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damyang bamboo forest - juknokwon

The spring months of March, April, and May are absolutely one of the most magical times to visit South Korea. The streets are lined with cotton candy pink, spring blooms burst with colour, temperatures are comfortable, and the mood is one of buoyant optimism.

cherry blossoms in korea during spring in korea

Spring is the most optimistic time of the year in Korea!

In this complete guide to visiting Korea in spring, you’ll discover:

  • the climate and weather for March, April, and, May
  • the best spring festivals to attend across South Korea
  • which Korean food is freshest to eat in spring

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What to expect during Spring in Korea

In Korea in spring, the crazy cold climate of winter beats a steady retreat, and fresh shoots begin to colour the country with the most delicate of greens. The tea plantations around Boseong are ready for harvest, the sea magically parts in Jindo, and flowers burst with colour. It really is a lovely time of year to explore South Korea.

cherry trees on a lake during spring in korea

Spring landscapes in Korea are utterly stunning

The spring months of March to May are one of Korea’s top travel seasons for good reason. From mid-March, temperatures start to improve across the country, the sun starts to shine, and the greys of winter in Korea become a distant memory.

Within these months, late March to mid-April is the tourism peak. Travellers from all over the world flock to Korea for a chance to gawk at cherry blossoms in Seoul, and go to various spring flower festivals.

cherry blossoms in korea at seoul forest during spring in korea

Tourists flock to Korea in April for a chance to see cherry blossoms.

If you’re planning your travels to Korea for this time of year, it’s wise to book accommodation and any spring tours far, far in advance, since the most popular places get booked up right away during this peak tourism season.

When is Spring in Korea?

Spring in Korea starts in March and ends in May. There’s a rapid rise in temperature from the deep freeze of winter to the balmy climates we enjoy over the course of 3 months, but also fine dust pollution to contend with.

Here’s what to expect from the Korea weather in spring, month by month.

spring in south korea | hwaeosma temple gurye

The climate is ideal for new life to bloom in Korea in spring.

Spring Weather in Korea | March

March is still a relatively cool, dry month during spring in Korea. Temperatures range from 1 to 10°C on average, and get progressively warmer as the month continues. It’s warmer in the south of the country, and cooler the further north you go. It’s cold enough in some areas of the country to still ski and snowboard at the beginning of March.

seokchon lake in march

It can still be cold enough in Korea for frozen ice in March.

You’ll want to keep multiple layers of clothing on hand – especially for evenings, when it can still feel downright cold.

Spring Weather in Korea | April

Korea’s weather in April has a little bit of everything. The transition from winter to spring in South Korea continues with daytime temperatures getting increasingly comfortable. In April, average daily temperatures in Korea range from 7 to 18°C across the country.

changdeokgung palace in korea in spring

In April, there’s some rainfall in Korea… but not enough to stress about.

Towards the end of the April, there can even be days that reach into the low 20s. There’s little humidity, but you can expect some rainfall. Keep in mind that it can still get cold in the evenings, with temperatures falling as low as 5°C, so be prepared with a light coat or multiple layers of clothing for spring in Korea.

Spring Weather in Korea | May

The warming trend of spring in Korea continues during May, with day time temperatures reaching as high as the mid-20s by the end of the month. Some would say this is one of the best times of the year to visit Korea climate-wise, with ideal temperatures, little humidity, and sunny days.

korea in may | Photo Cafe Graphy Garden

May brings flowers and sunshine to Korea.

May is probably one of my favourite months of the year in Korea, with beautiful light, stunning flowers, and ideal weather.

Fine dust pollution in Korea in Spring

Unfortunately, fine dust pollution is at its worst in Korea during spring. Called hwangsa in Korean, this yellow dust blows in from the Gobi Desert, picks up pollution along the way, and sits squarely on top of Korea due to wind currents.

yellow dust korea weather in april

Yellow dust and pollution can be an unfortunate part of visiting Korea in spring

You’ll want to be prepared with fine dust pollution masks during this time. Fortunately, you don’t need to buy these in advance. They’re easy to purchase in pharmacies, groceries, and convenience stores for just a few thousand won or less.

For the most protection, look out for masks labeled KF94. These filter out 94% of pollutants.

Public holidays during Spring in Korea 2024

There are 3 major national public holidays, and several observances in Korea, during the spring of 2024.

The holidays you need to concern yourself with as a tourist, are Independence Movement Day on March 1st, Children’s Day on May 5th, and Buddha’s Birthday on Wednesday, May 15th. All are days off for all Koreans, but you definitely won’t have trouble finding things to do.

lotus lantern parade during spring in korea

Buddha’s birthday is on May 15th in 2024. The date changes every year based on the Lunar Calendar.

Typically, all tourist sites and many restaurants will be open to the public, and there’ll be a ton of special events planned… especially for Buddha’s Birthday, when a massive Lotus Lantern Parade takes over the streets of Seoul.

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panorama of busan

Best Festivals and Events to Attend during Spring in Korea

From ice fishing, to music, to gastronomic, there’s always a festival happening somewhere in the country. And while cherry blossom festivals are the undeniable highlight of visiting at this time, there are plenty of other festivals to amuse yourself at during spring in South Korea, if pinkness isn’t your thing.

cherry blossoms in korea in spring

Cherry blossoms begin to bloom in Korea in late March

March | Early Spring Flower Festivals in Korea

In March, everyone in the country is ready to celebrate the beauty of the colourful spring flowers that burst forth after a gloomy winter. While plum blossoms and sansuyu are the first flowers to bloom in Korea in spring, cherry blossoms make their first appearance by the end of the month too!

spring in korea | cherry blossoms in gurye

Cherry blossoms begin to appear in Korea in the last week of March.

Gwangyang Maehwa Plum Blossom Festival | 광양매화축제

Festival Dates: March 8th – 17th, 2024

Address: 1563-1, Seomjingangmaehwa-ro, Gwangyang-si, Jeollanam-do | 전라남도 광양시 다압면 섬진강매화로 1563-1

south korea in spring | plum blosssoms in gwangyang maehwa village

Plum blossoms are uniformly round on each petal.

The appearance of maehwa or plum blossoms is one of the first signs that spring in Korea is on its way! It’s easy to mistake plum blossoms for cherry blossoms, but plum blossoms bloom a few weeks earlier than their more famous cousins.

You can recognize them because they’re uniformly round on each petal (cherry blossoms have a small split on the end of each petal).

spring in korea | gwangyang maehwa plum blossom festival

Plum blossoms are 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. You’ll find nearly 200,000 square metres of plum trees near the Seomjin River, in an area known as Maehwa Village (매화마을).

At the festival – which takes place every March in Korea, you can try maesil (plum) ice cream, alcohol, and more.

spring in south korea | jeonju hanok village

Jeonju Hanok Village is lovely.

GWANGYANG MAEHWA FESTIVAL  + JEONJU HANOK VILLAGE TOUR |  Gwangyang Maehwa Village is located down in Jeollanam-do near Yeosu, and it’s difficult and time-consuming to get there by public transport. Your best option is definitely to drive yourself (like we did), or join a tour that includes round-trip transport. More info here.

Gurye Sansuyu Festival | 구례산수유꽃축제

Festival Dates: March 9th – 17th, 2024

Address: 1019-36 Jwasa-ri, Sandong-myeon, Gurye, Jeollanam-do, South Korea

Bright, yellow sansuyu are another one of the flowers that heralds the arrival of spring in South Korea. 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.

spring in south korea | sansuyu in gurye

Vivid, yellow sansuyu heralds the beginning of spring in Korea.

If you have time, make a detour and visit Hwaeomsa Temple – which is the site of a historic and beautiful plum tree that’s been designated as a natural monument by the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) of South Korea.

Hwaeomsa is one of Korea’s most important temples, and it also happens to be incredibly beautiful. Budget at least a few hours for a good wander around its large grounds.

spring in korea | plum tree at hwaeomsa temple

Hwaeomsa’s plum tree is Natural Monument No. 485.

I’ve visited Gurye during spring in Korea, the last 2 years running, and definitely recommend it. The concentration of cherry blossoms lining the roads of Gurye and nearby Hadong are absolutely stunning!

Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival | 진도 신비의 바닷길

Festival Dates: March 11th – 13th, 2024

Address: Modo-ri, Jindo-gun, Jeollanam-do | 온라인개최

Every spring in Korea – a miracle occurs in Jindo. The Yellow Sea parts in true Moses style, and forms a 3-km long pathway between Jindo Island and Modo Island.

jindo miracle sea festival in spring

Every spring in Korea, the sea miraculously parts in Jindo © Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

You can actually WALK through the sea between the 2 islands, searching for abandoned clams, shells, and abalone. This is a truly spectacular natural event that you won’t regret attending.

Everland Tulip Festival | 에버랜드 튤립가든

Festival Dates: starts March 22nd, 2024

Address: 199, Everland-ro, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 용인시 처인구 포곡읍 에버랜드로 199

Starting in mid March and continuing throughout the month of April, Everland is the place to be if you want to see tulips during spring in Korea. At this festival, you can gawk at 1.2 million tulips, from 110 different strains.

This year, Everland has collaborated with Sanrio to bring you a Fairy Village Tulip Festival, where you can also see your favourite Sanrio characters, like Cinnamarol, My Melody, and Kuromi.

everland tulip festival korea in april

Go tulip crazy at Everland, if you’re visiting Korea in spring. Photo by jaeeun/@Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

When you’re done admiring the colourful bulbs, try riding the T-Express – South Korea’s first wooden rollercoaster, see the giant pandas at Panda World, or visit one of 5 themed zones in the park.

DISCOUNTED EVERLAND TICKETS  |  Foreign passport holders can get huge discounts on 1 day attraction passes to Everland by booking in advance online. Get details here.

Watch a KBO League Baseball Game

Season Start: March 23rd, 2024

Address: Various

Spring in South Korea means the start of baseball season! Each of the 9 teams in the KBO baseball league, has a dedicated and rabid fan base. The atmosphere at a game is super lively and you really don’t need to understand a thing about baseball to have a good time.

You’ll be amazed by the total dedication of the crowds as they cheer their favourite team, with never-ending chants and unique songs for individual players.

where to stay in seoul | jamsil

Watching a baseball game in Korea is a unique experience

In Seoul, games take place at Jamsil Baseball Stadium near Sports Complex Station on Line 9, but you can find games all over the country. You can get tickets on-site, or by buying in advance on Interpark. Check the location of games and schedule on their website.

Jeju Fire Festival | 제주들불축제

Festival Dates: Cancelled for 2024

Address: San 59-8, Bongseong-ri, Jeju-si, Jeju-do | 제주 제주시 애월읍 봉성리 산59-8

This dramatic festival lights the night sky with red flames and fireworks during spring in Korea, 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 location of the event is the Saebyeoloreum Volcanic Cone.

jeju fire festival during spring in korea

The dramatic Jeju Fire Festival © Jeong Sung-joo, Korea Tourism Organization

After years of cancellations, the Jeju Fire Festival is back in full force this spring in Korea, with food trucks, torch shows, and performances. Get more info here.

Limited Edition Spring Tours in Korea

Spring in Korea is positively alive with colour and wonderful things to do. Here are the spring tours to take advantage of for the months of March, April, and May. Like cherry blossom season, the dates for most of these spring in Korea tours is incredibly limited. Most run for just a few short weeks, so catch them while you can.

spring in korea | gwangyang maehwa village

Plum blossoms are one of the first flowers to bloom in spring in Korea.

Spring Tours from Seoul

Spring Tours from Busan

spring in korea | gyeonghwa station jinhae cherry blossom festival

Jinhae is the most popular cherry blossoms festival in spring in Korea ⓒ Live Studio, Korea Tourism Organization

April | Spring Cherry Blossom Festivals

Cherry blossom festivals cover Korea from top to bottom in April. The biggest and most famous of these is the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival, but there’s plenty of others.

cherry blossoms in korea at yangjae citizens forest

Yangjaecheon Stream has a (short) cherry blossom festival every year

In Seoul, cherry blossom festivals are held at (but are not limited to):

In other parts of Korea:

gyeongju cherry blossom marathon in korea in april

The Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon takes place in Korea every April

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival | 진해군항제

Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, March 25th – April 3rd last year

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 Gunghangje Festival is back in a big way, with expanded venues and events.

spring in korea | jinhae cherry blossom festival

Jinhae is the must-see cherry blossom festival during Spring in korea

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 during spring 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 travelling to Jinhae using public transport. Check info here.

May Festivals

Cherry blossom and flower festivals are not the only game in town during spring in Korea. Here’s what to watch out for in May.

Damyang Bamboo Forest Festival | 담양대나무축제

Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, May 3rd – 7th last year

Address: 119, Jungnogwon-ro, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do | 전라남도 담양군 담양읍 죽녹원로 119 (담양읍)

Juknokwon or the Damyang Bamboo Forest is a vast forest of serene bamboo trees, walking paths, and even a hanok village. It’s full of oxygen, cool temperatures and the majesty of nature.

damyang bamboo forest - juknokwon

The Juknokwon Bamboo Garden is simply stunning

Held every spring in Korea, the Damyang Bamboo Forest Festival is one of the only bamboo themed festivals in the world. You’ll be treated to traditional art and culture performances, as well as bamboo-related programs, such as riding bamboo rafts, catching fish with bamboo baskets, and making bamboo water-guns.

TIP  |  The Jeonju Hanok Village, Damyang Bamboo Forest, and Metasequoia Road are 3 of the most gorgeous sites in Korea. Visit them on a single day with a day tour from Seoul. Reserve a day trip to Jeonju Hanok Village, Damyang Bamboo Forest, and the Metasequoia Road here.

Boseong Green Tea Festival | 보성다향대축제

Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, April 29th – May 7th last year

Address: 775, Nokcha-ro, Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do | 전라남도 보성군 보성읍 녹차로 775

If you’re looking for calm, green views to welcome spring in Korea, head down to Boseong for the Aromatic Tea Festival. You can explore the largest tea plantation in Korea and see green tea leaves at their lovely peak.

boseong green tea field in spring

Boseong is a peaceful place to spend a spring day © Yu Ji-hun, Korea Tourism Organization

There’s something incredibly calming and rejuvenating about wandering through these symmetrical bushes. So, grab a green tea ice cream, pick your own tea leaves, and learn everything you ever wanted to know about green tea.

TIP  |  A Korea Rail Pass is one of the fastest, easiest ways to travel around the country. You can access over 600 stations on 80 different routes via high-speed rail. Unlimited rides! Reserve a KR Rail Pass and get an instant ticket to travel around Korea right here.

Hapcheon Hwangmaesan Royal Azalea Festival | 황매산군립공원

Festival Dates: TBA for 2024, first 2 weeks of May last year

Address: 4, Hwangmaesangongwon-gil, Hapcheon-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do | 경상남도 합천군 가회면 황매산공원길 4

Spring in Korea is most known for cherry blossoms, but azaleas are also a flower not to be missed. The azalea habitat in Hwangmaesan County Park is the biggest and most breathtaking in Korea.

spring in korea | hapcheon azalea festival

Dawn is one of the most beautiful times to see the azaleas on Hwangmaesan © Choi Soo-jin, Korea Travel Organization

Located near the top of an 1108-metre mountain, Hwangmaesan County Park, it’s an easy hike up to the peak, or you can simply drive up to the fields instead. There’s parking nearby.

Lotus Lantern Festival | Yeon Deung Hoe (연등회)

Festival Dates: May 11th – May 15th, 2024

YeonDeungHoe, or the Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul is one of the most brilliant spectacles in Korea during spring. On the weekend before Buddha’s Birthday (which changes every year based on the Lunar Calendar), a massive lantern parade takes over the streets of Jongno District in Seoul.

spring in korea | lotus lantern parade

The Lotus Lantern Parade is a colourful spectacle.

Picture 100,000 people walking with glowing lanterns, the steady beat of drummers, and colourfully lit floats, and you have a small idea of what to expect. Be sure to head to Jogyesa Temple in Insadong at the conclusion of the parade, for more dancing, drumming and festivities. If you’re in Korea in spring, this is a can’t miss event!

In 2024, the lantern parade and all related events take place around May 11th (though lanterns will be on display throughout the month of April).

spring in korea | bongeunsa temple lotus lantern festival

Lanterns will be on display at Bongeunsa, Jogyesa, and Cheonggyecheon Stream.

TIP  |  Celebrate Buddha’s birthday and take a break from busy city life, with a Templestay. You’ll explore Seon Meditation, the 108 prostrations, and try delicious Buddhist temple cuisine. There are many gorgeous temples to choose from, in or near Seoul. Here’s some popular ones to check out:

Geumsunsa Mountain Temple   |   Jogyesa in Insadong   |    Hwagyesa   |   Bongeunsa in Gangnam    

Best Korean Foods to eat in Spring

There seems to be a food to go with every season in Korea, and spring is no different. Here are the best meals to chase down in March, April, and May

Spring Namul | 나물

Namul refers to a variety of edible grasses or leaves, that are commonly served as banchan or side dishes in Korean cuisine. In spring time, namul are super fresh, packed with vitamins and incredibly tasty. Look out for mugwort, gondre, fernbrake, and wild chives.

spring namul in kkorea

Namul is super fresh and packed with vitamins in spring © Junho Jung (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Jjukkumi | 쭈꾸미

Jjukkumi are webfoot octopus that are freshest and tastiest from March to May. Whether you have it stir-fried, grilled, or in a shabu shabu, you’ll love it’s chewy texture and delicious flavour.

jjukkumi on the grill

King Crab | 왕게

From February until mid-March, king crabs are at their freshest in Korea. They’re generally steamed whole, so you can enjoy the creamy meat at its purest. There are specialized seafood restaurants in major cities like Seoul and Busan to eat this, but head to Uljin or Yeongdeok in Gyeongsangbuk-do for entire streets dedicated to the king of crabs.

Sweet, sweet strawberries | 딸기

Korean strawberries are incredibly sweet, smell amazing, and are an excellent source of vitamin C. Strawberries are grown in greenhouses from December to June, but they’re at their flavour peak from February to April, so be sure to indulge during spring in Korea.

girl in strawberry greenhouse in korea

Be sure to seek out some strawberries during spring in Korea

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Spring in Korea: Essential Info and FAQs

1
When is spring in Korea? The spring months in Korea are March, April and May.
2
Is it cold during spring in Korea? The weather in spring is a mixed bag. It gets warmer as the months progress, but March is still quite chilly.
3
What should I wear during spring in Korea? It's best to layer clothing in springtime, since the weather can change quickly. Umbrellas and water-resistant shoes are a good idea too!

Did this guide to spring in Korea help you? What do you have planned for your visit?

Comments:

  • Denise Nickerson

    April 8, 2022

    Hello, I just love your blog and so thankful that I found it! 🙂 I just had a question about the strawberries it looks like you picked here in the photo. Where’s the best places to do that in korea? or at least a few recommendations. I would love to pick some!

    reply...
  • April 4, 2021

    You have beautifully portrayed what it’s like visiting Korea during spring. It seems the entire city turns into a slice of paradise. And just like the icing of the cake, are the festivals that add more colours to the life.

    reply...
  • March 14, 2021

    What a nice sharing. at times like this. great post. <3 🙂

    reply...
  • March 11, 2021

    I loved this post about spring in Korea, Shelley. It was so uplifting to read and the pictures matched the positive vibe of the words 🙂 Didn’t know there was dust from nearby deserts when it gets warmer and that causes the pollution around Korea. Hopefully it isn’t too bad this year. The plum blossoms look amazing up that hill. Imagine the entire hill covered with them when in full bloom – beyond beautiful. That is good some festivals are going ahead with safety guidelines. Maybe you will be able to go to some of them. Hope you are well over there 🙂

    Oh, also, the crab looks amazing. Crab is amazing 😀

    reply...

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