Summer in Korea is a wonderful time of sunny skies, long, warm evenings, and amazing summer activities to enjoy like splashing around at the beach, munching on sweet Korean desserts, and getting into the stunning Korean countryside. Read this awesome guide to 20 of the most amazing summer activities in Korea that you’ll absolutely love, and be a cool, smart traveller.
Unfortunately, summer is also a time of scorching sunshine, high humidity, and sweat. However, you needn’t be left hiding inside an air conditioned mall when you visit Korea this summer. Some of these summer activities will literally cool you off, like splashing around in water parks, whilst others are simply cool and should be on any Korean bucket list.
Find out all the hot spots to visit across Korea, including the best beaches, the most entertaining festivals, and where to camp, hike, chill, and enjoy summertime.
There’s also great tips about what to eat, how to stay cool, where to visit, and what to wear during this bright and colourful season. As always, I’ll be offering loads of great tips, built up from years of living in Korea. Things that you won’t find in the usual guidebooks and blogs.
If you don’t know why you need to try all the different kinds of bingsu, or where to go glamping, surfing, lugeing, and hiking, when to visit the best summer markets in Korea, or how to stop yourself being a hot sweaty mess, then be sure to read on and check out all these cool summer in Korea tips that are here for you.
Read on to find out all about summer in Korea.
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Summer In Korea 2020 Quick Guide:
Here’s a quick summary about summer in Korea and some of the key things you should know before planning your trip to Korea. If you want a more complete guide about planning a trip to Korea, then be sure to read my detailed guide about pre-planning below.
When Is Summer In Korea:
Summer in Korea runs from early June until mid-September. The peak summer time is from early July when the schools close and Korea basically chills out and enjoys the sunny weather.
Weather During Summer In Korea:
The weather during summer is hot, hot, hot! But it’s also sunny, which makes it a great time to be outside and exploring more of Korea outside the big cities. The hottest months are July and August and the temperature increases a lot between June and July. Average temperatures in July and August will be over 30 degrees during the day and around 20 at night.
Summer is the wettest period in Korea, with lots of rainfall, but there are also lots of clear, sunny days in between. Expect high humidity during summertime, too. This will make things very sweaty! Technically, summer in Korea is also typhoon season, however, Korea doesn’t suffer as much as other areas of East Asia from typhoons and these generally result in heavy rain followed by several days of clear, blue skies.
What To Wear:
As mentioned, summer in Korea is very hot, so wear loose clothing and not much of it. Shorts, skirts, t-shirts, light tops, and cool shoes. Sandals for the beach and hanging out in town, light trainers / sneakers if you plan to do lots of walking and outdoor activities. Don’t forget your swimwear if you want to go swimming. Basically, whatever you feel comfortable in for hot weather.
What To Pack:
Some essentials for summer in Korea include sun cream (stronger the better), mosquito repellent, a fan (electric or otherwise), sunglasses, sun hat, and lots of water! If you have a reusable water bottle, that’ll be great as you can fill it up in restaurants and cut back on water costs.
Korea Travel Advice & Planning Facebook Group
Have any questions about your trip to Korea that you’d like answered? Want expert advice for the best places to see, eat, and explore? Then join the Korea Travel Advice & Planning Group on Facebook and get answers from locals, bloggers, travellers, and expats in Korea.
My Korean Summer Love & Hate Story
I have to admit, I both love and hate summer in Korea. It’s a wonderful time to get out, but dealing with the heat and humidity (and mosquitos) can be a challenge. You need to adapt to the summer or else it’ll (literally) eat you alive. I’ve found the best way to do that is to know what to do and when to do it.
For me, the best time to be active during summer is at night – it’s a lot easier than being out in the day. During summer I spend a lot more time outdoors in the evening to avoid the heat. Hiking and sightseeing are better at night during the long, warm evenings. There are fewer mosquitos around in the evening and the humidity drops off, reducing your chance to sweat so much.
There are plenty of fun summer activities in Korea that you can enjoy at night, such as night markets, watching fireworks at the beach, live music by the Han River in Seoul, or sipping cool cocktails on rooftop bars. I’ve included information about all of these below, I hope you’ll find lots of inspiration.
As a tourist, you’ll want to go out during the day and see all the beautiful palaces, temples, and attractions that only Korea can provide, which are usually only open during the day. Go out and enjoy them, but try to avoid being outside for too long in the early afternoon. Pop into a cafe or shopping mall and recharge before heading out again. It’s the perfect excuse to enjoy some delectable Korean desserts.
Don’t forget to check out my other awesome season guides for Korea to make sure you’re getting the most out of your trip to Korea whenever you travel:
The Best Summer Activities In Korea
Whether you enjoy the great outdoors, or prefer to stay cool indoors, there are loads of incredible summer activities you can take part in here in Korea. Find out how to have fun adventure and create unforgettable memories during summer in Korea. Solo travellers, families, and everyone else in between will find something for them to enjoy during this sunny season.
I’ll admit, being a big lover of Korean food, there are also a lot of delicious things to enjoy during this time of year. If you’re anything like me, be sure to check out tips #3, #10, and #11. Your taste buds will be eternally grateful!
Without further ado, here are my top 20 tips for awesome things to do during summer in Korea.
1: See The Sea At Korea’s Beautiful Beaches
Without a doubt, this has to be the best of all summer activities in Korea. South Korea is a peninsula and is lined with beaches on three sides. Although there aren’t really any beaches in Seoul, there are some incredible beach spots you can visit a short train ride away. If you’re in Busan in the south, then you have so many options to choose from, including the famous Haeundae Beach.
Grab your swimwear and suncream, find a spot on the sandy shore, and work on your tan as the gentle waves lull you to sleep. Or try out some beach sports and other activities to work up a sweat before a big seaside dinner of raw fish and cool beer. Korea’s beaches are really busy during the summer, so be sure to get there early for the best spots.
There are too many beaches to list here, so I’ll just cover a few of the major ones near Seoul and Busan. Some other beaches worth mentioning are Daecheon Beach (home to the Boryeong Mud Festival), Guryongpo Beach (Pohang), Hyeopjae Beach (Jeju Island), and Eurwangni Beach (Incheon).
Located on the east coast, Sokcho is one of the premier beaches in Korea, with silky white sands lined by scenic pine trees. There are loads of great facilities here, and you can rent all the beach equipment you need. You can only swim in the beach during July and August, but the beach is open all year round.
You’ll find lots of delicious seafood restaurants nearby and it’s a great place to experiment with food you might not have tried before. Even some of Korea’s strangest foods…
Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung is one of my favourite beaches to visit during summer in Korea. The long, sandy beach goes on for a long way, melting into other beaches as you walk along the coast. There is lots of space, so you’re more likely to get a good spot on the sand.
Not only is there the beach to check out, with various water sports and family fun games to play, this area is a treat for coffee lovers (like myself). There are dozens of cafes that line the beach and they’re great places to sit and watch the surf, or get some tasty bites. Gangneung also hosts the spectacular Gyeongpodae Cherry Blossom Festival in early April each year.
The easiest way to get to Gangneung from Seoul is by KTX train (2 hours) or intercity bus (3 hours). If you have time, I’d recommend staying at least 2 days here so you can enjoy the spectacular sunrise in the morning. Alternatively, you can book convenient day tours from Seoul, as below:
One of Busan’s top attractions, Haeundae Beach is a gorgeous stretch of sand that winds its way along one of the most lively areas of Korea’s second city. During summer in Korea expect this beach to be packed out at all hours of the day. At night, when the temperature is still warm enough to sit outside, you can see fireworks or listen to live music from local artists looking for an audience.
You’ll find an abundance of nearby attractions, hotels, and restaurants, as well as other beaches and scenic spots to walk to if you want to stretch your legs a bit more. The beach even has its own subway stop, making it a convenient place to get around while you visit Busan.
If you want to know more about Haeundae Beach, be sure to check out this guide by Busan-based blogger, Mark.
2: Enjoy Korea’s Awesome Summer Festivals
Summer is one of the best times to get out and join a festival. There are so many to choose from, including the usual summer music festivals, and some uniquely Korean celebrations you may never heard of. From mud wrestling to water gun fights, tranquil fireflies to wild craft beer festivals, there’s bound to be something to delight and amaze you during Korean summertime.
I’ll cover 3 of my favourite summer festivals below. If you want a complete guide to all the best summer festivals in Korea, check out my guide below:
Please note: some of these festivals may not run in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
One of Korea’s biggest and dirtiest festivals, the Boryeong Mud Festival is one of the biggest festivals during summer in Korea. The Boryeong Mud Festival is attended by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world during its 10 day run in late July. People come for the chance to experience the crazy events going on and to get covered in fresh mud by the beach.
Located at Daecheon Beach (one of Korea’s top beaches), this Korean summer festival has it all. Mud wrestling, mud bathing, extreme mud sports, K-pop concerts, fireworks, a water park, and lots of great beachside restaurants. This is the perfect way to cool off during summer in Korea, as well as help your skin feel great. You’ll have the chance to snap up some of Boryeong’s famous mud face packs to take home with you after all the madness of the festival.
Runs from July 19th to July 29th, 2020
Korea has a love of fried chicken and beer which is combined perfectly at the Daegu Chimac Festival. Chimac, a portmanteau of chicken and maekju (beer in Korean) is the perfect remedy to summer’s hot weather. The ice cold beer keeps you fresh, while the fried chicken just tastes so damn good! You’ll find chimac places all over Korea, but this summer festival is the best place to experience chimac fully.
Located in Daegu, the chicken capital of Korea, the Chimac Festival is one of the hot events in the city and is attended by over 1,000,000 people each year. There are loads of ways to keep cool, besides drinking beer, including an ice playground and chilly tents to relax in. There are also lively music shows, with Korea’s distinctive pop artists performing, and other attractions to check out.
Runs From July 1st to July 5th, 2020
No list of Korean summer festivals would be complete without a good rock festival to enjoy. One of the biggest and best is the Busan International Rock Festival. Featuring some big acts from around the world, including The Chemical Brothers in 2019, the Busan International Rock Festival is a serious event and a lot of fun. I visited in 2019 and spent 2 days relaxing, dancing, drinking, and avoiding the mud during the hot summer days on Korea’s southern coast.
Spread over the weekend, with camping available for those with a tent, this rock festival has a number of different stages and kinds of rock. Listen to Korean bands you’ve probably never heard of, show your dance moves in front of the DJ stand, or wait for the big name acts on the main stage. The variety of music here means there’s something for everyone
Runs From July 24th to July 25th, 2020
3: Sample Korean Summer Dishes
I love Korean food for many, many reasons and perhaps the biggest one is that there seems to be so many unique dishes for each season. During the depth of the cold winters, you’ll find loads of hearty, soul-warming winter foods to keep you going. And Korean street food is perfect all year round.
Summer in Korea is no exception, it might even be the best time to get into Korean food. From icy-cold noodles, to steaming hot chicken soup that is meant to keep you cool and healthy on the hottest days, there’s a wide range of mouth watering dishes to enjoy during these hot days. Take a break from all the fun summer activities in Korea and make sure you try some of these dishes.
Here are a couple of the best Korean dishes to enjoy in summertime. I’ll cover some other refreshing dishes later on, including the famous bingsu dessert. Be sure to keep reading. If you want to know more about Korea’s delicious traditional dishes, then check out my guide below:
Naengmyeon (cold Noodles):
As soon as the weather starts to creep over 25 degrees, you’ll find me in a naengmyeon restaurant at least once or twice a week, more if I’m outside a lot. This is the absolute perfect dish for the hot summer in Korea as it’s served ice cold, is really refreshing, and can be spicy if you want it.
There are two main versions of naengmyeon – mul-naengmyeon and bibim-naengmyeon. Mul-naengmyeon comes with an ice-cold soup (and literal chunks of ice) whilst bibim-naengmyeon is served with a super spicy sauce over the noodles. Both are fairly simple dishes, with a generous helping of noodles, a few veg, a boiled egg, and a variety of side dishes (as with most Korean meals). Simple, yet really delicious and refreshing.
Samgyetang (Whole Chicken Soup):
Samgyetang includes a whole small chicken packed with rice, garlic, jujube, and ginseng inside a bowl of steaming hot broth. The thick soup absorbs all of this whilst cooking, leaving a soft, tender chicken and an aromatic, hearty broth. Perfect!
You’re probably wondering how a hot chicken soup is classed as a summer dish in Korea. Koreans have a saying that you should fight heat with heat, meaning that you should eat hot food when it’s hot outside. As strange as it sounds, it actually works.
4: Hike Seoul’s Fortress Walls At Night
Whilst the day time during summer in Korea isn’t a great time to be out hiking because it’s so hot, once the sun goes down, the weather is perfect to explore more. There are lots of safe places to go hiking in Seoul and one of the best spots is along Seoul’s ancient fortress walls that weave through the heart of the city.
You can join the fortress walls in many places throughout Seoul and two of the easiest ones are from Hyehwa Station (Naksan Park) or Dongdameun Station (Heunginjimin Gate). Bring your camera and get ready to snap lots of awesome night pics, with outstanding views across central Seoul. For more details on the fortress wall locations, check out the official website for Seoul’s City Walls.
If you’re after some great night pics, I’d also recommend heading to N Seoul Tower in central Seoul and Bongeunsa Temple in Gangnam (near COEX). Of course, any Buddhist temple in Seoul looks incredible at night, with atmospheric lighting on the historic carvings throwing up loads of interesting scenes.
5: Sweat It Out For Awesome Hanbok Photos
I’m not going to lie to you, summer in Korea is hot! and if you want those incredible hanbok photos you’ve dreamed about, then you’re going to have to suffer for it. A bit. Even though the sun is beating down on you as you’re adding more layers, the cost of a few hours sweating it out is worth it for those unmissable photo ops.
And you certainly won’t be alone. Walking around Seoul during summer, you’ll see hundreds of people donning the traditional clothes of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty. For the best pictures, be sure to head towards Seoul’s impressive royal palaces (Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Gyeonghuigung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, and Changgyeonggung Palace), or in the beautiful Bukchon Hanok Village.
There are many places that you can rent hanbok from, including some places that will let you try it on and take some photos for free. You can read more about that in my list of free things to do in Seoul. Alternatively, you can rent hanbok in shops around the royal palaces and Bukchon Hanok Village. Pre-booking guarantees you hanbok to wear, which is really useful in busy times .
6: Spend Long Korean Summer Nights By The River
The Han River is the perfect place for summer activities in Korea, both day and night. During the day it’s a great place to see Seoulites enjoying a picnic on the grass, riding, skating, swimming, and generally relaxing. At night the area comes alive with music, food trucks, night markets (more on those soon), and people enjoying the warmer evening weather you find during summer in Korea.
For those who want to experience authentic local life in Seoul, this is probably one of the best summer activities in Korea for you. The locals far outnumber the tourists and, even though it’s busy and crowded, it doesn’t feel like one of Seoul’s touristy hotspots. For me, that’s what makes it so good. If you have time in your Seoul itinerary, then make sure to spend an evening down by the Han River.
For those who want a cheap night out, head to the convenience stores by the exit of Yeouinaru Station (Line 5 / Purple Line) and grab some discount beers and instant ramen noodles or gimbap. This is one of my favourite spots to enjoy Seoul’s riverside nightlife during summer in Korea. You can heat up the food in the store and take it out to enjoy on the grassy banks leading down to the river’s edge.
This is definitely one of the best summer activities for those who don’t want to spend much. If you want to know more about how to save money in Seoul, then check out my top 15 tips below.
If you want to see all the sights along the Han River, I’d definitely recommend booking a night cruise. These cruises run all day, but are best in the evening when you can see fireworks shows, Seoul’s night lights, and the illuminated banks and bridges along the river. You can even get some dinner on the river’s edge before you depart. Perfect for romantic couples or families.
7: Explore The Night Markets In Seoul
Known as the ‘Bamdokkaebi Night Markets‘, Seoul hosts a wide range of night markets across the city that are awesome places to spend the hot evenings. These markets actually start in April each year and run all the way through to October, making them a popular attraction in several seasons. However, it is during summer in Korea that these markets are best, because the weather is hotter and the sun goes down later.
The name bamdokkaebi translates to ‘night goblin‘ as night-time is when goblins like to come out, I guess? You can find these night markets in several of Seoul’s hottest spots, including Yeouido Hangang Park, Banpo Hangang Park, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), and Cheonggyecheon Stream. Each night market has it’s own theme, which makes it worthwhile checking out each area. Most markets are also open before it gets dark, too.
Thousands of people, both tourists and locals, flock to these markets. Lots of local fashion and jewellery designers display their goods in these markets, meaning you can snap up some unique souvenirs that you won’t find in Seoul’s other markets. You’ll also find fleets of food trucks, selling delicious street food and fusion Korean, Asian and Western food; perfect for keeping you going during long Korean summer nights of shopping.
Night markets operate on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during summer in Korea, but not all are open on each night. Be sure to check the operating hours before you visit.
8: Visit Korea’s Thrilling Theme Parks
Thrill seekers and families alike will definitely love these next two summer activities in Korea. Korea has a lot of fun theme parks to spend those long Korean summer days in. There may not be a Disney Land or Universal Studios, but what Korea does have more than makes up for it with thrilling rides, an abundance of attractions, animals, beautiful nature, and lots more.
The two hottest theme parks to visit during summer in Korea are Everland and Lotte World. There are also smaller family-friendly theme parks, such as Seoul Children’s Grand Park and Seoul Land. For those in Busan, Gyeongju World, is another great theme park to check out in the nearby historic city of Gyeongju.
Everland is Korea’s largest theme park and boasts one of the world’s steepest wooden roller coasters. Located in Yongin, just a short trip from Seoul, and featuring 5 different zones, Everland has something for everyone. Great for thrill seekers, families, couples looking to create some unforgettable memories, and even animal lovers. With rollercoasters, safaris, a magical kingdom, water rides, panda world, and flowers all year round, you won’t get bored in Everland.
Although smaller than Everland, Lotte World has a lot to offer. Located in Jamsil, this is theme park is actually the world’s largest indoor theme park, which means you can escape the heat of summer in Korea and still have lots of fun. Featuring loads of exciting roller coasters, attractions, games, VR-zones, and family friendly rides, this is perfect for the whole family.
Extending out into Seokchon Lake is the Lotte Magic Island – a distinctly Disney-esque magical kingdom with rides that offer spectacular views of the lake and Lotte World Tower. There’s also the Lotte Aquarium, Lotte World Tower, and Seoul Sky, in the same area for more great summer activities.
If you plan to visit Lotte World, then I’d really recommend checking out the Discover Seoul Pass. This pass gives you free entry to a range of Seoul’s hottest sights and attractions. The costs of the 24 hour pass is about the same as the ticket price for Lotte World. You can save a lot of money with this pass – it could easily save you 50,000 won per day. Find out more below.
9: Splash Around At A Water Park
The second of these hot summer activities in Korea for thrill seekers (and also one of the coolest) are the water parks. Korean summer is brutally hot and there is nothing better than stripping off to your swimming stuff and splashing around in the cool, refreshing water at a water park. There are many amazing water parks in Korea where you can have water-based fun, such as Caribbean Bay (Seoul), Ocean World (Vivaldi Park, Gyeonggi Province), Lotte Water Park (Busan), Sealala Water Park (Seoul), and Onemount Water Park (Seoul).
Caribbean Bay, modelled after the gorgeous beaches of the Caribbean, is the premier destination for water park lovers in Korea. Packed with pools, slides, rides, and ways to chill out in the sun, this is one of the best day trips from Seoul in the summer heat. Some of the best rides at Caribbean Bay include the Mega Storm, Aqua Loop, and the Tower Raft. Caribbean Bay also features an indoor infant pool, sauna, spa, diving pool, and many types of swimming pools.
Lotte Water Park:
Korea’s largest water park, Lotte Water Park near Busan is packed full of attractions to enjoy during the scorching summer in Korea. Taking inspiration from a Polynesian island, Lotte Water Park features both outdoor and indoor wave pools, a 118m tornado slide, Tiki Island spa, and loads of other great facilities to keep you entertained and feeling cool. For those who want to enjoy playing in the water without fear of sunburn, this is definitely for you. You can get to Lotte Water Park by subway / light train in around 45 minutes from Seomyeon Station in central Busan.
10: Sip Cool Lattes In Cosy Cafes
Summer in Korea is a time for cool drinks and even cooler desserts (more on that soon). Take time out during your busy day exploring to recover and recharge in one of Korea’s many cafes. Not only are they usually air conditioned (so refreshing!), they also have a wide range of intoxicatingly delicious iced drinks available. There are so many unique drinks to keep you cool during summer in Korea. Come and see for yourself and find your new drink addiction.
I’m sure you’re all aware of the regular iced cafe lattes and americanos, but you might not be prepared for the incredibly icy caffeinated treats you’ll find in Korea. Ever tried a Jeju Honey Peanut Latte, Organic Jeju Green Tea Latte, Jeju Hoji Tea Cream Frappuccino, Sweet Potato Latte, Oatmeal Latte, Lavendar Cafe Breve, ‘Monkey Banana’ Coffee, or even a Black Pepper Latte? That last one was pretty gross, to be honest, but you’ve got to try them all at least once, right?
Of course, it’s not just lattes and other iced coffees, there’s a wide range of refreshing teas, juices and ades. Pretty much something for anyone. Sample some iced Organic Jeju Green Tea, Mungyeong Omija Tea (has all 5 flavours inside), Corn Tea, Raisin Tea (really refreshing), Citrus Teas, Chrysanthemum Tea, and a lot more. Fans of Tiger Sugar Bubble Tea or Dalgona Coffee won’t be disappointed in Korea, either.
You don’t need to go far to find some great cafes in Seoul or throughout Korea. One of my favourite ones is the Blue Bottle Coffee chain that you can find in the trendiest areas of Seoul. If you want more recommendations about where to go for coffee and Korean dessert, join the Korea Travel Advice & Planning group on Facebook and ask us. You’ll get plenty of great recommendations.
Speaking of dessert, the next great summer activity in Korea is one surely everyone can enjoy!
11: Indulge In Korea’s Famous Bingsu Desserts
If eating Korean dessert was an olympic sport, I’d be considered an elite athlete. I love to indulge in these sweet treats and there always seems to be something new to try. There are whole chains of cafes dedicated solely to the art of feeding you delicious desserts. You can eat Korean dessert any time of the year, but it is during summer in Korea that the best tastes, and most unique dishes, are available.
There’s one dessert that defines summer – bingsu. Bingsu is a very simple dessert consisting of shaved ice flakes with a topping and sauce. The one above is a mango bingsu and comes with big chunks of fresh mango, ice cream, cream, and mango sauce over the ice flakes. It’s ridiculously refreshing and keeps you cool when the weather is hottest. It’s perfect for those scorching Korean summer days when you need icy treats to keep you going.
There are many types of bingsu you can enjoy with a plethora of different toppings. Some of the simpler ones contain fruit, ice cream, yogurt, sauces, nuts, or red beans. The red bean topped bingsu are known as pat-bingsu. Modern-day dessert maestros have concocted all sorts of different bingsu that contain cakes (whole slices), chocolates, cookies, injeolmi (rice cake), brownies, macarons, and just about anything else you might think to eat for dessert. If you visit Korea during summer, be sure to try bingsu!
If you don’t think you bingsu sounds right for you, there are lots of other sweet treats available during summer, including decadently topped waffles (like the one above), sublime cheesecakes, ice creams in all different flavours, and lots of other yummy treats to help your teeth fall out. Enjoy them all with an iced coffee and make the most of the hot Korean summer days.
12: Take A Day Trip To Korea’s Beautiful Nature
Getting out of the big cities is one of the best summer activities in Korea as it means getting back to nature and away from the concrete jungle. Korea is awash with charming natural beauty, with vibrant green trees and a cacophony of brightly coloured plants to get lost in. Wherever you are staying in the Korea, you’ll find a day trip that’s right for you.
Here are 3 of the best day trips from Seoul to take during summer in Korea for some unforgettable experiences in nature. You can also visit these places from other parts of Korea, too.
The lush, dense Damyang Bamboo Forest drowns out the noise and heat of modern Korea and is a breath of fresh air. Quite literally as there is a high level of oxygen produced from all those bamboo trees. Take a deep breath and cleanse your lungs and soul as you walk through the cool forest.
Damyang Bamboo Forest provides a unique opportunity to see incredible gigantic bamboo trees. Get lost within the shaded pathways, experience a traditional Korean village, and try some bamboo beer. The beer is better than it sounds, trust me. You can also sample the local delicacy – daetong bap 대통밥 (bamboo rice), which is a healthy portion of steamed rice served in a bamboo stem.
Nami Island, Petite France, Garden of Morning Calm & Gangchon Rail Bike:
This is not only one of the most pleasant summer activities in Korea, it is also one of the most varied and interesting. The main feature of this tour is definitely Nami Island – an idyllic island that you access by boat or zip-line. It has long tree-lined streets and loads of cool cafes, walking spots, and photo-zones.
Petite France is a scenic recreation of village in France, inspired by The Little Prince. The Garden of Morning Calm is stuffed full of natural beauty to walk through, as well as traditional Korean hanok houses and a refreshing stream to sit by and escape the heat.
One of my favourite parts of this tour is the Gangchon Rail Bike. Hop on one of the rail bikes and pedal along an abandoned train line, taking in the resplendent nature as you gently pedal along.
The vibrant rows of fresh, bright green tea leaves spreading out over the hills of Boseong are an incredible sight to see. The oldest tea plantation in Korea, and the home of Korean Tea, Boseong Green Tea Plantation is a great place to visit during in summer.
Besides growing the tea, the plantation now welcomes curious tourists who wish to learn more about green tea. Spend your time walking around the green tea bushes, where you might even be able to see the sea on a sunny day. Truly postcard-like views!
Want more awesome day trips to enjoy during summer in Korea? Here’s my top 10 day trips from Seoul:
13: Try Your Hand At Kayaking
If you’re looking for healthy things to do in summer in Korea that will let you get some sunshine and also a good workout, then I’d definitely recommend kayaking. This is one of those summer activities that isn’t just open to locals – tourist can enjoy it, too. Head down to the Han River in Seoul and you can jump in a kayak or paddle boat, don your lifejacket, and enjoy paddling away in the river all afternoon.
With English guides to teach you the basics, as well as to show you where to go along the river, this a great outdoors activity to enjoy whatever your fitness level. Slip along the calm waters on a sunny afternoon and see the sights of Seoul as you go.
You can find kayaks and paddle boats for rent in some major beach locations around Korea, including those I’ve mentioned previously. Even if signs are in Korean, you should be able to negotiate prices and rental times with a few gestures or some simple Korean phrases.
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14: Get Back To Nature In The Parks
From spring to early autumn, you’ll find parks all over Korea flooded with people chilling out in the sun. This is one of the most popular summer activities in Korea no matter where you are. If you want to experience life as a local, then grab some cold drinks, bring some food (or get it delivered!), and chill out on the grass. There are countless parks and green zones where you can do this all over Korea, and many of the big cities will have market stalls, food trucks, and sometimes live performances by local artists.
Some of the major parks to visit during summer in Seoul include Seoul Forest, Haneul Park, Songdo Central Park, Yeouido Hangang Park, Olympic Park, Seokchon Lake, Yangjae Citizen’s Forest, the Gyeonggui Line Forest Park (pictured above), Seoullo 7017, Seoul Children’s Grand Park, and many more. All major cities will have beautiful parks to sit in and enjoy the long days and warm nights of summer in Korea. I recommend exploring on foot and stopping in one when you stumble upon them. They often have great facilities, magnificent flowers, peaceful spots near flowing water, and provide some natural relief from the concrete jungle.
15: Rent A Bike And Go For A Ride
If you want to see the best parts of Seoul, or even other parts of Korea, then why not rent a bike? Bikes are a really convenient to get between places and avoid traffic congestion. There’s no better time to do this than during summer in Korea, when nature is abundant and the days are long and often sunny. It’s a great summer activity that gives you some exercise, let’s you move around quickly, and shows you some excellent parts of Seoul at the same time.
Visitors to Seoul will find many green areas to ride around, away from the noise and congestion of the city’s streets. I’d recommend heading to the Han River and following the river along the numerous cycle paths. There are bike rental options in most major cities, and they should have English instructions about how to rent them.
How To Rent A Bike In Seoul:
You can rent a bike from Seoul Bike in Seoul and there are hundreds of locations to rent and deposit bikes across the city. Prices start at 1,000 won ($1.00) for 2 hours, with an extra 30 minutes costing 1,000 won. You can see the location of bikes in Seoul to figure out where to hire one near you.
You’ll need access to a PC or mobile phone to purchase the ticket online, and your bike rental is available within 24 hours of buying the ticket. Once you’ve paid, you’ll get an 8 digit code, which you can use to unlock the bike. When you’ve finished riding, leave the bike at one of the designated areas and place the lock around the bike. If there are no spaces, you can use the supplementary lock on the bike to attach it to another bike already parked there. Make sure the lock is secured or else you’ll have to keep paying for the bike.
Free Bike Rental With The Discover Seoul Pass:
When you purchase a Discover Seoul Pass, not only do you get access to loads of attractions for free, you can also rent a bike for free. There are loads of great benefits of the Discover Seoul Pass that many people don’t even know about, besides the free entry to places. If you’re visiting Seoul during the Korean summer (or any time), I’d recommend checking out the Discover Seoul Pass to see what other savings you can get.
16: Go Camping Or Glamping
This is another of my favourite summer activities in Korea and one that is incredibly popular with Koreans. Korea has some incredible camping sites, especially in the major national parks scattered across the country. I don’t think a summer in Korea would be complete without a camping trip to the mountains, with a BBQ and beer in the open air at night. Camping by the beach is also really popular, with lots of great spots to camp all around the Korean coastline. If you don’t have your own tent, some places will let offer tent rental, so you can turn up, camp, and head off somewhere without all that heavy camping equipment.
Whilst tourists might not fancy the idea of spending a night or two in a canvas cupboard, exposed to the elements, there is some good news. Korea has embraced the glamping (glamourous-camping) movement and there are many great glamping spots throughout Korea. These are more permanent than a tent and usually come with a bed, living room, modern facilities, underfloor heating (not really needed during summer in Korea, but good for winter), and even private BBQ spots in some places. Again, you’ll usually find glamping sites in national parks or the coast. Embrace summer in Korea like a local and give it a try!
Find out more:
17: Make New Friends At A Rooftop Bar
The nights are long and warm during summer in Korea, making it the perfect time to check out some of Seoul’s awesome rooftop bars. Spread throughout the city, in some of the coolest districts like Hongdae, Gangnam, Itaewon, and Myeongdong, there are some sweet spots for watching the sunset and city lights at night. You’ll find plenty of locals and tourists mixing at these busy summer hotspots, with plenty of drinks, games, and conversation to keep you company.
In fact, if you want to make some Korean friends, or practice Korean, then this is a great for that. Work up some courage, make some new friends and create some unforgettable memories in Korea’s rooftop bars. And make sure you also spend some time enjoying the amazing views of Seoul, a city spread out over hills and mountains, and a city best seen at night.
If you want to spend the nights in Seoul’s rooftop bars, here are some places you might want to visit:
For those who want their night views in Seoul that are even more breathtaking, then I’d recommend visiting N Seoul Tower or the Seoul Sky Observatory at Lotte World Tower.
If you’re outside of Seoul, then you can still find loads of incredible places to drink and make friends up high. Look for the busy areas and tall buildings and you’ll probably see a few here and there. Rooftop bars often have giant inflatable moons (a recent trend in Korea), garden furniture, a good range of drinks, and lots of places to chill.
18: Rock Out At A Summer Music Festival
Korea is home to many awesome summer festivals, where you can learn about Korean culture, try delicious Korean foods, or simply enjoy Korea’s natural beauty. However, sometimes you want to just rock out with some of your favourite tunes on a hot Korean summer’s day. Fortunately, travellers spending summer in Korea have a whole load of fantastic summer music festivals available to them. Grab a mat, cold beer, and a nice spot in the sun, and get ready to rock.
The biggest draw for a lot of travellers to Korea will be K-pop concerts and you can find loads of these during summer in Korea, such as the Dream Concert. However, you’ll find a lot of other music festivals with big-name Korean and international artists, as well as some lesser-known acts you haven’t realised you love yet. From peaceful soul music at the Seoul Jazz Festival, to head-banging tunes at the Busan International Rock Festival, and fast electronic beats at Ultra Music Festival Korea, there’s so much good music to enjoy.
Here are some of the best summer music festivals you won’t want to miss.
K-Pop Summer Music Festivals In Korea:
Dream Concert – Seoul
Spectrum Dance & Music Festival – Seoul
Rock Summer Music Festivals In Korea:
Busan International Rock Festival – Busan
IT’S A FEST – Incheon
Pentaport Rock Festival – Incheon
Indie Summer Music Festivals In Korea::
GreenPlugged – Seoul
Grand Mint Festival – Seoul
Rainbow Island – Gapyeong
EDM Summer Music Festivals In Korea:
Seoul World DJ Festival – Seoul
Ultra Music Festival Korea – Seoul
5tardium – Seoul
EDC Korea – Seoul
Various Other Genre Summer Music Festivals In Korea:
Seoul Jazz Festival – Seoul
DMZ Peace Train Music Festival – Seoul
NBA Buzzer Beat Festival – Seoul
Rapbeat Fesitval – Seoul
SKA Superswag Festival – Incheon
Big Day South – Busan
19: Go Island Hopping On The South Coast
Korea has literally thousands of islands to explore along the south coast, including the world famous Jeju Island. I don’t think I’ve spent a summer in Korea where I haven’t been down to the south coast to go island hopping. There are so many great beaches, campsites, pensions by the shore, amazing BBQ restaurants, natural wonders to see, kind people to meet, and happy memories to make. This is like all the best summer activities in Korea rolled into one.
Some of the best places to visit on the south coast to go island hopping include Geoje, Yeosu, Tongyeong, Jindo, Wando, and Namhae. You’ll find loads of great Korean summer activities, such as water sports, hiking, camping, sharing BBQ together (indoors and outdoors), lounging around on the beach, boat tours, skyline luge (Tongyeong), canoeing / kayaking, and even visiting some K-drama filming sets (Wando). There’s also loads of great cafes to relax in along the coast, and those small, local Korean restaurants that always serve the best food!
The best way to spend summer in Korea on the south coast is island hopping from one of these main areas. You can visit so many small islands that are often undiscovered by tourists. It’s not as difficult as it sounds, too. I usually visit the local tourist office whenever I travel outside of the big cities and they often have English language tourist brochures for the area. If you have an international licence, renting a car and driving along the south coast is also an incredible way to see more of this stunning area.
The pictures above and below are from Geoje-do (Geoje Island) during summer in Korea, 2019. I stayed in a pension by the beach, went hiking and exploring by the day, watched the sunset at night from the beach, ate lots of fabulous food, and saw some breathtaking sights. I took a boat tour from Geoje-do to some of the other islands and explored those, too. There are so many to see!
20: Walk Around And Explore The Night Life
I’ve saved the simplest, and probably the most popular of all summer activities in Korea, until last. It’s also one of my favourite ways to spend the evenings in Seoul or other parts of Korea. The weather is warm (you can go around in a t-shirt all night long), and, as Korea has a strong 24-hour culture, there’s always somewhere to go or something to do. From 24-hour saunas (jjimjjilbang) and karaoke (noraebang), to all night cafes and night markets, you can have an incredible time exploring when the sun goes down.
There are often special night-time events in Seoul that you can only find during summer in Korea, such as special evening shows at Gyeongbokgung Palace, late-night cruises along the Han River, or live performances in outdoor spaces. Ask at your hotel or hostel if they know of any special night-time events going on that day.
In case you’re worried that walking around at night during summer in Korea might be dangerous, I can only say that I don’t think I’ve ever felt safer or more comfortable walking at night than I have in Korea. It’s truly one of the safest countries in the world for travellers. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful, but I’ve found most of the major areas in cities are well lit, safe, and there is very little danger around. Be careful when you’re in clubs and bars, as always.
Any More Awesome Summer Activities In Korea?
If you have any more suggestions about awesome ways to spend summer in Korea, please feel free to post a comment at the end of the post. Alternatively come join me in the Korea Travel Advice and Planning Facebook Group and share your ideas. I’d love to hear from you.
My Top Summer In Korea Travel Tips
I hope you’ve enjoyed my list of the best summer activities in Korea and how to make the most of this hot time. Here’s a few final summer in Korea survival tips that will help you make the most of this season, keep cool, and have an awesome time.
1: Dress down – I know you want to look good for those holiday pics, but the added layers will make a lot of difference. If you want to wear hanbok, then you’re going to have to suffer for it, sorry (it’s worth it). A t-shirt and shorts will be fine, with sandals to keep your feet cool.
2: Drink lots of water – Hydration is really important. Not just because you’ll feel sick if you don’t get enough liquids, but surviving summer in Korea is a lot easier when you’re cooling off with ice cold water. Try to drink as much water or juice as possible. Coffee will dehydrate you, so try to balance out the lattes with some refreshing water.
3: Buy a mini fan – you’ll hear these handheld fans buzzing wherever you are during summer in Korea. They’re cheap, fit in your pocket, and can be bought at markets, convenience stores, and places like that. Pick one up and keep yourself cool.
4: Escape the heat in a cafe or mall – find relief from the heat during your favourite summer activities in Korea by visiting a cafe or mall, where the air conditioning is usually so high that you’ll feel like it’s winter again! Basically anywhere indoors should have air conditioning blasting out, drying off the sweat and keeping you cool.
5: Eat all the ice cream – devouring lots of sugary treats might not be the best idea, health-wise, but it feels so good. It’s also the perfect way to cool down and sample some of Korea’s many interesting chilled treats. I recommend trying a goo-goo cone or maybe some corn ice cream if you’re brave enough.
6: Go out at night – the daytime in summer in Korea is hot, but the night is a lot cooler. Take a nap or break during the hottest part of the day and save your energy to explore Korea at night instead. Night-time is a lot more comfortable, there are lots of great summer activities to enjoy, and you won’t be sweating as much!
7: Stay safe from the sun – the sun can cause a lot of problems if you’re outside a lot. Remember to pack your sun cream, sunglasses, parasol, and anything else that will protect you. It’s very easy to get burnt at this time of year. You can buy all the essentials here in Korea in case you forget them.
8: Keep cool by the water – the coolest places to be during summer in Korea are by the water. In Seoul, that could be along the shores of the Han River or the Cheonggyecheon Stream. Outside of the big cities, head to the beaches and feel the cool breeze coming in from the water. If you can find a tree with cool shade, then even better.
There are many ways to keep cool during summer in Korea. Remember, if you feel too hot, or you’re worried about travelling with children, then get out of the sun and stay inside for a while. There are plenty of things to do in Seoul and other places when the weather is not good. If you want some ideas, check out my favourite 25 indoor activities in Seoul.
Summer In Korea FAQs
Finally, here’s a few FAQs about summer in Korea, in case the above information didn’t cover enough for you.
Is Korea hot in the summer?
Yes. Summer in Korea is hot and temperatures are usually over 30 degrees during the daytime and above 20 degrees even at night. Humidity is also high during the summer, which can make you feel even hotter. Temperatures can go above 35 degrees during the hottest periods of summer, which include July and August. June and September are cooler and dryer, but still have many hot days.
What is the hottest month in Korea?
August. The hottest month of the year is August and the average temperature at this time of year is around 30 degrees. However, it can get much hotter, with temperatures over 35 degrees on some days. July is also very hot and both months have high humidity.
What is summer like in Korea?
Summer in Korea is hot. However, there are also lots of amazing summer activities in Korea where you can enjoy the unique culture, the many beaches, and try lots of delicious Korean summer treats. Despite the difficult weather, many people enjoy the relatively cooler evenings and there are lots of fun night-time activities during summer, such as night hiking, street dining, rooftop bars, camping under the stars, late night concerts, and lots more.
Does it rain during summer in Korea?
Yes. Summer in Korea is the wettest period of the year and July and August have the highest rainfall. This makes the weather very humid and adds to the intensity of the heat, making it feel even hotter than it actually is. The rain isn’t constant and there are still many sunny days between short downpours.
Are there mosquitos in Korea in summer?
Yes, many. Sadly, summer is the time of year when mosquitos are most present. They are active from April until October each year, but summer is the worst time. Be prepared if you plan to travel to Korea during summer and bring mosquito repellent and a scarf to cover your face if you plan to go into the forest or mountains. Rivers and large areas of water generally attract more mosquitos as these are ideal breeding grounds for them.
Are there many beaches in Korea?
Yes! Korea is a peninsula surrounded by water on three sides. There are many incredible beaches to visit in Korea, as well as hundreds of islands along the south coast of Korea. Famous beaches in Korea include Haeundae Beach in Busan, Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung, and Sokcho Beach in Sokcho. These beaches will be very busy during summer in Korea, so get there early for the best spots.
Does Korea get typhoons in summer?
Yes. Summer in Korea (June – September) is also typhoon season. However, Korea doesn’t experience as many typhoons (nor as powerful) as areas in South East Asia or Japan. Although Korea doesn’t get as many strong typhoons, it still gets lots of rain during this season.
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