view, it’s time to strap on those hiking boots out and get outdoors! Make your way up to Mount Seorak to get the best view of the autumn foliage; trust us, the hard work will be worth it.
It is said that the best place to take in the striking autumn colours is at Naejangsan National Park, which is home to Naejangsan Mountain as well as multiple waterfalls and lakes. The entire place exudes a serene and calming atmosphere, which is simply ideal for a zen afternoon to yourself. Other than the park, the Jeonju Hanok Village is another quaint location to indulge in the autumn views. Be transported back in time as you stroll amidst the 800 traditional Hanok houses, whose monochromatic exteriors lie in stark contrast to the vibrant foliage.
7. Enjoy some peace and quiet out of the city
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, there is no doubt that Nami Island is the place for you. Located 63 kilometres away from Seoul, this island is a peaceful sanctuary for your private getaway! During autumn, the entire place is transformed by arrays of colourful foliage and is more stunning than ever.
Seize the opportunity to experience a whole new lifestyle at Petite France, a French cultural village. Be it to savour sumptuous French cuisine, try on haute couture fashion or learn about French history in their museums, there are so many things you can do here. Furthermore, the vividly coloured buildings present the perfect opportunity for a European-inspired photoshoot! The ambience here remains cheerful and light-hearted and is a great place to take a breather from your typical busy life. If you want to get some exercise in, try out the Gangchon Rail Bike. Not only do you get a good workout, but you are also able to take in breathtaking autumn views of the countryside. What a brilliant way to unwind!
For more chill vibes, head down to the Garden of Morning Calm. As the name suggests, you are guaranteed to be soothed by the tranquillity of nature. Autumn is a particularly excellent time to visit, as the plants and flowers are exceptionally intense and deep in colour.
8. Give other flowers some love
Even though the cherry blossom season may be over, there are still many other flowers that deserve our love and attention! The Bongpyeong Buckwheat Flower Festival celebrates buckwheat and its significance to Korea’s literary scene, particularly through the renowned poem “When Buckwheat Flowers Bloom” by Hyoseok Lee. Experience freedom as you gallivant through the endless fields of buckwheat and learn more about this underrated flower! In addition, head on to the nearby Herbnara, which is home to a beautiful garden of herb and flowers. Here, you can also enjoy herbal tea blends and cuisine prepared with these farm-grown herbs.
9. Lock your love at the top of Seoul
First built as Korea’s first integrated transmission tower, the Seoul Namsan Tower is now open to the public and is one of Seoul’s most prominent attractions. Experience the winter breeze as you make your way up to one of many viewing platforms and enjoy a panoramic view of the rest of the city. Couples especially like to come at this time of the year to attach a “Lock of Love”, where they write their names on a padlock to symbolise their eternal love. Now that will definitely help to keep their hearts warm!
10. Get your adrenaline rush on
Winter is here! As the end of the year approaches and the mercury starts to dip, it is finally time for everyone’s favourite winter activity – skiing! The Jisan Ski Forest offers slopes of varying difficulties, so people of different proficiencies are still able to get a piece of the action. Imagine the stunning views from the top of these slopes and the refreshing feeling of zooming downhill! The Elysian Gangchon Ski Resort also offers a range of different sporting activities, such as snowboarding and snow sledding.
To experience even more of an adrenaline rush, drop by Everland, Korea’s largest theme park. Rides such as the prominent T Express and Hurricane guarantee an exhilarating time, and the cold rush from the winter breeze add even more dimension to the experience. Furthermore, Everland celebrates different festivals throughout the year. Of course, during winter, they gear up for a massive Christmas Festival! Don’t miss out on their dynamic display of Christmas lights and performances.
11. Live out your K-drama Fantasies
You may have already seen Nami Island at other times of the year, but it is transformed in winter to become an absolutely gorgeous snowy wonderland. Experience the same locations with a completely different backdrop; it’ll feel like a totally different place altogether! For all you K-drama enthusiasts, the popular Winter Sonata was filmed at this very location! Don’t miss out on a chance to snap pictures on this romantic and mysterious island, and re-enact your favourite K-drama scenes while you’re at it!
With the myriad of activities to do in Korea across all the seasons, there’s no need to fret over which season is the best time to visit. Instead, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to stay all year long to try them all! So when you start planning your next trip to Korea, take your pick from Korea Time Tour’s wide array of activities and you’ll be all set – no matter the season.
Brought to you by Korea Time Tour.