Where To See Autumn Leaves In Korea & Seoul 2020: Best Spots

Korea is a stunningly beautiful country any time of the year, but the best time to see it is during autumn. Seeing autumn leaves in Korea is an absolute must if you’re visiting during this season and you’d have trouble missing the brilliant displays. Dazzling reds, burning oranges, rich golds, and lush greens paint the forests and mountains of Korea’s countryside in waves of splendour. There are also dozens of places to see autumn leaves in Seoul, with pathways, parks, and palaces providing the perfect place to see fall foliage.

All this is why autumn is definitely the best time to visit Korea and a season where I can’t stay indoors. You’ve just got to go out and embrace the gorgeous Korean nature, it calls to you!

If you want to know where to see autumn leaves in Korea, then you’ve come to the right place. With more than 70% of the country covered in mountains and forests, there are so many places to see Korea’s fall foliage. Nothing can beat the magnificence of Jirisan National Park or Seoraksan National Park for the title of where to see the most incredible autumn leaves in Korea.

However, you don’t need to worry about getting dirty as you can see autumn leaves without even leaving the main tourist areas. Seoul’s stunning royal palaces, public parks, and many small mountains are just some of my favourite spots when I’m in the capital.

Make sure you don’t miss the chance to see some of the absolutely incredible fall foliage by figuring out the best places to visit that will make up part of your perfect itinerary for Korea.

In case you haven’t figured out where to go in Korea yet, I have some really detailed and easy to follow itineraries for Korea you’ll definitely want to check out:

Awesome One Week Itineraries For Korea

This guide will help you find out where the best places are to see autumn leaves in Korea. Furthermore, it’ll offer advice about when to travel to see the best autumn foliage, and how to get there.

Read on to find out more.

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Gingko tree autumn leaves in Korea and Seoul

My Favourite Places To See Autumn Leaves In Korea

I love seeing autumn leaves in Korea during the gentle fall weather. After months of hot weather during summer in Korea, it’s time to enjoy a cool breeze and see the real majesty of Korean nature in its final throes.

I’m a keen hiker and with Korea being 70% mountainous, there are countless places to choose from to see the stunning autumn colours that are on display. However, if I had to choose just 3, these would be my favourite places to see autumn leaves in Korea.

1: Jirisan National Park – Korea’s biggest national park is definitely the best place to see autumn leaves in Korea thanks to its diverse foliage, which includes incredibly colourful maple trees. This park has something for everyone and offers gentle strolls through tree-lined trekking paths, as well as arduous journeys to its many peaks to gaze down on the oceans of colour below.

2: Changdeokgung Palace In Seoul – A must see spot for autumn leaves in Seoul. Not only does this historic attraction offer a glimpse of traditional Korea, it’s also packed full of leafy trees that shower the palace grounds with golden leaves. See the fall foliage atop the curved palace rooftops, or scattered along the pathway, offering up plenty of places to take memorable pictures wearing traditional Korean hanbok.

3: Daedunsan Provincial Park – I have to choose this one not only as it’s close to where I live in Korea, but also because there is a whole load to see and experience during autumn at this small mountain. A great place to visit anytime of year, Daedunsan has several scenic spots to view the splendour of autumn from, including the ‘cloud bridge’ high in the mountains, a cable car, and a terror-inducing suspension bridge with a large drop below.

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Autumn Leaves in Korea

When To Visit Korea For Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves in Korea come out from the end of September and last until early November. The autumn leaves start to appear from the north in late September, arriving in Seoul by the start of October. They spread down through the country throughout October and reach their peak on Jeju Island by the start of November.

You can still see autumn leaves in many places in late October and even early November, although mostly on the ground by that time. Not to worry, they’re just as beautiful as a golden blanket, especially the sun-like yellow leaves you’ll find in places like the Asan Gingko Tree Road.

If you’re travelling to Japan, these dates also apply there as Japan has a similar climate and many incredible fall foliage spots. If you’re travelling to both countries, you might find this 2 week Japan itinerary for autumn useful.

To find out more details about when and where to see autumn leaves in Korea, here is the fall foliage forecast for Korea.

Please note: The actual autumn leaves forecast is not available just yet. I will update this ASAP when the latest forecasts are out. The 2019 forecast should provide an adequate guide for the best times to visit each place.

Korea’s Autumn Leaves Forecast 2020

The picture below shows you when to see autumn leaves in Korea for the major national parks across the country. You can find Seoul below Bukhansan Mountain and Busan is near Gayasan Mountain. The two dates represent the time the first leaves appear in that area, with the second date being the peak time to see them.

Remember, autumn leaves tend to stay around for a while and you can still see them up to one or two weeks after the peak forecast. Actually, sometimes the best time to see autumn leaves in Korea is after the peak.

Autumn Leave Forecast For South Korea 2019

Here’s a quick summary of the Korean autumn leaves forecast dates for 2020:

Seoul Autumn Leaves Forecast 2020:

Start: October 14th
Peak: October 29th

Seoraksan Autumn Leaves Forecast 2020:

Start: September 27th
Peak: October 16th

Gyeryongsan Autumn Leaves Forecast 2020:

Start: October 17th
Peak: October 27th

Jirisan Autumn Leaves Forecast 2020:

Start: October 11th
Peak: October 22nd

Jeju Island Autumn Leaves Forecast 2020:

Start: October 15th
Peak: October 30th

You can see autumn leaves for about 3-4 weeks in each place and you can still see them in November. Some of the pictures in this article are from November and if you’re travelling early in this month you can see some incredible sights.

Visiting Korea In Other Seasons

Korea is an amazing country to visit any time of year and undoubtedly has four very distinct seasons with lots of other activities, sights, foods, and festivals waiting for you in each one.

Therefore, don’t forget to check out my other awesome seasonal guides for Korea to make sure you’re getting the most out of your trip to Korea whenever you travel.

Cherry Blossoms In Korea

20 Awesome Summer Activities In Korea

Where To See Snow In Seoul & Korea

Winter In Korea Guide

Now it’s time to discover where to see autumn leaves in Seoul, including some amazing tourist attractions that you’ll definitely want to include on your South Korea Bucket List.

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Namsan Mountain and N Seoul Tower with autumn leaves in Korea

Where To See Autumn Leaves In Seoul & Nearby

You don’t have to travel far from Seoul to see beautiful autumn leaves in Korea. You’ll see them while doing regular sightseeing, such as at the N Seoul Tower or Seoul’s major palaces. Furthermore, great sights are only a short trip from the capital and well worth the travel.

The best time to see autumn leaves in Seoul is from mid – late October and if you have a trip planned for this time, then you’ll be in for a colourful treat.

1: Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower)

Starting this list of places to see autumn leaves in Seoul is the unmissable N Seoul Tower in the heart of Seoul. This is a great place to hike and see autumn leaves on those cool autumn days. The walk up to the N Seoul Tower takes about an hour and during that time you can pass by lots of big, leafy trees. You can hike from south of Myeongdong Station all the way to the top.

For those who want an easier trip to the top, why not ride the Namsan Cable Car? Ride up and back again and enjoy all the beautiful views across the city on your way. Once you’re at the peak, be sure to check out the other great sights of the N Seoul Tower, including the love locks, traditional Korean pagoda, and the observation tower, which gives you fascinating 360 degree views of Seoul.

Joel’s Tip: Save money at the N Seoul Tower by booking discounted entry tickets online.

How To Get To N Seoul Tower:

Take the Namsan Cable Car from Myeongdong to the peak. Head out of Exit 3 from Myeongdong Station and walk towards the cable car station up the hill. Return tickets cost 9,500 KRW for adults and 6,500 KRW for children. The cable car runs from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm every day.

The Namsan Cable Car

There are also two shuttle buses that will take you to the N Seoul Tower. These are hop-on hop-off buses that also cover many of central Seoul’s top sights. Bus numbers 2 & 4 go to the N Seoul Tower.

The N Seoul Tower Shuttle Bus

2: Seoul Forest Park

Seoul Forest is a lovely place to wander around any time of year, even more so during autumn. With sycamore trees producing leaves the size of dinner plates and bigger, you’ll find some unique autumn foliage here. As well as autumn leaves, you will also find a petting zoo, deer, playgrounds and lots more. A great place for families.

There are four sections to this park, including the Culture & Art Park, Educational Experience Park, Eco-forest Park, and Riverside Park along the Hangang River. If you’re in the area, be sure to check out the nearby Under Stand Avenue – a collection of old shipping containers that have been turned into artsy shops, cafes, and galleries.

How To Get To Seoul Forest Park:

You can gain access to the park from Seoul Forest Station (Bundang Line – orange). You’ll see signs for the park as you exit. Under Stand Avenue is on the opposite side of the station and there are some small galleries and cafes to the north.

Autumn leaves at the Secret Garden in Seoul

3: Secret Garden (Inside Changdeokgung Palace)

Located inside Changedeokgung Palace (one of Seoul’s top palaces) is the Secret Garden. This stunning garden showcases some of the finest fall foliage in the city. There’s a beautiful pond where you can see the golden autumn leaves reflected in the water.

Entry to the garden is limited each day, therefore get there early to book tickets and avoid disappointment. Furthermore, why not try wearing hanbok to really set the mood for some great pictures.

How To Get To The Secret Garden:

The Secret Garden is located inside Changedeokgung Palace. To get to the palace, head to Anguk Station (Line 3 – orange) and walk east from Exit 2.

4: Gwanaksan Mountain

Located in the heart of the downtown Seoul area, close to Seoul National University, is Gwanaksan Mountain. This popular hiking area provides peaceful tree-lined streets and leaves you with a view overlooking the modern Gangnam area.

It’s a great site and, above all, it’ll give you a chance to hike without leaving the city. Take some time out to visit Yeonjuam Hermitage, a temple located on the side of the mountain.

How To Get To Gwanaksan Mountain:

The easiest way to get to Gwanaksan Mountain is from Gwacheon Station (Line 4 – light blue). For a complete guide to hiking Gwanaksan Mountain check out this guide.

5: Bukhansan National Park

Bukhansan National Park is much larger than Gwanaksan Mountain and therefore provides even better options for hiking. There are several routes for hiking the mountain, with each one providing stunning views of northern Seoul and autumn’s splendour.

Hikes will take the best part of 3-5 hours to get to the top and back. The weather is cool at this time of year, so it’s not too strenuous. If you’re only staying in Seoul, then this is probably the best place to see autumn leaves in Korea.

How To Get To Bukhansan National Park:

There are multiple paths through Bukhansan National Park. The most common method is to take a subway to Gupabal Station (Line 3 – orange) and go out Exit 1. Then take Bus 704 for Bukhansan-seong Fortress and get off at the Bukhansan Park Entrance bus stop.

For more details about hiking Bukhansan Mountain, as well as alternative ways to get there, check out this guide.

Lines of autumn trees at Nami Island in Korea

6: Nami Island

Nami Island is famed for its natural beauty all year round, but even more so in autumn. With tree-lined streets of giant metasequoia and golden gingkos, this is one of the most pleasant places to see autumn leaves in Korea.

Known as a family-friendly eco-park, as well as a romantic day-trip spot, there’s something for everyone here. You can combine a day trip to Nami Island with the Garden of Morning Calm for a perfect day of fall foliage viewing.

How To Get To Nami Island:

You can get to Nami Island by public transport by taking a train to Cheongpyeong Station or Cheongpyeong Terminal and then taking the free shuttle bus. Alternatively, you can take a tour from Seoul which also includes nearby attractions, including Petite France, Garden of Morning Calm, and the Gangchon Rail Bike.

Guide To Public Transport Options

Day Tours For Nami Island

Red fall foliage at the Garden of Morning Calm, Korea

7: Garden Of Morning Calm

Located close to Nami Island, this sculptured garden provides dozens of pathways through hundreds of beautiful plants, trees, and bushes. The Garden of Morning Calm also holds regular flower festivals throughout the year.

This includes the gorgeous Maple Tree Festival. The maple tree is the definitive tree for autumn as its leaves fade from green to gold to deep red, often at the same time.

Strolling through this area provides dozens of opportunities to get close to nature, and take some amazing pictures, too. Coupled with Nami Island, this makes for a great day trip out of Seoul and a chance to really see a beautiful, natural side of Korea.

How To Get To The Garden of Morning Calm:

You can get to the Garden of Morning Calm by public transport by taking a train to Cheongpyeong Station or Cheongpyeong Terminal and then taking the free shuttle bus. Alternatively, you can take a tour from Seoul which also includes nearby attractions, including Petite France, Nami Island, and the Gangchon Rail Bike.

Guide To Public Transport Options

Day Tours For The Garden Of Morning Calm

Asan Gingko Tree Road in Korea

8: Asan Gingko Tree Road

There are two trees that are perfect for seeing autumn leaves in Korea, they are the maple and gingko. The Asan Gingko Tree Road specialises in the latter and is the best place to see this gorgeous golden cascade of colours. Imgaine yourself strolling down the beautiful, tree-lined streets of Asan Gingko Tree Road, with a carpet of golden leaves below, and lemony clouds above.

Gingko trees are famous for their copious leaves and creating a golden carpet all around. In short, it really is magical and worth the trip. The best time to see these trees is around the end of October or start of November.

How To Get To Asan Gingko Tree Road:

To get to Asan Gingko Tree Road, take the KTX from Seoul Station (40 minutes) or on Subway Line 1 (over 2 hours) to Asan Station, then take a taxi to Asan Gingko Tree Road (oonheng namu gil – 은행나무길).

Hotels Near Asan Gingko Tree Road

A bridge of autumn leaves in Korea's national parks

Where To See Autumn Leaves In Korea’s National Parks

Korea is blessed with a large number of national parks spreading from the northern border all the way down to Jeju Island in the south. Furthermore, the timing of the autumn leaves arriving is spread out over several weeks, giving a long window to catch them whenever you arrive.

This list starts with Seoraksan National Park, the northernmost park on the list. After that, each park is further south, ending with Hallsan National Park on Jeju Island. Subsequently, times to see the leaves are estimates and may change with the climate for the year.

By the way, if you’re a fan of nature like me, you’ll probably be interested in these facts about Korean nature.

Autumn leaves at Seoraksan National Park in Korea

9: Seoraksan National Park: Early – Mid October

A great day trip from Seoul, Seoraksan is one of the most convenient national parks to see beautiful fall foliage. Situated near the northeastern coast, this is also one of the first places to see the autumn leaves in Korea.

This national park is packed full with stunning rocky peaks, the most important Buddhist temple in Korea, and plenty of ways to explore it all. There’s a large range of trails for all levels and seeing it all from the bottom is worth the trip alone.

If you want to explore the mountain range without getting too sweaty, then take the Seorak Cable Car. Local guides can help you navigate through the park and will point out all the beauty and wonders that can be found here.

Joel’s Tip: During peak autumn leaves season this is one of the most crowded places in Korea. Definitely try to visit during the week and the earlier you arrive, the better. When you’re there, be sure to try some fresh pajeon and makgeolli, it’s my favourite when visiting the mountains.

How To Get To Seoraksan National Park:

The easiest way to get to Seoraksan National Park is definitely with a guided tour. However, if you can brave the long journey, or if you’re staying in Gangneung or Sokcho on the eastern coast, you can get there by public transport.

In Seoul, head to Gangbyeon Station (Line 2 – green) and go out of Exit 3 or 4. Look for the Dong-Seoul Bus Terminal and take a bus to Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal (3 hours).

From Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal take Bus 7 or 7-1 to Seoraksan National Park. If you’re in Gangneung, head to Sokcho first and transfer there.

Find out more about how to travel to Seoraksan.

Hotels Near Seoraksan National Park

10: Odaesan National Park: Early – Mid October

Odaesan National Park is great for those who want an easier experience but with all the stunning autumn views you’d expect from a national park. What makes this special is the 10 km path from the entrance of the park to the hiking path.

This route, known as Seonjae-gil Road, is a ‘peaceful breath of fresh air, a place for meditation and reconnecting with nature’. The start location – Woljeongsa Temple – also includes another treat, a fir tree lined street. Fans of K-drama may recognise it from the hit show ‘Goblin: The Great and Lonely God’.

Joel’s Tip: I loved visiting Odaesan National Park and I think it’s one of the easier places to visit for autumn leaves in terms of physical demands. Woljeongsa Temple and the Seonjae-gil Road are lovely places to visit and you can see gorgeous views without having to hike to the top or a mountain.

How To Get To Odaesan National Park:

In Seoul, head to Gangbyeon Station (Line 2 – green) and go out of Exit 3 or 4. Look for the Dong-Seoul Bus Terminal and take a bus to Jinbu Bus Terminal (2 hours).

From Jinbu Bus Terminal you can take a bus to the Minbak Village (Woljeongsa Stop) or take a bus to the Sangwonsa Temple Bus Stop. Alternatively, take a taxi straight to the park entrance, which will cost about 30,000 KRW.

Find out more about how to travel to Odaesan.

Hotels Near Odaesan National Park

11: Gyeryeongsan National Park: Mid – Late October

This is located next to the city that I live in, Daejeon. Therefore, I know that the leaves here are some of the best and this is one of the best mountain ranges in Korea. For those who don’t want to hike, you can explore the beautiful surroundings of Donghaksa Temple and the river.

There are multiple paths up into the rocky mountain tops, offering views over this small national park. The hike to the top only takes a couple of hours. Furthermore, you’ll pass by Buddhist temples, pagodas, a waterfall, and plenty of autumn leaves. Sample some delicious Korean pancake (pajeon) and rice wine (makgeolli) after you hike, just like the locals.

Joel’s Tip: The path to Donghaksa is a long road and has loads of great views along the way, including the temple itself. If you’re not up for hiking in the mountains, you can still enjoy Gyeryongsan from here and make your way to the waterfall without much strenuous exercise.

How To Get To Gyeryongsan National Park:

Located close to Daejeon, the easiest way to get to Gyeryongsan National Park is by taking Bus 107 from the city centre. This goes directly to the entrance of the national park. Taxis will cost around 15,000 KRW from central Daejeon.

Travellers from Seoul and Busan can get to Daejeon on the main KTX trainline that runs between the two cities.

Find out more about Gyeryongsan and hiking options.

Hotels In Daejeon

Fall leaves at Daedunsan Provincial Park in Korea

12: Daedunsan Provincial Park: Mid – Late October

Another favourite of mine located south of Daejeon is the Daedunsan Provincial Park. Although not as big as Gyeryongsan, this park is probably the better of the two places to find autumn foliage. Indeed, it might be one of the best places to see autumn leaves in Korea.

What makes Daedunsan Mountain so well known is the unique path to the top. You can skip most of the hike by taking the cable car, then braving the elements as you walk over the Geumgang Gureum Suspension Bridge.

The best part yet is just before the peak, where you can climb a near vertical ladder over a sheer drop to another peak. Known as the Cloud Bridge, this is not for faint-hearted people, but provides amazing views.

I hike here every autumn to see the fall foliage and every time its breathtaking. Therefore, I’d definitely recommend it if you’re passing through Daejeon.

How To Get To Daedunsan Provincial Park:

Located close to Daejeon, you can access Daedunsan Provincial Park by public transport from Seobu Bus Terminal in southern Daejeon. Take Bus 34 to the Daedunsan Rest Stop, then walk 10 minutes down the road to get to the park entrance. You’ll see a cable car running up the side of the mountain. If in doubt, head for that.

Hotels In Daejeon

See the sights at Naejangsan National Park in Korea

13: Naejangsan National Park: Late October – Mid November

Rated as the best place to see autumn leaves in Korea, Naejeangsan National Park is a long way from Seoul, but well worth the trip. Naejang, meaning ‘many secrets’, is packed full of delightful presents. These include the stunning green to red colours of the many maple trees, as well as the iconic Uhwajeong Pavilion.

The Uhwajeong Pavilion is located inside a crystalline lake which reflects the warm foliage magnificently. Besides this, you will also find several waterfalls, wonderful Buddhist temples, and hundreds of different plants and animals.

How To Get To Naejangsan National Park:

The best way to get to Naejangsan is by booking a day trip from Seoul.

Alternatively, take the KTX from Seoul Station to Jeongeup Station and transfer to a local bus for Naejangsan National Park. The KTX train only departs a few times per day and during peak autumn leaves season you’ll definitely need to book tickets in advance. You can book KTX tickets from the LetsKorail website.

Find out more about getting to Naejangsan and exploring the area.

Hotels Near Naejangsan National Park

Colourful maple leaves make Korea's fall foliage so beautiful

14: Jirisan National Park: Early – Late October

The largest national park in Korea is also one of the best at this time of the year. The first place I went hiking, Jirisan quickly became one my favourite places to hike. You won’t be disappointed here. Packed full of maple trees and other fall foliage, Jirisan National Park is great for all levels of hikers & trekkers.

There are many easy courses that anyone can walk, including a 16-stage loop all around the national park. Nature lovers can see lots of wild animals, including the last 50 or so remaining Asiatic black bears in Korea. Also there are deer, wild boars, and plenty of squirrels, and, of course, the autumn leaves.

You can book lodges to stay overnight on the mountain, which will allow you to do a sunrise hike to the highest peak in the mountains and see some breathtaking sights over the park. However, it will be extremely busy during autumn so it’s best to reserve lodges as early as possible.

There are also lodges lower down in the mountain which can be used as a stopping point between day hikes / treks.

How To Get To Jirisan National Park:

Jirisan is best accessed from Busan or other southern cities, or by car from Seoul.

For public transport options, head to Seobu Terminal in Busan and take buses heading for Ssanggyesa, Jungsan-ri, or Gurye. You can also access one of the many entrances to Jirisan from cities such as Jeonju, Gwangju, Daegu, and Daejeon.

I personally travel from Daejeon and there are several early morning buses that depart from the Bokhap Terminal in eastern Daejeon. If you’re staying in Daejeon, this is the best way to get to Jirisan National Park.

Find out more about how to get to Jirisan.

Hotels Near Jirisan National Park

15: Hallasan National Park – Jeju: Mid October – Early November

Hallasan Volcano, rising up out of the ocean to create Jeju Island, provides an incredible hiking experience. This is also one of the last places to see the autumn leaves in Korea as the cold weather makes its way down through Korea, touching Jeju Island less severely than other places before winter in Korea sets in.

Don’t worry, though, you won’t have to climb the highest mountain in Korea to see the fall foliage. Shorter routes around the base of the mountain will give you great views of autumn’s splendour. These include Eorimok Trail and the Yeongsil Trail. The various paths and the time and distance for each one are as follows:

1: Gwaneumsa Trail: 8.7km (one-way) and 8-10 hours total hike

2: Seongpanak Trail: 9.6km (one-way) and 7-9 hours total hike

3: Eorimok Trail: 4.7km (one-way) and 2.5 hours return hike

4: Yeongsil Trail: 3.7km (one-way) and 2 hours return

Wherever you go, however, make sure to start hiking early as the trails start turning people away after 12.30 pm.

How To Get To Hallasan National Park:

There are 4 different paths to climb in Hallasan National Park and they can all be accessed by taxi or public transport from either Jeju City, Jeju Airport, or Seogwipo City (southern side of Jeju Island).

For full details about which bus to take, and where to climb, check out this guide to climbing Hallasan.

Hotels In Jeju City For Hallasan National Park

Map Locations Of The Best Fall Foliage Spots

Use the map below to help you plan where to see autumn leaves in Korea.

Map of Where To See Autumn Leaves In Korea

Please note: you’ll need to use Google Maps to open this map.

One of the gigantic autumn leaves you can find in Korea

Guide To Seeing Autumn Leaves In Korea

I want to provide more than just a guide to where to see autumn leaves in Korea. I want to explain why you should see visit Korea during autumn and how to enjoy your time there.

Why Autumn Is The Best Season To Visit Korea

I love living in Korea but there are definitely good and bad times to be travelling in this country. Summer is hot and winter is cold. Spring is a wonderful time to travel, but the best time is definitely autumn. That’s why I always recommend travelling at this time if you can.

There is an abundance of natural beauty after the rainy season in July and nature gives one final spectacular show as it starts to die off. The colours of the ginkgo and maple trees are incredible – deep golds, bold reds, fiery oranges. Also, this is the time to catch the tall pampas grass (reeds) blowing in the wind along the rivers and atop the hills.

However, if you can’t make it in autumn, or want to see Korea in other seasons, too. Then be sure to check out my other seasonal guides for Korea to get some inspiration.

Spring Festivals In Korea

Cherry Blossoms In Korea

Summer In Korea Guide

Winter In Korea Guide

Festivals In Korea (All Year Round)

How To See The Autumn Leaves In Korea

You can see autumn foliage wherever you go in Korea, but to get the best views you might want to get out of the big cities and head to the national parks.

This can be difficult as a tourist who doesn’t speak the local language or know their way around. Therefore, I’ve listed four tips that will help you figure out how best to see the autumn leaves in Korea.

1: Book A Tour

There are many tour operators in Korea that will provide tours from Seoul or other cities to the many national parks. One day tours can be popular at this time of the year, so it’s best to book in advance.

2: Join A Hiking Group

Unsure about how to hike the paths alone, why not join the Seoul Hiking & Nature Group? This group is run for all people who want to experience hiking in Korea. The leader of this group speaks good English and organises regular hikes in Seoul and other areas.

From one day hikes to weekends away in the mountains, you should find something to suit your timetable. It’s also a great way to meet other locals, expats, and tourists with a passion for hiking.

3: Book A Temple Stay

Imagine waking up with the sunrise, joining in with buddhist ceremonies, and then going hiking in the cool morning through a national park. This is the kind of unbelievable experience you can get with a Korean Buddhist Temple Stay in Korea. I’ve done this twice now and each time was amazing.

The Temples are mostly situated in national parks and give you a chance to stay overnight in the most idyllic of settings. Learn about Korean Buddhism, experience life as a monk, and see incredible autumn foliage at the same time.

If you’d like to know more about doing a temple stay in Korea, then be sure to check out my detailed guide:

Complete Guide To Doing A Temple Stay In Korea

4: Get There With Public Transport

Hiking is something of a national pastime in Korea and that means that transport options to the best spots are plentiful. Not only that, Korea has a great public transport system and getting around the country, even as a tourist, is not that hard.

Transport and Map applications (Google Maps, Naver Maps, or Kakao Maps) make it easy to navigate your way around without speaking too much Korean. Furthermore, some of the best places to visit are within big cities like Seoul and have subway access.

If you’re worried about being able to get around in Korea without speaking Korean, I’d highly recommend checking out these essential Korean phrases for travellers, including 10 really useful phrases for tranportation.

Essential Korean Phrases For Travellers

I’ve tried to include directions to as many of these incredible places where you can see autumn leaves in Korea to help you get there. However, if you have any other questions, or need more information, please don’t hesitate to ask in the Korea Travel Advice & Planning Facebook group.

Where To Stay In Seoul and Korea

Where To Stay To See Autumn Leaves In Korea

If you want to know where to see autumn leaves in Korea, the answer is simple – everywhere. Where to stay to see them, however, is a bit more difficult. Staying near the national parks can offer some incredible sights and experiences (like late night BBQ parties), but you probably wouldn’t want to spend your whole time in Korea there. You’ll probably be doing a lot more than just seeing the fall foliage, so central locations for other sights are best.

Therefore, here are some of my recommendations for great places to stay in Seoul and Busan. These areas are great for getting around, and as starting places for tours to other parts of the country and for the national parks.

Where To Stay In Seoul

Here’s a few hotel recommendations for two of the best areas to stay in Seoul for first time visitors or seasoned regulars. They offer a glimpse into modern Seoul and are conveniently located with subway links to other popular areas.

Myeongdong:
This is a great location in the heart of Seoul that has many markets, shops, restaurants, and fun places to check out. It’s also close to some of Seoul’s best attractions, including N Seoul Tower and the royal palaces.

Budget Travellers:
Myeongdong K Stay 2

Families & Couples:
L7 Myeongdong by LOTTE

Luxury Travellers:
Lotte Hotel Seoul

Gangnam:
The luxurious district you probably know thanks to PSY’s Gangnam Style. There’s plenty to see and do in Gangnam, including the COEX Mall & Aquarium, Bongeunsa Temple, K Star Road, and lots of shopping.

Budget Travellers:
Myeongdong Rooftop Hostel

Families & Couples:
Mercure Ambassador Seoul Gangnam Sodowe

Luxury Travellers:
Park Hyatt Seoul

For a more detailed breakdown of Seoul’s best neighbourhoods, be sure to check out my detailed guide about accommodation in the city, with loads of travel tips, recommendations, and ideas.

Where To Stay In Seoul Guide

Where To Stay In Busan

Here’s a few hotel recommendations for two of the best areas to stay in Busan for first time visitors or seasoned regulars. Whether you’re looking for beautiful beaches, or a bustling downtown area, these areas have you covered.

Haeundae:
The hot place to go in Busan. Gorgeous beaches and great bars and nightlife, as well as traditional markets and cosy cafes. Dalmaji-gil Road in Haeundae has some great views.

Budget Travellers:
Toyoko Inn Haeundae No. 2

Families & Couples:
Arban Hotel

Luxury Travellers:
Paradise Hotel Busan

Seomyeon:
The heart of inner Busan. Away from the coast, but conveniently located with access to two of the main subway lines. No shortage of good bars, restaurants, and places to shop here. Good for getting almost anywhere else in the city.

Budget Travellers:
Uniqstay Bed & Breakfast

Families & Couples:
Arban Hotel

Luxury Travellers:
Lotte Hotel Busan

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Seeing Autumn Leaves In Korea FAQs

Finally, here’s a few FAQs about where to see autumn leaves in Korea or Seoul, in case the above information didn’t cover enough for you.

Where can I see autumn leaves in Korea?

Korea’s National Parks
The best places to see autumn leaves in Korea are without a doubt in Korea’s national parks. There are national parks spread across the country, as well as dozens of smaller areas of natural beauty where you can see fall foliage. The top 3 spots for seeing autumn leaves in Korea are Jirisan National Park, Seoraksan National Park, and Daedunsan Provincial Park. Asan Gingko Tree Road is also a very popular tourist attraction during this season.

Where can I see autumn leaves in Seoul?

Changdeokgung Palace & many parks
You can find autumn leaves in Seoul very easily as there are many green areas throughout the city. Some of the most popular spots are in the royal palaces in the heart of Seoul, especially Changdeokgung Palace. Seoul has many other places to experience fall foliage, including Seoul Zoo, Seoul Forest, along the banks of the Han River, and Namsan Tower.

What is there to do in Seoul in Autumn?

Autumn Festivals & Fall Foliage Spotting
There are many autumn festivals in Seoul that coincide with the major holiday of the season, which is called Chuseok in Korea. When the autumn leaves appear, many people go hiking in national parks and walking in nature. Autumn is cool and has low levels of pollution, making it a great time to get outside and enjoy nature’s blessings. The evenings are still warm in early autumn, so many people in Seoul visit night markets in various locations, too.

What should I wear to see autumn leaves in Korea?

A jacket and good shoes
Autumn leaves start falling in late September and the weather cools significantly after the hot summer. You’ll need at least a light jacket and something appropriate to cover your legs and arms. If you want to see autumn leaves in Seoul, you should be fine with regular shoes for walking around a city. However, if you want to see Korea’s fall foliage in the national parks, then you should wear training or hiking shoes that are comfortable in rough terrain.

How cold is autumn in Korea?

10-20 degrees Celsius (depending on the month)
Autumn in Korea starts in September and is still warm and humid. However, the temperature drops quickly and by mid-October it can be windy and cold enough for a jacket. By November the temperature drops further and starts to get below zero as Korea approaches winter. During peak autumn season time (October), temperatures are around 10-15 degrees Celsius during the day. There can be typhoons during this season, so be careful as there can be strong winds and heavy rains for brief periods. Otherwise, the weather is mostly calm and sunny.

When can I see autumn leaves in Seoul?

October
The best time to see autumn leaves in Seoul is around mid-October as the trees start to change colour. The autumn leaves in Seoul should stay for several weeks and reach their peak around the end of October. Places close to Seoul, such as Seoraksan National Park, usually peak before Seoul. If you’re visiting Korea in September or early-October, this is one of the earliest places to see fall foliage in Korea.

When can I see Autumn Leaves In Korea?

Late-September to early-November.
Autumn leaves in Korea first appear at the end of September in the north-east of Korea, before moving down through the country and reaching Jeju Island around mid-October. The start date is not the same as the peak date, which is when the autumn leaves will be most colourful. If you want the best views of autumn leaves in Korea, then arrive 2 weeks after the start of the change. For Seoul, that’s around mid-October. Further south in Korea, including Jirisan National Park and Jeju Island, that’s towards the end of October.

Can I see autumn leaves in Korea during November?

Yes, in certain places.
The autumn leaves in Seoul and in the northern part of Korea typically end in October, but there are still many places to see autumn leaves in Korea in November. There are several national parks in the south of the country, including the awesome Jirisan National Park, Naejangsang National Park, and Hallasan National Park on Jeju Island. These should all still have autumn leaves on their trees by early-mid November. The last time you’ll see autumn leaves in Korea is the middle of November. After that, the weather drops quickly and winter in Korea begins.

You Might Also Like:

Here are some other great articles that you might want to read about travelling in Korea. Remember, if you have any questions about anything, please feel free to post a comment or join the Korea Travel Advice Facebook Group.

8 thoughts on “Where To See Autumn Leaves In Korea & Seoul 2020: Best Spots”

  1. Hello Joel,
    Superb article with awesome pics! I wish I have read it earlier, I would have booked a trip to Seoul for this month. Is there any chance to see foliage in mid-November somewhere in S-Korea? Or I need to wait a year 🙁
    Thanks for sharing all the useful infos! Kriszta.

    Reply
    • Hi, thanks for the comment 🙂

      You should still be able to see a little bit of foliage on the trees, but it’s starting to fall off now. I’d recommend heading to Jeju Island or Busan for the best chance to see the leaves still on the tree. Jirisan National Park is also a good place to visit.

      If you’re in Seoul, check out Changgyeonggung Palace. I was there mid-November last year and it was still so incredible to see.

      Even if the leaves are on the ground, they’re still very beautiful, especially the ginkgo leaves which create a beautiful golden carpet around the tree.

      Reply
  2. South Korea s compact size and extensive system of public transportation makes it super easy to bask in the glory of the South Korea fall during weekend trips. Coming from the summer beach paradise of Jeju Island, we sought a mainland getaway to fully appreciate the South Korea fall colors. W e combined our weekend Daedunsan Mountain and Cloud Bridge visit with a one-day visit to Seoul, where we visited the palace of Changdeokgung and its famed Secret Garden to enjoy its South Korea fall colors. I have to admit, with all the autumn travel in South Korea we did during our time living there, Daedunsan was probably my favorite autumn travel destination out of all of them.

    Reply

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