the rainy season in Korea

Top 12 Things to Do During Rainy Season in Korea

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The beginning of summer in Korea is marked by the phenomenon known as Jangma (장마). This rainy season occurs once a year and typically lasts from mid-June to the end of July. Some may believe that this time of year is the worst time to visit Korea because it is an extremely hot and wet season, but there really is no bad time to visit Korea. Koreans have a special way of getting through a day of pouring rain, which you can also apply to make the most of your trip to Korea during the rainy season. Here are 12 things to do during the rainy season in Korea!

What exactly is Jangma?

The term Jangma is thought to have originated in the 1500s, as a combination of the Chinese characters for “long” and “rain”. It is a monsoon type, where a monsoonal flow transports moist air from the Indian and Pacific oceans to East Asia. This causes seasonal rain to form and then circles the Korean Peninsula.

This season brings a lot of rain and wind. More rain than you may have ever seen depending on where you live and how severe the monsoons become during the season.

Monsoon weather can come and go quickly, so you should always be prepared. You can be completely dry one second and completely soaked the next.

When is the monsoon season in Korea?

Jangma, the rainy season in Korea, typically lasts from mid-June to the end of July. This season can last between 2 and 6 weeks. The length varies every year.

The monsoon season in Korea is also one of the main reasons the Korean swimming season does not begin until late July/early August. After the rains have stopped, the official Korean swimming season begins.

Top Things to do in Korea this Rainy Season 2023

Activities during the wet seasons are similar all over the world, but in Korea, they become a great asset. Here is my selection of the best ones:

Visit a Spa

What better time of year to pamper yourself than during the rainy season in Korea? Seoul, which is practically Asia’s beauty mecca, offers a plethora of options for truly treating yourself. For example, you can get pampered at the Sulwhasoo Balance Spa in Gangnam and choose from a variety of treatments; Sulwhasoo is a high-end Korean beauty brand that promotes holistic approaches that promote inner and outer harmony. Another great option is  Whoo Spa. It is one of the best spas in Seoul and is not only visited by locals and tourists from China or Japan but also frequented by Korean celebrities.

Whoo Spa offers a variety of treatments for face and body, including various aesthetic treatments using high-quality skincare products from the Korean brands O HUI, The History of Whoo and SU: M37.

I recommend their 2-hour long ‘Special Care’ package, consisting of a 60-minute back & shoulder massage and a 60-minute facial.

Spa 1899 Donginbi

Spa 1899 Donginbi

Take a Ceramic Class

I’m a huge fan of pottery and ceramics and if this is also something you’re interested in, I recommend taking a Korean pottery-making class! Chulsoo Kim’s pottery class in Seoul is the ideal way to express yourself while meeting new people. The class is designed for beginners. The teacher will be present every step of the way to ensure you never get stuck.

During this class, you’ll learn a bit about Korean pottery and you’ll also make your very own ceramic item: a fireplace-shaped pot and with a cauldron-shaped lid.

Swim in Indoor Pools

If the rain is making it difficult for you to leave the house, why not consider a staycation in one of Korea’s best hotels with an indoor swimming pool? These staycation hotels provide amazing guest rooms and an amazing experience in their lovely indoor swimming pools that will surely delight everyone!

My favorite indoor swimming pools in Seoul are at the Conrad Seoul in Yeouido and the Mondrian Seoul Itaewon. Both of these also offer pool access to non-guests.


Indoor swimming pool at the Conrad Seoul

Visit a Museum

In my opinion, museums in South Korea are extremely fun and interesting to visit. They always make sure to bring history to life with breathtaking virtual animations and hands-on activities. At the same time, most museums in Korea are completely free of charge. If it’s pouring down rain, a visit to a museum can be just what you need during the rainy season in Korea.

Here are some of the best museums in Seoul you should visit:

  • National Museum of Korea (국립중앙박물관)
  • National Hangeul Museum (국립한글박물관)
  • National Folk Museum of Korea (한국민속박물관)
  • National Palace Museum of Korea (국립고궁박물관)
  • Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art (리움)
  • War Memorial of Korea (전쟁기념관)
  • Seoul Museum of History (서울역사박물관)

what to do in Gongju

Do some Shopping

A rainy day in Seoul is ideal for stocking up on Korean cosmetics, buying souvenirs for your family, or purchasing that adorable outfit you’ve been eyeing. The luxurious and beautifully decorated Lotte World Mall in Jamsil in the 554m high Lotte World Tower or the massive COEX underground shopping center in Gangnam, which includes all famous Korean and international clothing brands, abound in Seoul.

Another great shopping mall to visit is the Hyundai Seoul, Korea’s first eco-friendly future-concept department store. It’ll take you a whole day (or more) to explore all 600 shops on 12 floors.

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, go to one of Seoul‘s underground shopping centers, such as the Goto Mall, which has over 600 stores selling clothes, accessories, flowers, and other items at rock-bottom prices. You can find anything in those malls and easily spend an entire rainy day walking through them.

The Hyundai Seoul in Yeouido

Eat Pajeon and Makgeolli

This combination is extremely popular in Korea during the rainy season! On a rainy day in Korea, many people go out to eat pajeon (a kind of Korean pancake with green onion) and makgeolli, a traditional rice wine.

Many Koreans associate the sound of pouring rain with the sizzling sound of the Pajeon being fried in a pan. On top of that, the flour used in Pajeon and the Makgeolli contains a high concentration of serotonin, a chemical that sends signals between nerve cells and increases emotion and appetite. It is said that this cheers people up when they are feeling down or depressed on rainy days!

You can also take a makgeolli rice wine making class to learn more about the process and culture behind this popular drink!

Take a Korean Cooking Class

Korean food has some of the most unique flavors in the world. Why not learn how to cook some of your favorite Korean dishes yourself? Then take a Korean cooking class!

There is a fun full-course traditional Korean cooking class available on Klook. You’ll learn the secrets behind making delicious Korean dishes at the class from professional chefs.

Before making a Korean-style full-course meal with more than 10 dishes, you and the chefs will visit a local market to buy all the necessary ingredients. They will teach you how to choose the best produce and you’ll also be able to try some Korean street food along the way.

The Top 10 South Korean Foods To Try

Do a Traditional Tea Ceremony

This is one of my favorite experiences so far! It’s no secret that East Asian countries produce some of the world’s best teas. In fact, tea plays an important role in many of their cultures, including South Korea.

What better way to spend a rainy afternoon than sipping on some delicious tea?  A traditional tea ceremony at Seoul‘s Bukchon Hanok Village is the perfect way to do this. Let a certified tea master teach you how to brew the perfect cup of matcha or green tea and introduce you to Korean tea snacks, and tea etiquette that has been passed down for hundreds of years. A traditional tea ceremony at Seoul’s Bukchon Hanok Village should be on the bucket list of anyone looking for a unique activity in Korea during the rainy season!

Traditional Korean Tea Ceremony

Watch a Show

South Korea definitely knows how to do entertainment right. There is a wide range of modern and traditional shows to suit all tastes. I enjoy watching traditional Korean shows and musicals.

Every Saturday, the National Gugak Center hosts a beautiful show called “Saturday Performance of Korean Music and Dance.” The performance focuses on the mystical world of Korean folk arts, introducing the audience to a variety of traditional musical styles.

The number of musicals available in Seoul has grown significantly in recent years, with many international productions taking the stage. I’ve seen musicals with both a Korean and an international cast in Seoul, including The Lion King, Cats, Rebecca, and Chicago. To see the current musical lineup, go to the Visit Seoul website, where you can also easily book tickets.

traditional korean music

Check out an Aquarium

Another great activity in Korea during the rainy season is visiting an aquarium. There are a lot of good aquariums, for example, the popular Hanwha Aqua Planet at the famous 63 building. This aquarium is home to around 20,000 sea creatures from over 400 species. On top of that, they also have a mermaid show in the main tank.

Another popular aquarium is the Coex Aquarium in Gangnam. It’s bigger than the one at the 63 building with over 40,000 sea creatures in 183 tanks. Additionally, the aquarium houses the highest number of sharks and the largest variety of species in Korea.

Watch a 4D Movie

4D is the latest craze in the film industry, and Korea has already established a large number of 4D cinemas. Moving seats, wind, rain, fog, lights, scents, and other special effects will transport you into the film! And, as we all know, movie dates are ideal for rainy days. So gather your family, friends, or significant other and enjoy an exciting 4D movie experience. A great 4D movie theater to visit is CGV Yeouido in IFC mall.

Study Korean

Long, rainy days might be the perfect time to sit down and focus on your Korean skills. I certainly appreciate bad weather days when I’m stuck at home as I finally have time to sit down and study some Korean.

There are many different ways to study Korean at home; you may learn best with a self-study book, maybe you want to brush up on your Korean grammar, or perhaps you need an online tutor to give you an additional push.

Check out my guide on learning Korean here for the best books and study tools for every study type.

Korean Verbs Practice Sheet

Get this Verb Practice Sheet from Linda Goes East

Enjoy the Rainy Season in Korea!

As you can see, there’s a lot to do despite the constant rain in Korea during this time of the year. You can hit a Korean spa, check out one of the many museums or get creative and take a fun class. Whatever you choose to do, let me know how it went in the comments below!

Many people ask me what to do in Seoul when it rains. The answer is: whatever you want! Korea has everything for you to have a great time in any season!

Recommended Travel Guides for Korea

If you want to learn more about South Korea and have a handy travel guide in your pocket, check out these three options below:

DK Eyewitness Top 10 Seoul

This Top 10 Seoul guide is a great pocket guide that breaks down the best of Seoul into helpful lists of ten – from selected highlights to the best museums and galleries, and the most authentic restaurants, tearooms, bars, shops, and markets. I personally helped update the most recent version of this guide. Buy this book.

Lonely Planet Korea

You really can’t go wrong with a lonely planet guide in your hand luggage! I’m a huge fan of Lonely Planet and own this guide myself. What I love is the brand-new pull-out, passport-size ‘Just Landed’ card with wi-fi, ATM and transport info – all you need for a smooth journey from airport to hotel! Buy this book.

South Korea: The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide

Calling all my solo female travel ladies out there – this guide is amazing! Part of the #1 Travel Guidebook Series for Women (and couples), this take on South Korea will help you avoid the scams, creeps, and tourist traps and skip ahead to the cities and adventures that are worth your time (and money)! Buy this book.

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Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.

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