Autumn is definitely one of the coziest and most beautiful times of the year. The leaves turn into striking fiery colors, and the weather cools down enough for you to bring out your favorite jacket.
This season is also known to bring out our sentimental side, which makes it the perfect time to go out in nature, appreciate the beautiful fall foliage, and maybe even make the time to visit some cultural hubs. Lucky for you, Korea is well known for all that!
Here is our ultimate guide to Korea during autumn! Can’t wait to find out what the weather is like, where the best spots to see fall foliage are, and what other fun autumn activities you can do in Korea? Then read on!
When is autumn in Korea?
In Korea, autumn starts during September and lasts until around mid-November. There is a two-week peak season where the leaves are at their best and most vibrant, and this period usually falls in October.
By the end of November, the final leaves have fallen from each branch, signaling the end of autumn.
Should you visit South Korea in autumn?
Autumn is one of the best times to visit Korea! The weather is nice and cool but you’ll still get plenty of sunlight unlike in winter. There are a lot of different scenic spots you’ll have fun visiting, as well as different festivals and activities for you to try. Above all, during autumn, Korea transforms! The fiery red and orange foliage is perfect for photoshoots and sightseeing.
How’s the weather in Korea during autumn
Autumn provides the perfect weather. Mornings are sunny and windy while nighttime becomes cooler. In Korea, there’s definitely a stark difference between day and night temperatures during autumn so we advise you to bring appropriate clothes for that. Make sure to bring a warm yet lightweight jacket, long-sleeved shirts, cardigans, and thick socks!
As autumn takes place over three months, there are also temperature differences between September, October, and November. September and October are relatively warmer but it gets colder in November, so we recommend bringing a winter coat with you if you’re planning to visit during that month.
The 20 best things to do in Korea during autumn
1. Walk the Asan Ginkgo Tree Road
We’re starting things off with a popular spot that’s widely known as the “epitome of all fall scenery!” The Asan Ginkgo Tree Road is a long avenue lined with huge ginkgo trees. Ginkgo trees have bright golden leaves during autumn, which makes this road a breathtaking scene! It’s like the yellow brick road from The Wizard of Oz was brought to life.
Ginkgo trees are known for their majestic beauty. This species of tree dates back hundreds of million years ago–all the way back to the Jurassic Age! Feel their ancient and otherworldly beauty as you walk down this golden road.
The Asan Ginkgo Tree Road is located in Chungcheongnam. You can reach this area by taking the subway from Seoul Station to Baebang Station. From there, it’s best to take a short taxi ride directly to the Asan Ginkgo Tree Road. The entire trip will take about 2.5 hours, but we promise it’s worth it!
2. Go Sightseeing at Naejangsan National Park
Another popular scenic spot is the Naejangsan National Park in Jeolla Province. From Seoul, the easiest way to get to Jeolla is by the KTX Train. You can also opt for a short flight, but we recommend riding the KTX for the scenery!
While Naejangsan National Park is gorgeous all year round, it’s especially stunning during autumn. The bright crimson red foliage, 600-year-old nutmeg trees, incredible waterfalls, and beautiful temples all make this spot a popular destination with both tourists and locals.
Here at Naejangsan National Park, you can see true breathtaking natural beauty. We recommend visiting sometime between late October and the middle of November to see the colorful autumn foliage at its peak!
3. Find the Secret Garden at Changdeokgung Palace
Nope, Secret Garden isn’t just a hit K-Drama–it’s actually also the name of a real-life place! It’s nestled deep within the Changdeokgung Palace, one place that’s only accessible via a paid tour. But once you uncover the mysterious garden, all the efforts in finding it will be worth it.
Built all the way back in 1405, the Changdeokgung Palace was the second royal villa after the Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul. Located in the heart of Seoul, Changdeokgung Palace was a principal palace for many kings of the Joseon Dynasty. Indeed, you’ll definitely feel like royalty once you’ve stepped foot on Changdeokgung Palace! The incredible traditional architecture and well-manicured gardens are fit for kings.
You wouldn’t expect a secret garden to be in the middle of a bustling city like Seoul, but here it is. This tranquil little place is hidden inside the Changdeokgung Palace grounds, a spot that showcases the full beauty of autumn. We get why Joseon Era royals used to hang out at this place–it’s definitely one of the most relaxing spots in the city!
4. Pretend You’re a K-Drama Star at Odaesan National Park
For many K-Drama fans, their love affair with K-Dramas began with the global hit “Goblin.” Starring Gong Yoo, Lee Dong-Wook, and Kim Go-Eun, this top Hallyu hit has become immortalized all over the globe as one of the best K-Dramas ever!
That’s why we’re sure many wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit one of Goblin’s filming locations: Odaesan National Park! Located in Pyeongchang in Gangwon Province, you can easily reach Odaesan National Park by taking the subway or the KTX Train from Seoul.
It’s no wonder the creators behind Goblin were mesmerized by this place. With its beautiful thick forest of magnificent fir trees, the Odaesan National Park is a true beauty. There are also a lot of other spots you can visit here like the Woljeongsa Buddhist Temple.
What are you waiting for? Put on your long red scarf and head on over to Odaesan National Park!
5. Travel Back in Time at the Jeonju Hanok Village
Autumn brings out our sentimental side, and what better way to reminisce about the past than by visiting historical places? The Jeonju Hanok Village is a beautiful area filled with over 700 traditional Korean houses called hanok. Stepping into this place will feel like you’ve traveled back in time as you witness the traditional way of life in Korea back then.
To really maximize the sentimental vibes, we recommend renting a hanbok (traditional dress) while you go around the city! Here you can taste some local delicacies and even spend the night at one of the hanoks. Don’t worry about getting hit with that autumn chill, because all of these hanoks have a traditional heating system that will make sure you are nice and toasty!
If you are interested, check out our selection of the best hanok stays in Jeonju.
To reach Jeonju from Seoul, you can take an express bus from Seoul Gosok Bus Terminal to Jeonju Express Bus Terminal. From there, you can just take a short taxi ride directly to Jeonju Hanok Village!
Want more tips about this city? Discover what to do in Jeonju here.
6. Reach New Heights at Daedunsan Provincial Park
Korea is a mountainous region, with over 70% of its surface being made up of mountains! That’s why hiking is a popular sport and hobby no matter the time of the year. Autumn is especially great for hiking because the weather is nice and cool, and of course, the autumn views are phenomenal!
One popular hiking spot is definitely the Daedunsan Mountain in Jeolla Province. At 878 meters tall, it’s especially popular for its sharp rocky landscapes that become even more stunning during autumn.
If you’re not a fan of hiking, there’s also a cable car you can take to reach the peak instead! Up above, you’re treated to an amazing view of the fiery maple trees all over Daedunsan National Park.
7. Be a Trendsetter at Samcheongdong
From Anguk Station on the Seoul Subway Line, you can reach this hipster hub located right in the heart of the city. Samcheongdong is famous for being a trendy little spot filled with cool cafes, art galleries, and even vintage shops! This place is perfect for lovers of retro items who want to take home some unique pieces.
Samcheongdong is also just a good spot for those who want to grab some coffee, unwind, and watch the world pass by. This area is especially famous among young people and the cool trendsetters of Korea, so there’s bound to be something interesting going on whenever you visit. In autumn, Samcheongdong transforms into a sepia-toned dream, with bright red and orange foliage everywhere.
8. Unwind at Olympic Park
You don’t have to leave the city just to witness beautiful autumn views. In fact, one stunning park can be found right here in Seoul: the Olympic Park! This beloved park is the place to go to get some quick exercise, enjoy the views, or just spend some quality time with your loved ones. We especially recommend bringing a blanket and having a nice little picnic in the area!
This huge park has thousands and thousands of trees that turn into stunning hues of red, orange, and gold during autumn. There are also plenty of flower gardens that will immediately brighten your mood, including one filled with cute orange cosmos! Aside from that, Olympic Park houses one of the biggest pink muhly fields in Seoul. The stunning color will make you feel like you’ve been transported straight to a fairytale!
9. Go Cafe-Hopping
Autumn is the perfect season to have a nice warm drink and maybe even read a book or two while enjoying the beautiful natural scenery. And what better place to do all of that than at a cafe?
Here we’ve compiled a short list of beautiful cafes in Seoul that you can relax in. First up is the Boulanger Maison Bukak in the Seongbuk-dong area! This quaint little spot is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city life and instead offers a quiet and charming space for its patrons. The cute rustic decor definitely adds to the mood, but the best thing about this cafe is their wide range of menu options!
For those who don’t have much of a sweet tooth, don’t worry because Boulanger Maison Bukak has plenty of delicious savory options. Of course, the wide variety of breads and pastries is just to die for!
Up next is the Cheongsudang Gallery in the Sinsa-dong area. They offer a wide range of cool designer drinks, including non-coffee options like matcha drinks and teas. But perhaps the most striking part about Cheongsudang Gallery is their unique decor! The interior incorporates natural elements like sand and rocks that will make you forget you’re in the middle of the city. The cool and earthy decor is definitely Instagram-worthy!
Last, we recommend the Inwangsan Choso Chaekbang in the Jongno-gu area! You’d be hard-pressed to find a cafe more beautiful than this one. It’s a minimalist glass and steel cafe that also doubles as a bookstore, which makes it the perfect place for reading and relaxing. The cafe also offers absolutely stunning views of the Seoul cityscape as well as the majestic Bukhansan Mountain!
For more cafe recommendations, feel free to check out our list of the 10 best hanok cafes in Seoul!
10. Witness a Century-Old Ginkgo Tree
Ginkgo trees are beautiful ancient beings that can last for thousands of years! Yangpyeong is a village in Gyeonggi that holds the largest ginkgo tree in all of Asia. Towering over 60 meters high and with a whopping trunk circumference measuring 14 meters, this majestic tree looks like it came straight out of a fantasy novel!
Planted over 1,100 years ago, this ginkgo tree has now become a beloved attraction and has even been designated as one of Korea’s prized Natural Monuments. In autumn, the leaves turn a bright canary yellow which makes the magical atmosphere even more pronounced.
Aside from the tree, you can also visit the lovely Yongmunsa Temple right here in Yangpyeong. The beautiful traditional architecture adds to the solemn and tranquil vibe of the area. Gyeonggi is just a few hours from Seoul and accessible via the Korail and the KTX trains.
11. Visit Yangju Nari Park
We’ve talked about many different parks so far, but Yangju Nari Park is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in all of South Korea! Located north of Seoul and accessible via the Seoul Subway, Yangju Nari Park is perfect for nature lovers and anyone who wants to have a relaxing time while looking at beautiful flowers.
With curated flower gardens of all sorts of colors, Yangju Nari Park is one of the best places to spend autumn in. While other places are famous for their fiery red, orange, and yellow autumn foliage, in Yangju Nari Park, there’s also a burst of pink! This is one of the best places to truly appreciate the changing of the season.
12. Find Peace at Peaceland
Peaceland definitely lives up to this name. This botanical garden is the perfect place to take it slow and spend some quality time with the ones you love. Located in Pocheon, Gyeonggi, Peaceland is a hidden gem that’s just waiting to be visited.
What makes this park stand out from others is the huge whimsical “giants” that are scattered all over the area! Hidden amongst trees or nestled between flowers are these giant artistic sculptures that add to the whimsy and mystique of the place.
Here at Peaceland, there are also plenty of forest playgrounds, trampolines, picnic places, and more! It’s the perfect hang-out spot to enjoy the autumn scenery and have a good relaxing time.
13. Brave the Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge
Calling all thrill-seekers! Looking for a spot that will make your heart race a bit? Then you should definitely head to the Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge in Gangwon Province! Located in the northern part of the country, you can conveniently reach Gangwon by riding the Seoul Subway or the KTX Train.
Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge is the longest and largest pedestrian bridge in the entire country! With a total length of 200 meters, it’s a great feat of architecture that’s a spectacular sight on its own. But aside from that, the Sogeumsan Suspension Bridge is suspended way above a stunning mountain valley.
For those who are afraid of heights, this bridge may be a little scary, but we promise that the stunning mountain views will be worth it! Especially during autumn, the entire landscape transforms into a vibrant scene of golden hues.
14. Eat Delicious Autumn Snacks
When you think of autumn, you probably think of pumpkin spice lattes, different kinds of pie, and a nice warm cup of apple cider. But Korea has its own autumn favorites, and they are definitely worth trying!
Autumn is the perfect time to try out some seasonal fruits. In Korea, some fruit varieties are much sweeter and juicier than Western ones, which is why fruit is already considered a dessert here. Persimmons and Korean pears are especially popular. If you’ve never tried a Korean pear before, we definitely recommend it! It’s totally different from Western varieties–and dare we say, much better!
Another popular autumn fruit is shine muscat grapes. This fruit is actually a cross between grapes and mangoes! The result is a fruit that looks like a green grape but is much bigger. These unique and trendy fruits are definitely a must-try!
If you’re not much of a fruit lover, don’t worry. Korea still has plenty of other autumn favorites you can choose from. One of the most popular ones is undeniably the jumbo prawns. These huge prawns are in season during autumn, and we must say that the fresher they are, the better! Plump and tasty, jumbo prawns are cooked in a variety of ways–including grilled on a salt bed, served in soups and stews, and more!
15. Watch the Andong Mask Dance Festival
We all travel to experience a new and different culture, and what better way to do so than to watch a cultural festival? Luckily, autumn is ripe with a variety of cultural festivals happening all over the country! One of the most popular ones is the Andong Mask Dance Festival which takes place in the North Gyeongsang province. You can reach this area via plane or by taking the KTX Train.
This festival features traditional Korean mask dance performances, rituals, and more. The captivating shows will definitely mesmerize you as the colorful masks of the dancers come into view. These performances are a must-see for anyone who wants to get a taste of traditional Korean culture.
16. Groove to the Jarasum International Jazz Festival
If you’re looking for something a little more modern, then may we interest you in the most popular jazz festival in the country? Autumn is the perfect time to listen to some smooth sultry vocals sung over rhythmic and complex tunes. Here at the Jarasum International Jazz Festival, both local and international jazz artists gather to celebrate their love for this unique genre.
Bring a blanket and lay it out on the grassy fields. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the incredible music from day to night. There are also several delicious food trucks and restaurants around so you can really spend the whole day just listening and grooving to some sultry jazz!
17. Rejuvenate at the Jinan Red Ginseng Festival
Koreans are very health-conscious, so it’s no surprise that there are many festivals and celebrations surrounding super healthy foods like ginseng! Did you know that some ginseng varieties are so prized, they can go for hundreds of thousands of won?
Ginseng has a lot of health benefits. It has tons of antioxidants that can reduce inflammation. It’s also great for boosting the immune system, increasing energy levels, regulating blood sugar, and more!
In Jeolla Province, you can find the Jinan Red Ginseng Festival! Taking place every autumn, this festival promotes quality ginseng products and a variety of different food and drinks made with this incredible root plant. While ginseng can get pretty expensive, here at Jinan Red Ginseng Festival, quality ginseng products are sold at cheaper prices! There are also lots of entertaining performances here at the festival.
18. Marvel at the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival
Among all the different autumn festivals and celebrations, the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival is definitely one of the most beautiful ones. Watch the night transform as locals and tourists light hundreds of “wish lanterns” that they send downstream. The beautiful sight is like something straight out of the movie “Tangled”!
Different kinds of traditional lanterns from all over the world are displayed here at this festival. Even better, you can even participate by making your own wish lanterns! It’s a beautiful festival that will warm your heart and make you appreciate the unique luminous beauty.
The Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival takes place in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province. There is a KTX Train route available that will take you directly from Seoul to Jinju.
19. Stargaze at Gureopdo Island
Gureopdo Island is an island off the coast of Incheon and is considered the “Galapagos of Korea.” With stunning natural landscapes, Gureopdo Island is a backpacker’s dream! It’s a popular camping site no matter the time of the year.
Gureopdo Island has the rustic charm of a natural landscape that hasn’t been tainted with excessive human use. It has a small population and retains its natural charms. What makes Gureopdo Island the most popular is the stunning nighttime views it offers!
At night, lay out on a blanket and gaze up at the beautiful Milky Way that you can see in the night sky. Even without any telescopes or equipment, you can see a clear view of the magnificent cosmos up above. The otherworldly view will make you feel like you’ve been transported straight into outer space.
20. Celebrate at the Hanhwa Seoul International Fireworks Festival
We’re ending this list with a bang–literally! The Hanhwa Seoul International Fireworks Festival is a big autumn celebration that happens right by the Han River. Enjoy spectacular fireworks shows while strolling along the riverbanks and enjoying the various stalls and performances set up in the area!
The Hanhwa Seoul International Fireworks Festival invites talented buskers and musicians to perform on the streets and provide free entertainment to patrons. There are also a lot of food stalls and food trucks in the area so you really have everything you need! Attending this special fireworks festival is definitely a great way to cap off your visit.
I hope you liked our article about the best things to do in Korea during autumn! Which popular spot are you most excited to visit?
Autumn is the season of coziness, sentimentality, and peace. It’s the perfect season to wander around and get lost in the beauty of nature. While autumn reminds us that everything is temporary, we’re sure the memories you make while traveling in Korea will definitely last for a lifetime.
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