Visiting Korea in September | Weather, Best Festivals and What to Pack [UPDATED 2023]
After the searing temperatures and exhausting humidity of Korea in August, we all breathe a collective sigh of relief in Korea in September.
Welcome to one of the very best months of the year in South Korea!
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- what the weather is like during September in Korea
- the Seoul weather in September and other major cities and tourist hotspots, including Busan, Gangneung, and Jeju
- the best autumn festivals to attend around the country in September
- what to wear and the best things to pack for a successful trip to South Korea in September
In this guide
- 1 Visiting Korea in September
- 2 Korea in September | Weather
- 3 Planning a trip to Korea?
- 4 Korea in September | Typhoons
- 5 Just Released | Limited Edition Autumn Tours in Korea
- 6 Korea in September | Best Festivals and Events
- 6.1 2023 Daegu Chimak Festival | 대구치맥페스티벌
- 6.2 Goesan Red Pepper Festival | 괴산고추축제
- 6.3 Seoul Light & DDP Autumn Festival | 서울라이트 가을
- 6.4 Gyeongbokgung at Night | 경복궁 야간 특별관람
- 6.5 Changdeokgung Palace Moonlight Tour | 무주 반딧불축제
- 6.6 Muju Firefly Festival | 무주 반딧불축제
- 6.7 Hyoseok Culture Festival | 평창효석문화제
- 6.8 Seoul Fashion Week
- 6.9 Jeongseon Arirang Festival | 정선아리랑제
- 6.10 Jeonju International Sori Festival | 전주세계소리축제
- 6.11 Taste of Seoul | 테이스트오브서울
- 6.12 Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival | 한성백제문화제
- 6.13 Great Baekje Festival | 백제문화제
- 6.14 Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival | 수원화성문화제
- 6.15 Ultra Korea | 울트라 코리아
- 6.16 Chuseok | 추석
- 7 September in Korea | What to Wear
Visiting Korea in September
If you’ve planned your trip to South Korea for September, you’re in for a wonderful time! With golden light and comfortable weather, it’s easy to feel optimistic this month.
Whether it’s challenging yourself with a hike up Bukhansan, seeing the sights from the deck of a luxury yacht on the Han River, or scooting around Seoul on an e-bike, September is definitely a month to spend as much time outdoors as possible.
In Korea in September, kids are back in school, and the epic crowds seeking peak autumn foliage haven’t arrived yet. So booking tours and the ideal accommodation in Seoul is relatively easier, and more affordable than in October and November.
However, the Chuseok holiday falls from September 28th to 30th in 2023. At this time, everyone and their dog is traveling around Korea, so there are huge traffic jams and booking KTX tickets is very difficult. It’s best to stay put in Seoul during Chuseok.
There’s also plenty to keep you entertained in South Korea in September, with some truly unique festivals and events set to take place in this first month of autumn. I’ll cover these a bit later on in this guide.
Korea in September | Weather
After the oppressiveness of summer in Korea, the September weather feels just a little bit like heaven. This is one of the best months to visit Korea climate-wise, with ideal temperatures, minimal humidity, and glorious sun-filled days.
However, there’s an overall cooling trend in Korea during September, with daytime high temperatures decreasing 4°C | 8°F, from 27°C | 81°F to 23°C | 73°F over the course of the month.
It’s still hot enough across the country to be out in shorts and t-shirts for the first few weeks of September in Korea, but it’s wise to prepare a sweater or light jacket for evenings. Near the end of the month, it can feel downright chilly at night, with average lows of 17°C | 63°F.
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South Korea in September | Travel Essentials
Hotels and Other Accommodation
Travel Insurance for South Korea
Wifi, SIM Cards, and Portable Wifi
Airport Transfers and Luggage Delivery
Money-Saving Transit and Transport Passes
Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours
Day Tours and Discounted Admission Tickets
Korea in September | Seoul Weather
With average temperatures ranging from 17°C | 63°F to a still warm 26°C | 78.°F, the Seoul weather in September is simply wonderful. It cools down as we head into Seoul’s incredible autumn season, but jeans and multiple layers are all that’s required for exploring comfortably this month.
The humidity decreases quickly in Seoul in September, and by the end of the month, it sits at just 3%. There are about 9 days of rain, totalling approximately 170-mm, on average, but it’s not really anything to worry about.
*Personal note: Can we get a hallelujah!? I spend most of Korea’s July and August with AC on 24/7, hiding inside, and wearing black, because the sweat from all that humidity really isn’t pretty.
Last year, by the end of August – the weather changed dramatically over the course of the about 3 days. My AC was off, there’s little to no humidity, and it’s even a bit chilly in the evenings if there’s a breeze. Sunsets are glorious, the sky is crystal clear and the weather is literally perfection.
Korea Weather in September | Busan
With its location on Korea’s southeastern coast, Busan in September is cooler than Seoul. It has average daily temperatures ranging from 21°C | 70°F to 24°C | 76°F. It rains for approximately 9 days, but precipitation only totals about 70-mm over the entire month.
If you don’t mind a cooler sea, it’s still possible to swim at Busan’s beaches. The water temperature sits at 25°C | 77°F in September in Korea, and there’s plenty of sunshine to enjoy. Be sure to slather on that sunscreen though – the UV index is still very high.
SHORT ON TIME? | Explore all the best attractions in Busan with this jampacked tour to Taejongdae Cliff, Songdo Skywalk, Gamcheon Culture Village, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, and more. Check details of the full day tour to Busan’s hotspots here.
Korea Weather in September | Gangneung (Gangwon-do)
The Korea weather in September on East Coast beaches is typically quite a bit cooler than in the interior. In Gangneung in September, the average daily temperatures ranges from 16°C | 60°F to 21°C | 70.5°F. The sea temperature hovers around 22°C | 71.2°F – which makes for uncomfortable swimming, for most people.
In my experience. the East Coast can feel quite chilly even in summer time, so be prepared with some heavier weight clothing.
AFFORDABLE PRIVATE TAXI TOUR | This 3 hour private 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. Check availability and select a private taxi tour here.
Korea Weather in September | Jeju Island
In September, average temperatures on Jeju Island range from 20°C | 69°F and 26°C | 78.4°F with 11 days of rain, totalling approximately 220-mm of precipitation.
The water temperature is 25°C | 76°F, so you can still swim comfortably at one of Jeju’s gorgeous beaches.
GETTING AROUND JEJU ISLAND | Jeju is a surprisingly large island, and public transit can be slow and time-consuming. If you don’t have a ton of time, your best options are to rent a car and drive yourself, or join a group tour of major Jeju Island sites.
- Eastern Jeju Discovery: Horse riding, Seongeup Folk Village, Women Diver Show (Haenyeo Museum on rainy days), Seongsan Sunrise Peak + Manjang Cave
- Western Island Exploration: Hyeopjae Beach, Hallim Park, O’sulloc Green Tea Field, Sanbang Cruise + Cheonjeyeon Waterfall
- Southern Jeju Adventure: Mysterious Road, Hallasan, Alive Museum, Jusangjeolli Lava Cliff, Lonely Rock + Jeongbang falls
- Jeju Island UNESCO Day Tour: UNESCO sites like Manjang Cave, Seongsan Ilchubong Peak, and Hallasan
Korea in September | Typhoons
Typhoon season in South Korea is from July to September. At this time last year, Typhoon Hinnamnor was barreling towards Jeju Island. It was at Korea’s highest typhoon rating, with a maximum wind speed of 55-m per second – strong enough to collapse a building.
If a typhoon should hit while you’re visiting Korea in September, it’s best to stay indoors, shut the windows tight and avoid places where there could be flooding or mudslides… and maybe avoid Jeju Island.
Just Released | Limited Edition Autumn Tours in Korea
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 during autumn in Korea, I recommend reserving a spot as soon as you can.
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
- Classic Naejangsan National Park Tour (VIP Bus Available) | October 26th – 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
Korea in September | Best Festivals and Events
When September hits Korea, it’s like we all wake up from a deep summer hibernation, fully recharged and ready to explore the country. The streets are packed and the mood is vibrant.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but here’s a rundown of some of the major festivals and events to check out in Korea in September.
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 March: First Signs of Spring
- 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 October: Full on Fall Foliage
- Korea in November: Autumn to Winter Transition
- Korea in December: Christmas Lights Galore
2023 Daegu Chimak Festival | 대구치맥페스티벌
Festival Dates: August 30th – September 3rd, 2023
Address: 7, Gongwonsunhwan-ro, Dalseo-gu, Daegu | 대구 달서구 공원순환로 7 두류공원야구장
Could Korean fried chicken washed down with an ice cold beer be the best food and drink combo in history? I think it’s possible – especially under the clear skies of Korea in September.
You can test out the theory yourself at the Daegu Chimac Festival, while dancing your heart out, chicken wing in one hand, beer in the other.
PS: If you didn’t know already – CHI = Chicken and MAK = Maekju (the Korean word for beer)
SEASONAL LOCAL FESTIVALS TOUR | Going to a festival in Korea is one of the best ways to get insight into local culture, while exploring new parts of the country. There’s always one happening SOMEWHERE in Korea. The Daegu Chimaek Festival is the current festival offering.
Goesan Red Pepper Festival | 괴산고추축제
Festival Dates: August 31st – September 3rd, 2023
Address: 113 , Imkkeokjeong-ro, Goesan-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do | 충청북도 괴산군 임꺽정로 113
Peppers, peppers, peppers! There is no escaping the gochu in Korea, and certainly not in Goesan, where there’s a 4 day celebration of the country’s ubiquitous spicy red pepper.
At the Geosan Red Pepper Festival, watch magic and busking performances, the nonverbal show “Pepper Nanta,” or search for the “Golden Pepper.” Get more details here.
Seoul Light & DDP Autumn Festival | 서울라이트 가을
Festival Dates: August 31st – September 10th, 2023
Address: 281, Euljiro, Jung-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 중구 을지로 281 (을지로7가)
Seoul Light is a massive media facade festival that projects images onto the surface of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza’s curvy architecture. Designed by both Korean and international artists, it began in 2019, and has already welcomed over a million visitors.
In previous years, attendance was limited due to pandemic restrictions, but this October in Korea, there are zero limitations. Best of all, it’s free! I’ve personally gone to Seoul Light a few times, and been completely awestruck. Shows start at 7:30PM, and run until 10:00PM. Get full details here.
After Seoul Light, explore the rest of Dongdaemun Design Plaza, then head over to nearby Little Russia to eat some shashlik at Fortune Cafe.
Gyeongbokgung at Night | 경복궁 야간 특별관람
Dates: September 1st – October 29th, 2023
Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161 (세종로)
Twice a year, Gyeongbokgung Palace is brilliantly lit and opened for night viewing. Get tickets in advance online (Korean), or grab them on-site (for foreigners only – limited to 200). Cost: 3,000 won.
Of course, you can skip the ticketing process entirely, and walk straight into Gyeongbokgung for free, if you’re wearing a hanbok. It’s actually the perfect time to try it out, since the Korea weather in September isn’t too hot or too cold.
TIP | Discover Seoul on foot! Walk around Gwanghwamun Plaza, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Jogyesa Temple, Insadong, and other historic hotspots with an english speaking guide. Check availability and join a historic walking tour of Seoul.
Changdeokgung Palace Moonlight Tour | 무주 반딧불축제
Festival Dates: Thursdays – Sundays, from September 7th – October 22nd, 2023
Address: 326-14, Hanpungnu-ro, Muju-gun, Jeollabuk-do | 전라북도 무주군 한풍루로 326-14 등나무운동장
Moonlight tours of UNESCO listed Changdeokgung Palace are back for a 13th year. To allow more visitors access to this stunning experience, the maximum number of daily visitors has been raised to 150, from 100.
Tours are offered at 7:00, 7:05, 7:10, 7:35, 7:50, 7:55, and 8:00PM. Each tour lasts approximately 90 minutes, and tickets cost 30,000 won each.
Applications for September time slots open on Aug. 22 at 2 p.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis on Interpark. A maximum of 2 tickets can be purchased per person.
Check their website for more details.
Muju Firefly Festival | 무주 반딧불축제
Festival Dates: September 2nd – 10th, 2023
Address: 326-14, Hanpungnu-ro, Muju-gun, Jeollabuk-do | 전라북도 무주군 한풍루로 326-14 등나무운동장
Muju is a natural habitat for fireflies, so it’s possible to see a field full of romantic flickering lights easily at the Muju Firefly Festival in Korea in September. You can enjoy traditional performances and concerts, but the highlights are definitely night programs, like firefly exploration and stargazing.
Most programs are free, but online reservation in advance is required for both stargazing (5,000 won) and firefly exploration (15,000 won). Check their website for more details.
Hyoseok Culture Festival | 평창효석문화제
Festival Dates: September 8th – 17th, 2023
Address: 157, Ihyoseok-gil, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do | 강원도 평창군 봉평면 이효석길 157 (봉평면)
Held yearly to commemorate Lee Hyo-seok’s popular novel, “When Buckwheat Flowers Bloom,” the Hyoseok Culture Festival is unfortunately cancelled for 2022.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your way to Bongpyeong to see the Lee Hyo-seok Culture Village and Memorial Hall to learn about the book, and see the beautiful fields of buckwheat flowers that bloom every September in Korea.
Learn all about the festival here.
Seoul Fashion Week
WHEN: F/W March 15th – 19th, 2023 | S/S September 5th – 9th, 2023
For the first time in 3 years, Seoul Fashion Week will be back full-force at Dongdaemun Design Plaza. This promises to be a gorgeous event with all the cutting-edge style, spectacular shows, and celebrities you’d expect from Korea’s premier fashion event.
Jeongseon Arirang Festival | 정선아리랑제
Dates: September 14th – 17th, 2023
Address: Bongyang-ri, Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do | 강원도 정선군 정선읍 봉양리
The Korean folk song Arirang was registered on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2012, and the mournful Jeongseon is its oldest version, dating back over 600 years.
At the Jeongseon Arirang Festival, you can hear many versions of Arirang from different regions, play traditional games, and watch a parade. Don’t miss the “Arirang Gilnori” – a massive performance of Arirang by over 1,600 people!
Check more details here (Korean only).
DISCOUNTED NANTA SHOW TICKETS | Nanta is Korea’s longest running show for a reason. Watch an incredibly entertaining performance that mixes acrobatics, comedy, and percussion using kitchen utensils. Best of all, it’s nonverbal, so anyone can enjoy this show, regardless of language. Check availability of Nanta tickets here.
Jeonju International Sori Festival | 전주세계소리축제
Festival Dates: September 15th – 24th, 2023
Address: 31, Sori-ro, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do | 전라북도 전주시 덕진구 소리로 31 소리문화전당
The Jeonju International Sori Festival is a global music event, that brings together performers from all over the world. Focusing on pansori, and other folk music from different cultures, this is one of the most impressive festivals you can attend in Korea in September.
The Jeonju Sori Festival was selected by Songlines Magazine as one of the “Best 25 World Music Festivals” for 4 straight years, from 2012 to 2015, and Transglobal World Music Chart, named it winner of its “Best Festival” award for both 2018 and 2019. This festival is worth your time.
Get more details here.
Taste of Seoul | 테이스트오브서울
Festival Dates: September 16th – 22nd, 2023
Address: All over Seoul
If you’re visiting in the first week of October in Korea, and don’t know where to eat, you’re in luck! Taste of Seoul will celebrate the city’s diverse and varied food scene, with 100 Taste of Seoul restaurants which have been selected by 20 gourmet curators to represent the city’s food scene.
Vegetarians can rejoice. For the first time, a full half of these restaurants are plant-based. Figure out where to eat here.
ROYAL COURT CUISINE AT JIHWAJA IN SEOUL | Seeking a traditional feast of superb quality? Located near Gyeongbokgung Palace, Jihwaja is a national treasure that traces back to the last 2 kings of the Joseon Dynasty. See degustation menu options here.
Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival | 한성백제문화제
Festival Dates: September 22nd – 24th, 2023
Address: 326 , Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 송파구 올림픽로 326 송파구청
The Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival takes place at Olympic Park at the beginning of October in Korea. Events centre around the remnants of the Baekje era Mongchontoseong Fortress, and features folk performances, musicals, family concerts, and activities.
I’ve attended this one with my daughter a few times, and there’s a lot of fun free and paid activities for children. Head there between 10AM and 7PM to take advantage of them. More details here.
LOTTE WORLD TOWER | The Seoul Sky Observatory takes up the top 8 floors of the Lotte World Tower – the tallest building in Korea. Head to the top for panoramic views of Seoul you can’t get anywhere else. Pick up advance tickets.
Great Baekje Festival | 백제문화제
Festival Dates: September 23rd – October 9th, 2023
Address: 135, Baekgang-ro, Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do | 충청남도 부여군 백강로 135
The 68th Great Baekje Festival takes place in the old Baekje capitals in Chungcheongnam-do. This festival promises to be totally epic, with multiple large scale parades, exhibitions, performances, and events staged at UNESCO World Heritage sites in Gongju and Buyeo.
I haven’t gone to the festival yet (this might be the year!), but I have been to Gongju (TWICE!), and I highly recommend it. It’s a wonderful place to visit in Korea that’s sadly overlooked. with so much to see, do, and explore.
Learn more about the festival here.
Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival | 수원화성문화제
Festival Dates: September 23rd – November 4th, 2023
Address: 825, Jeongjo-ro, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 수원시 팔달구 정조로 825 (남창동)
There’s actually a lot happening near Suwon Hwaseong Fortress this month including media arts installations on the fortress walls, a Suwon Lantern Festival, and traditional performances and experience programs.
Held every September in Korea at the UNESCO World Heritage Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, this landmark festival includes a Citizen’s Parade, traditional performances, Guard’s Ceremony, and simultaneous Food Culture Festival.
Do not miss the Reenactment of King Jeongjo’s Tomb Parade. This is one of Korea’s largest national events, traveling 59.2 km from Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul to Yeungneug Tomb in Suwon from October 8th to 9th. Get more info about all festival events here (Korean only).
Ultra Korea | 울트라 코리아
Festival Dates: TBA 2023, September 24th – 25th in 2022
Address: 서울특별시 송파구 잠실동 올림픽로 25
Set to return to Korea in September, after a 2 year hiatus, Ultra is one of the biggest outdoor electronic music festivals in the country. In its 9th year in Korea, this 2 day festival features world class DJs from around the world, including Adam Beyer, Marshmello, Martin Garrix, and more.
This festival is 19+. Check the full line-up and get tickets here.
Chuseok | 추석
Festival Dates: September 29th, 2023, with public holiday dates from September 28th – 30th, 2023
Chuseok is a major mid-autumn harvest festival that’s celebrated every year on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Lunar Calendar, to coincide with the full harvest moon. This is one of the biggest and most important holidays in Korea in September.
You could think of Chuseok, as Korean Thanksgiving, because family members travel from all over the country to gather together in their hometowns, share a big meal, and give thanks to their ancestors through traditional rituals like Charye and Seongmyo.
For travelers, Chuseok is an excellent time to learn about Korea’s culture, by playing traditional games, eating songpyeon, and watching folk performances. Check out my full guide on what to do in Seoul during Chuseok for some ideas.
September in Korea | What to Wear
September in Korea is a shoulder month between summer and autumn. The weather can change quickly from hot to windy and cool this month, so it’s best to be prepared with multiple layers and weights of clothing to deal with the changing conditions.
At the beginning of the month, temperatures are still relatively high, the sun is strong, and there’s some possibility of rain. I’m comfortable in shorts and t-shirts, even in the evenings, but I run pretty hot. Most locals are wearing jeans, leggings, skirts, long-sleeved shirts, and lighter weight sweaters, jackets, and windbreakers by the start of September in Korea.
By the end of the month (or even earlier), it’s cooled down enough that shorts and sandals would feel strange. Travellers from tropical climates would probably find it chilly, especially at night.
You’ll log a lot of miles while exploring Korea, so comfortable shoes are a must. I wear Loom waterproof sneakers, pretty much every day, I’m not wearing sandals, because they’re perfect for pretty much any conditions, stylish enough for city life, and actually 100% waterproof.
Tips for What to Wear in Korea in September
Korea in September | Packing List
Here’s a rough guideline of items to pack for the Korea weather in September. Keep in mind that this is a shoulder month, and you’ll need warmer items if you’re traveling to Korea in the latter half of September.
Bring from home
- travel documents: passport, itineraries, hotel reservations, plane tickets, travel visas, insurance
- international driver’s license if you plan to rent a car
- adaptor / plug
- t-shirts, lightweight sweaters, hoodies, cardigans
- jeans, trousers, leggings
- shorts, capris
- skirts or dresses
- light jacket, windbreaker or shell
- sunglasses, eyeglasses, contact lenses
- deodorant, feminine hygiene items
- comfortable shoes for lots of walking
- any special medications you need
Buy in Korea
- umbrella if it rains / parasol
- 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 September: Essential Info and FAQs
All ready for the perfect trip to Korea in September? What have you got planned?