First Timer’s Guide to South Korea : Everything You Need to Know
From the hustle and bustle of the city life filled with skyscrapers to magnificent ancient temples with stunning nature landscapes, South Korea has plenty of attractions on offer for all travellers. South Korea has four seasons, each one giving the city a unique and different feel. Enjoy every bit of South Korea with our first timer’s guide!
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When to travel to South Korea
South Korea has four distinct seasons. Spring (April to June), Summer (July to August), Autumn (September to November) and Winter (December to March). There is never a bad time to visit South Korea, so it depends on what you want to see and do. However, Seoul can be very hot, rainy and humid in Summer and icy cold and dry in Winter, so plan ahead if you wish to avoid these times.
Spring (April to June)
Spring is seen as the best time to visit South Korea with warm, cool temperatures 15-18°C. You will be greeted by large, green spaces and blooming cherry blossoms. You can expect sunny and breezy days during this time in South Korea.
Summer (July to August)
Summer is the hottest and wettest time of the year in South Korea, with temperatures between 25°C and 34°C. It can be really humid in cities like Seoul, but it is a great time to visit coastal cities like Busan where you can enjoy the iconic Haeundae beach. Do note that monsoon season tends to strike during the summer months.
Autumn (September to November)
After the humid and rainy summer passes, South Korea becomes covered with colourful orange and red fallen leaves. Streets full of trees of stunning shades of orange provide you amazing autumnal landscapes and backdrops. With great weather and picture-perfect sights, Autumn is one of the best times of the year to visit South Korea.
Winter (December to March)
Winter in South Korea can be extremely cold, with temperatures dropping to as low as -20°C in the northern regions. It is the perfect weather for travellers who want to enjoy a cold winter with white snow, as well as winter sports enthusiasts.. Amazing Ski resorts in Gyeonggi-do province and Gangwon-do are worth a visit for those who enjoy skiing and snowboarding
Transportation in South Korea
Getting around South Korea is very convenient and affordable. There are many forms of public transportation that you can use in most cities in South Korea.
There are six cities with a subway system: Seoul, Busan, Daejeon, Daegu, Gwangju and Incheon. The subway in South Korea is an affordable and efficient way to get around in major cities. In addition, it is foreigner-friendly with English station names as well as Korean ones.
City buses in South Korea are frequent and inexpensive. However, the problem with buses is finding and getting on the right bus since most of the signs are in Korean.
You can find taxis everywhere in South Korea. Every taxi uses a meter and the fares are inexpensive. However, most of the taxi drivers do not speak English, so make sure you have an address on hand to show the driver, just in case!
South Korea is popular with KTX, the high-speed bullet train. The KTX connects major cities throughout the country and it connects Seoul to Busan with less than three hours. You can purchase tickets online or at train stations.
Top places to stay in South Korea
View of Dongdaemun
View from Bukchon Hanok Village
Seoul in Autumn
N Seoul Tower
Shopping street in Seoul
Seoul, the capital and largest city in South Korea, is the most popular destination for travellers in South Korea, thanks in no small part to the growing popularity of K-dramas, K-pop and cosmetics. There is no better place to feel the K-wave vibes than Seoul. It is also an incredibly convenient city to get around, with efficient transportation, English signs in most areas and delicious food in every corner.
Gamcheon Culture Village
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Busan, the second-largest city in South Korea, has pleasant beaches, vibrant festivals and amazing seafood. From tall, shiny skyscrapers to beautiful mountains and beaches, Busan sure is an incredibly rich, diverse city with attractions for all.
Wollyeongri Cactus Village
Jungmun Lava Columns
Iconic rape blossoms in Jeju-Island
Jeju-do, Jeju-island, Korea’s largest volcanic island, is one of the most breathtaking destinations in South Korea. Jeju-island is known for its amazing volcanic landmarks, white sandy beaches, beautiful mountains, Jeju Black pork dishes and green tea. Jeju-island is the perfect island to visit for nature enthusiasts and foodies.
The Dos and Don’ts
- Accept things using two hands
- Take off your shoes when entering homes
- Learn basic Korean
- Wait until elders eat first at the table
- Bow when greeting people
- Do not blow your nose in public
- Do not write a name in red
- Do not sit down on elderly or priority seats