Korea has very distinct seasons. There are cherry blossoms in the Spring, snowy icicles and the Siberian wind in Winter, and hot muggy Summers. Personally, Fall is possibly my favorite season in Korea. Coming from South Africa I don’t have much of an opportunity to experience the beautiful foliage and changing colors of leaves. In the Southern Hemisphere we don’t experience Fall as much as the Northern Hemisphere. Korea was my first experience of a ‘real’ Fall and I have taken every opportunity to get outside as much as possible. The weather is perfect with clear blue skies and sunny afternoons. Simple activities like walking or riding a bicycle outdoors can really be enjoyable. Some of the top things to do in Korea during the Fall season is hiking, exploring your city, outdoor cafes, or traveling the countryside and visiting historical-sights and cities.
Hiking in Korea is pretty much a national sport. Koreans take hiking very seriously. If you go hiking at any of the millions of trails throughout Korea, you will be battling up some hill while an old lady is briskly walking past you with her walking stick, bundled up from head to toe. The top places to go hiking would be in Gangwon-do province or Jeollanam-do province. Gangwon-do is famous for hiking and relatively close to Seoul. Soraksan is probably one of the most famous mountains in Korea. It is uniquely different to other trails in Korea and the hike up Ulsanbawi is strenuous and hard. It is a less leisurely hike and you should be prepared to break a serious sweat. The highest peak of Soraksan is Daecheongbong at 1,708 meters. For those who prefer taking it easy there is a cable car that you can ride. The view of the fall foliage is absolutely breathtaking and is worth all the aching pains. Other mountains you should visit to experience scenic fall views would be Bukhansan, Taebaeksan and Songnisan. Jirisan mountain is also highly recommended, if you are willing to travel to Jeollanam-do province. During the fall, the spectacular valley of Piagol in Jirisan mountain is stunning.
Exploring the City:
If you take a walk anywhere in any Korean city there will be plenty of small forests and scenic fall views around you. On the weekends, the weather is chilly but sunny and there is nothing better than getting to know your city by walking around and seeing what you can find. In Seoul there are plenty of hidden nooks and crannies. You can walk around any corner and find a sunny spot in a beautiful city jungle as you happen to be grabbing that quick coffee. Great places to explore in Seoul would be Garosugil and the Apgujeong area. There is plenty of cute cafes, shops and restaurants. Also nearby there are metropolitan forests and parks. Another great area to visit during the fall is Samcheongdong road. Samcheongdong is an older area of Korea but has lots of traditional styled houses and is rich in Korean history. It is an artsy area that is close to Gyeongbokgung Palace and Samcheong Park. Also Bukchon Hanok Village is nearby and is worth walking around a traditional Korean village.
With the weather being sunny and a little chilly, there is nothing better than drinking a hot cup of coffee while basking in the sun on a cold autumn morning and enjoying the fall foliage. Great café streets in Seoul are Sinnonhyeon Station Café Street, Samcheongdong Café Street, and Buamdong Café Street. My personal favorite is Samcheongdong Café Street. This area is artsy and offers more of a hippie vibe, with some of the cutest cafes in Seoul. Also eating an outdoor lunch on an outdoor rooftop is wonderful this time of year. The top outdoor dining places that are highly recommended is The Garden Restaurant in Gangnam-gu and The Parkview in Jung-gu.
It is no surprise that Tijana Huysamen, a South African born Capetownian, avid traveler and travel journalist, fell in love with South Korea and its people. After Tijana arrived in South Korea in 2010, she had the opportunity to live in the heart of the Korean countryside. During her time spent in Chungnam province she learned to speak Korean, prepare Korean food and experience the humble nature of the countryside people. After a year break in New York, Tijana jumped at the opportunity to return to Korea again, and is currently working at the CDI Jamsil Branch, in Jamsil, Seoul. Read Tijana’s Aclipse blog to gain a unique perspective on Korea and her shared experiences and adventures both in a major city and in the countryside. Follow Tijana on Twitter @TeeAnni or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information on teaching in Korea!