Visiting Korea in March | Weather, Best Spring Festivals + What to Pack 
After the deep freeze of Korea in January, and February, Korea in March brings a milder climate, bright flowers, and an optimistic vibe. It’s time to shed the heavy parkas and step lightly into the season of freshness and new life.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- what the March weather in Korea is like
- the Seoul weather in March and other major cities and tourist hotspots, including Busan, Jeju, Gangneung and the East Coast
- the best spring festivals to attend in South Korea in March
- what to wear and the best things to pack for a successful trip to Korea in March
In this guide
- 1 Visiting Korea in March
- 2 Korea in March | Weather
- 3 Planning a trip to Korea?
- 4 Air Quality in Korea in March
- 5 Korea in March | Public Holidays 2024
- 6 Limited Edition Spring Tours in Korea
- 7 Korea in March | Best Festivals and Events
- 7.1 Jeju Hueree Apricot Flower Festival | 제주 휴애리 매화축제
- 7.2 Nonsan Strawberry Festival | 논산딸기축제
- 7.3 Jeju Fire Festival | 제주들불축제
- 7.4 Gwangyang Maehwa Plum Blossom Festival | 광양매화축제
- 7.5 Gurye Sansuyu Festival | 구례산수유꽃축제
- 7.6 F/W Seoul Fashion Week | 서울패션위크
- 7.7 Daegu E-World Blossom Picnic | 이월드
- 7.8 Jinhae Gunhangje Cherry Blossom Festival | 진해군항제
- 7.9 Eungbongsan Mountain Forsythia Festival | 응봉산 개나리축제
- 8 Korea in March | What to Wear
- 9 Visiting Korea in March | Packing List
Visiting Korea in March
After one of the quietest months of the year, travel picks up again in Korea in March. Visitors from all over the world head to Seoul en-masse for a spring season full of flowers, cultural festivals, and some of the best weather of the year.
Ice thaws, pretty plum blossoms and vivid sansuyu peek their heads out from under the snow, and streets are full of people enjoying the warm glow of the sun. March in South Korea is truly wonderful – particularly in the last week of the month, when cherry blossoms turn the entire country into a romantic pink paradise.
It gets much more challenging to book good value accommodation in popular neighbourhoods like Myeongdong and Hongdae from mid-March onwards. It’s wise to reserve in advance if you can.
With Chinese tourists finally getting out of pandemic lockdown and traveling to Korea again, I expect that accommodation choices will be in much shorter supply during peak travel seasons, from now on.
Korea in March | Weather
March in Korea is a shoulder month, as winter transitions fully into summer. Average temperatures across the country range from a low of 1°C | 35°F in Gangneung, and up to 13°C | 55°F on Jeju Island.
It’s still cool at the beginning of the month, but there’s a definite warming trend. By the end of March in Korea, I’d even call it balmy in some areas of the country. I was roasting in jeans and a cardigan in Daegu last year, at this time.
Free of humidity, with little precipitation, long days, and lots of sunshine – the Korea weather in March is very, very comfortable for spending lots of time outdoors exploring – for most travelers.
Those of you not used to a 4 season climate however, might find it cold. If you’re coming from Southeast Asia or other hot countries, definitely prepare with layers of clothing to stay warm, especially at the beginning of the month and at night.
Korea Weather in March | Seoul
Seoul in March gets progressively more comfortable with average temperatures increasing 6°C | 10°F from February. Average temperatures range from 2°C | 35°F to 10°C | 51°F.
It rains for about 7 days of the month, totalling 47-mm | 1.85-inches over the course of the month. In March in Korea, the days get longer and the sun gets stronger. It’s definitely time to pull out sun protection, or wear a hat when exploring outdoors – particularly if you’re prone to burning.
* Personal note: It can feel very warm by the end of March in Korea, with cherry blossoms and many other spring flowers in full bloom. Last year, we were sweating in jeans and cardigans by the end of the month. Unless you really can’t tolerate cold at all, a jacket is only required at night, after the sun goes down.
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Korea Weather in March | Busan
March is a pleasant month to wander around Busan, with average temperatures ranging from 7°C | 44°F to 12°C | 53°F. It’s a little wet, with an average of 9 days of rain per month, totalling approximately 27-mm | 1 inch of precipitation, but it’s really nothing to be concerned about.
Even though the overall temperature is higher, the sea water around Busan is at its absolute coldest in March, at 13°C | 56°F. This temperature is considered life-threatening, so swimming is out of the question, no matter how warm it feels.
HIGHLIGHTS OF BUSAN TOUR | Short on time? Explore the best attractions in Busan with this affordable tour to the Busan Skywalk, Gamcheon Culture Village, Songdo Cable Car, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, and more. Lunch and transport included. Check details here.
Korea Weather in March | Jeju Island
Apricot flowers, cherry blossoms, and canola vividly colour Jeju Island in March. Average temperatures range from 6°C | 43°F to 13°C | 55°F, with 11 days of rainfall totalling 89-mm | 3.5 inches of precipitation.
Though it’s a bit cooler, March is actually an excellent time to visit Jeju Island. There’s zero risk of typhoons and potential flight cancellations due to strong winds.
Like Busan though, at 13°C | 56°F, the sea temperatures around Jeju in March are low enough to be considered life-threatening. Admire the sea from afar.
GETTING AROUND JEJU ISLAND | Public transit on Jeju Island is not as efficient as in Seoul. Distances are long, and it’s a lot slower, so most visitors either take day tours, hire a taxi, rent a car, or book a private car charter.
To rent a car as a traveller to Korea, you MUST have: a book type international driver’s permit (obtained in your home country), your passport, and your driver’s license from home. Check prices here.
Korea Weather in March | Gangneung (Gangwon-do)
The Korea weather in March on the East Coast beaches is still quite cold, with average temperatures ranging from 1°C | 35°F to 8°C | 46°F.
There’s about 9 days of rain in the Gangneung area in March, and the sea temperature is a frigid 8°C | 47°F. Entering the water unprotected at this temperature risks maximum intensity cold shock and hyperventilation.
Gangneung in March is one of the few areas of Korea that still gets snowfall. Over 3 days, 42-mm | 1.65 inches of snow falls in Gangneung. That’s why ski resorts like Yongpyong Resort and Alpensia located in Gangwon-do stay open later than other ski resorts that are closer to Seoul.
PRIVATE TAXI TOUR OF GANGNEUNG | This 3 hour taxi tour of Gangneung area sites provides incredible value at just 20,000 won per car (max 4 people). Choose between K-WAVE, Coffee City, or Gangneung History Tour to see famous sites like the BTS bus stop, Anmok Beach Coffee Street, Gyeongpo Lake, or Ohjukheon in total comfort. Get details here.
Air Quality in Korea in March
Bad air quality used to be something we mostly only had to deal with for a few months during spring in South Korea, but this is unfortunately no longer the case. I’m writing this in mid-February, and we’ve just gone through a week of truly horrendous air.
This icky air can be incredibly harmful to your health, so if you’re visiting Korea in March, you may need to protect your lungs with some sort of air pollution mask.
There’s no need to buy something in advance at home. You can pick up disposable air pollution masks in any pharmacy, convenience store or Daiso in Korea for less than a few thousand won. Look out for ones labeled KF94. This is the Korean equivalent of an N95 mask.
Korea in March | Public Holidays 2024
There’s 1 major national public holiday in South Korea in March: Independence Movement Day is on Friday, March 1st, 2024.
This is a holiday for most Koreans, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have trouble finding things to do. Almost all tourist sites, restaurants, and attractions will be open to the public.
In past years, special events to commemorate this important day in Korean history have taken place at the Bosingak Bell, Sejong Centre, and Gwanghwamun Square, so keep your eyes open for those.
Independence Movement Day
The March 1st movement or Samil (3-1) Independence Movement was a series of protests against Japanese occupation. Organized by 33 Korean cultural and religious leaders, it began on March 1st, 1919 in Seoul, and spread throughout the country.
Before the Japanese suppressed the movement a year later, 2-million Koreans had demonstrated in over 1,500 public protests. The cost was high, with 7,000 people losing their lives, many more wounded, and houses, churches, and schools destroyed.
MARCH 14TH: WHITE DAY IN KOREA | White Day is a romantic holiday that’s celebrated in South Korea on March 14. Very similar to Valentine’s Day, on this date, men are expected to give gifts to their partners.
Limited Edition Spring Tours in Korea
Plum blossoms in Gwangyang Maehwa Village are usually the first sign of spring in Korea, with petals bursting into bloom from mid-March. Like cherry blossom season, the dates for these spring tours in Korea is incredibly limited. Most run for just a few short weeks, so catch them while you can.
Spring Tours from Seoul
- Gwangyang Maehwa & Jeonju Hanok Village Tour | March 13th – 24th, 2023
- Jeju Island Package: Flight, Private Tour + Hotel Option | March 20th – April 9th, 2023
- Jeju Island Cherry Blossoms and Canola Private Taxi or Van Tour | March 21st – April 10th, 2023
- Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival Tour from Seoul or Busan | March 27th – April 6th, 2023
- Exclusive VIP Tour Jinhae Gunhangje Cherry Blossom Festival | March 27th – April 7th, 2023
- Daegu E-WORLD Land & Spring Cherry Blossom Day Tour | March 28th – April 7th, 2023
- Chasing Cherry Blossoms in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do | April 5th – 16th, 2023
- Ganghwa Island Cherry Blossom & Luge Ride Experience | April 9th – 17th, 2023
- Eden Cherry Blossom Festival + Alpaca World + Nami Island | April 11th – 18th, 2023
- Taean Tulip Festival + Strawberry Picking Experience | April 14th – May 7th, 2023
- Pink King Cherry Blossom Tour from Seoul | April 15th – April 30th, 2023
Spring Tours from Busan
- Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival Tour from Busan | March 24th – April 9th, 2023
- Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival Tour from Seoul or Busan | March 27th – April 6th, 2023
- Chasing Cherry Blossoms in Busan | March 27th – April 12th, 2023
- Cherry Blossom Hunting Tour from Busan | March 24th – April 9th, 2023
- Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival from Busan | March 27th – April 8th, 2023
- KING Cherry Blossom Hunting Tour from Busan | April 17th – April 30th, 2023
Korea in March | Best Festivals and Events
Festivals start to ramp up in South Korea in March. It starts with the first spring flower festivals down in Jeollanam-do, and continues into April and May, with a host of cherry blossom, nature, and cultural festivals.
You’ll need a ton of energy to get to all the glorious spring events in Korea, but it’s so worth it.
Visiting Korea at another time of the year? Learn about weather and festivals for other months in Korea, in the following detailed guides.
- Korea in January: The Coldest Month of the Year
- Korea in February: The Final Month of Winter
- Korea in April: Chasing Cherry Blossoms
- Korea in May: In Full Bloom
- Korea in June: The Best Month of Summer
- Korea in July: The Peak of Summer
- Korea in August: Summer Vacation for EVERYONE!
- Korea in September: Autumn Relief
- Korea in October: Full on Fall Foliage
- Korea in November: Autumn to Winter Transition
- Korea in December: Christmas Lights Galore
Jeju Hueree Apricot Flower Festival | 제주 휴애리 매화축제
Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, but February 24th – March 24th in 2023
Address: 256, Sinryedong-ro, Namwon-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do | 제주특별자치도 서귀포시 남원읍 신례동로 256 (남원읍)
Apricot flowers and plum blossoms are different names for the same bloom. They’re both referred to as maehwa. Every March in South Korea, you can celebrate their delicate beauty at Hueree Natural Park on Jeju Island.
Hueree Natural Park is located at the base of Hallasan Mountain, so you can enjoy majestic views while breathing in the sweet, fragrant scent of these gorgeous flowers.
Nonsan Strawberry Festival | 논산딸기축제
Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, but March 8th to 12th in 2023
Address: 110 , Cheyuk-ro, Nonsan-si, Chungcheongnam-do | 충청남도 논산시 체육로 110 육상보조경기장,종합운동장,화장실
The Nonsan Strawberry Festival is your chance to head into the not very touristed Chungcheongnam-do Province for wonderfully sweet Korean strawberries. With rich soil and clean air, this region is the largest producer of strawberries in Korea.
At Nonsan Strawberry Festival, pick your own strawberries, visit the strawberry dessert cafe, take a helicopter ride, or enjoy special performances. Strawberry season is nearing its end in March in Korea, so be sure to pick up a few packs before heading home. Get more details here (Korean only).
STRAWBERRY PICKING NEAR SEOUL | Try searching for strawberry farms in Pocheon or Gwangju if you want to do it independently. Otherwise, join a day tour that includes stops at popular places like Nami Island, and the Gangchon Rail Bike, along with a strawberry picking experience. Check into here.
Jeju Fire Festival | 제주들불축제
Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, but March 9th to 12th in 2023
Address: San 59-8, Bongseong-ri, Jeju-si, Jeju-do | 제주 제주시 애월읍 봉성리 산59-8
In South Korea in March, the dramatic Jeju Fire Festival lights up the night sky with red flames and fireworks, when huge bonfire structures called daljip (moon houses) are set aflame. It was believed that these fires would bring good fortune, protection from evil and a bountiful harvest.
The event is held at the Saebyeoloreum Volcanic Cone in Jeju. It’s been a few years since this festival was held in full, so this year’s event promises to be a doozy, with food trucks, torch shows, and performances.
DISCOUNTED TICKETS TO AQUA PLANET JEJU | Aqua Planet Jeju is the largest aquarium in Asia, with over 48,000 animals from 500 different species to see. This is a perfect activity for families, with tons of fun experiential zones, and even a synchronized swimming performance. Check details here.
Gwangyang Maehwa Plum Blossom Festival | 광양매화축제
Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, but March 10th – 19th in 2023
Address: 1563-1, Seomjingangmaehwa-ro, Gwangyang-si, Jeollanam-do | 전라남도 광양시 다압면 섬진강매화로 1563-1
Plum blossoms are often mistaken for cherry blossoms, but plum blossoms (or maehwa) bloom weeks earlier than their more famous cousins. Their appearance in Korea in March, is one of the first signs of spring in Korea.
The Gwangyang Maehwa Plum Blossom festival is definitely the place to check out these gorgeous blooms. There’s 200,000 square metres of plum trees near the Seomjin River, in an area known as Maehwa Village (매화마을) in Gwangyang. Be sure to try maesil (plum) ice cream and alcohol.
* Plum blossoms are uniformly round on each petal, while cherry blossoms have a small split on the end of each petal.
GETTING TO GWANGYANG | It’s pretty difficult and time-consuming to get to Gwangyang Maehwa Village using public transport, so your best option is definitely to drive yourself (like we did), or join a tour. This one includes a stop at the lovely Jeonju Hanok Village. Get full details here.
Gurye Sansuyu Festival | 구례산수유꽃축제
Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, but March 11th to 19th in 2023
Address: 1019-36 Jwasa-ri, Sandong-myeon, Gurye, Jeollanam-do, South Korea
Bright, yellow sansuyu are another one of the flowers that blooms in South Korea in March. Celebrate the growth of these vivid blooms at the base of Jirisan Mountain in Gurye at the Sansuyu Festival, with experiential activities and traditional folk performances.
If you have time, make a detour to visit Hwaeomsa Temple to see a historic and beautiful plum tree that’s been designated as a natural monument by the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) of South Korea.
EARLY SPRING FESTIVALS IN JEOLLANAM-DO | Plum blossoms in Gwangyang Maehwa Village and Sansuyu in Gurye Village are the first places to greet spring flowers in Korea. I’ve been to both villages and they are absolutely stunning. Due to their rural locations however, public transport is quite challenging. If you plan to go, it’s easier to join a group tour from Seoul or Busan. Get full details here.
F/W Seoul Fashion Week | 서울패션위크
Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, but March 15th – 19th in 2023
Address: 281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 중구 을지로 281 (을지로7가)
Like the ones in New York, Paris, and London, Seoul Fashion Week aims to become one of the most important fashion weeks in the world, with a 5 day showcase of 30 Korean designers. Look out for fashion shows, special events, and the K-pop band, NewJeans, who are the honorary ambassadors for Seoul Fashion Week this year.
Events take place at the iconic Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Get all details here.
Daegu E-World Blossom Picnic | 이월드
Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, but March 18th – April 9th in 2023
Address: 200, Duryugongwon-ro, Dalseo-gu, Daegu | 대구광역시 달서구 두류공원로 200 (두류동)
Cherry blossoms bloom early at E-World in Daegu. Check them out around the 83 Tower, and be sure to look out for the red double decker buses and merry-go-round for gorgeous spring pics. Check their website for full details.
Jinhae Gunhangje Cherry Blossom Festival | 진해군항제
Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, but March 25th – April 3rd in 2023
Address: Gyeongsangnam-do, Changwon-si, Jinhae-gu, Tongsin-dong | 경상남도 창원시 진해구 통신동
Many travellers visit Korea in spring, with the sole intention of attending the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival, and this year, they’re in luck. After 4 long years of cancellations, the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival is back in Korea in March, with expanded venues and events.
Gaze at pale pink petals as they drift sentimentally down onto the train tracks of Gyeonghwa Station, or snap a pic at one of the most iconic spots to see cherry blossoms in Korea – the tunnel of cherry trees atop Jinhae’s Yeojwacheon Stream.
JINHAE CHERRY BLOSSOM TOUR FROM SEOUL OR BUSAN | Make your trip totally hassle-free by booking a guided tour that stops at all the most famous cherry blossom spots in Jinhae. The best part? It costs almost exactly the same as getting there independently using public transit. Get more info here.
Eungbongsan Mountain Forsythia Festival | 응봉산 개나리축제
Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, but March 25th in 2023
Address: 1540, Geumho-dong 4-ga, Seongdong-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 성동구 금호동4가 1540 (일대)
During March in South Korea, Eungbongsan Mountain is coloured with bright, yellow forsythia flowers. After hiking through a flower-lined trail, you can enjoy views over the Han River and see Palgakjeong Pavilion at the peak.
It’s easy to access Eungbongsan Mountain from Seoul Forest (which is covered in cherry blossoms) so this is a great hike for families. We hiked to the peak when my daughter was 6, and I’m sad / proud to say she got up the mountain much faster than I did.
Korea in March | What to Wear
Korea’s weather in March is quite varied – both by temperature and geography. At the beginning of the month, you’ll likely need warmer coats, layers of clothing, and maybe even gloves and a hat if you’re prone to feeling cold. This is also the case, if you’re planning to visit areas of Gangwon-do or the East Coast.
By the end of the month, it warms up significantly. You’ll still need long-sleeved shirts, pants, and sweaters, but you’ll probably be okay without a jacket during daylight hours, unless you’re from a hot country.
It’s a good idea to have layers on hand though, in case the weather takes a strange turn. March in South Korea is a shoulder month between winter and spring, so this is a definite possibility.
I’d bring along at least a light jacket for colder evening temperatures. It can feel downright chilly after the sun has gone down, especially if it’s windy.
You will log a ton of steps while exploring Seoul, so comfortable shoes for lots of walking are a MUST when visiting Korea. Blistered feet on a trip here would be a real bummer.
Tips for What to Wear in Korea in March
Visiting Korea in March | Packing List
Here’s a rough guideline of items to pack for the Korea weather in March.
Bring from Home
- travel documents – passport, itineraries, hotel reservations, plane tickets, travel visas, insurance
- adaptors / plugs
- reusable air pollution mask – Vogmask or similar
- t-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
- jeans, trousers or long pants of some kind
- sweaters, hoodies, cardigans
- skirts or dresses with leggings or tights
- light jacket, windbreaker or waterproof shell | warmer coat if you’re visiting at the beginning of the month or plan on skiing
- deodorant, feminine hygiene items
- comfortable shoes for lots of walking
- any special medications you need
- allergy medications if you’re sensitive to pollen and dust
Buy in Korea
- umbrella if it rains
- disposable air pollution / medical masks
- batteries / charging cables (super cheap at Daiso)
- skincare products like sunscreen (high quality and cheap in Korea!)
- eyeglasses and contact lenses can be purchased just by walking into a store (a free eye test will be provided)
- birth control can be purchased over the counter, without a prescription (but all brands may not be available)
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Korea in March: Essential Info and FAQs
All ready for the perfect trip to Korea in March? What have you got planned?