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Summer in Korea: A Guide to Enjoying Your Vacation

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Welcome to the land of breathtaking landscapes, mouthwatering cuisine, and vibrant festivals: Korea!

With its rich history, fascinating traditions, gorgeous natural beauty, and amazing weather, this East Asian gem is the ideal summer destination.

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the pristine beaches of South Korea or want to be enthralled by their summer celebrations, this list is all you need to enjoy your summer in Korea!

Top Summer Destinations in Korea

Bustling metropolises, serene coastal getaways, and everything in between — Korea has it all! There is something for everyone in this summer paradise, so let’s explore some top destinations you should consider visiting:

Boryeong

Also called “Daecheon,” this city along the coast of the Yellow Sea is connected to Seol through the Janghang Line railroad.

Known for its gorgeous beaches, it’s home to the Seongsan National Forest and has a few notable temples too. Hodo Island is a few kilometers off the coast and close to the city. Visit in July if you want to witness the Mud Festival!

Yangpyeong County

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush and want to add some excitement to your trip, Yangpyeong County is definitely worth a visit. It’s a paragliding paradise, so you can soar high while enjoying mesmerizing views of the water where the North and South Han Rivers meet.

It’s an hour-long subway ride to Yangpyeong County from Seoul but can also be reached by bus, making it easily accessible!

Busan

This coastal city in the south is famous for its stunning beaches, making it the perfect summer getaway.

If you’re looking to party, Busan has some of the most lively nightclubs and a vibrant nightlife. It also has a wide range of water activities be it paddleboarding, sailing on a yacht, or a relaxing cruise. You can also stroll around the city to experience its bustling energy!

Here’s a whole Busan itinerary for your visit.

3 days in busan itinerary

Gangwondo Province

This northeastern province is a delightful destination for nature lovers and cultural enthusiasts. The Seoraksan National Park allows you to immerse yourself in raw, untouched natural beauty while the Naksana temple offers a rich dose of history.

These two most popular getaways are unmissable if you’re looking for a serene summer experience.

Jeju Island

Korea’s southernmost island is a beachy haven with emerald beaches, volcanoes, Halla Mountain, and several natural wonders that will leave you speechless.

Whether you’re seeking a thrilling experience from off-road driving, parasailing, snorkeling, or horseback riding, or just want to lounge lazily by the beach, you can do it all on Jeju Island (check my Jeju summer roadtrip for more travel inspo)!

Check out all the fun activities you can do & book them before your trip right here on Klook.

Hadam Coastal Walk Jeju

Festivals and Events: Embracing the Vibrant Summer Celebrations

Every summer, Korea comes alive with a myriad of vibrant festivals that showcase its rich cultural heritage. Get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of summer festivals that combine color, flavor, culture, and cheer.

Boryeong Mud Festival

The Boryeong Mud Festival is an unmissable experience to let loose at Daecheon Beach. With a mud bath, mud swimming pool, mud prison, mud pits, mudslides, and a giant mud bath, there’s no end to the messy, muddy madness!

Hwacheon Tomato Festival

If mud festivals aren’t your kind of fun, the Hwacheon Tomato Festival might be more up your speed. The festival is all about homegrown, fresh tomatoes where you can experience all kinds of tomato-themed activities.

Crush, stomp, and even throw some tomatoes in the Korean version of the “La Tomatina” festival. First held in 2003, it becomes more popular with each passing year!

Busan Beach Festival

This encompasses several smaller festivals such as the Busan International Rock Festival, Korean Sea Literature Festival, Busan International Dane Festival, and more. It includes art, music, sports, and performances that will leave you mesmerized.

The beaches around the city will be bustling with energy and people so you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience!

Lotus and Sunflower Festivals

If you’re looking to appreciate the rich flora that Korea has to offer, the Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival and Taebaek Sunflower Festival are definitely worth a visit.

Taebaek has the largest sunflower field in all of Korea with bright yellow blooms spanning around 5 kilometers. You can also enjoy a petting zoo, concerts, campfires, exhibits from international artists, and nature documentaries.

Meanwhile, the Lotus Festival highlights the importance of preserving local wildflowers. It includes cultural ceremonies, a night parade, fireworks, lotus soap making, and more.

Geochang Mountain Berry Juice & Watermelon Festival

This is a festival for foodies that features hand fishing and eating contests as well as delightfully delicious food and alcohol stalls. Dig into some watermelon and mountain berry dishes and drinks, including the famous mountain berry juice to tantalize your taste buds.

Gangneung Danoje Festival

Designated an Intangible Cultural Asset by UNESCO, the Gangneung Danoje Festival is for all the cultural enthusiasts out there.

The festival involves traditional performances with masked dancers, delicious traditional cuisine, and fun traditional games.

Pohang International Fireworks Festival

The “city of light and fire” hosts a spectacular fireworks competition on Yeongildae Beach which features parades, fireworks, street performances, and more. Watch the sky light up with mesmerizing fireworks!

If you’re looking for a quieter activity, the Muju Firefly Festival is equally brilliant.

Best Korea Valley Streams To Cool off This Summer

Escape the summer heat with Korea’s valley streams — where crystal-clear waters and lush green landscapes create an idyllic setting.

Byeogundong Valley

When walking along the Suraksan & Bulamsan Course, this is a major point on the Kim Si-seup Mountain Path.

Suseongdong Valley

The valley is located in the lower region of Inwangsan Mountain. The stream is scenic with a pavilion surrounded by lush forest.

Gwanaksan Valley

You can take the hiking trail around Gwanaksan Mountain and enjoy a dip in the stream. Don’t forget to stop by the temple at the summit!

Baeksasil Valley

This Thai conservation area has a well-preserved forest and a clean, clear stream that is ideal for light swimming.

Samcheonsa Valley

Located in the Bukhansan National Park, this valley has a lovely stream stretching 2.1km. It’s lined by lush green forests with dense tree covers.

Gin-gorang Valley

Lying between the Achasan and Yongmasan Mountains, this boasts a hidden valley with a stream.

Musugol Valley

At an elevation of 208 meters, this valley has a lovely stream running through it and is definitely worth visiting to relax and take a refreshing dip.

Cooling Delights: Discovering Refreshing Korean Summer Foods and Drinks

From delicious foods and icy treats to refreshing beverages, Korea offers a tantalizing array of culinary delights that will not only satisfy your taste buds but also provide a much-needed respite from the sweltering summer days. 

Here are some mouthwatering dishes to try in summer:

  • Samgyetang – Koreans believe in fighting the heat with heat, making this soup a popular summer dish.
  • Makgusu – cold, buckwheat noodles topped with seaweed, radish or cucumber, egg, and red chili paste. Magusu is a specialty of the Gangwon province.
  • Patbingsu – a go-to summer dessert with condensed milk, mochi, and red bean paste topped with ice flakes (bingsu), this has several variations and can be personalized according to taste. Here’s a list of the best bingsu in Seoul.

As for drinks, beer is a popular choice, but here are some other options you can cool down with:

  • Subak hwachae (watermelon punch) – this can be made with bubbly soda or milk and sugar, depending on how rich you want it to be.
  • Misugaru – a nutritious drink made from powdered grains mixed with ice, honey, and water.
  • Sikhye (sweet rice punch) – served after dessert on special occasions, this has just the right amount of sweetness.
  •  Sujeonggwa (cinnamon ginger punch) – this is a sweet and spicy drink, similar to sikhye.

Korean cuisine is diverse and delicious so don’t be afraid to try some local dishes while visiting.

Insider Tips for a Memorable Summer Experience: Navigating Your Vacation With Ease

Here are some quick tips to make your vacation memorable and fun:

  • Different seasons are suited for different activities, but there is always something to do – just do your research!
  • You can travel independently or take a packaged tour. Whichever you decide, Korea is safe and tourist-friendly.
  • It’s possible to travel to Korea on a budget since it’s easy to find cheap accommodation and street food.
  • Staying in a Hanok is a wonderful way to experience traditional Korean culture.
  • Data is expensive but you will find wifi everywhere.
  • You don’t have to tip.
  • Google Maps isn’t very dependable.
  • Learn some basic Korean phrases.

Apart from these tips, just keep basic travel etiquette in mind and you should be good to go!

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Conclusion

From delicious cuisines and mesmerizing views to enthralling festivals, Korea has it all. I’ve covered some major foods, festivals, and destinations you absolutely should consider in this nifty guide. You can use this article as a reference for your Korean adventure!If you’re looking for more information on traveling east, you can also check out my blog.

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Linda

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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