May 1, 2024

May is honestly one of my favorite months to travel to South Korea.. It’s getting warmer, but not too hot yet. The crazy busy Cherry Blossom Season is over, but you can still see some beautiful spring flowers and the country starts celebrating some major cultural or music festivals.

How is May in South Korea?

May is honestly one of my favorite months to travel in Korea! You still can see a lot of spring blossom, but it is less crowded than cherry blossom season.. There are endless festivals and great events happening in May and the weather is just perfect to explore the country.

How’s the weather in May?

Typically, temperatures in May range from around  9°C (48°F) to 20°C (68°F). However, it’s worth noting that May too can still have some pretty cold nights, so I recommend to pack layers and be prepared for varying conditions. Seoul and other central areas tend to be a bit colder, while southern regions, such as Busan or Jeju Island, are already taking big steps to a warm summer like weather.

With an average of 8 rain days in April you don’t have to carry around an umbrella the whole time, but better to check the weather forecast (or see if Koreans carry an umbrella, as they are always prepared :D).

Another thing you should keep in mind is that with warmer temperatures and sunny days the fine dust pollution might also gets worse. I highly recommend checking the “AQI” daily and if you see a red number better plan some indoor activities or wear a mask!

Will there still be Spring Blossom in May?

Sad news: Cherry Blossom will be definitely over in May… But of course there are many more Flowers blooming in May.

Tulips and Azalea from end of April to early May, Roses and Canola in mid may and Sunflowers and Hydrangea end of May to June. There are some places in and outside of Seoul where you can witness Spring Blossom. So make the most of it!

What should I bring to Korea?

Now, onto the important stuff – what to pack. Even though it’s getting warmer, I would still recommend to bring multiple layers. Especially in the evenings and nights Korean weather still can be really chilly! I also always recommend to comfortable footwear, a portable battery and – if you need – a travel pharmacy from your home country as Korean medication hits quite different 😀

Are there public holidays in May?

Yes, there are multiple Public Holidays in May in 2024. Every year on May 5th Koreans celebrate Children’s Day (어린이날), but as it falls on a Sunday in 2024, it was postponed to May 6th. On May 15th Koreans celebrate Buddha’s Birthday – which usually falls on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month and is an event that starts about 2-3 weeks before the actual day.

On those holidays Koreans are meant to not work to have enough time to spend with their children or visit a temple to celebrate Buddha’s birthday. So they are so called “red days”, means it’s a public holiday and government facilities, banks and post offices will be closed. Still most private businesses and restaurants will be open normally.

General South Korea Travel Guide

In this South Korea Guide, I cover everything you need to know for an amazing South Korea trip (not related to a specific month) from Basic Information about the country, weather all around the year, Visa and Entry Requirements, best Korean SIM Cards, Transportation, Must Visit Spots and Recommended Activities in Korea.

What to do in Korea in May?

Festivals & Events in Seoul

May is one of my favorite times to travel to South Korea.. It’s warm but not too hot, it’s less crowded than cherry blossom season, AND Festival Season is back! Here some of the most popular festivals happening in Seoul every year around May.

Seoul Festa

2024: May 1 – May 6

Celebrate the city of Seoul at Gwanghwamun Square, Noeul Park, Seoul Plaza, Myeong-dong and other places. The best part is the Opening Ceremony with some amazing K-Pop Acts!

Find more infos >here.

Seoul Lantern Festival

2024: May 11 – May 12

Yeon Deung Hoe (燃燈會) – Korea’s Lotus Lantern Festival – is UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and the biggest buddhist celebration every year around Buddha’s birthday.

Find more infos >here.

Seoul International Garden Show

2024: May 16 – May 22 (October 8)

At Ttukseom Hangang Park you can witness attractive show gardens – created by domestic and foreign experts, citizens, and various organizations – from May to October under the theme ‘Seoul, Green Vibe’. And during the first days in May you can also enjoy various programs such as tours, activities, and performances.

Find more infos >here.

Seoul Outdoor Library

2024: May 17 – September 29

Read a book and relax with others at Seoul’s city Center:

Gwanghwamun SquareFriday – Sunday4-9pm
Seoul PlazaThursday – Sunday4-9pm
Cheonggyecheon StreamFriday – Saturday12-8pm

Find more infos >here. (Korean)

Han River Drone Show

2024: May 18

Witness over 1000 drones above the Han River during this mesmerizing Drone Show at Ttukseom Island in Seoul. This event unfortunately just happens during special times in Seoul. In Busan you can see it every week (depending on weather conditions)

Find more infos >here.

Seoul Friendship Festival

2024: May 24 – May 26

You cannot just witness amazing events happening in the city’s center, but also experience different performances, traditions, food and much more from many different countries!

Find more infos >here.

Han River Songwriting Contest

2024: May 25

At the popular picnic spot in Yeouido you can see young university students perform their self written songs on May 25th from 6-9:30pm.

Gyeongbokgung Night Viewing

2024: until June 2

Every year in spring and fall you can experience Seoul’s Main Palace in the dark for a short time. Tickets are usually sold out in advance, but you can get one of 300 tickets on site reserved for foreign tourists.

Find more infos >here.

Seoul Rose Festival

2024: May 18 – May 28

This Spring Blooming Festival takes place every May in the area of Jungnang-gu, where thousands of roses bloom to form a 5.15 kilometer-long rose tunnel.

Find more infos >here.

Seoul Jazz Festival

2024: 31 May – 2 June

One of Seoul’s biggest annual Festivals happening in the Olympic Park in the city’s east featuring around 60 diverse artists from home and abroad.

Find more infos >here.

University Festivals

During May

Every Spring Korea’s universities organize amazing spring festivals – some of them with huuuuge Kpop acts for free or very cheap. Keep in mind, that note that some universities may restrict entrance for non-students. 

TIP: Check out the IG pages of the university student councils by searching “university name + 총학생회”

Other Music Festivals

During May

If you are looking for some K-Pop or K-HipHop Festivals, you can check the following websites for schedules, tickets and packages (including transportation):

Festivals in other cities

I always recommend South Korea Travelers to leave the big cities at least once during their trip. There are many amazing organized group tours or destinations you can travel to by yourself!

Taean Tulip Festival

2024: Apr 12 – May 7

Recognized as one of the World’s Top 5 Tulip Festivals by the World Tulip Summit Society (WTSS), the Taean Tulip Festival is with 1.5 million tulips and other spring flowers by far the largest in South Korea.

ⓒPhoto Korea – Live Studio

Busan Lotus Lantern Festival

2024: April 26 – May 12

Endless lotus lanterns of different shapes and sizes are put on display, to celebrate Buddha’s birthday. The top places to see are: Busan Citizens Park, Samgwangsa Temple, Gwangalli Beach & Song Sang-hyeon Square.

Find more infos >here.

ⓒPhoto Korea – Jeon Hyeongjun

Haman Nakhwanori Festival

2024: May 14 – May 15

Catch one of the most captivating attractions of the season at this mesmerizing traditional fireworks display held annually.

Find more infos >here.

ⓒPhoto Korea – Bae Sujoung

Boseong Green Tea Festival

2024: May 3 – May 7

Prepare to be stunned by the endless stretches of green tea fields covering the entire hillside of Boseong Green Tea Plantation.

ⓒPhoto Korea – Park Asun

Damyang Bamboo Festival

2024: May 11 – May 15

Korea’s most famous Bamboo Forest – Juknokwon – celebrates their festival usually in May every year. You can celebrate what bamboo can bring to the table as well as interact with beautiful nature.

Find more infos >here (Korean)

ⓒPhoto Korea – Kim Jiho

Haeundae Sand Festival 2024

2024: May 24 – May 27 (until June 6)

At Busan’s most popular beach 12 sand artists from all over the world turn loose sand into unique sand sculptures under the theme of “Grand Museum of Sand Artifacts”. The sculptures will remain on display until June 6 for those who miss the festival period. 

Find more infos >here.

Garden of Morning Calm Spring Festa

2024: until May 26

Come and see the stunning rows of colorful spring flowers at the famous Garden of Morning Calm just one hour outside of Seoul. If you’re planning a nice spring day out to Gapyeong County, don’t forget to visit Nami Island, a Strawberry Farm, or other places close by.

ⓒPhoto Korea – Live Studio

Pohang International Fireworks Festival

2024: May 31 – June 2

Known as the “City of Light and Fire,” the coastal city of Pohang will host its annual Pohang International Fireworks Festival where the spectacular fireworks display over Yeongildae Beach will be showcased every night during the festival period.

ⓒPhoto Korea – Lee Jaedeok

Explore other cities

Embarking on a day trip from Seoul is a fantastic way to explore South Korea’s diverse landscapes and historical sites.

A visit to the Korean Folk Village and Suwon, just an hour away from Seoul, allows you to experience the Korean Folk Village and stroll along the UNESCO-listed Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon.

For a more solemn experience, consider a visit to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), which takes approximately two hours to reach.

Finally, you can have a day trip to Jeonju and its famous Hanok Village. The area around the city is known for its picturesque landscapes especially during winter.

See the city from above

Perched atop Namsan Mountain in the heart of the city you can find the N Seoul Tower – often simply called Namsan Tower. Not only does it provide breathtaking panoramic views of Seoul’s sprawling cityscape, but it also offers cultural performances every day at 3 PM and has some great photospots like the lock filled walls of the viewing platform. You can buy tickets for the N Seoul tower’s observatory >here.

Another great place for awesome city views is the Lotte Tower’s Seoul Sky Observatory, located in the Jamsil district. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits before ascending to the rooftop observatory or even book the Sky Bridge Tour to have a walk outside on 555m height. Tickets for the Observatory can be booked in advance >here.
I can also recommend you to have a walk around the Seokchon Lakes and walk to the Lotte World Castle, which you actually can see without going into the amusement park itself.

Have a Selfcare-Day

Combine relaxation and cultural immersion by visiting a Jjimjilbang (찜질방) – a traditional Korean bathhouse. Upon entering, you’re enveloped in a world of soothing saunas, hot baths, and special treatments. The gentle heat of the Korean saunas, ranging from intense to mild, helps release tension and detoxify the body. After a leisurely soak in therapeutic mineral baths, you can indulge in a Korean body scrub that leaves your skin feeling soft and revitalized. Alternatively you can get a massage or one of Korea’s famous skin treatments in one of the great facilities below. This self-care day in Korea allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in a wellness oasis steeped in Korean tradition.

Watch Performances

The “Nanta Cooking Show” and “Painter’s Show” are two captivating performances in Seoul. “Nanta” is a comedy combining cooking and drumming, while “Painters Show” blends live painting, multimedia art, and humor. Both shows offer unique, interactive experiences combined with some Korean cultural insights that entertain audiences of all ages and backgrounds, making them must-see attractions in Seoul.

Find tickets for the Painter’s Show >here.

Find tickets for Nanta Cooking Show >here.

Take a cooking class

Korean cooking classes provide a hands-on experience in preparing traditional Seollal dishes like colorful rice cakes, Korea’s National dish Kimchi, or a whole set of meals like Bulgogi (marinated grilled meat) or Korean stews. Guided by expert instructors, participants not only learn the secrets of these time-honored recipes but also gain insight into the significance of each dish in Korean Cuisine. It’s a delightful opportunity to connect with the essence of Korean traditions and share in the joy of creating and savoring these delectable treats with loved ones.

Book Rice Cake Class >here.

Book Kimchi Class >here.

Book Cooking Class >here.

Craft your own souvenirs

Instead of buying souvenirs I can highly recommend to try one of many special activities and experiences in South Korea. It’s not just great to make a very personal gift for yourself or your loved ones at home, but it’s also a perfect way to learn more about Korean Culture and connect with locals. You can usually book them in English,

Mother of Pearl

Make accessories with the Korean traditional Najeon Technique!

Perfume Making

Make your own Perfume step by step with English guidance!

Stone Stamp

Make your own traditional Korean stone stamp that was used to sign contracts!

Leather Goods

Make yourself a wallet, small glasses case or a leather hand bag!

Wooden Rings

Special rings made of wood for couples, solo travelers or friends!

Traditional Dyeing

Dye a scarf or tote bag with the traditional Jjokbit Color.

Find more in my FREE Experience Guide ↓

Traveling to South Korea in May means you should prepare for all different kinds of weather and events. From Spring Blossom or Music Festivals all over the country to other events and activities – there are many things to explore! Will you visit Korea in May? Let me know your tips in the comments!

May 1, 2024

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Since I moved to South Korea in 2021 I not just studied the language, but also travelled through the country. Now I share my recommendations, tips and favorite places here and on many other platforms.

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