Korea Autumn Bucket List: The Best Things To Do in South Korea During Fall Season
I have to admit, summers in Korea can be dreadfully hot and humid and winters are the exact opposite – freezing and dry. Spring and fall are where the country seems to come alive with its colorful flora and fauna and seasonal festivals competing for attention. There’s only one catch: the changing of the seasons is extremely short. That’s why I like to plan out my spring and fall activities and getaways so that I don’t miss out on anything. Here’s my Korea autumn bucket list with the best things to do in South Korea during the fall season.
Updated September 2023
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Sip On Delicious Tea
If you have followed my travels for a while you will know that I am a sucker for tea. That’s why I love nothing more than heading to a local teahouse to get my fix. However, there are not only hot beverages you can enjoy when visiting a teahouse. It’s the relaxing ambiance, the delicious scent that fills the room and being able to spend hours and hours there without getting a sense of ‘wasting time’.
My favorite teahouse in
It is no surprise that the old town of Jeonju is also filled with teahouses. However, Gyodong Dawon seems to be one of the last few that appreciate authentic tea art. The tea master takes his profession so serious that photos are strictly prohibited during his sessions. The menu is short with only a handfull of teas on it. The most popular variety is called hwangcha (황차) and is a golden-hued tea that was exclusively served to kings. Today, the tea is grown right here in Gyodong Dawon’s courtyard.
Enjoy The Fall Foliage At Korea’s National Parks
When traveling to South Korea, you’ll quickly realize there’s one thing Korea has more than enough of: mountains. With over 20 national parks across the country, there’s always a scenic hiking route nearby. Bukhansan, for instance, is a popular place for hiking lovers as it is the tallest mountain near
Try Delicious Meals With Seasonal Fruits and Veggies
South Korea is doing a great job of promoting seasonal fruits and veggies. Fall is the perfect season if you like persimmons, sweet potatoes, corn or Korean pears. Sanchon, a Korean temple food restaurant in Insadong, also builds its 16-course menu around seasonal veggies and herbs from mountains around the country. This is a place where the health benefits of the ingredients are just as important as their flavors. Book a table here for dinner and enjoy delicious vegan dishes prepared according to Buddhist beliefs with a fascinating dance performance at 8 PM.
For a more exclusive experience, head to Ryunique in Sinsa-dong. Chef Ryu lived and cooked abroad for years when he decided to return to Korea to open his own fine-dining restaurant. He prepares his artful dishes with seasonal ingredients for a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. For Ryu, food presentation is just as important as the taste. That’s why only at Ryunique, you will find smoked chestnuts dumplings topped with honeycomb carefully placed on real moss and leaves. If that doesn’t scream like fall season, I don’t know what does.
Soak Your Feet In A Hot Medicinal Bath
The changing of the seasons brings with it a wave of cold and flu symptoms. A great way to avoid getting sick is a medicinal foot bath. Solgaheon Healing Café in Bukchon is a teahouse in disguise but offers so much more besides delicious Korean teas. Besides healing rooms and traditional steam treatments, it’s the foot baths that draw people here. You soak your feet in 45-degree Celcius hot water infused with Korean medicine tailored to your body’s needs. While you can enjoy the foot baths inside, sitting outside in the courtyard offers a much more unique experience. Drink your tea before or during the bath and prevent a cold from ruining your exciting fall season.
Attend one of the many Seasonal Festivals
South Korea seems to make a festival out of everything but fall season comes with a few not-to-miss festivities for everyone. The
If you haven’t had the honor to make kimchi yourself yet, head down to Gwangju to join the World Kimchi Culture Festival. Dedicated kimchi lovers let you in on their secret to the perfect kimchi during the festival. If you’re a soybean lover, head to Paju for the Jangdan Soybean Festival.
Korea Mid Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Chuseok in South Korea, is a significant traditional holiday celebrated in Korea, as well as in other East Asian countries like China and Vietnam. It typically falls on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar, which usually corresponds to September or October in the Gregorian calendar.
Chuseok is a harvest festival that celebrates the abundance of the autumn harvest and gives thanks for the year’s crops. It is a time for families to come together, pay respects to their ancestors, and enjoy special meals. Some common customs and traditions associated with Chuseok in South Korea include:
- Charye (차례): Families hold a ritual called Charye, during which they set up an ancestral memorial table with food and offerings to honor their ancestors. This is a way to express gratitude and respect for their family’s heritage.
- Seongmyo (성묘): Another tradition involves visiting ancestral gravesites to clean and maintain them. Families often offer food and perform rituals at the gravesites to show reverence for their ancestors.
- Songpyeon (송편): Songpyeon are colorful rice cakes made with glutinous rice dough and various fillings, such as sesame seeds, red bean paste, or chestnuts. Families gather to make these special rice cakes, which are then steamed and enjoyed during Chuseok.
- Ganggangsullae (강강술래): This is a traditional Korean circle dance that is often performed during Chuseok. People form a large circle and sing and dance under the bright moonlight to celebrate the harvest and pray for a bountiful year ahead.
- Traditional Clothing: Many Koreans wear traditional hanbok attire during Chuseok, especially when participating in rituals and family gatherings.
- Games and Activities: Various traditional games and activities, such as archery, ssireum (Korean wrestling), and folk games, are enjoyed by families and communities during Chuseok.
- Gift-Giving: It is common to exchange gifts during Chuseok, similar to the practice of giving gifts during Western holidays like Christmas.
If you’re interested in experiencing the beauty of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Korea, you may want to consider a Korea Autumn Tour Package to make the most of this festive season. Chuseok is a time for reflection, gratitude, and family bonding. It is one of the most important holidays in South Korea and is celebrated with enthusiasm and reverence for Korean traditions and culture.
Do a Temple Stay
Are you looking to recharge and spend some time in a quiet and tranquil place after a busy summer? A temple stay might just be the best option! A temple stay is cultural program in several South Korean Buddhist temples where participants can experience the life of a Buddhist monk or nun. During your stay, you will learn about various aspects of Korean Buddhist culture and history and engage in activities, such as meditation, tea ceremonies, yebool praying and more. Some temples even offer martial arts activities!
Best temple stay programs in Korea
- International Seon Center Temple Stay, Yangcheon-gu,
- Myogaksa Temple Stay, Jongno-gu,
- Jogyesa Temple Stay, Jongno-gu,
- Beomeosa Temple Stay, Geumjeong-gu, Busan
- Bulguksa Temple Stay, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
- Haeinsa Temple Stay, Hapcheon-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do
- Guinsa Temple Stay, Danyang-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do
- Yakchunsa Temple Stay, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Get ready for fall in South Korea!
You better start planning your fall season in Korea because winter is right around the corner. Whether you prefer to hit up a few teahouses, hike some mountains, eat your way through Korea’s seasonal cuisine or all of the above, don’t waste any time and make new memories.
Recommended Hotels in
The hotels recommended below are hotels I have personally stayed at and recommend to other travelers.
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Frequently asked questions about autumn in Korea
What to Wear in Autumn Korea?
Clothes to wear during autumn in Korea typically include layered clothing, especially in mid to late autumn when temperatures cool down. You can start with long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, and light jackets. As the season progresses, consider switching to long pants or jeans for added warmth. Don’t forget to accessorize with scarves and hats to stay cozy, and opt for closed-toe shoes or boots to keep your feet warm. Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast for specific dates, as autumn weather in Korea can vary, and you may need to adjust your attire accordingly.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Korea in Autumn?
The best time is generally from late September to early November. During this period, autumn in South Korea is at its peak, offering pleasant weather with cooler temperatures and stunning foliage. The fall foliage, known as “danpung-nori,” is a major attraction during this season, as the landscape transforms into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
In late September to early October, you can experience the early stages of autumn, with mild temperatures and still-green landscapes in many parts of South Korea. As October progresses into early November, the colors of autumn reach their zenith, creating picturesque scenes in popular destinations like Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island. The weather during this time is generally comfortable for outdoor activities and exploring cultural sites. However, it’s advisable to check the specific region’s climate and foliage forecasts, as the timing of autumn can vary from year to year and from one region to another in South Korea.
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