Summer in Korea | 43 Awesome Activities, Fun Festivals, and Cool Things to do in 2023
Hot, humid, and sticky pretty much sums up summer in Korea. What do you do when a stroll to the convenience store feels like a marathon, but it’s the only time you can get to South Korea?
Don’t let it stop you!
In this complete guide to Korea in summer, you’ll discover:
- the climate and weather in Korea in June, July, and, August
- perfect activities to take advantage of in Korea in summer
- the best festivals to attend across the country during summer in South Korea
- the freshest foods and coolest desserts to eat to fight the heat and humidity
- what to pack and wear to survive a Korean summer
In this guide
- 1 Summer in Korea | What to Expect
- 2 When is Summer in Korea?
- 3 Planning a trip to Korea?
- 4 Summer in Korea | What to Wear and Pack
- 5 Summer in Korea | Best Activities & Things to Do
- 6 Best Summer Festivals in Korea
- 7 Summer in Korea | Other Festivals
- 7.0.1 Yongsugol Red Poppy Festival | 용수골꽃양귀비축제
- 7.0.2 World DJ Festival
- 7.0.3 Hueree Summer Hydrangea Festival | 휴애 여름 수국축제
- 7.0.4 Lotte Family Concert | 롯데패밀리 콘서트
- 7.0.5 Toechon Tomato Festival | 퇴촌 토마토축제
- 7.0.6 Gangneung Danoje Festival | 강릉단오제
- 7.0.7 Semiwon Lotus Flower Festival | 세미원
- 7.0.8 Waterbomb Festival 2023 | 워터밤
- 7.0.9 Garden of Morning Calm Rose of Sharon Festival | 아침고요수목원 무궁화 축제
- 7.0.10 Pocheon Herb Island Lavender Festival | 포천 허브아일랜드 라벤더 페스티벌
- 7.0.11 Bonghwa Sweetfish Festival | 봉화은어축제
- 7.0.12 Jeongnamjin Jangheung Aqua Festival | 정남진장흥물축제
- 7.0.13 Busan Sea Festival | 부산 바다 축제
- 7.0.14 Tongyeong Hansan Battle Festival | 통영한산대첩축제
- 7.0.15 Seoul Fringe Festival | 서울프린지페스티벌
- 8 Limited Edition Summer Tours in Korea
- 9 Summer in Korea | Swimming
- 9.1 Hit the beach
- 9.2 Top 5 beaches to visit during summer in Korea
- 9.3 Splash in a refreshing mountain stream
- 9.4 Cool off at a Water Park
- 9.5 Chill by the pool
- 10 Summer in Korea | Water Sports
- 11 Summer in Korea | Outdoor Activities
- 12 Summer in Korea | Explore at Night
- 13 Summer in Korea | Head Indoors
- 14 Summer in Korea | Best Foods to Eat
Summer in Korea | What to Expect
In Korea in summer, the comfortable climate of spring gives way to monsoon rains, high humidity, and scorching temperatures. Beaches open all over the country, portable fans make their yearly appearance, and night time activities peak as people take advantage of cooler evening temperatures.
From mid-June onwards, humidity starts to rise, and by July, it’s at almost unbearable levels. Add in (potentially) heavy monsoon rains, and searing temperatures, and it’s a wonder that anyone visits Korea in summer at all.
But they do. En masse. With Korean diaspora heading home during summer school vacations, and travellers visiting from all over the world, summer in Korea is literally heaving with people.
If you’re planning your travels to South Korea for summer, it’s wise to book flights, reserve accommodation and choose summer tours far, far in advance, since the best places, in the most convenient locations, get snatched up right away.
When is Summer in Korea?
Summer in South Korea starts in June and ends in August. The temperature doesn’t actually change that much, rising only about 5°C in total from the end of May. Humidity levels however, can reach almost 100% on some days, making those extra 5°C feel like a whole lot more.
South Korea also experiences summer monsoons (장마 in Korean), so prepare for precipitation (possibly major) and perhaps a typhoon or two.
Planning a trip to Korea?
Connect with other travellers | Ask and get answers to all your travel questions | Learn about all the best things to do in Korea | Join our Korea Travel Planning + Guide Facebook Group now.
Summer 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
Summer in Korea | June Weather
June is a shoulder month, as spring transitions fully into summer in Korea. Temperatures remain relatively stable over the course of the month, only varying by a couple of degrees, from 25 – 27°C | 81°F during daylight hours.
For the first few weeks of June, it cools down a bit at night, so the days can still feel relatively comfortable.
By mid-month though, humidity levels start to rise. By the end of June, it sits at an average of 54%. It’s safe to say that 25°C | 77°F at the beginning of June feels a LOT cooler than 27°C | 81°F at the end of June.
Summer in Korea | July Weather
With high humidity, soaring temperatures, and the possibility of major precipitation, July can be a difficult month for weather in Korea. Daily highs reach 29°C | 84°F, and the nights are just a few degrees cooler.
During summer in Korea though, humidity is the biggest factor in terms of comfort. By the end of July, it can reach an average high of 91%, meaning that hot, humid days are followed by equally painful hot, humid nights.
The skies are cloudy and overcast about 50% of the time in July. This is not actually a big surprise given that it usually rains for over half the days of the month. It’s not all bad though. The rainfall can provide a very welcome respite from the hot, humid conditions of summer in Korea.
You should definitely have an aresenal of rainy day activities planned for a trip to Korea in July. Indulging in a Korean facial, seeing a traditional Korean folk arts concert, shopping at Starfield Coex Mall or spending the day at Lotte World Aquarium and Lotte World Amusement Park are good options for a gloomy day.
Summer in Korea | August Weather
The hottest day of the Korean summer is typically around August 4th, but from then on, temperature, precipitation, and humidity start to decrease, albeit slowly. By the end of the month, the temperature has fallen to 27°C | 84°F and humidity is back down to the levels seen at the end of June.
That doesn’t mean the August weather in Korea is comfortable though. It isn’t. Overall, it’s the hottest month of summer in Korea, with an average temperature of 30°C | 86°F. Combined with the high humidity, it can feel as hot as 35°C | 95°F or higher. This is definitely the month to take a day trip out to a beach near Seoul for some relief.
Korea Weather in Summer | Typhoons
Typhoons affect Korea from July to September. In recent years, typhoons have hit the Peninsula pretty regularly over the summer in South Korea, but few of them have been deadly. It can however, mean high winds, flash floods, landslides, and property damage – usually in the southern regions of the country.
The most damaging typhoon to hit Korea in recent history, was Typhoon Maemi in September of 2003. 117 people were killed by this storm, and high winds and floods knocked out power lines, destroyed shipyards, businesses, and much more. Overall damage was estimated in the billions of dollars.
At least one good thing came out of Typhoon Maemi though – the inspiration for Maemiseong Fortress, which has become a hotspot for taking photos on Geoje Island.
VISIT GEOJE ISLAND AND OEDO BOTANIA FROM BUSAN | See Geoje Island, Maemiseong Fortress, and the stunning marine botanical garden – the Oedo Botania – on a day tour from Busan. Check availability of Geoje Island + Oedo Botania day tour from Busan here.
Summer in Korea | What to Wear and Pack
Lightweight and airy are the name of the game when it comes to what to wear during summer in Korea. You’ll be most comfortable in t-shirts, shorts, skirts, and dresses while wandering the scorching streets of Seoul.
Cotton is not actually the best fabric to wear for a Korean summer because it holds moisture, and well… it’s damn humid. You’ll feel much more comfortable in linens or technical fabrics designed to wick sweat.
If you’re shopping in Korea, check Uniqlo for their Airism line, which is designed specifically to deal with the hot, muggy climate.
People walk A LOT here, so comfortable sandals or light sneakers are recommended. To best deal with rain and slippery streets, I live in either Crocs type sandals or my Loom waterproof sneakers.
For women, sleeveless shirts, dresses, and modest tank tops are becoming more and more common, but it’s still best to dress on the conservative side if you don’t want to draw unwelcome attention. For men, going shirtless on city streets is a definite no no in Korea.
When going to the beach, water park or swimming pool, most Koreans are fully covered in rash guards… even the men. You’ll stand out a bit if you choose to wear a bikini or go shirtless, but as long as you’re comfortable, don’t mind the stares.
Summer in Korea | Best Activities & Things to Do
The not-so-perfect weather is undoubtedly a factor during summer in Korea, but there’s so many excellent activities and things to do, that it’ll be nothing more than an afterthought you have to struggle through sometimes.
Read on to learn about all the best activities, events, festivals, places to visit, and things to do in South Korea in summer.
Best Summer Festivals in Korea
The cherry blossom and spring flower festivals are long gone, but summer in South Korea is packed with even MORE festivals to enjoy. From epic water gun fights to huge EDM parties to mud festivals, you’ll have no trouble filling your weekends with activities.
With so many festivals to choose from, and only so many days to a summer season, you’re going to have to be selective about where you go. The following are the best, most popular events to go to during summer in Korea. There WILL be crowds… but also a ton of fun.
Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival | 부여서동연꽃축제
Festival Dates: July 13th – 16th, 2023
Address: 52, Gungnam-ro, Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do | 충청남도 부여군 부여읍 궁남로 52 / 부여 궁남지 일원
Taking place during summer in Korea when lotus flowers are in full bloom, the Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival celebrates the romance of King Mu and Princess Seonhwa.
Festival events include performances of this historical love story, as well as hands-on programs like lotus flower origami classes, soap making, candle-making sessions, and a LED lantern exhibition.
More details here (Korean only).
Sinchon Water Gun Festival 2023 | 신촌물총축제
Festival Dates: TBA for 2023, but usually last weekend of July
Address: Area of Yeonse-ro road in Sinchon | 18-63, Changcheon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
One of the best ways to escape the heat and humidity of summer in Korea is at the incredible Sinchon Water Gun Festival. Every July, this festival shuts down the streets near Hongdae and Sinchon for street performances, DJs, and of course the biggest watergun fight you’ve ever seen.
No big surprise that the Sinchon Water Gun Festival is one of the most popular and iconic summer festivals in Seoul. Get tickets asap if you want to go.
SEOUL PUB CRAWL | Water gun battle by day. Pub crawl to 4 of Hongdae’s ‘s best bars and clubs by night. Meet other travelers, get 3+ free shots, and skip the line at some of Seoul’s hottest clubs! Check details here.
Boryeong Mud Festival | 보령머드축제
Festival Dates: July 21st – August 6th, 2023
Address: 897-15, Daehae-ro, Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do | 충청남도 보령시 대해로 897-15 (신흑동)
I’m gonna go out on a limb here, and say that this is probably THE most popular and famous festival for international visitors to Korea in summer.
Every year, thousands of people flock to Daecheon Beach in Chuncheongnam-do to coat themselves in nutrient-rich Boryeong mud by day, and party to K-pop and EDM at night. I mean, you can’t really argue with festival events like giant mud baths, mud mazes, mud painting, and mud slides, can you?
If you do plan to attend this event, book hotels in Boryeong and transport EARLY… especially if you’re going over a weekend.
BORYEONG MUD FESTIVAL | Public transport to Boryeong is time-consuming and requires multiple transfers. It’s much easier to join a day tour that takes you to the festival, and other sights in the area. Click for more details here.
Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival |인천 펜타포트 락페스티벌
Festival Dates: August 4th – 6th, 2023
Address: 350, Central-ro, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon | 인천광역시 연수구 센트럴로 350 (송도동)
The Pentaport Rock Festival is one of the BIGGEST live music events during happening during summer in Korea. Held in Incheon at Songdo Moonlight Festival Park, Pentaport attracts both local and international acts. Past performers have included the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Dua Lipa, Weezer, and Psy.
Tickets are sold in 1 to 3 day passes, and range in price from 80,000 to 200,000 won. They go on sale in the 2nd week of May. Check their website for details.
Suwon Culture Night | 수원 문화재 야행
Festival Dates: August 11th – 13th, 2023
Address: 825, Jeongjo-ro, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 수원시 팔달구 정조로 825
Suwon Culture Night is your chance to see the UNESCO listed Hwaseong Fortress stunningly illuminated at night, while experiencing 8 different media art and cultural activities. This is a great option for summer in Korea, because it happens in the evening when it’s just a little bit cooler.
I checked this out last year, and it was incredible! Events take place along the winding walls of Hwaseong Fortress and the surrounding area, from 6:00PM to 11:00PM each day. Check details here (Korean only).
HWASEONG FORTRESS IS A MUST-SEE | UNESCO listed in 1997, Hwaseong Fortress is one of Korea’s most important historical treasures. With 5.74-km of wall, 4 impressive main gates, and a number of intact defensive features like artillery towers, floodgates, and bunkers, it’s the only fully walled fortress left in Korea. See Hwaseong Fortress gorgeously lit at night or visit on a guided day tour from Seoul.
Summer in Korea | Other Festivals
If you can’t make it to the super-popular summer festivals, not to worry. You’ll see that there’s a lot more going on that just these. I’ve listed many of the other festivals taking place during summer in Korea below, but trust me, there are more – so keep your eyes open!
Check out my detailed guides, for a full rundown of weather, festivals and what to pack for each month of travel in Korea.
- 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 September: Autumn Relief
- Korea in October: Full on Fall Foliage
- Korea in November: Autumn to Winter Transition
- Korea in December: Christmas Lights Galore
Yongsugol Red Poppy Festival | 용수골꽃양귀비축제
- Festival Dates: May 19th – June 6th, 2023
- Address: 1632-1, Seogok-ri, Panbu-myeon, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do | 강원 원주시 판부면 용수골길 326
World DJ Festival
- Festival Dates: June 2nd – 4th, 2023
- Address: Jamsil Olympic Stadium, 25, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 송파구 올림픽로 25 (잠실동)
- Grab tickets here.
Hueree Summer Hydrangea Festival | 휴애 여름 수국축제
- Festival Dates: TBA for 2023, but June 10th – July 20th last year
- Address: 256, Sillyedong-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do | 제주특별자치도 서귀포시 남원읍 신례동로 256
- Discounted tickets here.
Lotte Family Concert | 롯데패밀리 콘서트
- Festival Dates: June 16th – 18th, 2023
- Address: 424 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul | 서울 송파구 올림픽로 424 올림픽공원
- Check the line-up and get tickets here.
Toechon Tomato Festival | 퇴촌 토마토축제
- Festival Dates: June 16th – 18th, 2023
- Address: 104-7, Ori-gil, Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 광주시 퇴촌면 오리길 104-7 일원
Gangneung Danoje Festival | 강릉단오제
- Festival Dates: June 18th -25th, 2023
- Address: 1, Danojang-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 단오장길 1
- More details on their website.
Semiwon Lotus Flower Festival | 세미원
- Festival Dates: late June – August
- Address: 93, Yangsu-ro, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 양평군 양서면 양수로 93All
- Website here.
Waterbomb Festival 2023 | 워터밤
- Festival Dates in 2023: Seoul – June 30th – July 2nd | Gwangju – July 8th | Daejeon – July 15th | Daegu – July 22nd | Busan – July 29th | Incheon – August 5th | Suwon – August 12th | Sokcho – August 19th | Jeju – August 26th
- Address: Various locations in Seoul, and around Korea
- Check for full details and tickets here
Garden of Morning Calm Rose of Sharon Festival | 아침고요수목원 무궁화 축제
- Festival Dates: all of July 2023
- Address: 432, Sumogwon-ro, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 가평군 상면 수목원로 432 (상면)
- Join a day tour here.
Pocheon Herb Island Lavender Festival | 포천 허브아일랜드 라벤더 페스티벌
- Festival Dates: all of July and August, 2023
- Address: 35, Cheongsin-ro 947beon-gil, Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 포천시 신북면 청신로947번길 35 (신북면)
- Check day tours here
Bonghwa Sweetfish Festival | 봉화은어축제
- Festival Dates: July 29th – August 6th, 2023
- Address: Naeseongcheon Stream area in Bonghwa-eup | 경상북도 봉화군 봉화읍 내성리 506
- Check out their website here.
Jeongnamjin Jangheung Aqua Festival | 정남진장흥물축제
- Festival Dates: July 29th – August 6th, 2023
- Address:21, Jangheung-ro, Jangheung-gun, Jeollanam-do | 전라남도 장흥군 장흥읍 장흥로 21 (장흥읍)
- Festival details here (only in Korean).
Busan Sea Festival | 부산 바다 축제
- Festival Dates: TBA for 2023, but July 30th – August 7th in 2022
- Address: Beaches around Busan – Haeundae, Gwangalli, Dadaepo, Songdo, and Songjeong Beaches
Tongyeong Hansan Battle Festival | 통영한산대첩축제
- Festival Dates: August 4th – 13th, 2023
- Address: 328, Tongyeonghaean-ro, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do | 경상남도 통영시 통영해안로 328 (중앙동)
- Check their website for more details (Korean only).
Seoul Fringe Festival | 서울프린지페스티벌
- Festival Dates: August 11th – 27th, 2023
- Address: 87, Jeungsan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 마포구 증산로 87 (성산동)
- Check their website for more details.
Limited Edition Summer Tours in Korea
Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the scorching heat with activities at water parks, beaches, and on boats. From gorgeous lotus flowers to a beach full of mud, there’s a ton of unique events and festivals designed just for the hot, hot summer months in Korea.
- Dolphin Spotting on a Jeju Gimnyeong Yacht Cruise | May 10th – September 9th, 2023
- Jarasum Namdo Flower Festival + Nami Island + Alpaca Ranch | May 26th – July 1st, 2023
- Club Nine Water Park Day Tour | June 1st – September 28th, 2023
- In the SOOP BTS Tour | June 2nd – August 27th, 2023
- SBS M&C Overnight Sunrise EDM Party on Nine Beach in Donghae | June 3rd – August 26th, 2023
- World DJ Festival | June 2nd – 4th 2023
- Lotte Family K-Pop Concert | June 16th – 18th, 2023
- Buyeo Lotus Flower Festival + Jeonju Hanok Villlage | July 10th – 28th, 2023
- Boryeong Mud Festival, Daecheon Beach + Suspension Bridge | July 21st – August 4th, 2023
- Boryeong Mud Festival | July 21st – August 26th, 2023
Summer in Korea | Swimming
The second summer hits Korea, all I dream about is dunking my steaming body into a cooling body of water. Fortunately, that’s pretty easy here. From swimming pools to beaches to water parks and mountain streams, there’s plenty of options.
Hit the beach
Sun, sand, and surf. Who doesn’t want to hit a beach the second it gets hot. Fortunately, spectacular Korean beaches can be found on the west, east, and south coasts, with some of the best surrounding the country’s semi-tropical paradise island, Jeju-do.
Top 5 beaches to visit during summer in Korea
There are literally hundreds of beaches to visit during a Korean summer. Here are my favourites… so far.
Hanagae Beach, Muuido Island | 하나개해수욕장
Address: San189beonji, Muui-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon | 인천광역시 중구 무의동 산189번지 (무의동)
If you’re looking for a beach you can actually visit on a day trip from Seoul, your best bet is the West Coast beaches near Incheon. My favourite of them is Hanagae Beach on Muuido Island, but you can check out this guide to beaches near Seoul for a full rundown.
Gyeongpo Beach, Gangneung | 경포 해수욕장
Address: 514, Changhae-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 창해로 514 (안현동)
Gyeongpo Beach on Korea’s East Coast is a perfect weekend escape during summer in Korea. It has a 4-km long, sandy beach, gorgeous blue water, and a ton of fun activities and sites to see in the immediate area.
TAXI TOUR OF GANGNEUNG | This 3 hour private taxi tour of Gangneung area sites is 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.
Anmok Beach & Gangneung Coffee Street | 안목해변
Address: 20-1, Changhae-ro 14beon-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 창해로14번길 20-1
If you’re a coffee-addict like me, Anmok Beach and Gangneung Coffee Street might be your idea of summer in Korea nirvana. It’s home to a strip of over 30 stunning seaside cafes, with views out to cool, blue expanses. Anmok Beach is super close to Gyeongpo Beach, so you could reasonably visit both of them on the same trip.
Hamdeok Beach, Jeju Island | 함덕 서우봉해변
Address: 519-10, Johamhaean-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do | 제주특별자치도 제주시 조천읍 조함해안로 519-10
There’s no doubt that Jeju Island has some of the best beaches in Korea. One of my favourites is Hamdeok Beach, because it’s shielded from wind by Seoubong Mountain, has clean sand, and super calm water that’s perfect for families. There’s also a huge sandbar that disappears every night, and reappears every morning.
RENTING A CAR ON JEJU ISLAND | Public transit on Jeju Island is not as efficient as in Seoul. Distances are long, and it’s a lot slower, so Koreans usually rent a car to see the island properly.
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 availability and prices of rental cars on Jeju Island here.
Wahyeon Beach, Geoje Island | 와현 모래숲해변
Address: Gyeongsangnam-do, Geoje-si | 일운면 와현해변길 34
Gujora and Hakdong are probably the most famous beaches on Geoje Island, but my favourite was definitely laid back Wahyeon Beach.
The water here is calm and gentle, the sand is soft, and there are wonderful views out across the sea. You’ll definitely find more locals than tourists at Wahyeon Beach during summer in Korea.
SEOUL TO BUSAN VIA HIGH SPEED RAIL | If you’re traveling round-trip from Seoul to Busan on the KTX, a Korea Rail Pass is cheaper than booking tickets individually at a cost of 111,000 won vs 119,600 won.
You’ll also benefit from unlimited rides via high-speed rail to over 600 stations on 80 different routes, and customer service in english. It’s the ultimate in hassle-free travel. Check out Korea Rail passes on Klook here.
Splash in a refreshing mountain stream
Korea is 70% mountainous, so one of the best things to do during summer in Korea is head to a mountain valley or 계곡. This is a fun place for families and groups of friends to cool off in a super clean and refreshing natural setting.
It’s easy to find 계곡 pretty much all over the country, but if you can’t make it out of Seoul, head to Nadeul road at Gwanaksan Mountain. This trail is around 6-km long and follows various streams in the mountain valley. During summer in Korea, the downstream area is open to the public for swimming.
Cool off at a Water Park
Kids and the young at heart will love splashing around at a huge water park during summer in Korea. Many waterparks in Korea are attached to hotel resorts, so keep an eye out for all-inclusive hotel packages and promotions to save money.
I’ll rundown some of the best, most popular water parks in Korea below, but here are some of the other major ones to check out around the country.
- Sealala Water Park & Spa: Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
- Woongjin Playdoci Waterdoci: Bucheon-si, Gyeonggi-do (discounted tickets)
- Onemount Water Park: Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do
- Shinhwa Water Park: Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo, Jeju Island (advance tickets)
- Phoenix Blue Canyon Water Park: Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do
- Seorak Waterpia: Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do
- The Ocean Water Park: Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do
- Welli Hilli Water Planet: Hoengseong, Gangwon-do (tickets and transport)
Vivaldi Park Ocean World | 비발디파크 오션월드
Address: 62, Hanchigol-gil, Hongcheon-gun, Gangwon-do | 강원도 홍천군 서면 한치골길 262
If you’re looking for an all-inclusive hotel package that’s perfect for the family, I can’t recommend Vivaldi Park and the Sono Hotels enough. They’re so much fun and such great value that I’ve booked packages at Vivaldi Park in both autumn and winter myself, and plan to visit again this summer in Korea… and then again in spring too!
Hotel packages are designed for each season, and include buffet breakfast, accommodation, amusement park rides, and weather-appropriate activities at incredible value. In autumn, we opted for the heated outdoor infinity pool, and in winter, we chose a day at Snowy Land sledding park.
During summer in Korea, of course, we’ll be heading to Ocean World (discounted admission tickets) – Vivaldi Park’s huge 99,174㎡ Egyptian themed water park for slides, pools, and total fun in the sun. Check out all-inclusive hotel packages at Vivaldi Park Resort here.
Caribbean Bay | 캐리비안베이
Address: 199, Everland-ro, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do | 경기도 용인시 처인구 포곡읍 에버랜드로 199
Want to play at the biggest indoor / outdoor water park in Korea? Head to Caribbean Bay at Everland in Yongin for huge pools, a lazy river, relaxing spas and saunas, water slides, and an artificial wave pool.
There’s gentle water slides for little ones, and for the thrillseekers, crazy slides like the Aqua Loop, which end in a terrifying 18-metre drop.
SPEND A FULL DAY AT EVERLAND | Everland Theme Park is located in Yongin, about an hour’s drive from Seoul. This day tour includes admission tickets + round-trip shuttle bus transportation from 3 convenient pick-up points in Seoul to make your day totally stress-free. Check availability of full day tours to Everland Theme Park here.
Gimhae Lotte Water Park | 김해롯데워터파크
Address: 555, Jangyu-ro, Gimhae-si, Gyeongsangnam-do | 경상남도 김해시 장유로 555
Lotte Water Park near Busan is one of the newest water parks to enter the summer in Korea scene. Designed around a Polynesian theme, it has some of the biggest facilities in the country, including a 135-m long outdoor wave pool, 38-m long indoor wave pool, and an incredibly long 118-m Tornado Slide.
There’s even a 389-m long zipline that takes you straight toward the wave pool!
CAN’T MAKE IT DOWN TO BUSAN? | Welli Hilli Water Planet is a brand new 40,000-㎡, state of the art water park in Gangwon-do. There are indoor and outdoor zones with lazy rivers, wave pools, water slides, boomerang zones, spa zones, and much more. This tour can also be combined with a stop at Yeoju Premium Outlets – a designer outlet operated by Shinsegae Simon. Check availability of day tours to Welli Hilli Water Planet here.
Chill by the pool
If you can’t get to a beach to cool down during summer in Korea, chilling by the pool is the next best thing. There are both public and commercial swimming pools available all over the country, but not nearly enough to satisfy a population the size of Korea in my opinion.
On peak weekends and super-hot days, they can be seriously crowded and busy, so plan accordingly.
Hotel Swimming Pools
Booking a staycation at a luxury hotel with a swimming pool is a super popular thing to do – especially for families in landlocked Seoul looking to escape the brutal heat of summer in Korea.
Reserve EARLY if a staycation at a city hotel, or private pool villa near the beach is high on your list of things to do in Korea in summer.
There are gorgeous hotels with swimming pools all over the country, but here are a few that I’ve got on my list (one can dream, right?):
Signiel Busan has gorgeous furnishings, world class dining, panoramic views, and an incredible infinity pool overlooking Haeundae Beach. If you’re looking for luxury in Busan, this is one of the best.
St. Johns Hotel in Gangneung
Gangneung is a major hub for visitors traveling to the East Coast for beach relaxation during summer in Korea. St. Johns is a massive hotel with a stunning swimming pool and a perfect beachfront location.
Grand Hyatt Seoul
The Grand Hyatt is probably one of the best known hotels in South Korea. It’s where Barack Obama chose to stay when he visitied Seoul! You can enjoy gorgeous views of the city, while lounging next to their Olympic-sized outdoor pool, on a blazing hot summer afternoon in Korea.
Sun Cruise Resort & Yacht
You’ve probably seen pictures of this crazy cruise ship perched precariously atop a cliff, without realizing it’s in Korea. Well, it is, and it’s located on Jeongdongjin Beach. During summer in Korea, you can enjoy their gorgeous outdoor pool, hike the seaside badabuchae-gil, and visit their on-site theme / art park.
Public Swimming Pools by the Han River
Opening Dates and Hours: June 24th – August 21st, 2022, from 9AM – 7PM daily. Details here.
There are 8 outdoor swimming pools located near the Han River in Seoul. They’re at Ttukseom, Yeouido, Gwangnaru, Mangwon, Jamwon, Jamsil, Nanji, and Yanghwa Hangang Parks.
*The public pool at Jamsil Hangang Park is closed for summer in Korea 2023 for renovations.
Most of these parks have multiple pools to be used by different age groups, waterslides, play areas, showers, change rooms and food stalls, but facilities differ slightly at each location.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to wear some kind of swim cap or head covering to enter most pools in Korea. I usually get by with just a baseball cap.
Summer in Korea | Water Sports
If the thought of just bobbing around in a super refreshing body of water is too boring for you, don’t worry. There’s a ton of water based activities and sports for athletic types to try out during summer in Korea.
It is very hot and humid though, so be sure to hydrate well and slather on protective sunscreen. Whether the sun is out or not, there are strong UV rays in these months that will burn you very quickly… especially if you’re out on the water.
Learn how to surf
There are quite a few places to learn how to surf during summer in Korea, but Surfyy Beach in Yangyang is the only one completely dedicated to surfing. This is a 1-km long private beach zone inside Hajodae Beach that has perfect waves and a super chilled out vibe, complete with bean bag chairs and lazy hammocks.
Other popular spots to learn how to ride the waves during summer in Korea are:
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
SUP or Stand Up Paddle Boarding has become a popular summer sport in Korea in recent years, due to its accessibility for beginners. The calm waters of Gwangalli Beach in Busan are considered one of the best places to try out SUP yourself.
Other places in Korea to try stand up paddle boarding:
Wanna Kayak, Snorkel AND SUP? | Do all 3 at Jeju Island’s Hado Beach, which is known for crystal clear waters and gorgeous views out to Udo Island. Sign up for a day full of water activities on Jeju here.
Visit Asia’s Largest Wave Park
Address: 2690 Jeongwang-dong, Siheung-si
If you can’t make it out to one of the coasts for summer in Korea, head to Wave Park for an exciting day at Asia’s largest wave park!
Located just 45 minutes away from Incheon Airport and 90 minutes from Seoul, in Siheung, Wave Park has over 20 different artificial waves, ranging from knee-high beginner waves to super massive and steep waves for experienced surfers.
If you can’t surf, no worries. You can take lessons at the Surfing Academy or take part in other aquatic sports like kayaking, SUP and swimming in zones with and without waves, for the non-surfers among us.
In winter time, crowds flock to the ski resorts of mountainous Gangwon-do, but during summer in Korea, river rafting is where it’s at. Popular areas for rafting are Naerincheon River in Inje, Donggang River in Yeongwon, and Hantangang River in Cheorwon.
The rapids are relatively gentle, but this is a great activity for the family to take part in, amongst beautiful scenery, on a hot, summer day.
LEGOLAND (+ Cute Alpacas or Nami Island) | The newly opened Legoland Korea in Gangwon-do is the 2nd largest Legoland in the world, with 7 different theme parks to explore – Lego Mini City, Building Block Street, Lego Castle, Ninja World, Pirate Coast, Mini World and Block Park. Check availability of Legoland + Alpaca World tours in Korea here.
Summer in Korea | Outdoor Activities
Don’t let the jawdropping heat turn you into a shut-in. From hiking to biking to glamping, there are so many outdoor activities on offer during summer in Korea, you’ll be absolutely spoiled for choice. Pick up a portable fan and get out there!
Go camping or glamping
Whether you prefer to pitch a tent on a mountain, or relax in a luxurious caravan, spending a night in the great outdoors is super easy in Korea. Many campsites also offer full gear rental, so it’s possible even if you’re not an experienced camper.
It’s very hot during summer in Korea however, so I recommend camping or glamping where there’s a body of water available to cool off in.
Wild camping is generally allowed here, so if you’ve got your own gear, try setting up near one of Korea’s many mountain streams for swimming during the day, and marshmallow roasting at night.
In recent years, glamping sites have sprouted up around Korea like weeds, so finding one is pretty easy with a quick online search. With amenities ranging from swimming pools, to beach views, to air conditioning, your only limit will be your budget.
For peak times, like weekends and summer in Korea, you definitely need to reserve as far in advance as possible.
Go for a bike ride
Biking is one of the best ways to really experience the sights, sounds, and smells of a place, while exploring local culture. You’ll undoubtedly work up a sweat if you’re visiting during summer in Korea, but you’ll also benefit from a breeze as you pedal near majestic palaces, vibrant markets, and through winding alleyways.
Mobility issues? | This fun e-Bike tour takes the work out of biking around Seoul. On this tour, you’ll glide easily up and down 2 mountains to some of the city”s best viewpoints, see tranquil temples, and explore vibrant markets. Check availability of a highlights of Seoul e-Bike tour.
Hang out by the Hangang
The mighty Han River runs through the centre of Seoul, dividing the north and south areas of the city. Fortunately, it’s easily accessible from multiple neighbourhoods, and there’s a ton of stuff to do riverside.
Whether you choose to hop on a Han River cruise, picnic among locals with kimbap and chimak, pitch a tent to chill, or board a yacht – no visit to Korea in summer is complete without spending at least a little bit of time next to this iconic waterway.
There are 12 separate (but connected) Hangang Parks with green space, amenities, bike paths, restaurants, cafes, and more to explore. If you only have time to visit one of the Hangang Parks, I’d choose either Yeouido Hangang Park or Banpo Hangang Park.
One word of warning though: during summer in Korea, there can be flooding from monsoon rains, so always confirm that the Hangang Park you want to visit is open before going.
Find some shade in a Seoul park
Seoul can seem like a mass of concrete blocks, but a full quarter of the city is actually made up of vast green spaces. These parks are all (mostly) totally free to enter, have excellent amenities, and usually have several different activities available to participate in.
Aside from the Han River Parks, these are some of the best green spaces in Seoul to find some shade during summer in Korea.
- Olympic Park | 올림픽공원: 424, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 송파구 올림픽로 424 (방이동)
- Seoul Forest | 서울숲: 273, Ttukseom-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 성동구 뚝섬로 273 (성수동1가)
- Namsan Park | 남산공원: 231, Samil-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 중구 삼일대로 231
- Seokchon Lake Park | 송파나루공원: 136, Samhaksa-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 송파구 삼학사로 136
- Seoul Botanic Park | 식물원: 161, Magokdong-ro, Gangseo-gu, Seoul
- Children’s Grand Park | 서울 어린이대공원: 216, Neungdong-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 광진구 능동로 216 (능동)
Hwadam Forest + Gwangmyeong Cave Tour | The Gwangmyeong Caves are incredibly cool in summer and also happen to be one of Korea’s 100 Must-See destinations. Hwadam Forest is known for absolutely stunning landscapes. Enjoy them both along with an ice cream making experience to help cool you off. Get full details here.
Summer in Korea | Explore at Night
Seoul is a 24 hour city year round, but in Korea in summer, this is especially true. The streets come to life and are pulsing with activity as people seek to escape the sun’s punishing rays.
Here’s a few suggestions for how you can spend some of those hot summer nights.
See the Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain
The Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain is one of Seoul’s most famous attractions. During summer in Korea, the show runs both day and night – but head there after dark for cooler temperatures, glowing lights, and the possibility of a refreshing mist cooling you off.
Get lost at the Bamdokkaebi Night Market | 서울 밤도깨비 야시장
After a 3 year-long COVID hiatus, the Bamdokkaebi Night Market is set to take over the streets of Seoul once again. Taking place at 6 locations around the city, you can expect food trucks, unique products, and an exciting vibe, under brightly coloured tents.
Each of the Bamdokkaebi night markets have varying hours, opening days, and events, so be sure to check for more details here.
KOREAN FOOD TOUR | Get in ma belly! On this wonderful food tour, you’ll visit 4 different restaurants with a local guide, who will introduce you to delicious dishes, dining customs, and a drinking game or two. Join a guided food and drink tour in Seoul here.
Go for an Evening Stroll at Cheonggyecheon Stream | 청계천
If you’re among the tourist hordes visiting Korea during summer vacation, stops at Gyeongbokgung Palace, Insadong and the Bukchon Hanok Village are required travelling.
After snapping that all-important hanbok selfie, head to nearby Cheonggyecheon Stream in the evening to relax and refresh yourself. It’s an average of 3.6°C COOLER than other parts of Seoul, due to the flowing water and natural environment.
SEOUL AT NIGHT BUS TOUR | See the neon lights and glowing night views of Seoul on a double-decker bus. This tour includes a 30 minute stop at iconic Namsan Tower, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the entire city below you. Get discounted tickets for the Seoul City Night Bus Tour.
Go hiking after sunset
Korea is covered in mountains, so hiking is an incredibly popular hobby. Wait till after the sun sets and you can avoid potential heatstroke while watching the city’s sparkling lights come to life.
There are national parks all over the country, but if you’re staying in Seoul, make your way around the Hanyangdoseong fortress wall, or challenge yourself with a hiking / climbing adventure on Bukhansan or Gwanaksan Mountain.
Summer in Korea | Head Indoors
Ok, let’s get real here for a second. Some days, it really is TOO hot, TOO humid, TOO rainy and TOO soul-suckingly exhausting to do all the summer in Korea things.
That’s when it’s time to head indoors for the sweet relief of air-conditioning blasting at -500°C.
Visit one of Korea’s Many Museums
There are excellent museums all over the country, ranging from fine art, to experiential, to quirky. With free exhibits, gorgeous architecture, and high powered air-conditioning, visitng a museum is an affordable and interesting way to escape the heat of summer in Korea.
If you have kids, be sure to check for special Children’s Museums. Many are attached to the main museums and offer specialized interactive exhibits designed specifically for children to learn and be entertained.
Art, History & Science Museums
Here’s just a few of the big museums to check out across Korea in summer, but do a quick online search and you’ll find a ton more.
There’s a whole other category of “museums” in Korea that are pretty much designed for hanging out and taking fun pictures. Check these out when you need something gorgeous for your feed.
- Color Pool Museum (advance tickets)
- Arte Museum – locations in Yeosu, Gangneung, and Jeju (advance tickets)
- Alive Museum & Dynamic Maze (discounted tickets)
- Trick Eye and Love Museum (discounted tickets)
- Figure Museum W (discounted tickets)
- Sun Cruise Resort, Yacht and Theme Park (check rates)
- Haslla Art World Museum & Hotel (check rates)
Spend the Day at the Mall
With entertainment, restaurants, and special events, malls are for much more than shopping these days. There are huge malls located across Seoul, but head south of the river to visit 2 of the best: Starfield Coex Mall in Gangnam and Lotte World Mall in Jamsil.
Starfield Coex Mall
At Starfield Coex Mall, take gorgeous pictures at the iconic Starfield Library, see sharks at Coex Aquarium, or get tossed around at a 4D movie at the Megabox Movie Theatre.
Learn about everything there is to do in my full guide to Starfield Coex Mall.
Lotte World Mall and Lotte Mall
There’s so much to do at these 2 adjacent Lotte malls in Jamsil, that you could easily spend a couple of days. I should know. These malls are a few blocks from my house, and I’ve probably spent weeks and weeks and weeks, wandering around inside, with my daughter when summer in Korea is just too much to handle.
Besides shopping and eating, here’s some of the things you can get up to in Lotte World Mall.
- Lotte World Adventure Amusement Park has both an indoor and outdoor area (discounted tickets)
- Lotte World Aquarium (discounted combo tickets)
- Seoul Sky Observatory in Lotte World Tower, Korea’s tallest building at 555-metres (advance tickets)
- Lotte World Mall Cinema
- Champions Kids Cafe
- Super Wings Kids Cafe
- Ehwa Korean School Uniform Rental Experience
- Indoor Ice Skating Rink
- Lotte Concert Hall
- Lotte World Folk Museum
- Lotte Museum of Art
Summer in Korea | Best Foods to Eat
There’s different foods to go with every season in Korea, and summer is no different. These foods help to combat the high temperatures, and fortify you to deal with the exhausting humidity of a summer in Korea.
Here are the best meals to chase down in the months of June, July, and August.
Mul Naengmyun | 물냉면
Nothing refreshes me more from inside out than an icy bowl of mul naengmung. It’s a dish made up of thin noodles made from a combination of buckwheat and potato flours. They’re served in a fresh broth, and topped with slices of daikon radish, cucumber and egg.
Other cold soups to search out in Korea during summer are: kongguksu | 콩국수 and chogye guksu | 초계국수.
TRY FOOD FIT FOR ROYALTY | The Royal Cuisine of the Joseon Dynasty was designated as National Intangible Cultural Property No. 38, and Jihwaja is THE place to try it. Run by the Hwang Family, Jihwaja is a national treasure and legacy that traces back to the last 2 kings of the Joseon Dynasty, with authentic recipes preserved and passed down through generations. See degustation menu options here.
Bingsu | 빙수
Comprised of a bowl of shaved ice, and topped with a broad variety of ingredients from fruit to rice cakes to red beans, bingsu is the most classic dessert to eat during a Korean summer to cool down.
What started as a humble dessert of shaved ice topped with sweetened red beans and condensed milk, can now be found in every variation known to humankind. I can’t justify paying 98,000 won for a shine muscat bingsu, so I usually head to Sulbing for their huge variety of tasty and affordable desserts.
Samgyetang | 삼계탕
Samgyetang falls under the category of iyeol chiyeol | 이열치열 foods. These are dishes that are meant to fight the fire of summer in Korea with equally hot foods. This could be spicy concoctions or hot soups with herbal ingredients like ginseng and jujube that fortify the system.
Other iyeol chiyeol foods to look out for during a Korean summer are: nakji bokkeum, jangeo, and yukgaejang.
You can try samgyetang all over the city, but Tosokchon near Gyeongbokgung Palace and Korea Samgyetang are 2 of the oldest and most famous places in Seoul. Make sure you bring a personal fan – you’ll likely have to wait in line.
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Summer in Korea: Essential Info and FAQs
Now you’re all set for a visit to Korea in summer! What awesome summer activities do you have planned for your trip?