Planning a trip to South Korea? Wondering what to pack for Spring, Summer, Winter or Autumn? Whether you’re moving to Korea or planning a new travel adventure, check out this ultimate South Korea packing list to prepare for your trip.
Raimonda Kekyte is an experienced world traveller and the co-founder of HallyuTrail, a Korea travel agency that takes people to the less discovered places to experience Korean culture.
Here are her top tips for what to wear in Korea for all seasons.
What to Wear in Korea
South Korea has four distinct seasons, ranging from extreme humidity and floods in the summer, all the way to snow-covered streets in winter. It’s a place where you’ll need to bring it all including your swimsuit, waterproofs and heat pads depending on the season.
Photos Courtesy: Raimonda Kekyte
White Christmas in South Korea
If you are planning a trip to Korea in winter, get ready to embrace the cold like never before (unless you’re already used to extreme winters). The temperatures in winter can drop down to -6C or even -18C! It’s rather cold and dry in winter, with loads of snow in the northern regions, thus, perfect for a ski trip before running inside one of the themed cafes to get a warm drink.
Korea Packing List for Winter
- Warm sweaters
- Hats, scarfs, gloves
- Warm socks and winter (waterproof) shoes
- Warm (and we mean it) winter jacket
- Long trousers
Beautiful Winter Destinations not to miss: Nami Island, Vivaldi ski resort, Andong Hahoe Village
Cherry Blossom Season in South Korea
This is one of the busiest travel seasons to visit South Korea, thanks to its beautiful cherry blossom trees scattered around the country, making it a sight to behold. Spring in Korea is generally warmer. If you’re planning a visit in May (azalea season) or April (cherry blossom season), then you can expect the temperatures between 11-23C, with a huge temperature difference between day and night.
Spring Packing tips
Add these beautiful Spring destinations to your bucket list: Seoul Seokchon Lake, Gyeongju, Jinhae, Seoul Forest
Embracing the Summer heat
If you’re looking for a summer getaway, then this is the jackpot! Hot days, warm nights, and numerous live performances in the outdoor venues. However, this comes with a price, as the summers in Korea are extremely hot and humid. Temperatures range from 23C to 37C!
If possible, try to avoid the monsoon season, which often starts at the end of June and lasts for 2-3 weeks. Keep in mind that once the monsoon season ends, both the temperatures and the humidity rise dramatically!
What to wear in Korea in Summer
- Shorts, summer dresses, skirts
- Short sleep tops
- A light sweater (for late nights and exceptionally cold subways)
- Sun hat and sunglasses
Beautiful Summer spots not to miss: Pocheon art valley, Water gun festival, Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, Jeju island, Danyang skywalk
Autumn Colours of South Korea
If you want to see autumn foliage in South Korea, you’re in luck. Temperatures can range anywhere between 23C down to 10C or less at night, with temperatures rapidly dropping from the end of October. Autumn is perfect for those wanting to get around with fewer crowds. It’s also a good time to check out the easy hikes with rewarding views (less humidity compared to the summer).
Korea Packing list for Autumn
- Warm sweater
- Boots and warm socks
- Scarf (hat and gloves too if going towards the end of October)
- Long sleeve tops
- Warm jacket (for cool nights)
Must-see Autumn Destinations: Metasequoia-lined road in Damyang, Seoul City Wall Trail, Namsan Park, Seoul Lantern Festival, Anyang Art Park
What not to wear in South Korea
Although the country’s annual tourism numbers are increasing rapidly, the country still holds conservative views when it comes to fashion.
For women, try to avoid wearing clothes that are low cut, or that show off your shoulders. Interestingly enough, shorts, skirts, and dresses are fine (they are often even shorter than those of European standard), thus don’t worry too much about the bottoms.
For men, even when it is hot and humid, keep your shirt on. Locals won’t appreciate it even if you have toned abs. Apart from that, the fashion in Korea is pretty relaxed. However, do remember that the country is rather a fashionable one, so try not to look too scruffy.
Where to Stay in South Korea
Signiel Seoul – If you’re after a luxury experience with amazing views, this is it.
- Guest Review: “Amazing breakfast buffet, spacious room, the best view of Seoul City.”
The Shilla Seoul – A top pick in Seoul, located in the Central Business District in Jung-gu.
- Guest Review: “A lovely romantic overnight stay in the lap of luxury.”
Although each season brings its own fashion into town, don’t get too worried if you forget something at home. South Korea is home to some of the most stunning high-street fashion, which anyone can afford. Whether you need a pretty summer dress, a cheap umbrella, or a heat pack to keep you warm, you’ll be able to find everyone you need in Hongdae, Gangnam or any other shopping district in South Korea.
Whether you’re planning to teach English abroad or visiting Korea for the first time, we hope you found this packing list helpful. Let us know in the comments!
We highly recommend bringing a heavy jacket if you’re visiting in winter because it gets quite cold. You may also want to bring lip balm and a power converter. Don’t forget about travel insurance and credit cards.
Check out more travel tips, packing guides and resources on the blog.
Hello all, I am Raimonda Kekyte, a co-founder of HallyuTrail, a Korea travel agency specializing in group and tailor-made itineraries across South Korea for Hallyu (Korean wave) fans and regular travellers. Having travelled across half of the world, we know just how challenging it can be planning a trip to a place you’ve never been to before (especially including all the visits to K-drama/K-pop filming locations if you are a fan of Hallyu). Thus, we provide up to date information on our website in regards to which places are worth discovering across South Korea, and various cultural & historical blog posts related to South Korea.
Find us on Instagram @hallyutrail.