The Best Spots for Fall Colors in South Korea

Every year fall turns Korea into one of the most beautiful countries as the leaves change color and its national parks are flooded with beauty.  I put this list together with the help of other bloggers throughout Korea and hope it helps you pick the best places to go for fall in Korea.  The truth is that the whole country will see autumn leaves and there are probably tons of places that are great for fall colors that are absent from this list.  If you know of a must see place for fall in Korea that is missing from this list please comment below so that I can add it!

Special thanks to Trazy for putting this map of Fall Foliage in Korea together so that you can pick the best times to visit each of these places. 


Seoraksan National Park 
by Mike Still from LiveTravelTeach
I
nstagram – @LiveTravelTeach

Seoraksan National Park is possibly the most famous spot for fall colors in all of Korea.  Every year millions of visitors flock through the gates and hike up the valley to enjoy the changing leaves.  Every shade of autumn is found for miles and miles as the trails stretch from waterfalls to rock outcroppings with massive mountains in between.

If you’re going especially for the fall colors then I recommend staying on the valley floor since the colors tend to die out the higher you climb.  Cheonbuldong Valley is perfect for a relaxing picnic as reds and yellows dance down into the river.  Crystal clear pools surround boulders with waterfalls in between.

seoraksan

Ulsanbawi is another great hike to see fall colors and although its a climb at the end you don’t go too high and still have gorgeous colors the whole way up.  The trails are likely to be packed with local Koreans but if you smile they might offer you some kimchi or rice wine!

ulsanbawi-in-fall

Biryong Waterfall is one of the easiest hikes in Seoraksan.  Its very flat and only an hour or so from the main gate!  The trees along this short river valley provide a glimpse at the rest of the park’s magnificent colors and are great for a family hike or as a relaxing stroll.

 

Places to Visit in Seoul during Autumn

Seoul – Hyewha 

Hyewha is one of my personal favorite neighborhoods for a plethora of reasons.  It’s college atmosphere brings live music performances and a diverse nightlife.  There are dozens of western restaurants that are more affordable than Itaewon and if you speak Korean you’ll find even more theaters with musicals and plays.  All of this combined with gorgeous yellow trees in the midst of fall make Hyehwa even more desirable.  Be sure to stop by Marronnier Park and if you’re lucky you’ll catch a free concert!

Trees line the main street so whichever subway exit you take you’re sure to see an urban autumn extravaganza.  If you’re up for a short hike check out Naksan Park and there’ll be an even greater mix of colorful foliage to play in.

hyewha

Seoul – Namsan by Ronda Christensen aka RonnieJeaners

Instagram – @RonnieJean23

For a mega city Seoul has a surprising number of green parks scattered throughout.  In the fall months these parks turn colorful for the nature lovers delight.  One of the most famous parks in Seoul has got to be Namsan with North Seoul Tower poking its head out the top!  There are dozens of trails leading up Namsan and even a cable car for those who don’t want to brave he stairs.  But be warned that if you take the cable car you’ll miss a rainbow of trees!

If you head to Namsan I highly recommend going just before dusk.  You’ll have plenty of light to see some wonderful trees and if you’re lucky can catch a gorgeous sunset from the top.  As the evening rolls on the lights of the city slowly turn on illuminating the scene for a unique, sparkling view!

namsan

Places to Visit in Korea during Autumn

Nami Island by Kate Carter Hickey from www.TorontoSeoulcialite.com
Instagram: @TorontoSeoulcialite

Just a couple of hours outside the city center of Seoul sits Nami Island.  This small, half-moon shaped island in Chuncheon, South Korea is a great place for friends, families, and couples to visit year-round.  It was even a magical day in the rain!  We took the subway to Gapyeong Station where we found a cab and headed over to the Zip Wire, which is right next to the ferry.  It was only about a KRW 4,000 taxi ride.  Just walk out of the station and take a left.  Head out to the main road and hang a right.  Go up to the top of the hill and turn left.  Follow until you see all the Dakgalbi (spicy chicken) restaurants.  Immigration to Nami Island is there as well as the Zip Wire Tower.  Walking back took approximately 20 minutes if you’ve got the time.

I love Nami Island because it’s a great spot for a romantic day date, but it’s not cheesy.  There are trees everywhere and the forest is impeccably maintained.  You can have great food and drinks purchased on site, or bring a picnic (probably not the best idea if you take the zip-wire, however).  There are tons of art installations, museums, and galleries on Nami Island.  Most of them (save the outdoor installations) are available for purchase if you’d like to bring home a souvenir!

If you’re a K-Drama buff you’ll know that this is the filming location for Winter Sonata.  Check out TorontoSeoulcialite.com for more information!

Photo from Zaksguesthouse

 

 

Bukhansan National Park by Mike Still

I love Bukhansan National Park in any season but especially in the fall!  The mountains are lined with deciduous trees and temples provide a gorgeous backdrop to the mountain foliage.  Reds, yellows and oranges mix together with the evergreens to create a painting you’re sure to remember in Bukhansan National Park.

Whether you’re on a short stroll to the temples or aiming to climb to the top of Baegundae or Dobongsan your whole day will be full of fall colors.  Bukhansan National Park has too many entrances to count and thankfully most of them are easily accessible by Subway.  My favorite trails start at Dobongsan Station on line 1 but line 3 has a number of stops that access the park too.

bukhansan

Songnisan National Park by Warren Kim from Seoul Hiking Group

Facebook – Seoul Hiking & Nature Group @SeoulHikingNature

Songnisan is nestled in a mountain area with the most beautiful valley and fall colors. When you start hiking at the Beopjusa temple hikers will be surprised by amazing tall pine trees mixed with the fall colors of maple and giant gingko trees in the temple.

By the temple, the hiking trail around the lake shows off fall colors and they they will surely convince you its the most beautiful place to go in fall! After the lake, along the river valley, there is a path named “Sori gil” means hikers can hear all the different sounds of valley while hiking around every corner. The path amazes hikers endlessly.

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Where to go in South Korea during Fall

Beomeosa Temple– Busan by Edward Rivera

Instagram – @aerialaspects

When I first arrived in Korea in 2012 a bit north of Nopo station outside of Busan. I was completely isolated but conveniently the public transportation is reliable and frequent. Beomeosa was fairly close to where I lived, I instantly fell for the place. I’ve been to many temples but Beomeosa is always going to be my favorite. I would frequent Beomeosa regularly and specifically at night for a reason. Around 8pm, the monks would gather and start their prayers while striking a gong. No one really comes to this temple so there are never large crowds so the atmosphere is as ambient as you’d hope. Beomeosa has superb scenery for an urban temple along with Mt, Geumjeongsan are known for the rock peaks behind the hermitage 2 rocks in the shape of a chicken and the legendary Golden Well at the top of the mountain. The temple is built on the slopes of Geumjeongsan which has many hiking paths. You can hike from Beomeosa to the Geumjeongsan South Gate mountain fortress which is located in the Ocheonjang area of Busan on the Orange metro line.

Daedunsan – by Lauren Westy West from Television of Nomads
Instagram – @televisionofnomads

Lauren recently posted Autumn in Korea Couples Travel Guide and gave permission to use this quote and fabulous drone shot from Daedunsan!

“The mountain of Daedunsan is defined by rocky ridges and steep peaks—natural canvasses which the paintbrush of autumn in Korea can transform with splatters of color.

Red, orange, and yellow saturate the trees of Daedunsan, as well as those trees in the park at the mountain’s base. But its impressive seasonal color isn’t the only reason to make your way up the mountain—part of Daedunsan’s fame is its cloud bridge.

The 50 meter-long cloud bridge (otherwise known as Geumgang Gureumdari) is suspended over 24 stories (80 meters) above the ground, and if that doesn’t flush your cheeks, the wind certainly will! You’ll want to keep your significant other close on the scenic bridge—at least in between photos. This cloud bridge provides a stunning backdrop for photographs, with incredible views of the surrounding colorful foliage against the mountain’s rocky edges”

daedunsan-cloud-bridge-autumn-in-korea

Busan – Geumjeongsan Mountain by Samantha from Expat and the City
Instagram – @expatandthecity

Busan is the second largest city in South Korea so when there’s ever an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle, I’ll take it! Beomeosa Temple is a popular spot to unwind and see some beautiful fall foliage for both expats and locals alike.The mix of reds, oranges and yellows is the perfect backdrop for capturing an insta-worthy photo! While you’re taking in the autumn sights, why not go for a hike! The hiking trails at Geumjeongsan are great and pretty easy to complete (takes about 45 minutes to an hour). At the top, you’ll be able to see more beauty of the great outdoors! This is what I love (and will miss) about Korea!img_20161115_084809

Boseong Green Tea Fields by Nicole Arnott from www.weegypsygirl.com
FaceBook –  @WeeGypsyGirl

Boseong green tea fields are one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Korea. Most people choose to visit in the Summer when the leaves are at their optimal deep green shade. However, with cool temperatures, stunning scenery and foliage for miles, Autumn is one of the best times to visit Boseong green tea fields. Make sure you try some of the famous green tea infused food while you’re there. The green tea ice cream is some of the tastiest that you will ever try.

Since Boseong Green Tea Fields is quite out the way for most people in Korea, make a weekend of it and visit the bamboo forest in Damyang while you’re in the area.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

Moaksan by Parul Singh From PHDLifestyles.wordpress.com
FaceBook – @PHDLifeStyles

South Korea becomes very beautiful during fall/autumn season. Many organizations provide tours in this time of year to see scenic beauty of South Korea. These tours often need one to two days or your entire weekend. Many of us can barely make to these trips. Especially science PhD students don’t have that much time to invest because of our crazy work schedules.

I live in a small city of South Korea named Jeonju. I also wish to see those colourful leaves and hiking can be a great source to see true beauty of season.  One of the nearby mountains is Moaksan. I like this mountain because it saves my time and still give me feeling of travelling. To find out more about Moaksan check out @PHDLifeStyle’s recent post here!

 

 

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Best Places For Fall Colors in South Korea

Best Places For Fall Colors in South Korea

Best Places for Fall Colors in South Korea

Best Places for Fall Colors in South Korea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mike Still
Mike is a travel enthusiast, photographer and teacher. He loves adventure travel, meeting the locals and exploring new culture. As an outdoor enthusiast you can often find him hiking mountains or exploring forests trying to capture the beauty of mother nature. In 2013 he founded www.LiveTravelTeach.com as he left his home in America and has been teaching or traveling around the world ever since!

57 thoughts on “The Best Spots for Fall Colors in South Korea

  1. Breathtaking! Believe it or not. We almost booked our tickets for South Korea this autumn and decided this may not be the best time . Now I see we were wrong. Lovely pictures, Mike.

    1. Thanks for your kind words! A big thank you to my collaborators on this post for a lot of the amazing photos. I hope you make it to SK next fall!

    1. Thanks for reading and a big shout-out to my collaborators for a lot of these photos. Winter is great too! I love hiking in all seasons and you can find crampons at the bottom of every mountain. If you don’t want to hike maybe you can make it to one of their winter festivals. They have giant ice sculptures, ice fishing and more!

  2. Wow, Korea looks amazing in fall time – how long does the season last and end? I’ve been to Seoul in January and would love to visit during the fall timeframe

    1. The fall lasts a little more than a month depending on the weather each year. A big storm at the wrong time can cut it short. The Korean tourism always publishes a guide for when colors will be starting to turn and then again at their peak. Usually the best time is late October.

  3. Wow, such a great guide. I’m a photographer or trying to be anyway, and these are the types of things I am always searching for. So useful to know exactly where to go especially if you are on a limited time frame. As an aside I guess I never thought of South Korea, or any place in Asia really to even have a fall color changing season, lol. Every place we stayed was warm! Thanks!

    1. Yeah most people think of warm South East Asian places but Korea, Japan and parts of China get all 4 seasons! The only thing standing between you and being a photographer is a mindset. You ARE a photographer πŸ™‚

  4. Oh wow! What an incredible list of places to see! I particularly enjoyed your comment about smiling at the locals on the hike to get some kimchi or rice wine! Love kimchi! The view of the Seoul Tower with all the colors is very pretty! We visited the Seoul Tower on a layover, but loved the city so much we need to go back! maybe we’ll visit in the fall! I’ve Pinned and Flipped this article πŸ™‚

  5. The autumn colours in Japan have been on my wish list for a while but I think I am going to have to make it a combined trip with some of South Korea too. While it makes a beautiful foil to the temples I especially love the idea of being able to see it in a more natural setting like in Cheonbuldong Valley.

    1. The national parks in Korea are a huge hidden gem! Luckily most of them are a bit further south than Japan so I think you can easily fit both in one trip!

  6. I just got back from Japan and saw similar scenery and loved it! I would love to explore South Korea during autumn. Beomeosa Temple looks absolutely breathtaking. I’d also love to go hiking in Seoraksan National Park and see the amazing views and waterfalls! Great post!

  7. We’ve been to South Korea a few times, but never in the autumn. We were really missing out on some spectacular beauty. If you had to recommend one of the places you mentioned for an autumn visit, what would it be? For example, do any of them also host a festival or event during the autumn too.

    1. there are festivals for just about everything here in Korea. Alot revolve around the harvest of a fruit or veggie. fall has a cool apple fest but really I’d just got to Seoraksan and hike through the valley

  8. Autumn is definitely my favourite season, the colours that it brings are just amazing! Seorakson national park looks so beautiful in the pictures, would definitely love to hike there during autumn sometime!

  9. I had no idea that South Korea was famous for its autumnal colours but now I’ve seen all these incredible destinations and colourful photos I can totally understand why visitors travel at this time of year. I especially like the photos of the yellow leaves all over the ground, is that Nami Island?

  10. Your photo of Ulsanbawi looks amazing!! I wouldn’t have thought of South Korea for fall colors, but it looks like they have plenty!! I want to come and visit now!

    1. Ulsanbawi is such a cool hike! its really accessible too at about 1.5 hrs from the main entrance. get ready for some stairs though haha

  11. I have always dreamed of seeing a fall. I am a native southern Californian and so our trees stay green year round. South Korea is a destination that I have yet to add to my bucketlist but after reading through your post I am dying to go and see those vibrant colors for myself.

    1. Korea is a largely unknown destination with so many amazing places to offer! Shout out to my collaborators for these awesome photos

  12. Wow! These pictures are stunning. I don’t think I could pick just one spot because they all look so gorgeous. I’m a fan of temples and waterfalls so that would help me narrow down where I’d want to go.

  13. How funny. I was at Seoraksan National Park today and at the waterfall in your photo we began talking to some locals and had some rice wine with them. Although it is a little after fall, the leaves on the ground were amazing colours, the sky was blue and the views were great!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Seoraksan is one of my favorite parks in Korea. isn’t it funny how the locals ALWAYS have rice wine?

  14. South Korea seems to be enveloped in a cocoon of enchantment in Autumn. The place seems so ethereal and out of the world that it must make for a sublime experience indeed. I am sure spending time here would be worth its weight in gold.

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