Summer in Korea is a time to enjoy sunny skies and fantastic summer activities. Splashing around at the beach, enjoying some Korean summer foods, and visiting unique museums. No matter what your summer vacation in Korea will be a blast. Therefore, to get you started on your summer plans, here are 15 must-do summer activities in Korea.
Summer in Korea Guide
- When: South Korea has four distinct seasons. There is spring from April to June. Then a humid and wet summer from July to August. The following is autumn from September to November. Finally, the year ends with cold and snowy winter from December to March.
- Weather: Summer in Korea is from July to August. This is the hottest time of the year with a temperature range between 23°C and 30°C (73°F – 86°F). The summer in Korea is also the wettest time of the year. There are monsoon rains throughout those months. This rain accounts for half of the annual rainfall in Korea. Therefore, it can be incredibly humid during the summer.
- Wardrobe: Koreans generally dress well, so think about keeping the “dirty” backpacker look at home. Also, South Korea can be more conservative than you’re home country. Therefore, women try to avoid low-cut tops. Also, keep a wrap nearby to cover your legs when you sit in short skirts or shorts. For men, avoid being shirtless when walking around in public. Finally, as Korean weather can change quickly, especially during the summer, try to carry extra gear in your day bag.
- Whatcha Packing: Finally, here are some must-haves for your summer vacation in Korea. The top items are an umbrella, sunscreen, and a light rain jacket. These will help you avoid the sun and the monsoon rains when traveling to your summer activity of choice.
Sokcho opened on July 1, 1976. This white sand beach is over 1 kilometer long for the public featuring a bulwark lined with restaurants. Many of these sell hwaleo hoe (fresh sashimi) to enjoy. Sokcho Beach is open from early July to mid-August. You are allowed on the beach from 06:00-24:00, but swimming is from 09:00-18:00. Facilities include shower booths, changing rooms, activity areas (volleyball, soccer, footvolley). There is also a tourist information center.
Naksan beach is a dense pine tree forest-lined sand beach. It is a four kilometer-long stretch of white sands. The water is shallow, making it the ideal location for beginning swimmers and children. The beach is open from 06:00-24:00, while swimming is between 09:00 and 18:00. Available facilities are 14 Changing rooms, 6 Shower facilities, and campsites.
Hajodoe is a sandy beach with a shore that stretches for 1.5 km. Hajodae Beach is on the east coast. Unlike other east coast beaches, Hajodae is not “crowded facilities and amenities.” There is a pine forest bordering the shore with walking trails. These trails lead to the Hajodae Pavilion, a must-see. The beach is open year-round from 06:00-24:00 while swimming hours from 09:00 to 18:00. Facilities include campsites, dressing rooms, and shower booths.
The Muuido island is off Jung-gu, Incheon. The island was, until recently, in 2019, accessible only by ferry. However, the Muuidaegyo Bridge allows people to reach Muuido by bus. To get to Muuido, one may take the Muuido Village Bus that brings people from Keunmuri Dock to Gwangmyeonghang Port. A must-see is the Muuibadanuri-gil 8 Course. This path shows the West Sea vista taking around 1 hour. Muuido is also home to two beaches, Hanagae Beach and Silmi Beach.
This is the fifth-largest island, and it is off the west coast of South Korea. The Ganghwadaegyo Bridge allows tourists to travel to the island easier. Some famous sights include the Chamseongdan Altar on top of Manisan Mountain. Directions to Ganghwado include taking the Rapid Bus No. 3000 from Hapjeong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 6) and getting off at Ganghwa Bus Terminal Bus Stop. When visiting Ganghwa Island, check out their local products. They are home to Ganghwa Ginseng, Pure-Ganghwa radish, and Hwamunseoks, mats woven with flower patterns.
Located in Gyeongsangbuk-do, Ulleungdo is the sole island-city in the East Sea. It stretches out approx—10 km from east to west and 9.6 km from south and north. The easiest way to get to Ulleungdo is from Pohang Ferry Terminal. You’ll want to take a ferry to Ulleungdo. The ferry schedule often changes due to weather. Therefore, visitors should check the schedule in advance. Often during the summer months, there are necessary advanced reservations if you want to see the unique geological features only present in volcanic islands than Ulleungdo is a must-see!
Pocheon is a fantastic place for a day trip during the summer. One excellent location in Pocheon is the Pocheon Art Valley & Pocheonseok Rocks. Also, the Hantangang River Geopark. The Pocheon Art Valley was “a former granite quarry transformed into a culture and arts space.” The art valley started as an environmental restoration project by the city of Pocheon. There is a plethora of popular culture and art that is loved by locals. Check their calendar before going to catch their programs and special performances.
Also in Pocheon is the Pocheon Sansawon. This museum displays traditional Korean liquor, focusing on home-brewed liquor. Exhibits contain old materials and books about the history of Korea’s alcohol. When your tour’s completed, you can try the non-sterilized liquor of the Baesangmyeon Brewery. Check their calendar as well for activity programs about making home-brewed liquor.
Chuncheon is home to the Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street. This is one of three major dakgalbi streets in Chuncheon. Located at Chuncheon’s downtown Myeong-dong, Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street is the most popular of the three streets. This street is lined with restaurants specializing in Chuncheon’s famous dakgalbi (spicy stir-fried chicken) and makguksu (spicy buckwheat noodles). The quality compared to its low price, makes it a favorite for students. To get to Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street, you can take the bus from Chuncheon Intercity Bus Terminal. Then, take Bus No. 7, 9, 64, or 64-2 and get off at Chuncheon’s Myeong-dong Bus Stop.
Another must-see spot is the Soyanggang Skywalk. The skywalk is set up on Uiamho Lake to make tourists feel as if they are walking on water. This 156-meter long glass walkway and observatory is open year-round from March to October between 10:00 and 21:00. Then from November to February from 10:00 to 18:00. Admission fees are 2,000 won for adults and children (ages seven and older). Directions include trains and buses. First, go to Chuncheon Station (Gyeongchun Line), Exit 1. Second, cross the street to take Bus No. 11 and get off at the Statue of Soyanggang Maid Bus Stop.
Important Visitor Activity Information:
- Visitors must wear shoe covers before entering the skywalk.
- Also, shoes with high heels must change to wearing slippers.
- Hiking sticks are prohibited to protect the glass.
- Pets, bicycles, and inline skates are prohibited.
- Also, food or drinks not allowed.
- Persons needing a wheelchair must use the wheelchair prepared by management.
Information supplied by Official Korea Tourism.
Onemount Snow Park
Located inside the Hallyu World and KINTEX Land in Seo-gu, Ilsan, Onemount is “the largest multi-cultural space in the northwest metropolitan region.” Onemount Snowpark is an indoor winter park featuring a Santa Village, “sledding like animal sleds,” and an ice lake. Also, the ice road has several themed caves and thrilling rides. Onemount Snowpark is open on weekdays from 10:00-18:00 and weekends from 10:00-19:00. Admission prices are on their official website. Therefore, visit this winter wonderland to escape the summer heat for a while.
Staying in Seoul
Seoul Forest opened on June 18, 2005. The forest consists of five parks spread over a 180,000 pyeong area. Seoul Forest is an ecological zone enjoyed by the locals as well as tourists.
- Culture and Arts Park
The first park is in the heart of the forest. The Cultural Art Park features the Seoul Forest Square and Ttukseom Family Field. As well as beautiful flower beds, a visitor’s center, a skate park, a waterside lounge for food, an in-forest playground, and a water play area.
- Eco Forest
The second park is the Ecological Forest that connects the Han and Jungnang-cheon (Jungnang stream). This area acts as a natural habitat for wildlife animals, including Formosan and Fallow deers, elks, Mandarin ducks, mallards, spot-billed ducks, and moorhens. Also, there is a tower that helps visitors get to view the local wildlife.
- Experiential Learning Park
The third park occupies the former Ttukseom Water Treatment Facility. This renovated area now acts as an educational area to house an insect botanical garden, a wildflower garden, a themed flower garden, an event ground, and a surrounding protective forest.
- Marsh Plants Garden
The fourth park is making use of Seoul’s natural environment. Also called the “Wetlands Ecological Field,” this area of Seoul Forest contains a wetlands ecological management office, a playground, an outdoor nature classroom, a bird observatory, a wetlands flower garden, and a botanical garden fed with local, clear waters.
- Hangang Riverside Park
The final section of Seoul Forest is a riverside area. It is located at the junction of the Hangang River and Jungnang-cheon. The Hangang Riverside Park features a marina and waterfront park. There is also a rest area.
Official Korea Tourism supplies information about Seoul Forest.
The Hangang Eland Cruise
One of the best ways to enjoy the Han River is the Hangang Eland Cruise. With a variety of docks from which to board the cruise is easily accessible. You can also board at Seoul Forest. Also, each ship has a different theme; some include a pirate theme or a K-Culture theme for Hallyu fans. So, enjoy the nighttime views of the Hangang. More information can be found on their official website.
BOUNS: Summer in Korea Food
Naengmyeon translates to “cold noodles.” It is a Korean noodle dish comprised of long noodles and mostly made from buckwheat. This meal has become a signature Korean summer food.
“In Korea, they say ‘fight fire with fire!'” Therefore, to combat the hot, humid summer, Koreans eat a hot steamy dish. This soup consists of a whole young chicken. The chicken is filled with garlic, rice, jujube, and ginseng. Therefore, try fighting the heat with this Korean summer food.