Autumn in Korea | 48 Exceptional Places to See Breathtaking Fall Foliage in 2023
Spanning the months of September, October, and November, autumn in Korea is the most magnificent of the country’s seasons. This is the time of year when you can count on brilliant blue skies, incredibly comfortable weather, and a country bursting with every spectacular shade of orange, yellow, red, (and pink!) imaginable.
In this guide to autumn in South Korea, you’ll learn about:
- the autumn forecast and the best time to see peak fall foliage in Korea
- the best national parks, cities, cafes, and places to see in Korea in autumn
- the weather in Korea in the months of September, October, and November
- what to wear to be comfortable each month
- the tastiest things to eat in the autumn season
In this guide
- 1 When is Autumn in Korea?
- 2 Planning a trip to Korea?
- 3 Autumn in Korea | Weather Month by Month
- 4 Autumn in Korea | Fall Foliage Forecast 2023
- 5 My 6 Favourite Fall Foliage Spots in Korea
- 6 Just Released | Limited Edition Autumn Tours
- 7 Best Places to Visit in Korea during Autumn
- 8 Autumn in Korea | Seoul
- 8.1 Bukhansan National Park | 북한산국립공원
- 8.2 Haneul (Sky) Park | 하늘공원
- 8.3 Other Autumn Hotspots in Seoul
- 9 Autumn in Korea | Best Cafes for Fall Foliage
- 10 Autumn in Korea | Gyeonggi-do
- 11 Autumn in Korea | Gangwon-do
- 11.1 Seoraksan National Park | 설악산 국립공원
- 11.2 Naksansa | 낙산사
- 11.3 Odaesan National Park | 오대산국립공원
- 11.4 Wondae-ri Birch Forest | 원대리 자작나무 숲
- 11.5 Museum SAN | 뮤지엄 산
- 11.6 Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge | 소금산출렁다리
- 11.7 Ginkgo Tree of Bangye-ri, Wonju | 원주 반계리 은행나무
- 11.8 Hongcheon Ginkgo Forest | 홍천 은행나무숲
- 11.9 Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm | 대관령 양떼 목장
- 12 Autumn in Korea | Gyeongsang-do
- 13 Autumn in Korea | Jeolla-do
- 14 Autumn in Korea | Chungcheon-do
- 15 Autumn In Korea | Best Foods to Eat
- 16 What to Wear in Korea in Autumn
When is Autumn in Korea?
Autumn in Korea lasts for approximately 3 months. It starts in September, and continues through October and November, with the autumn leaves gradually changing colour over the final 2 months.
By the end of November, autumn in South Korea is well and truly over. All of the autumn leaves have fallen from their limbs and it’s time to prepare for a frosty winter and snowfall on the peninsula.
The good news though, is that this gorgeous metamorphosis of leaves is a gradual process that happens over a few months. There’s a big window of time to catch this colourful show during autumn in Korea.
However, if you’re looking for the absolute peak of autumn foliage, I recommend planning a trip to South Korea for sometime between mid-October and mid-November.
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Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours
Day Tours and Discounted Admission Tickets
Autumn in Korea | Weather Month by Month
After the exhausting heat and humidity of summer, the weather seems to change overnight in September. There’s a collective sigh of relief, because the autumn season in Korea is the one we all look forward to most.
The stunning transformation of autumn leaves in Korea doesn’t truly start until mid-October though, and it’s not until the end of November that trees are totally barren. There’s plenty of time to see fall foliage in Korea at every stage of its colourful transition.
Autumn in Korea | September Weather
After the oppressive humidity and stifling temperatures of summer in Korea, September is wonderfully refreshing, with ideal temperatures, minimal mugginess, and stunning sun-filled days. Average temperatures range between 17°C | 63°F to 27°C | 81°F, and it’s a very, very comfortable time to be outside.
It can rain a bit in Korea in September, but it’s nothing like the insanity of July and August, unless there’s a typhoon in the works. Overall though, this is a a great month during autumn in Korea to spend as much time as possible in outdoor pursuits like hiking or biking.
Autumn in Korea | October Weather
With its bright sky, cooler temperatures, and beautiful colours, October is my favourite month of autumn in Korea by far. This is the only time of the year, when you can see both pink muhly grass AND a kaleidoscope of spectacular autumn leaves at the same time.
Average temperatures range from 10°C | 50°F to 20°C | 68°F, with the nights definitely a bit cooler. If you plan to be out exploring for an entire day and night, it’s wise to wear multiple layers of clothing to prepare for the October weather in Korea.
Autumn in Korea | November Weather
It gets a lot colder in Korea in November, with average temperatures ranging between 3 to 11°C | 38 to 53°F. This is definitely the month to pull out thicker sweaters, coats and warmer shoes.
Autumn in Korea is at full peak at the beginning of November, with rocky slopes and grey streets painted in vivid crimsons, burnt oranges and mellow yellows. By the third week of November though, there’s only a bit of hardy colour hanging on, so be sure to get out as early in the month as possible.
Autumn in Korea | Fall Foliage Forecast 2023
Unlike cherry blossom season in Korea, the window of time to catch the beauty of Korean autumn is a lot bigger. Spanning around a month around the country, there’s a lot more room for error. If you visit in the latter half of October, you’re pretty much guaranteed a colourful spectacle somewhere around Korea.
First Foliage to Peak Foliage
Autumn leaves in Korea change first in the cooler, coastal and northern areas of the country. From there, a wave of colour spreads inwards, and down through the rest of Korea.
About 20% of autumn leaves have turned by the first fall foliage date. By peak foliage, you can expect that 80% of the trees have changed colour. Peak fall foliage in Korea typically happens about 2 weeks after the autumn leaves begin to transform.
Korean Autumn Foliage Forecast 2023 | National Parks
Seoraksan National Park | Gangwon-do
First foliage: October 1st, 2023 | Peak foliage: October 23rd, 2023
Odaesan National Park | Gangwon-do
First foliage: October 6th, 2023 | Peak foliage: October 20th, 2023
Woraksan National Park | Chungcheongbuk-do
First foliage: October 14th, 2023 | Peak foliage: October 27th, 2022
Bukhansan National Park | Seoul
First foliage: October 19th, 2023 | Peak foliage: October 30th, 2023
Songnisan National Park | Chungcheongbuk-do
First foliage: October 19th, 2023 | Peak foliage: October 30th, 2023
Gyeryongsan National Park | Chungcheongnam-do
First foliage: October 19th, 2023 | Peak foliage: October 31st, 2023
Gayasan National Park | Gyeongsangbuk-do
First foliage: October 19th, 2023 | Peak foliage: October 31st, 2023
Jirisan National Park | Jeollabuk-do
First foliage: October 20th, 2023 | Peak foliage: October 27th, 2023
Hallasan National Park | Jeju Island
First foliage: October 22nd, 2023 | Peak foliage: October 29th, 2023
Mudeungsan National Park | Jeollanam-do
First foliage: October 25th, 2023 | Peak foliage: November 5th, 2023
Naejangsan National Park | Jeollabuk-do
First foliage: October 26th, 2023 | Peak foliage: November 6th, 2023
*This will be updated for 2023 as the autumn forecast for Korea is made available.
My 6 Favourite Fall Foliage Spots in Korea
While there are a gazillion and one stunning places to visit during autumn in Korea, these are the 6 spots that left me gawking at the undeniable beauty of nature.
Olympic Park | 올림픽공원
Address: 424, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 송파구 올림픽로 424 (방이동)
There’s gorgeousness to be found in Olympic Park in every season, but autumn in Korea might just be the best. This huge park in Jamsil has thousands of trees shedding their autumn leaves in spectacular fashion, the biggest field of pink muhly I’ve seen in Seoul, and a garden full of orange cosmos. Don’t miss it.
Nami Island | 남이섬
Address: 1, Namiseom-gil, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 춘천시 남이섬길 1 남이섬
It took me nearly 10 years to visit Nami Island in autumn, but it was worth the wait. Between the lights strung up on its Metasequoia pathway, and the stunning forest full of fallen red leaves, I felt like I’d stepped into some fairytale wonderland too pretty to be real.
DIY vs Group Tour | While it IS possible to get to Nami Island independently, the cost difference is pretty minimal vs joining a day tour that includes round trip transit, and other autumn-worthy spots in the same area, like the Garden of Morning Calm, the Gangchon Rail Bike, Alpaca World, and Petite France (I recommend skipping Petite France if you’re short on time). Get more info on all the different options here.
Asan Ginkgo Tree Road | 아산은행나무길
Address: 259-2 Baekam-ri, Yeomchi-eup, Asan-si, Chungcheongnam-do
Ginkgo leaves turn a glorious shade of golden yellow as they fall, and the Asan Ginkgo Tree Road in Chungcheongnam-do is one of the most revered places to see them in Korea in autumn. This street took my breath away. Literally.
Hyangiram Hermitage | 향일암
Address: 60, Hyangiram-ro, Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do | 전라남도 여수시 돌산읍 향일암로 60
Getting to Hyangiram Hermitage in Yeosu requires a short hike up Geumosan Mountain. During autumn in Korea, the towering trees and gorgeous fall foliage render the landscape simply extraordinary. Being enveloped by nature this incredible will stay in your memory, long after you’ve left.
Jangtaesan Recreational Forest | 장태산자연휴양림
Address: 461, Jangan-ro, Seo-gu, Daejeon | 대전광역시 서구 장안로 461
Wow! Wow! Wow! Jangtaesan Recreational Forest in Daejeon is literally one of the most unique and beautiful places I’ve seen during autumn in Korea.
Jangtaesan isn’t just home to the largest metasequoia forest in Korea, there’s also a bridge, tower, and children’s playground. To see the fall foliage in this unbelieveable shade of burnt orange, head to Daejeon in early to mid-November. Don’t hesitate – just GO!
JANGTAESAN + JEONJU HANOK VILLAGE DAY TOUR | Don’t miss Jangtaesan if you’re visiting Korea in autumn. It’s literally one of the most unique fall foliage spots I’ve seen here. Check tour details here.
Hwadam Botanic Garden | 화담숲
Address: 278-1, Docheogwit-ro, Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 광주시 도척면 도척윗로 278-1
I FINALLY got to check this gorgeous autumn in Korea hotspot off my list last year… and it was as stunning as I expected it to be. Watching that monorail peek through Korea’s fall foliage was like the best game of hide and seek ever.
It’s notoriously difficult to reserve tickets for Hwadam Botanic Garden, and unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten any easier. While foreign passport holders used to be able to simply show up at the entrance with a passport to enter, policies have changed this year. ANYONE who wants to visit MUST now have an advance reservation. Check for tickets here.
HWADAM FOREST TICKETS | Foreigners used to be able enter to on-site with a passport, but advance reservations are now required to visit Hwadam. If you’re unable to get tickets, but have your heart set on going, a tour might be your only option. Fortunately, there’s a few good ones available! Check full details here.
Just Released | Limited Edition Autumn Tours
These autumn tours in Korea only take place for a few months each year, and they get booked up fast, because space and timing for them is limited. If you’ve got your heart set on seeing any of these places while visiting Korea in autumn, I recommend reserving a spot as soon as your travel dates are confirmed.
Here are the limited edition autumn day tours available in Korea for 2023.
- Hwadam Botanic Garden + Namhansanseong Fortress (UNESCO) | September 3rd – October 19th, 2023
- Nari Park, Pink Muhly Grass + Dumulmeori from Seoul | September 25th – October 13th, 2023
- Jangtaesan and Jeonju Hanok Village Day Tour from Seoul | September 25th – November 25th, 2023
- Seoraksan Maple Leaves Tour (optional Cable Car) | October 2nd – 20th, 2023
- Alpaca World + Hongcheon Ginkgo Tree Forest | October 10th – 24th, 2023
- Seoraksan National Park with Cable Car Day Tour from Seoul | October 16th – November 3rd, 2023
- Seoraksan (Osaek Autumn Foliage) + Nami & Garden of Morning Calm OR Alpaca World | October 16th – November 3rd, 2023
- Seoul City Autumn Tour (Gamaksan, Eunpyeong Hanok Village, Haneul Park + Jingwansa) | October 16th – November 24th, 2023
- Jirisan Scenic Autumn Day Tour from Busan | October 23rd – November 2nd, 2023
- Classic Naejangsan National Park Tour (VIP Bus Available) | October 26th – November 15th, 2023
- Gyeongju Autumn Foliage Day Tour from Busan | October 28th – November 15th, 2023
- Memorable Autumn Hunting Day Tour from Busan | October 28th – November 15th, 2023
- Naejangsan Autumn Foliage Maples Leaves Tour | October 30th – November 5th, 2023
- Naejangsan National Park + Jeonju Hanok Village from Seoul | November 1st – 13th, 2023, Wednesdays and Fridays ONLY
Naejangsan National Park is a stunner in autumn ⓒ Ha Nam-gi, Korea Tourism Organization
A few years ago, pink muhly grass took over the IG feeds of Korea and there’s no end in sight for this craze. Here’s a few discounted tickets and day tours for pink muhly hotspots in Korea in autumn.
Best Places to Visit in Korea during Autumn
Korea is a small country that’s nearly 80% mountainous. That means that national and provincial parks are some of the best places to see autumn foliage in the country.
There are national parks to discover near every major city, with hiking trails of varying difficulty, hidden temples, and some of the most stunning landscapes to be found during autumn in Korea. Research all the national parks in Korea here.
However, I bet you’d be surprised by just how many gorgeous autumn spots there are in cities too. And of course, you must include a stop at one of the many cafes in Korea – some of which take such advantage of their natural surroundings, they look like a painting.
I’ve organized this section by province, to make it easier to plan your autumn itinerary around Korea. If you don’t have a car, it’s best to map out your route on Naver or Kakao Maps before finalizing your stops. Some places might be close geographically on a map, but take a lot longer to get between using trains and buses.
Autumn in Korea | Seoul
Seoul might be one of the biggest cities on earth, but it’s still full of tree-lined streets, city parks, and a ton of spectacular fall foliage to gawk at during autumn in Korea.
Bukhansan National Park | 북한산국립공원
Address: 262, Bogungmun-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 성북구 보국문로 262
Bukhansan is one of the best places to see magical fall foliage near Seoul. It’s full of gorgeous hiking paths, rocky peaks, serene temples, and a lot of ajeossi and ajumma joyfully drinking makgeolli and eating kimbap. You might even be invited to join a picnic.
Bukhansan National Park holds the distinct honour of being the “Most Visited National Park per Unit Area,” in the Guinness Book of World Records, due to its proximity and easy access from Seoul. Undoubtedly, the popular hiking trails will be incredibly busy during autumn in Korea, so prepare yourself for pretty epic crowds. Join a guided hiking / climbing tour here.
Check out hiking routes and info for Bukhansan National Park here.
TIP | Don’t have hiking gear with you? Don’t worry!! You can borrow high-quality gear, including boots and clothing for FREE at the Seoul Hiking Tourism Centre, use their showers, or rest in their lounge. You must reserve at least 2 days in advance. Check out and reserve free hiking gear here.
Haneul (Sky) Park | 하늘공원
Address: 95, Haneulgongwon-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 마포구 하늘공원로 95 (상암동)
Haneul Park proves that silver can be just as stunning as orange, red, and yellow during autumn in Korea. A former landfill, Haneul Park is now one of the most popular parks in Mapo-gu, with excellent views of Seoul from its perch at the top of World Cup Park (hence the name “sky”).
Every October, a breathtaking carpet of eulalia or silver grass draws crowds to Haneul Park, along with pink muhly, and kochia scoparia.
Other Autumn Hotspots in Seoul
This is a quick summary of fall foliage spots I’ve already covered in my complete guide to Seoul during autumn, so be sure to check that out for full details.
The Secret Garden at Changdeokgung Palace | 창덕궁 후원
- The only way to enter the Secret Garden is on a guided tour, and it does sell out. Be sure to reserve in advance on their website, ESPECIALLY during the busy autumn tourist season in Seoul.
- If online reservations are fully booked, you can join the Seoul by Foot walking tour instead.
- 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 99 (와룡동)
Deoksugung Doldam-gil | 덕수궁 돌담길
- Deoksugung has a unique East meets West architecture.
- In autumn in Korea, be sure to walk along the doldam-gil, or “stone-wall” road. This 1,100 metre pedestrian pathway winds next to a traditional stone wall and is lined with 130 trees.
- Join a guided walking tour of Deoksugung Palace here.
- Jiha 101, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 중구 세종대로 지하 101
Gyeongbokgung Palace | 경복궁
- Seoul’s grandest palace, and a must-visit spot.
- Gyeongbokgung Palace is open for special night time viewings for autumn in Korea.
- Get more insight on a guided palace history walk.
- 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161
Gwanaksan | 관악산
- A subway accessible mountain in the middle of Seoul.
- Find more information and transport advice on their website.
- Join a guided hiking / climbing tour up Gwanksan, with an experienced expert.
- Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 관악구 관악로 (신림동)
Namsan Mountain | 남산
- Home to the N Seoul Tower and panoramic views of Seoul.
- It’s not actually necessary to go up the Tower for autumn in Korea views, but if you do want to head up, grab discounted tickets in advance here.
- 231, Samil-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 중구 삼일대로 2
Seoul Forest | 서울숲
- 5 separate parks, covering nearly 600,000m² of land in Seongsu-dong.
- Look out for the Ginkgo Tree Forest full of towering woods and golden leaves.
- Be sure to stroll over to nearby Seongsu-dong for delicious eats.
- 273, Ttukseom-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 성동구 뚝섬로 273 (성수동1가)
Seonjeongneung Tomb | 성종과 정현왕후
- UNESCO World Heritage site with soaring trees and a 500 year old gingko tree next to the tomb keeper’s house.
- Seolleung-ro 100-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 강남구 선릉로100길 1
Seokchon Lake | 석촌호수
Autumn in Korea | Best Cafes for Fall Foliage
Need some gorgeous autumn scenes for your feed, but can’t get out of the city? Don’t stress – because most of these cafes are just a convenient subway ride away, in Seoul or Gyeonggi-do.
The Piano | 더 피아노
Address: 71 Pyeongchang 6-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 평창동 444-1 종로구 서울특별시
The Piano has such a striking location, with stunning views hewn from Bukhansan rock, its appeared in multiple dramas, movies, and variety shows in Korea. (Don’t confuse it with the Piano Cafe in Hongdae).
The Piano is a “no-kids zone,” and coffee here isn’t cheap, but that’s not really what you’re paying for, is it?
Smeltz | 스멜츠
Address: 경기도 광주시 오포읍 신현로 103 | Gyeonggi-do, Gwangju-si, Opo-eup, Sinhyeon-ro, 103
I was completely blown away the first time I saw pictures of Smeltz come across my feed. This cafe is literal scenery goals, with 2 absolutely massive windows perfectly placed to showcase the stunning wonder of autumn in Korea. Just go… and thank me later. 😉
1in1jan | 1인1잔
Address: 534, Yeonseo-ro, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul | 서울시 은평구 연서로 534
The graceful curving rooftops of Eunpyeong Hanok Village. Bukhansan Mountain painted in all the glorious shades of autumn in Korea. Need I say more?
By the way, 1In means 1 person, and 1Jan means 1 cup in Korean. The name of the cafe refers to a common cafe regulation that asks each customer to buy one drink, instead of sharing (yes, this actually happens).
Inwangsan Choso Chaekbang | 인왕산초소책방
Address: 172 Inwangsan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울 종로구 옥인동 산3-1 (인왕산로 172)
Choso Chaekbang is a minimalist glass and steel cafe / bookstore that used to be the location of a guard post for the Presidential Blue House. Head there for a bit of reading as well as incredible views of Seoul and Bukhansan from the slopes of Inwangsan Mountain.
Autumn in Korea | Gyeonggi-do
Gyeonggi-do is the region surrounding Seoul. It actually has a bigger population than the capital and includes cities like Suwon, Yongin, and Pyeongtaek. It’s also awash in incredible natural landscapes and perfect fall foliage. Here’s some spots to check out during autumn in South Korea.
Namhansangseong Provincial Park | 남한산성도립공원
Address: 731, Namhansanseong-ro, Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 광주시 남한산성면 남한산성로 731
UNESCO listed Namhansanseong Fortress is worth a visit at any time of the year, but it might be more so when the leaves start to turn, during autumn in Korea. Namhansanseong Provincial Park is a fall foliage hotspot for hiking and exploring, due to its beauty and easy access from Seoul.
There are restaurants, cafes, and more on-site, as well as an annual cultural festival held every autumn in South Korea. It’s recommended to get there using public transit, since parking is limited and quite difficult in the park. Get more details here.
UNESCO NAMHANSANSEONG FORTRESS + HWADAM BOTANIC GARDEN | Visit 2 of the absolute best autumn spots near Seoul on an affordable day tour, with transport and admissions included. Check full details here.
Garden of Morning Calm | 아침고요수목원
Address: 432, Sumogwon-ro, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 가평군 상면 수목원로 432
The Garden of Morning Calm is worth a visit in every season (even winter), but autumn is something special. Full of wild chrysanthemum, pink muhly, golden ginkgo, and flaming maple, it’s truly something to behold.
Along with Nami Island, the Gangchon Rail Bike, Alpaca World, and Petite France, the Garden of Morning Calm is one of the most popular day trips from Seoul. Check out all the different day trip options here.
Yongmunsa | 용문사
Address: 782, Yongmunsan-ro, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 양평군 용문면 용문산로 782 (용문면)
There’s one big reason to make the journey out to Yongmunsa Temple in Yangpyeong during autumn in Korea. It’s the home of Asia’s largest ginkgo tree. This gorgeous tree is 1,100 years old, towers 60-metres high, and has a circumference of 14-metres. The tree is protected as one of Korea’s Natural Monuments.
Learn more about Yongmunsa Temple here.
Yangju Nari Park | 양주나리공원
Address: 814 Gwangsa-dong, Yangju-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기 양주시 광사동 814
Head to Nari Park in Yangju, not for orange, yellow, and red, but for pink, pink, pink. By the way – I hold Yangju Nari Park partially responsible for the whole pink muhly craze in Korea.
There are limited opening hours for Yangju Nari Park during autumn in South Korea, so be sure to check before making the trip.
Peaceland Korea | 평강랜드
Address: 171-18 Umulmok-gil Yeongbok-myeon, Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 포천시 영북면 우물목길 171-18
Peaceland is a botanical garden in Pocheon, best known for the whimsical giants that hide among its trees. The Thomas Dambo designed “Forgotten Giants,” art installation was the big draw for me, but there’s also a park full of autumn leaves changing colour, and a huge field of pink muhly grass just waiting to be photographed.
This is a great place for the whole family to spend a Korean autumn day. There are multiple forest playgrounds, trampolines, picnic areas, and more. I recommend bringing in your own food though. I didn’t find the options inside Peaceland to be that great.
Anseong Farmland | 안성팜랜드
Address: 28 Daeshindu-gil, Gongdo-eup, Anseong-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 안성시 공도읍 대신두길 28
Anseong Farmland has rotating fields of flowers year-round, but in Korea in autumn, pink muhly and cosmos are the stars of the show. Prepare to be wowed by rolling hills of pinky muhly grass under vivid blue skies. There are also amusement park rides, farm animals, and a ton of other fun activities for kids to enjoy.
ANSEONG FARMLAND, KOREAN FOLK VILLAGE + HWASEONG UNESCO FORTRESS IN SUWON | Anseong Farmland is located 70 km south of Seoul, and there is no direct public transport link. See it, the Korean Folk Village, and the UNESCO listed Hwaseong Fortress on this day tour from Seoul. Get more info here.
Autumn in Korea | Gangwon-do
If you’re visiting at the beginning of Korea’s autumn season, Gangwon-do Province to the east of Seoul is the place you’ll want to concentrate your energy. This is the first region of Korea to start showing autumn colour.
Fortunately, this isn’t at all difficult. Gangwon-do is chock-full of majestic mountain ranges, dramatic landscapes, and staggering sights, just waiting to be discovered.
IN THE SOOP BTS FILMING LOCATION TOUR | This tour to the BTS In The Soop filming location in Pyeongchang is offered until November 26th, 2023. Includes a visit to HiKr Ground on Fridays, and the BTS bus stop on weekends. Get more info here.
Seoraksan National Park | 설악산 국립공원
Address: Seoraksan-dong, Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 속초시 설악동 114-2
Located in the northeastern region of Korea, Seoraksan National Park in Gangwon-do is one of the first places to change colour in Korea in autumn.
Stop by the Seoraksan National Park Visitor Center to get the scoop on the best hikes for seeing fall foliage, or take the Seorak cable car up to the peak. Major attractions (besides the gorgeous autumn leaves) are Gwongeumseong Fortress, Ulsanbawi Rock, and Sinheungsa Temple – the oldest Zen Buddhist temple in the world.
Naksansa | 낙산사
Address: 100, Naksansa-ro, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do | 강원도 양양군 강현면 낙산사로 100
Naksansa Temple is not too far from Sokcho and Seoraksan National Park, so it’s an easy stop along the way. This ancient temple has a gorgeous landscape with wonderful views overlooking the East Sea, a 16-metre tall statue of the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, and a 7-story stone pagoda.
Find out more about the temple on their website.
Odaesan National Park | 오대산국립공원
Address: Odaesan-ro, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do | 강원도 평창군 진부면 오대산로
You’ll find the largest natural woods in South Korea at Odaesan National Park, along with multiple temples, camping sites, streams, and all the gorgeous autumn colour you could possibly want.
If you’re a fan of the K-drama, Goblin, find the Woljeongsa Fir Tree Forest Path and relive the moment when the immortal Kim Shin realizes he’s in love with Eun Tak.
Wondae-ri Birch Forest | 원대리 자작나무 숲
Address: 760, Jajangnamusup-gil, Inje-gun, Gangwon-do | 강원 인제군 인제읍 자작나무숲길 760 자작나무숲 안내소
Wondae-ri Birch Forest, along with Hwadam Forest, is pretty much at the top of my to do list for this autumn in Korea. The contrast of the white birch trunks with the flaming colours just has to be seen.
Wondae-ri Birch Forest is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and not open much past 3:00pm, so be sure to check hours before heading out. Join a tour here.
Get more details here.
Museum SAN | 뮤지엄 산
Address: 260, Oakvalley 2-gil, Jijeong-myeon, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 원주시 지정면 오크밸리 2길 260
A meandering stroll through Museum SAN (Space Art Nature) is sure to fulfill all your autumn in Korea longings. Designed by minimalist master architect, Tadao Ando, the museum is nestled within a stunning mountain landscape, and harmonized with all the nature around it.
I warn you though – Museum SAN is not cheap to visit, with integrated admission tickets including all exhibitions, running around 40,000 won per person. Their mountain-side cafe might just be worth it though.
Learn more about the museum here.
Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge | 소금산출렁다리
Address: 26, Sogeumsan-gil, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 원주시 지정면 소금산길 12
If you’re a thrillseeker in search of spectacular Korea in autumn views, Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge in Wonju is the perfect place for you. It’s Korea’s longest and largest pedestrian bridge with a total length of 200-metres – and it’s suspended high, high above a mountain valley.
Try standing on the skywalk next to the bridge to truly drink in these magnificent views. The Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge is near Museum SAN, so it’s easy to combine the two places in a single visit.
Ginkgo Tree of Bangye-ri, Wonju | 원주 반계리 은행나무
Address: Gangwon-do, Wonju-si, Munmak-eup, Bangye-ri, 1496-1 | 강원 원주시 문막읍 반계리 1495-1번지
If you make the trip out to Wonju for autumn in Korea, don’t miss the ancient ginkgo tree located in Bangye-ri. Thought to be at least 800 years old, with majestic branches snaking out in all directions, the tree is revered as Natural Monument No. 167.
This spectacular ginkgo tree in Wonju is nearly 35-m high, 15-m in circumference, spans 38-m from east to west and 31-m from north to south. Prepare to be totally awed.
Hongcheon Ginkgo Forest | 홍천 은행나무숲
Address: 686-4, Gwangwon-ri, Hongcheon-gun, Gangwon-do | 강원 홍천군 내면 광원리 686-4
Walking through the deep golden crunch of a carpet of fallen ginkgo leaves is just as captivating as seeing them adorning towering trees during autumn in Korea… and the Hongcheon Ginkgo Forest might just be one of the best places to see them.
This is actually a private forest that’s been planted and maintained by a single man for over 30 years. He graciously opens his land to the public for free, for the month of October ONLY, so plan your visit accordingly. It is a bit challenging to get to the Hongcheon Ginkgo Grove however, so a day tour might be a better option.
Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm | 대관령 양떼 목장
Address: 483-32, Daegwallyeongmaru-gil, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do | 강원도 평창군 대관령면 대관령마루길 483-32
With fluffy balls of sheet grazing on rolling hills, backed by a spectacular landscape of majestic trees, Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm is a perfect autumn in Korea stop in Pyeongchang for families.
Check out my guide to the Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm, for full details on everything you can do on your visit.
Autumn in Korea | Gyeongsang-do
North and South Gyeongsang Province are where travelers usually beeline to from Seoul. With good reason. Busan, Gyeongju, Andong, and the wealth of natural beauty between these cities, is a siren call, few visitors can ignore.
Jirisan National Park | 지리산국립공원
Address: Hwagae-ro, Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do | 경상남도 하동군 화개면 화개로 일원
Stretching over 3 provinces, Jirisan is the first and largest national park in the country. As the weather cools in Korea in autumn, Jirisan is awash in yellow, orange, and fiery red maple trees.
It’s actually easiest to access Jirisan from Hwaeomsa Temple in Jeollanam-do, but you’ll be treated to more potential fall foliage solitude if you enter from the Gyeongsang-do side instead. Find more info here.
Gyeongju UNESCO World Heritage Areas | 경주역사유적지구
Address: 757, Taejong-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do | 경상북도 경주시 태종로 757 (노동동) 일대
Gyeongju is worth a visit any time of the year, but its particularly stunning during autumn in South Korea. It’s popular to visit Gyeongju on a day trip from Busan, but with over 50 UNESCO World Heritage cultural assets, incredible temples, delicious food, and an easy vibe, you’ll never want to leave.
There are so many gorgeous autumn spots in Gyeongju, it probably deserves it’s own guide, but here are a few to get you started.
Bulguksa Temple | 경주 불국사
Address: 385, Bulguk-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do | 경상북도 경주시 불국로 385 (진현동)
Along with Seokguram Grotto, Bulguksa Temple was designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1995. It has within its temple walls, 7 national treasures, and is considered representative of Buddhist culture from the Silla Kingdom.
Wander around the tranquil grounds of Bulguksa, or try a templestay for an unforgettable autumn in Korea experience. Learn more here.
GYEONGJU DAY TOUR FROM BUSAN | This is an excellent tour for a first time visitor that stops at all of Gyeongju’s most important spots, including Cheomseongdae, Bulguksu, and more. Get full details here.
Bomun Tourist Complex | 경주 보문관광단지
Address: Sinpyeong-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do | 경상북도 경주시 신평동
The Bomun Tourist Complex is exactly what you’d expect. Hotels, a golf range, and condos with a Bomunho Lake in the middle. In Korea in autumn, you can also enjoy fall foliage and pink muhly at the same time.
Palgongsan Natural Park | 팔공산자연공원
Address: 229, Gatbawi-ro, Dong-gu, Daegu | 대구광역시 동구 팔공산로199길 6-1
While I haven’t been to Daegu in autumn yet, I loved visiting during cherry blossom season in Korea. If you happen to find yourself there during autumn in Korea, Palgongsan Natural Park is the place to go.
Located 20-km from downtown Daegu, you’ll find an intersection of 2 rivers, as well as 3 colourful fall foliage covered mountain peaks in a row.
Autumn in Korea | Jeolla-do
The Jeolla-do region peaks for fall foliage later than other parts of the country. Early November is actually the perfect time to make a trip to this area to see the best of South Korea in autumn.
Naejangsan National Park | 내장산국립공원
Address: 328, Naejanghoban-ro, Jeongeup-si, Jeollabuk-do | 전라북도 정읍시 내장호반로 328
With its gorgeous temples and striking landscapes, Naejangsan is considered one of, if not THE best national park to visit during autumn in Korea.
If your travel dates are in November, you’re in luck! Fall foliage is forecast to peak in Naejangsan National Park on November 5th this year. At this time, there will be long lines for the cable car to the summit, and it’ll be crazy crowded, but it is WORTH IT!
Baegyangsa Temple | 백양사
Address: 1239, Baegyang-ro, Bukha-myeon, Jangseong-gun, Jeollanam-do | 전라남도 장성군 북하면 백양로 1239 (북하면)
There are 2 stunning temples to see inside Naejangsan National Park, during autumn in Korea. Wander through a spectacular tunnel of crimson maple trees to reach Naejangsa Temple, or marvel at multicoloured reflections at Baegyangsa Temple.
Find out more about Baegyangsa Temple here (Korean only).
Daedunsan Provincial Park | 대둔산도립공원
Address: 611-34, Sanbuk-ri, Wanju-gun, Jeollabuk-do | 전라북도 완주군 운주면 산북리 611-34 , 충남 논산군 벌곡면, 금산군 진산면
Hike up to the stunning Geumgang Cloud Bridge for breathtaking views of towering peaks and scarlet autumn leaves. If you don’t fancy the exercise, take the cable car up to the 878-metre peak instead.
And while the Geumgang Suspension Bridge lets you hover thrillingly above majestic mountain views, Taegosa Temple draws in visitors with its unique “floating” location on Macheondae Terrace.
Seonunsa Temple | 선운사
Address: 250, Seonunsa-ro, Gochang-gun, Jeollabuk-do | 전라북도 고창군 아산면 선운사로 250
Seonunsa Temple in Gochang is known for its stunning camellia grove in spring, and its spectacular trees during autumn in Korea.
Stroll near picturesque Dosolcheon Stream near Seonunsa, or participate in a temple stay to learn more about Korean Buddhist culture.
Damyang Metasequoia Road | 담양 메타세쿼이아길
Address: 12, Metasequoia-ro, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do | 전라남도 담양군 담양읍 메타세쿼이아로 12
My visit to Damyang and Juknokwon, its gorgeous bamboo forest in spring was a real highlight, but this metasequoia road looks equally as impressive for autumn in Korea.
There are over 400 trees lining the 8.5 km-long boulevard, of which 2-km are designated as a walking path. You can also walk over to the nearby Meta Provence Village, and make a stop at the Damyang Gwangbangjerim Forest for more fall foliage in Korea.
Autumn in Korea | Chungcheon-do
Chungcheon-do is one of the least touristed regions of the country, but totally worth a trip. Crazy crowds descend upon Daechon Beach for the epically popular annual summer mud festival, but In the autumn months, picturesque temples and national parks are where you want to be.
Songnisan National Park | 속리산국립공원
Address: Sangpan-ri, Boeun-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do | 충청북도 보은군 법주사로 84 속리산국립공원관리사무소
There are 3 national parks in this province, but Songnisan Mountain is the one to visit. You’ll love peering over its unique cliffs and hiking along the majestic mountain ranges covered in vibrant shades of yellow and red during autumn in Korea.
Look out for a 33-metre tall Buddhist statue and definitely do not miss UNESCO-designated Beopjusa Temple.
Beopjupsa Temple | 보은 법주사
Address: 405, Beopjusa-ro, Boeun-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do | 충청북도 보은군 속리산면 법주사로 405
Fortunately, the best hiking route in Songnisan for autumn foliage starts from Beopjusa Temple and ends at Birobong Peak. This is where you can see a completely enchanting panoramic view of Beopjusa Temple surrounded by all the best that autumn in South Korea has to offer.
Find more info here.
Guinsa Temple | 구인사
Address: 73, Guinsa-gil, Danyang-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do | 충청북도 단양군 영춘면 구인사길 73
Danyang has become a popular spot in recent years, for tandem paragliding, but top of MY list is a hike up to Guinsa Temple for glorious autumn in Korea colour. That’s about as high as my fear of heights will let me go.
Autumn In Korea | Best Foods to Eat
Each season in Korea brings different foods to go with them, and autumn is no different. There’s a whole range of delicious meals to chase down in the months of September, October, and November.
Autumn Fruits | Pear, Persimmon, Apples, Shine Muscat Grapes
In autumn, many fruits are super ripe, full of nutrients, and absolutely delicious. Apples, pear, persimmon, and shine muscat grapes are the fruits to search out at this time of year. Koreans consider fruit to be a dessert usually, so the sweetest fruits are most prized.
Blue crab is in season during autumn in Korea, and one of the best preparations is marinated in soy sauce as ganjang gejang. You can eat this delicacy all over the country, but it’s exceptional in Yeosu. Try is at local favourite, Neulpereun Sikdang.
Plump and delicious, jumbo prawns are also incredibly fresh in Korea during autumn. You’ll find the freshest versions in port cities like Incheon and Busan. We had these grilled on a salt bed in Ulsan, where my cousin bought a huge box direct from a fisherman by the seaside.
What to Wear in Korea in Autumn
September in Korea can be downright balmy, the October weather is a bit schizophrenic, and of course November in the ROK is headed straight for sub-zero temperatures. If you’re visiting South Korea in autumn, you’ll need to pack clothes for a multitude of climates.
I can usually get by with just a sweater and pashmina right up until winter hits Korea in December, but people who run less hot might need a thicker coat as early as mid-October. It’s something you’ll have to determine for yourself.
Otherwise, I recommend packing multiple weights of clothing, so you can layer and adapt to the weather as required.
You will end up walking A LOT in Korea, so comfortable shoes or sneakers are not only recommended – they’re a necessity. During autumn in Korea, I pretty much live in Uggs or my Loom waterproof sneakers, and a hoodie or light jacket.
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Autumn in Korea: Essential Info and FAQs
Now that you’ve got the full scoop on everything there is to do during autumn in Korea, what’s at the top of your list?