Fall in Korea is my absolute favorite season! The humidity of Summer is gone and the cooler, favorable temperatures have arrived. It's the perfect time to enjoy the warm colors of the changing leaves and the cinnamony smell of latte's. Orange, red and yellow is all around, and the Koreans are also bringing out their hottest Fall fashions.
There are plenty of fun activities to do in Korea during the Fall months - September to November. If you are an adventurous spirit and enjoy being outdoors then this is the perfect season for you! Below I have a list of the top activities you should do while teaching in Korea to take advantage of the colorful Fall season .
1. See the Foliage
Korea has beautiful scenery during the Fall and the most impressive sights to see is while hiking the many mountains in Gangwon-do, or Jeollabuk-do provinces. However, if you prefer to stay local on a tight budget, then every city has its’ parks and riverbeds that will show spectacular views as the seasonal changes occur. Highly recommended trips to plan are to Sorak National Park, in Gangwon-do, Jirisan National Park in Jeollabuk-do, or Tongyong Islets in Gyeongsangbuk-do.
Seoraksan National Park is Korea’s most travelled to destination during the Fall. Sorak National Park is famous for its highest peak called Daechongbong in the Taebaek mountain range, followed by Hallasan crater in Jeju Island and Mt. Jiri in the South. The park encapsulates four cities and counties, including the popular summer destinations, Gangneung beach and the city of Sokcho. The park is also a world UNESCO sight and is home to plenty of fauna and flora. The Sorak mountains are unique to Korea’s terrain, boasting long-sharp diving cliff faces that are strenuous to climb. Gangwon-do province reaches cooler temperatures quicker than the rest of the peninsula which creates the perfect biosphere for the changing colors of the Autumn leaves. Tourists can enjoy beautiful blue skies and a perfect Fall landscape that will take your breath away!
If you want to enjoy Fall by staying local, try to discover the city around you, by strolling or biking. There are plenty of heritage sights, temples and parks around you and one could see some beautiful foliage and enjoy a picnic under blue skies, while squirrels scurry by. Local spots in Seoul are Seoul Forest, Garosugil, Bukhan Mountain and Olympic Park.
2. Eat Seasonal Food
Korea is famous for its seasonal dishes and Fall cuisine, which is very different from the West. Recommended food to try out are Blue Crab, Persimmon and Pine Mushrooms.
Crab in Korea is not eaten nor prepared the same way as in the West. It is served raw on a bed of sweet delicious sauces and Koreans eat the crab directly out of the shell by sucking the meat out. The male Blue crabs are usually eaten in the Autumn because of their plump meat and are either combined with a spicy crab soup or served on a raw shell with soy sauce and vegetables.
Persimmons are probably the most popular fruit during the Fall months in Korea. They can be purchased as regular fruit or prepared in various ways; including frozen, dried or a sweet tea. Koreans call the various dishes either Hongsi (Yellow-Orange/ Red-Orange fruit), Gotgam (peeled and dried under the sun) or Bansi (seedless persimmon). The fruit is high in vitamin C and B and is really good for your skin.
3. Sit on a Cafe Terrace
The weather is perfect to enjoy the many Café Terraces in your local area. Koreans love sitting outdoors during the Fall months, and it is the perfect time to relax and enjoy blue skies. Most people indulge in the season’s many favorite treats, such as green tea lattes, persimmon teas and Ttok cookies, on the various café terraces.
Korea is popular for its café trend, and you can find various cafes which suits your style of the day. You literally never have to go to the same place, and if you download Mangoplate you could make a day trip to cafes with amazing terrace views and unique menu options. Mangoplate can locate a café in any area and provide ratings, pictures and reviews.
Types of cafes in Korea could include animal cafes, where you could enjoy your day with dogs, or traditional tea-houses, where you can enjoy your day with a bokbunja in one hand and an ancient Chinese tea in the other, or the Hello Kitty café, with pink dots and sample Hello kitty cakes.
4. Enjoy Fall Fashion
Korea is Asia’s hotspot for trends and fashion, and the cultures’ obsession with fall fashion and fall colors is something you have to experience. You can experience everything from seasonal manicured nails, to underground coat shopping, to couples matching jackets and shoes.
Koreans start wearing Fall clothes as soon as September begins, even though it is still hot. This is how religious the people are about their seasonal fashion. They love their plaid shirts, army boots and jeans. Crazy stockings with all types of patterns are always in fashion, and if you want to go extreme with colors, no one in Korea will stare at you. Indulge in any fashion disaster or masterpiece you like!
Some Fall shopping you must try out is in Garosugil and the Apgujeong district. This is where all the hottest fashion giants are located and the recommended places to shop for the latest Korean trends and Asian fashion ideas. There are tons of cute boutiques for all sorts of people, and some of the barristers can help with Fall fashion advice and knowledge. You might even be lucky enough to spot a K-pop star!
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!