Spring in Korea is absolutely one of the most magical times to visit the ROK. The streets are lined with cotton candy pink, spring blooms burst with colour, temperatures are comfortable, and the mood is one of buoyant optimism.
In this complete guide to visiting Korea in spring, you’ll discover:
- the climate and weather in March, April, and, May
- which public holidays or special events happen in spring
- the best festivals to attend across the country
- which food is freshest to eat in South Korea during spring
In this guide
- 1 What to expect during Spring in Korea
- 2 When is Spring in Korea | Spring Weather
- 3 Planning a trip to Korea?
- 4 Public holidays during Spring in Korea 2023
- 5 Best Festivals and Events to Attend during Spring in Korea
- 6 Limited Edition Spring Tours in Korea
- 6.1 April | Cherry Blossom Festivals in Korea in Spring
- 6.2 May | Festivals during Spring in Korea
- 7 Best foods to eat during Spring in Korea
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.
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, April is the tourism peak. Travellers from all over the world flock to Seoul for a chance to gawk at cherry blossoms, and go to various spring flower festivals.
If you’re planning your travels to Korea for the first 2 weeks of April, 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 Weather
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 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.
You’ll want to keep multiple layers on hand – especially for evenings, when it can still feel downright cold.
Spring Weather in Korea | April
The 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.
Towards the end of the month, 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.
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.
Fine dust pollution in Korea in Spring
Unfortunately, fine dust pollution is at its worst in Korea during spring. Called hwangsa in Korea, 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.
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.
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Spring in Korea | 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
Public holidays during Spring in Korea 2023
There are 3 major national public holidays, and several observances in Korea, during the spring of 2023.
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 Saturday, May 27th. All, but Buddha’s Birthday are days off for all Koreans, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have trouble finding things to do.
Typically (like when there isn’t a pandemic), all tourist sites and restaurants will be open to the public, and there’ll be a ton of special events planned… especially for Buddha’s Birthday.
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:
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 Korea in April, there are plenty of other festivals to amuse yourself at during spring in South Korea, if pinkness isn’t your thing.
March | Fire & Flower Festivals during Spring 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!
Jeju Fire Festival | 제주들불축제
Festival Dates: March 9th to 12th, 2023
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.
After years of cancellations, expect the Jeju Fire Festival to be back in full force this spring in Korea, with food trucks, torch shows, and performances. Get more info here.
Gwangyang Maehwa Plum Blossom Festival | 광양매화축제
Festival Dates: March 10th – 19th, 2023
Address: 1563-1, Seomjingangmaehwa-ro, Gwangyang-si, Jeollanam-do | 전라남도 광양시 다압면 섬진강매화로 1563-1
The appearance of maehwa or plum blossoms is the first sign 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).
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, you can try maesil (plum) ice cream, alcohol, and more.
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 11th to 19th, 2023
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.
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.
Everland Tulip Festival | 에버랜드 튤립가든
Festival Dates: March 16th – April 29th, 2023
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.
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.
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 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
April | Cherry Blossom Festivals in Korea in Spring
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.
In Seoul, cherry blossom festivals are held at (but are not limited to):
- Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Spring Flower Festival
- Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival
- Yangjaecheon Cherry Blossom Festival
- Seoul Grand Park Cherry Blossom Festival
In other parts of Korea:
- Cherry Blossom Marathon and Festival in Gyeongju
- Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival
- Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival
- Gyeongpo Cherry Blossom Festival
- Cheongpung Lake Cherry Blossom Festival
Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival | 진해군항제
Festival Dates: March 25th – April 3rd, 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 Gunghangje Festival is back in a big way, 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 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.
Watch a KBO League Baseball Game
Season Start: April 1st, 2023
Address: Modo-ri, Jindo-gun, Jeollanam-do | 온라인개최
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.
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.
Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival | 진도 신비의 바닷길
Festival Dates: April 20th – 22nd, 2023
Address: Modo-ri, Jindo-gun, Jeollanam-do | 온라인개최
Every spring in Korea – usually in April (but could be in early May) – 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.
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.
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May | Festivals during Spring in Korea
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: May 3rd – 7th, 2023
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.
Held every spring in Korea, the Damyang Bamboo Forest Festival is the only bamboo themed festival 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: April 29th – May 7th, 2023
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.
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.
Hapcheon Hwangmaesan Royal Azalea Festival | 황매산군립공원
Festival Dates: first 2 weeks of May 2023
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.
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 19th – 21st, 2023
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.
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 2023, the lantern parade and all related events take place around May 20th (though lanterns will be on display throughout the month of April).
Best foods to eat during Spring in Korea
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.
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.
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.
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Spring in Korea: Essential Info and FAQs
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