Are you considering visiting Korea during the rainy season but are worried about missing out on visiting some of the most important attractions in town?
While many might discourage you if you plan on visiting South Korea during summer, the good news is on the one hand the country doesn’t have such an intense rainy season, and on the other hand, there are still plenty of things to do and see when you are visiting in this period.
Seoul alone offers so many things to do and see that you won’t have time to worry about the rain.
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Rainy season in Korea – What to do in Seoul when it rains
What is the rainiest month in South Korea
If you are visiting South Korea anytime starting from the end of June until mid-August, you might have to worry about the rain.
July is the rainiest month in South Korea, with temperatures rising around 30°C. Even though that might not seem like a lot, due to the high humidity, temperatures will feel higher.
Monsoon season in the region can take you by surprise – thus come prepared. And if you are lucky, you might have days with no rain or wind.
What to pack for the rainy season in Korea
Even though you might choose to spend most of your time indoors, hiding from the heat and taking advantage of the air conditioning, here are a few things you should not forget to pack for summer in Seoul.
Dresses and t-shirts that cover your shoulders (if you are a woman) – you will notice Koreans don’t wear cleavage or strappy shirts. However, as a tourist, you can ignore this rule and get away with it.
A scarf – to cover yourself when you step inside shops and restaurants. I would always have a light sweater or a scarf with me because Koreans (and Hong Kong people) love their AC and the difference between the temperatures you get outside and those from the inside is quite significant.
Extra tip: on the subway, there are certain cars where you get less AC. The writing is in Korean, but you just have to look for the car with a text on the window.
Sunglasses and a hat
Sunscreen – even though you will buy plenty of k-beauty in Seoul
Sandals and some waterproof sneakers
Shorts, skirts, or thin fabric pants – you will find it too hot for jeans
Top things to do and see in Seoul when it rains
Learn how to cook delicious Korean dishes
The Korean culinary culture is varied, catering to many tastes. Are you into seafood or fish? There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different dishes you could try. Or perhaps you prefer noodles or dumplings? My mouth waters just thinking of the so-called Pyongyang cold noodles (naengmyeon). But if you are a meat lover, South Korea is a paradise since they have an entire culture built around the barbecue.
Read also: Dining in South Korea, what to know
If you don’t just want to taste the local cuisine, but want to learn how to cook some of the iconic dishes, you shouldn’t miss taking a Korean Cooking Class with Full-Course Meal & Local Market Tour in Seoul.
You’ll have lunch and dinner covered, get to interact with like-minded people, and also get to explore a market with a local.
Take some cool pictures at COEX Library & have tea at Bongeunsa Temple
While the COEX Library might be one of the most Instagrammable places in Seoul, the tea place at the Bongeunsa Temple set right next door is a hidden gem not many tourists know of.
At the COEX Library, you will only find books in Korean, you cannot buy anything, and it’s a place where people come to socialize. Snap a few pictures and make your way next door, to Bongeunsa Temple.
The tea place is hosted inside a traditional style Korean house, and along with your tea you can enjoy traditional rice sweets.
Even if it is raining outside, sit by the wide window, with a steamy tea in hand and admire the beautiful surroundings.
Visit one of the many museums in Seoul
Apart from visiting the palaces, history or art lovers can and should make time to see some of Seoul’s interesting museums.
If you want something traditional, don’t skip seeing
The National Museum of Korea – learn about history and culture, from the past to the present days, in one of the six galleries.
Address: 137 Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu; Admission is free, but you can book a VR tour ahead of time.
The National Folk Museum of Korea – located in the center of the city, only a few steps away from one of the main Palace, here is where you will step back in time and see how Koreans used to live. They have three permanent exhibitions, and various special exhibitions.
Address: in the same garden as the Gyeongbokgung Palace, admission is free.
Seoul Muesum of History – if you don’t feel like visiting DMZ or you don’t have the time to get there, but you still want to learn about South Korea’s history come to this museum. The entrance is free, and you will learn about the Joseon Era, the Korean Empire, Seoul under Japanese Control, the Republic of Korea, and more.
Address: 55, Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu; right next to the Gyeonghuigung Palace. Admission is free.
The War Memorial of Korea – only for history lovers, and in particular for those passionate about war. You will step through some of the most important Korean eras: the Three Kingdoms, Goreyo, Joseon, the Korean Empire, and the Japanese occupation.
Admission is free, and the museum is 5 minute walk from the Samgakji Station on lines #4 and #6 (Exit #12).
Seoul Museum of CraftArt – beautiful Korean embroidery and crafts set at the heart of the Bukchon Hanok Village.
Space*C Coreana Cosmetics Museum – learn everything about the traditional Korean cosmetics culture. K-beauty goes way back in time, and women have always used the power of nature to keep their beauty and youth for longer.
Museum Kimchikan – for kimchi lovers and not only, come here to learn about the different types of kimchi and how they are made. You can also take part in experiences, learn how to make kimchi and get to try it at the end.
Explore some of the best cafes in Seoul
Koreans love their coffee and even more so their cafes. You won’t find it hard to choose a pretty cafe where to hide from the rain, but if you are aiming for the more popular ones, make sure to go in early.
GREEM CAFE YEONNAM-DONG 239-2 is a popular place, but you should not skip Onion Cafe Anguk either – they are set inside a traditional hanok house, and they have some of the best coffee in Seoul.
Go for a facial
Seoul is home to one of the most developed cosmetics markets in the world. K-beauty has taken the world by storm and for good reason. With many affordable brands, but also luxury ones, you will surely find something for your skin needs.
Apart from shopping for cosmetics, you should not skip going for a facial at one of the most important SPAs hosted by luxury brands such as Sulwhasoo, OHui, or AHA.
Sulwhasoo focuses on the healing and anti-aging powers of ginseng. Their SPA is located in Gangnam and is one of the most luxurious in town. Book your SPA session online and save!
O HUI&WHOO SPA is easily accessible due to its location in Myeongdong, and they offer different treatments with some of LG’s premium cosmetic brands, OHUI, Whoo, and SU:M. Book your treatment online here!
Learn to make Makgeolli
Makgeolli is a sweet alcoholic drink made out of fermented rice. It has a milky aspect, and it has to be consumed while fresh (same as dairy products). Ingrid likes it a lot, but it is too sweet for Alex’s taste, diabetes aside.
Koreans drink makgeolli out of cups, not glasses.
On a rainy day, you can learn how to brew makgeolli from an expert. Apart from learning the secret of this popular Korean drink, you will have the chance to try a few different types.
Experience a hanok with Megheolli SPA
Rakkojae Hanok Hotel is set in the heart of the Bukchon Hanok Village and offers a unique package.
Set aside 3 hours for this ultimate relaxation experience, with traditional Korean ingredients good for the skin: Makgeolli (a traditional Korean drink made out of fermented rice), ginseng, and more.
You get a welcome tea and traditional sweets, a Jjimjilbang experience (45 minutes), and a Makgeolli spa experience (75 minutes).
You will want to book in advance because they only offer the experience to 2 people every day.
Have some fun at an indoor amusement park
Set in the middle of Seokchon Lake next to the famous Lotte World Tower, Lotte World is the most popular adventure park in South Korea.
No matter if you are traveling with kids or you simply want to feel like a child again, spending one day at the amusement park should be on your Seoul bucket list.
Choose a Fast Pass when you don’t want to wait in line at any of the rides, or get the combo ticket and visit the Aquarium with a discount as well.
Lotte Sky Tower
Climb all the way to the top of the tallest building in Seoul, and the 5th tallest building in the world.
Come after sunset and see the city turn to live. Seoul Sky is set on floors 117-123 of Lotte World Tower, and you get there by traveling on one of the fastest elevators.
Before going up, admire an art exhibition and learn about South Korea’s history.
Nanta Cooking Show in Myeongdong
One of the most popular and entertaining activities you could attend in Myeongdong, the Nanta Cooking Show should not be missed!
Get ready for a performance of acrobatics, comedy, and the percussion of kitchen utensils, and listen to some of the most popular songs performed on the stage of the Myeongdong theater.
As you might imagine, this is a popular activity, thus we would strongly encourage you to book your preferred seat ahead of time.
Go food tasting at a local market
If you like South Korea and its food, you most certainly have watched the popular Street Food Asia show on Netflix. And if you did, you should not miss a visit to the Kwangjang Market (or Gwangjang Market).
The place is centrally located, in the Jogno district, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to find.
However, you can also book a private food tour with a local that will take you not only to taste some local specialties at the Gwangjang Market, but also to the Chenggyecheon stream, Heunginjimun Gate, Seoul Fortress Wall, and Ihwa Mural Village.
Street food in Asia is one of the best, and local markets are covered thus you can hide from the rain.
Other popular markets in Seoul: Dongdaemun market, Tongin market, Noryangjin Fish Market that can be explored on a tour with a local.
Jimjilbang or Korean SPA
Even before we went to South Korea I had heard so many things about the Korean SPAs, and especially about their famous body scrub.
However, since there were plenty of restrictions in place when we moved to Seoul, we had to wait until we could enjoy a day at the SPA.
We are both great fans of wellness retreats and SPA facilities, and the jimjilbang didn’t disappoint! We absolutely loved every moment spent there.
If you can get there, try the Aquafield jimjilbang in Goyang or Hanam. If not, here are a few other popular jimjilbangs to try in Seoul: LK SPA near Myeongdong and Dongdaemun; Hwanggeum Sauna in Myeongdong; Dragon Hill Spa & Resort in Yongsan; and Aquafield in Goyaing or Hanam.
Test cosmetics at Amore Pacific Flagship Store
Cosmetics lovers will find this place incredible for spending a few hours testing skincare and makeup.
Once you enter the building, you step through all the stages of a skincare routine: the cleansing room; cosmetics lined up from toners to lotions, moisturizers, to sunscreen; finishing with the powder room where you can create your own shades of makeup and try the available ones.
In the end, you can choose from various samples to take home.
On top of that, the concept store hosts a tea place where you can taste one of the most popular Korean tea: Ossulloc.
Where: Amore Flagship Store (성수), 277-52 Seongsu-dong 2(i)-ga, Seongdong-gu.
Visit a cat cafe
Koreans love cats and animals in general. Mix that with their love for cafes and you will easily understand why you can find various types of animal cafes around Seoul.
If you love cats as much as I do, and if you want to hide from the heath and/or rain, spending a few hours in the company of friendly fluffy cats is always a good idea.
You will find them scattered around the city, but mainly in areas popular with tourists or young people, such as Myeongdong or Hongdae.
Cat cafes usually have pretty strict rules in place thus expect to be asked to take off your shoes and wash your hands. You can pet the cats, feed them with the food they provide at the cafe, and just spend time with them.
Go for an indoors photo session
While renting a hanbok and wondering the streets of the old city is a must-do in Seoul, you don’t have that option when it rains.
The good news is that you will have the option to go for a Korean-style photo session inside a studio. While this particular activity won’t have you dress-up in the traditional Korean clothing, you can also choose to rent Ehwa Korean School Uniform and take some photos around Hongdae.
Another great and popular option for when the rain stops is renting some retro Korean clothing and exploring the less touristic neighborhood of Ikseon. The area is packed with cool cafes that will offer the perfect setting for your pictures. See more about the experience here!
Go for a K-Pop Dance lesson
K-pop and dancing occupies a major role in the Korean culture and society, and you will see and hear that everywhere you go. Especially the streets of Hongdae are packed with performers on one hand, and people who come to watch them on the other hand.
If you are a K-Pop lover, you should not miss the chance to take part in a dance lesson in Seoul. Meet likeminded people and learn some popular moves with this fun activity.
Eat your heart out at one of the best restaurants in town
We are both foodies and we especially love Korean food, not only because of its incredible taste, but also because of the variety of dishes you get to taste with one meal.
While you cannot go wrong with street food, there are a few restaurants you should try.
Jaha Son Mandu in Buam-dong is popular for its dumplings, it offers a stunning city and mountain view, and delicious kimchi. Come prepared to wait in line, especially if you plan to gave lunch here.
Set a few steps away, you can also try Sosohan Poonggyeong (소소한풍경).
우진갈비 has one of the best Korean bbq we tried in Seoul and it is only 10 minutes away from Seoul Station.
Kukbingwan (통의동 국빈관) is another Korean bbq place minutes away from the National Palace Museum of Korea. It is set in a small traditional house, with an interior garden. Food is a bit pricey but it is well worth it.
Spend time at the Aquarium
The largest aquarium in South Korea is hosted inside a shopping mall! Hosting around 40.000 sea creatures, this is the place to be for kids and adults alike. Why not spend a few fun hours learning about the incredible life of underwater creatures?
You’ll get to see sharks, penguins, a “mermaid performance” and much more.
Write your name in Korean calligraphy
Are you learning Hangul, the Korean alphabet? Even if you are not, you might want to learn how to paint your name in Korean calligraphy. It is done with a brush, on an antique hanji – traditional Korean handmade paper made out of the pulp of mulberry.
Color Pool in Insadong
The Color Pool Museum is any Instagrammer’s dream with various colorful rooms where you can take countless pictures for your feed.
Some areas are interactive and fun, and you can spend at least one hour going from one room to the other and having a blast. The museum is set inside a shopping mall, right at the heart of Insadong.
K Medi Center
The Seoul Herb Medicine Museum is another cool place to check out while it is cold outside. You will learn about oriental medicine and beauty from exhibitions but also from educational experiences.
You can take a foot bath and enjoy a herbal food experience based on Korean traditional medicine.
Where: 145 Cheonho-daero, Dongdaemun-gu, Dongdaemun-gu Office, Seoul.
Other activities worth trying when it rains in Seoul
- Handmade ring making workshop in a location where numerous Korean TV shows have filmed
- Taekwondo – experience Korea’s national sport in its capital city
- Take part in a Korean Traditional Wedding Ceremony and make some memories that will last forever. Clothing and professional photoshoot is included.