Making The Most Of Summer In Korea

People relaxing by the Han River in South Korea at sunset in the summer

Summer has always been one of my favorite seasons for obvious reasons–sunshine, warm nights, beach trips, endless ice cream, and more. Once I moved to Korea to teach English, I realized that navigating the summer season was going to be a little different from what I was used to back home. With the right planning, you can make the most of the summer and enjoy all the unique experiences Korea has to offer.


Public fountain show at Banpo bridge in the summer in Korea

Escape To Nature

Summer is a great time to enjoy all of the beautiful nature that Korea has to offer. My favorite summertime destination is Yangyang beach. Yangyang is perfect for water sports enthusiasts like me because they offer surfboard and kayak rentals. I took a surfing lesson there last summer and it was a blast! Yangyang also has a skatepark and some really fun beach clubs and bars, so it’s an ideal place to spend the weekend.


If you’re into hiking, then you should check out Seoraksan National Park. This is one of the most beautiful views in all of Korea and features stunning waterfalls and rock formations along the way. We caught the most amazing sunset there which made the hike a core memory of my time in Korea. Seoraksan is a couple hours drive from Seoul, so if you’re looking for something local I recommend you try one of these other hikes.


An English teacher hiking Seoraksan Mountain in the Summer in Korea

Events and Festivals

One of the biggest events of the summer is the Boryeong Mud Festival. This festival happens every July and is a great chance to see the Korean coast while enjoying DJ sets, mudslides, and a chance to make new friends. Another great summer event is Waterbomb. Waterbomb is aptly named because it’s a music festival where festival goers have water fights while dancing under the sun. The 2024 lineup is featuring amazing artists like Jay Park, Jessi, Taemin, and more.

English teachers attending the water bomb festival in the summer in Korea

Beating the Heat

If you want to enjoy all the summer events, you’ve got to find ways to stay cool. I grew up with the dry heat of the Canadian summer, so the humidity in Korea took me by surprise. Fortunately, I have found reliable ways to beat the heat. My top tip is to invest in a hand-held rechargeable fan. This will be your best friend during the summer months! My fan also doubles as a phone charging bank which is super convenient. Fans like this are usually sold in subway stations or stores like Daiso.


You should also be sure to carry a light-weight umbrella. Not only will this be useful during the rainy season, but Koreans also use umbrellas to block the sun’s rays. We all know it’s much cooler in the shade, so this trick has saved my life while walking to work. My last tip is to invest in a summer wardrobe with moisture-wicking fabrics. I bought myself some shirts and dresses at Lotte department store that were either linen or polyester and it has made a huge difference keeping cool in the summer.


People using umbrellas to block the sun in the summer in Korea

Once you’re set with the right clothes and accessories, you can beat the heat by indulging in traditional summer treats like bingsu. Bingsu is a shaved ice dessert that features a ton of delicious flavors. My favorite are mango and green tea. I also suggest you get a pass to the public pool closest to your neighborhood. My friends and I spend nearly every weekend at the pool so we can enjoy the outdoors and stay refreshed by hopping in and out of the water. If you’re not outdoorsy, I recommend you spend your summer enjoying all of the air-conditioned cafes in Korea. Cafe culture here is next level and they never skimp on AC!


Shaved ice dessert called Bingsu at a cafe in summer in Korea

Summer Memories

Whether you’re a seasoned expat or a new teacher, summer in Korea is truly special and I hope that you can make the most of every moment. There is no shortage of things to do, so slap on that sunscreen and get out there and enjoy!


An English teacher holding sparklers on the beach in the summer in Korea

Michelle Duquette is from Toronto, Canada and moved to South Korea in 2015. She has a Bachelors in English literature and a Masters in ESL Education. Michelle has taught at Creverse campuses in Gangneung, Songpa, and Mokdong and currently works as a CDI and April Trainer. Michelle never set out to be a teacher but fell in love with Korean culture and the excitement of being in the classroom. Michelle lives in Seoul with her partner and two cats, Cherry and Frost.