Now that the summer in Korea is in full swing, and many of us are probably gearing towards our summer vacations, it’s a great time to get some insight on what kind of activities there are to do during summer in Korea. Although summer in Korea often gets associated with scorching humid heat and the monsoon season, there’s plenty of fun things that you can get down to doing, spread all across the country! Here’s my take on what I consider to be the most fun things to do in summer in Korea.
Bike Around Han River and Seoul Forest
Especially as we reach August and the worst of the humidity is past us, renting cheap bikes in Seoul to bike around Han River, and especially Seoul Forest, becomes a super fun and an affordable activity to do. How about biking to Banpo Bridge in the evening to see its Rainbow Fountain Bridge Show this summer in Korea? What about some picnic and feeding deer in Seoul Forest as pit stops on your biking tour around the park?
Check Out Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival
For all of July, you can visit Buyeo to view its gorgeous lotus flowers at the Seodong Park. Besides the flowers, if you happen to go while the festival is at its peak, there will be other events and activities as well, including making lotus flowers out of paper and soap from lotus flowers. If you want to make a full weekend trip to accompany the lotus festival, there are several Baekje cultural historic sites nearby, on top of which Boryeong and Gunsan aren’t too far off, either.
Chill at Haeundae Beach
Busan’s famous Haeundae Beach is worth the visit, even if just once! It gets insanely crowded during the peak season, though, so be prepared for that. If it gets to be too much, there are other, slightly quieter beaches, nearby in Busan as well. When it comes to summer in Korea, this is high on a lot of people’s bucket lists.
Cover Yourself in Mud at Boryeong Mud Festival
How does a round or two of rolling around in the mud with a bunch of people not wearing much more than swimwear sound to you? If it sounds like “hell yeah, I’ll do that!” then you better start booking your spot for a bus that takes you to this fun and exciting festival taking place in Boryeong in July!
Dance Your Shoes Off at Ultra
The popular and famous EDM music festival that hits Seoul every summer is one of the main summer events for many. And why not? You’ll be so pumped up on the music and the drinks you’ll forget how hot it is! Ultra is also a great excuse to put on some kickass and even racy outfits to show off on Instagram, almost like you were at Coachella. OK, maybe the dress code for Ultra is a bit more casual and less revealing than that, but it doesn’t at all mean you can’t be dressed to impress!
Dip Your Feet in the Sea at Daecheon Beach
At least as far as beaches on the Western side of Korea go, Daecheon is my absolute favorite. Though it gets busy as well, it’s not typically as overwhelmingly crowded as the likes of Sokcho or Haeundae. It’s especially quiet before lunch, although the high tide only comes in the afternoon. Daecheon Beach is close by to Boryeong, so you can include both of them in the same weekend! What a way to spend a summer in Korea that would be!
Drink By the Convenience Store
Time to make use of the little plastic tables located outside many convenience stores, and park your bum on one of the stools with a beer or two. Or soju. Or makgeolli. Hell, even a wine bottle might do the trick if that’s your thing! It won’t be the classiest of all nights, but it’ll be cheap, it’ll be chill, and it’ll most definitely be a new experience.
The hot weather typical to a summer in Korea is the perfect excuse to overindulge on this icy treat. Even if you don’t like the original, made with red beans, so many different options exist these days, from chocolate to tomato, that there’s bound to be one that rocks your socks!
Enjoy Cheongpyeong’s Lake Water Sports
There are several small water sports centers all across the Cheongpyeong Lake, located near Gapyeong, where you can do all sorts of activities, often paying for a package of your choosing. These can include different types of rafts being towed behind a speedboat, or a blob, or even floating obstacle courses!
Get Wet at Camptong Island
Speaking of which, if you want to make a full day out of all of that plus some slides, then Camptong Island, also located on the lake, is one of your best bets for a great day! You can read about it in more detail right here. Are you ready to have the best summer in Korea yet?
Go on a Pension Weekend Trip in Gangneung
Especially popular among Koreans, I totally recommend gathering together a group of friends and then booking a pension by one of the beaches in Gangneung for a weekend trip full of beach bumming, BBQ or seafood, and night time partying. It’ll be a weekend you’ll remember for years!
Have Chimaek by Han River
Another iconic activity among locals to spend their late afternoons and evenings during the summer season doing. Of course you’re not limited to just ordering chicken and grabbing beer from the convenience store, you can also get pizza and soju and chips. And while you’re at it, why not also cook yourself a pot of ramyun? In all seriousness, though, do make that riverside picnic happen at least once, whatever you happen to bring along with you.
Head Over to Jangho Beach for Snorkeling and Transparent Canoeing
This alongside with Camptong Island were my favorite day trips from last summer. I most definitely recommend everyone to do this one, as well, as especially the canoeing portion of the day was truly kickass. You can read my review and get some intel on which company to book with by checking out this post.
Indulge in Korean BBQ Outdoors
It might be my bias speaking, but one of the most exciting parts of summer to me, wherever in the world I am, is getting to sit outdoors with a good cup of coffee or a good meal. Seoul at least isn’t the greatest at offering such opportunities, but the meat restaurants are a happy exception. If you like to grill meat, like I do, you must try doing so at least once outdoors! There’s just something extraordinary in sitting outdoors eating on a warm summer night.
Order Food to Sokcho Beach
Sokcho Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the Eastern shore, and it’s incredibly easy to get to. A peculiarity I noticed when I visited there back in 2017, something I haven’t noticed on the other beaches, was the frequency with which people would order food on the beach! Might be a fun little experience for you to add to your list as well, eh?
Pretend It’s Winter at One Mount Snow Park
If, at any point, you happen to start missing winter, you can rest assured in knowing that in Ilsan, North of Seoul, there is an indoor park where you can hit the slopes, and experience other wintery activities, even at the hottest of the summer! I’ve personally never tried because my cowardly bum hasn’t been downhill anything since I was 12, and because winter is the one season in the year I do not like, but from the pictures I’ve seen it looks like a great time to be had whilst cooling down!
Ride the Slides at Caribbean Bay or Ocean World
Cooling off by getting wet is another great way to spend a hot summer day – as long as you remember to wear that sunscreen! Korea’s got some great water parks to enjoy a day at, namely speaking Caribbean Bay and Ocean World. If you’re based in Seoul, both are super easy for you to reach and explore in a day. For Caribbean Bay, there are buses going from all over Seoul, and for Ocean World you can book a tour with Trazy, for example. As I’m sitting here in the heat writing this entry, you best believe this is what I wish I was up to right now!
Shoot Water at the Water Gun Festivals
At least Seoul has a handful of water gun festivals and events in their summer schedules, but I do assume that some other cities and towns are following suit. It’s another great way to use up energy, stay cool, and have an awesome time – and, hey, if you have a friend who you’ve been upset with over something, bring them along, aim your water gun at them, and let go of those grudges as you watch them get soaked wet!
What would a hot summer be without at least once slurping down a big bowl of icy noodles? That should do the trick of cooling you for a moment, all the while being delicious and affordable! You can find naengmyeon in restaurants specializing in them, in a lot of local food restaurants, and also as a side dish in restaurants. My favorite way of eating is with the side of grilled meat it sometimes comes with.
Spend a Weekend on Muuido
Incheon’s coast is full of small islands that are great for a short retreat for couples, groups of friends, and solo travelers. One among them is Muuido. It’s rather big in comparison to many of the other islands, with a lovely beach and some beach restaurants as well. A fantastic peculiarity of the island is how far back the shore reaches during the morning low tide.
Splash Water at Jeongnamjin Jangheung Water Festival
Held on the last week of July, this is a water-themed one week lasting event and festival, taking place in Jangheung. There are no entrance fees, although some of the activities may cost extra. Some of the activities offered are water gun fights and pool parties.
Spot Rabbits Over Picnic at Montmarte Park
In the French village area of Seoul, nearby Gangnam, there is a park up a steep hill, which is perfect for picnic. On top of that, there are wild bunnies jumping all around! While I don’t at all recommend picking them up and carrying them around, for obvious reasons, just spotting them in the bushes can bring a little bit of extra adorableness into your summer day!
Stay Out All Night Doing a Club & Pub Crawl
If you’ve ever dreamed of doing a club crawl or a pub crawl, there really isn’t a much better season for it than summer and its warm nights! Not only will it be more comfortable to be outdoors queuing or making the move from one spot to the next, but you also don’t have enough layers on to shove the club lockers to the brim once inside.
Sunset Sail on Han River
I tried out this activity for the first time last summer, and it was one of the best days that season! I’ve made a whole post detailing where it’s possible to go sailing on Han River over sunset, and what happens during the sail.
Take a Weekend Trip to Busan
Besides the beaches, Busan has so much to offer, especially in the summer time. There are many cultural and nature activities to do, and the night life scene in the Haeundae area is also pretty bomb, though more chill than what you’d find in Seoul. But chill is how we like our summer holidays anyway!
Tour Jeju Island
Whether you decide to go around Jeju Island by bike, rent a car or a scooter, or hop on a tour bus, Jeju Island is a must to visit. It’s got Hallasan, it’s got excellent beaches, it’s got great food, and it’s got a bunch of different cultural and nature sights to check out. The cafes are great, too! And if you hit Jeju City, you can enjoy some of the local nightlife as well.
Try Paragliding at Danyang
Are you ready to turn up the notch towards the extreme on your summer holiday? If so, then paragliding is the activity for you to do! It’s exciting, it’s thrilling, and it’s a box checked off a whole lot of people’s bucket lists. And if you happen to miss out on doing it in the middle of the summer, it’s still possible pretty late into fall!
Wear Your Best Swimsuit to a Pool Party
These pool parties held a couple of times over the course of summer, mainly in July and August. It’s not invitation only, but you do have to cough up quite a bit of money for the entrance fee. And then probably quite a bit more money on the drinks. But, it’s also an incredibly fun way to stay cool and have some great time with your buddies!
Zipline Your Way to Nami Island
Frankly, I’m not the biggest fan of Nami Island, at least not in the summer time. It seems more fitting as a fall destination to me. And then I saw the zipline they have, going over the lake, and now my interest with Nami Island has piqued again! Honestly, it looks like a super fun way to try ziplining.