Fall in Korea is one of the most beautiful seasons. Although spring is famous for its cherry blossoms, I think that Korea’s true beauty comes out in October.
Fall is often best witnessed in October, however often there will be foliage left in November at some locations on the peninsula.
Due to the natural beauty of the season, many of the best fall activities in Korea take place outdoors. There are a lot of activities that are unique to fall in Korea, and in this article I will cover many of them.
If you are traveling to the peninsula this fall season, make sure to check out the activities on this list! You won’t regret it.
If you are visiting Korea in another season, make sure to check out these guides for the best activities at every point of the year!
Before we cover the best fall activities in Korea, I will briefly discuss why I think it is the best season to visit South Korea.
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Benefits of visiting in fall
Although this differs from person to person, I think that fall is the best time to visit South Korea. Not only because it is the most beautiful season, but for a variety of other reasons!
Other than being a stunning time to visit, fall provides a few other benefits. For example, it tends to have the mildest temperatures of the year, and there is also the hidden benefit of fall having far less fine dust than spring.
- Mild temperature
- Less fine dust
- Fall foliage
- Many unique events and festivals
Although aspects like fine dust might not seem like a big deal, it can definitely impact your experience travelling. It’s a factor that must be considered – especially if you visit in spring or winter. If you want to know more, you can learn about fine dust in Korea here.
1. Experience the Fall Foliage
Fall foliage at Daedunsan.
Of course, the first fall activities in South Korea that is a must-do is to see the fall foliage!
Although fall foliage can be viewed in many different countries around the world – really anywhere in the northern hemisphere, it’s something that everyone should see in Korea.
Not only is the foliage different in Korea, but there are many unique and stunning views to be found around the country. Views that can’t be found anywhere else!
Although there are many different places around the country where fall foliage can be experienced, there are a few that I have to recommend specifically.
Cloud staircase at Daedunsan!
Daedunsan is a mountain that is located around three hours south of Seoul. The mountain itself isn’t that large, and can be climbed in a few hours.
The mountain has a few views that are definitely worth seeing. While climbing the mountain is a fun activity in itself, the views at the top of the cable car and at the peak are breathtaking.
Yes, that is right! There is also a cable car that goes halfway up the mountain. This makes Daedunsan an ideal fall activity for many people of all ages. It’s possible to enjoy many of the best views on the mountain without walking for more than 15 minutes.
Daedunsan has not only some of the most breathtaking fall views in Korea, but it also has some of the most unique. The sky bridge is one of the few of its kind in Korea, and it’s something that is instantly recognisable.
Seoraksan in late November.
Another mountain in Korea that is stunning in the fall is Seoraksan. This mountain is located around an hour and a half outside of Seoul, towards the east coast.
Seoraksan is popular year-round, however, it’s especially beautiful in fall. For this reason, visiting Seoraksan is a fall activity that I highly recommend.
While Daedunsan has a shorter walk, Seoraksan requires much longer to reach the peak. Luckily, there are many other walks that are shorter which can also be enjoyed.
World Cup Stadium
Fall foliage at World Cup Stadium.
If you are in Seoul and would prefer to see the fall foliage somewhere local, then look no further. World Cup Stadium is stunning in fall and one of the best parks to visit in this season.
World Cup Stadium is aptly named as it was built for the soccer world cup in 2002. Although the area is called World Cup Stadium, I am actually referring to the parks that are located around the stadium.
Each of the parks has a different attraction and all of them are worth visiting at some point. However, if you are interested in the fall scenery, then the two that I would recommend are Haneul Park and Pyeonghwa Park.
Haneul means ‘sky’ in Korean, and the park is accurately named as it sits on top of a hill in the middle of the World Cup Stadium area.
Pyeonghwa Park is a more standard park, but it is one that is especially beautiful towards the end of the year as there is a lot of fall scenery that comes out in late October.
Another location within Seoul is Namsan Mountain. Namsan is most famous for the tower that stands atop the mountain – Namsan Tower.
However, what many people don’t realise is that Namsan Mountain actually has a large and beautiful park. The park circles around the mountain and there are even paths that lead to the top.
In spring, Namsan Mountain is one of the best places to see the cherry blossoms, yet surprisingly few people visit it. In fall, the same happens with fall foliage! For this reason, visiting Namsan Mountain is one of the best fall activities.
Namsan Mountain also has many different walking paths of varying difficulty. Whether you want a short, easy walk, or a longer, more difficult walk, Namsan has a lot of options for anyone wanting some exercise.
Another location that is found just outside of Seoul is Nami Island. If you’ve ever planned a trip to Korea before, you have probably heard about Nami Island already.
The island is located around an hour outside of Seoul and is both very famous and very popular. If you would prefer to avoid crowds, don’t visit Nami. However, it does have some absolutely stunning fall scenery!
The island can only be reached by ferry (only a short ride), and it’s almost like a mini world on the island. No matter what the season, Nami Island has some beautiful scenery to offer.
The trip to Nami is one of the most popular day trips out of Seoul, and for good reason. However, like I mentioned earlier, expect the island to be quite busy.
2. Go on a Temple Stay
The view from Naksansa, a temple on the east coast of Korea.
Temple Stays are one of the most unique and interesting ways to experience Korean culture that there is. What’s more, although temples are often beautiful, they become absolutely breathtaking in fall!
Buddhism has had a big influence over both the Korean people and culture, and while it isn’t as widely practiced today, it has still played a big part in shaping Korea.
Temples today can still be found all over Korea. If you would prefer to stay in the city you are staying in (whether that be Seoul, Busan, Jeju, or somewhere else entirely), you can! Every city in Korea has some temples that offer temple stays.
However, my recommendation is to get out of the cities and to enjoy the countryside. There are temples that can be found virtually all over Korea, and many offer unique attractions and sights.
During a temple stay you can expect to learn a lot about Buddhism and the Buddhist way of life. There are many different programs available – one day stays, relaxation stays, meditation stays, and more.
Temple stays are truly unique experiences, and fall makes them even better. For that reason, I highly recommend temple stays as one of the best fall activities in Korea.
3. Party at Fall Festivals
Fireworks at the Han River.
Throughout fall there are a lot of festivals that take place. Every season in Korea brings with it unique attractions in the form of festivals and fall is no different!
There is a lot of variation in the festivals that take place during fall. For those of you who like movies, the Busan International Film Festival is a great visit.
If you love beer, there’s Oktoberfest. If you love fireworks, one of the best displays of the year takes place in October. There’s something for everyone, and that’s why attending festivals is a great fall activity!
A whole list of festivals that take place during fall can be found here. However, I will list some of the most popular here!
Busan International Film Festival
The Busan International Film Festival takes place in October, near the famous Haeundae beach in Busan. The Busan Film Festival is internationally recognised and is one of the most famous film festivals in Asia.
The festival focuses on directors and films that are new to the field. Every year it introduces new films and talent to the world in the form of big displays in front of large crowds.
In recent years, over 300 films have been shown at each BIFF. These films come from all over the world and are in many different styles and forms. If you are someone that enjoys movies, then the Busan film festival is a fantastic fall activity in Korea.
Hanwha Fireworks Festival
One of the biggest fireworks festivals of the year takes place in Seoul in October. This event is the Hanwha Fireworks Festival.
This festival takes place on Yeouido, an island located in the Han River in central Seoul. While the best viewing is from the island, it’s far from the only place that you can view the fireworks.
Since they take place over the Han River, the fireworks can be seen from all over the city. There are many different Han River parks and bridges that provide fantastic views of the fireworks and best of all, they are free!
If you are interested in something a bit more special, you can even take a Han River cruise and see the fireworks from the deck of a river ferry!
Muju Firefly Festival
The Muju Firefly Festival is one of the most unique festivals in Korea and one that everyone should try to visit at least once!
The festival takes place in Muju, a city located in central Korea, just south of Daejeon. The festival generally takes place in late August to early September and is focused around the native fireflies that live in the area.
Although fireflies are the theme of the festival, there is a lot more to it than just that! There are many performances that take place over the period of the festival and you can expect to see everything from taekwondo performances to talent shows.
Muju is a location that is often off the radar for both tourists and locals alike. However, the Muju Firefly Festival is one of the best fall festivals in Korea and one that brings a lot of people to the region.
Although not a Korean festival traditionally, Oktoberfest is a festival that is now celebrated on Namhae, an island off of the southern coast of Korea. Who’s to say that you can’t enjoy some other cultures and traditions while in Korea?
The festival takes place on one weekend that is usually in early October. The history behind the event is also interesting, with the German culture being brought back by German Koreans returning from Korea who were offered cheap land to bolster the island’s population.
The weekend is filled with German food, traditions, and of course, beer! However, there are also many performances and shows that take place over the weekend to keep visitors entertained.
While Oktoberfest might not be something that you would expect to see in Korea, it’s a fantastic way to spend a day, or weekend, while traveling the country!
Seoul Lantern Festival
The Seoul Lantern Festival is a beautiful festival that takes place at Cheonggyecheon Stream in central Seoul. The festival lasts for around two weeks in mid November.
Cheonggyecheon Stream is one of Seoul’s most iconic landmarks and one that you often see in dramas and other Korean media. For good reason! The stream is a rather nice break to the otherwise very urban centre of northern Seoul.
The Lantern Festival is best enjoyed at sunset and just after. Although the festival does run until 10 pm (or 11 pm on weekends), many of the activities take place in the earlier evening.
The festival can be fully enjoyed within a few hours and the location makes it extremely accessible for most visitors to Seoul. This is a great festival to visit with family also!
4. Enjoy the Han River
The Han River in fall. Korea has some stunning sunsets!
The Han River always comes up on these lists no matter what the season! That’s because it is always a great place to visit – no matter what the season. However, in fall the Han River is better than ever, and it’s a great fall activity.
Fall has some of the mildest weather of the year, and it makes many of the outdoor activities in Korea far more enjoyable than they are in summer and winter, and often even better than in spring as the fine dust is worst in the spring months.
Hangang (Han River) flows through the center of Seoul and there are many different parks in which it can be enjoyed. All of these parks offer something unique, and it’s really your choice as to which one you visit.
My favourite is Ttukseom Resort Station’s Han River Park, as it has stunning views as well as many festivals and events. On top of this, it’s also quite large with plenty of room for picnics and other activities.
Another popular Han River Park is Yeouido Hangang Park. Located on an island in the middle of the Han River, Yeouido is one of the most popular places to enjoy the Han River. If you want to have a picnic and order some chicken and beer, this is the place to be!
If you want to see the fall foliage and enjoy the Han River on the same day, then Nanji Hangang Park is a fantastic choice. This park is part of the World Cup Stadium area which I mentioned earlier, and it’s a short walk from Haneul Garden and Pyeonghwa Park.
There are also many fun activities that can be done along the Han River. Bikes can be found and hired, and there are also many electric bikes and scooters that can be hired. There are a ton of different ways to enjoy the Han River in fall!
5. Visit Palaces & Wear Hanbok
Modern hanbok at Changdeokgung Palace. Photo from BerryLoveFashion – Korean fashion blog.
The palaces of Korea are always high-up on the list of most popular tourist activities in Korea. However, in fall, the foliage makes the palaces an even more appealing choice to visit!
There are palaces located all over Korea, and the most popular are Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung in Seoul as they are the easiest to access.
Although Gyeongbokgung is a great palace to visit, I would actually recommend the other palaces in Fall. This is due to the fact that Gyeongbokgung has less foliage than the other palaces which are located in the capital.
Even if you can’t visit or don’t want to visit the secret garden, I would recommend hiring hanbok and exploring the palaces. With the colours that come out in October and November, it’s easy to get unforgettable photos.
If you are interested in hiring hanbok and exploring the traditional spots of Seoul, then keep reading down to the section about hanok villages!
6. Try Seasonal food
Korea has a lot of soups which are fantastic in the cooler months!
Korea is a country and culture that is famous for its food. Over the past few years and decades, this has become even more obvious as Korean food has taken over the food world.
Every season brings new foods to Korea, and fall is no different. Fall brings a lot of new fruits (and fruit-based desserts) to the market and you will find fresh fruits like persimmon, pears, and apples being sold.
Since fall is the time of Chuseok, you will also find that Korean rice cakes are common. If you haven’t tried them before, they are a very unique food that is hard to explain without trying it yourself.
Rice cakes can be sweet or savoury, and they can also be colourful on the outside. The outside is usually a bit sticky, and inside there will be anything from red bean, to honey, to chestnut.
As the weather starts to get cooler, you will also find that many warm street foods are in season! Some of the most common are fishcakes, hotteok (like a deep-fried pancake), and roast chestnuts and sweet potato.
Korea is a country of seasonal foods, so make sure to enjoy some of them if you are visiting in fall!
7. Explore the DMZ
The DMZ is a very unique experience and one worth having while you are in Korea!
DMZ tours are another popular activity for those visiting Korea, and as with many things on this list, the tours are even better in Fall.
The DMZ is one of the most eerie places in the world to visit. It’s totally silent, but you can feel the tension that sits over the area. It’s almost a surreal experience.
There are many different DMZ tours and all of them visit different areas along the border. The most common tour goes to Dorasan Station and the trip takes only one hour from the capital.
Throughout the tour you will get to see many of the remnants of the Korean war. You will also be able to see the hopes for a peaceful future.
The DMZ is a place that is very popular with tourists, and for good reason. It’s an unforgettable experience and one that isn’t just fun, but also informative.
Although the DMZ isn’t for everyone, it’s an important cultural experience as it has played a large role in how modern Korea is today.
8. Learn Culture at Hanok Villages
Bukchon Hanok Village.
Hanok villages are Korean traditional villages. These villages are filled with older Korean buildings that are either the original buildings or newer buildings that have been made to blend in with the older ones.
These villages exist all over Korea, however, the most popular and well-known hanok village is Bukchon. Bukchon is located in central Seoul and provides a stark contrast to the otherwise hyper-modern city.
While these villages are fun to explore on their own, they often also house many other interesting attractions. You will find all kinds of museums, tea-houses, and traditional restaurants and stores in hanok villages.
If you are looking for an even more special experience, why not explore the hanok village while wearing hanbok? You can get some amazing photos!
9. Take in the Sights of Korea
The view from Namsan Tower in fall.
Although this may sound a bit odd as a ‘fall activity’, I do have a reason for adding it to this list! If you haven’t visited Korea before, you may not even consider fine dust.
However, if you have visited before or have lived in Korea, then you know that it can be a big deal and is often something that you have to plan around.
Fine dust is often worst in spring, and historically, September and October are two of the cleanest months of the year. November is also one of the months with less fine dust.
As such, fall is the best season of the year to take in the stunning views that you can find around South Korea.
Every city has its own unique views, and there are also some fantastic sights that can be found on the mountains of Korea.
Although Namsan is a very frequented spot by tourists, it is for a good reason, This is by far one of the best views of the city and one that everybody should see! However, often the best view isn’t actually at the top of the tower, but rather at the bottom of it (the top of the mountain).
Inwangsan and Eunbongsan are two mountains in Seoul that aren’t so well known among visitors. However, both of them have very unique and beautiful views. Eungbongsan only requires a very short 15 minute walk, and Inwangsan takes about 30 to 45 minutes as it is very steep.
10. Travel With a Day Trip
Daedunsan day trip in fall!
With amazing cities like Seoul, Busan, and Daegu (to name only a few!), it’s easy to spend your whole trip inside these metropolises. Although there is nothing wrong with that, there is so much more to see in Korea as well!
There are hundreds of different day trips that you can take in Korea, and they generally begin at either Seoul or Busan. These trips go to different cities and attractions all over the peninsula, and they are one of the most accessible ways to see more of South Korea.
From Seoul, the most popular day trips are those to Nami Island, Petite France, and Seoraksan & Naksansa. However, there are so many different places that you can visit and there are a lot of hidden gems in the Korean countryside.
Fall in Korea
I hope that this list has helped you find some activities to do this fall. Every season has something unique to offer in Korea, and fall is the favourite season of many people.
There are many fall activities that you can take part in, and I couldn’t list all of them here. If there is something that you believe should be added to the list, let me know! I would love to add more activities to this list.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. You can do either by leaving a comment or by contacting me here.
When Is the Best Season to Visit Korea?
The best time to visit Korea depends on what you want to do. If you want to have the mildest weather, spring and fall are the best seasons to visit. However, both winter and summer have their own unique attractions.
Simply weather-wise, fall is the best season. This is because summer and winter can have quite extreme temperatures, and spring often has days of strong fine dust.
What Clothes Should I Wear I Fall?
Fall weather is quite mild, and you won’t need very heavy clothing. However, it can still get a bit chilly at night and in the later fall months (November especially). For this reason, make sure to bring some long sleeved shirts and warm pants. You won’t need to worry too much about packing heavy clothes like gloves, though.
What Is the Temperature Like in Fall?
During September and October, temperatures usually sit between 15 and 25 degrees celsius at daytime. During the night however, the temperature can drop to under 10 degrees.
During November, temperatures can reach 0 during night. In the day, expect to see temperatures from 5-15 degrees celsius.
Where Is the Best Fall Foliage?
Fall foliage can be found all over Korea, and there is no single best spot. However, if I had to recommend one place that has amazing fall foliage, it would have to be Daedunsan Mountain.