There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Seoul each year.
The main ones are listed below.
Koreans celebrate this three-day festival by getting together with their extended families under one roof to share a traditional meal and honour both elders and ancestors. Even though many of the locals may leave the city during this time, a number of events are organized in Seoul for visitors, at the major palaces as well as the National Folk Museum of Korea.May: Dano (national)
This traditional Korean celebration of spring features shamanic rituals dedicated to agriculture, dancing and games. A number of events are held in Seoul each year: mask dance dramas, market stalls selling traditional crafts and a variety of snacks, etc.May 7: Jongmyo Daeje (local)
Early in the morning, a solemn, costumed parade first makes its way from Gyeongbokgung through the centre of Seoul to the royal shrine at Jongmyo. Then a ritual ceremony lasting several hours is held at the shrine – the only opportunity for the public to enter the buildings each year – to honour the past kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty, with traditional music and court dances. This ceremony has been recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.September/October – Fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month: Harvest Festival (Chuseok – national)
During this three-day festival, one of the biggest events on the Korean calendar, families head to their native towns to celebrate the harvest, share good times and honour their ancestors with a memorial service. Dance performances and martial arts demonstrations are also held.Late September–mid October: Seoul International Dance Festival (local)
Founded nearly 20 years ago to promote exchanges between the Korean dance scene and the international community and with a strong emphasis on innovation, this festival brings the world's leading choreographers, dancers and dance companies to Seoul for a wide-ranging programme of performances and workshops at several major venues across the city.September/October: Seoul International Computer Music Festival (local)
Presented every year since 1994 by the Korean Electro-Acoustic Music Society, this four-day festival is one of the biggest events of its kind in Asia, inviting submissions from composers around the world. The festival has achieved international recognition not only by introducing new computer music to Seoul audiences but also due to its success at fostering exchanges among computer musicians and composers.October 3: National Foundation Day (Kaecheonjeol - national)
Every year on this day, Korean celebrate the mythical founding of the Ko Choson kingdom (the first Korean kingdom) in 2333 B.C. by Tan'gun, the grandson of Hwanin, the creator of all things. Ceremonies take place at shrines around Seoul. Parades, often with revellers wearing Tan'gun masks, martial arts demonstrations, traditional dance and music performances, and spectacular fireworks displays are among the celebrations.October: Seoul Eulalia Festival (local)
Named for a native ornamental grass (Miscanthus sinensis) that blooms every year at this time and symbolizes the overcoming of hardship for Koreans, this week-long festival is held in the Haneul Park area of World Cup Park, which was used as a landfill site from 1978 to 1993 before being returned to a natural state. The park stays open until 10 p.m., allowing visitors to walk through the colourfully lit fields of grass and enjoy the view of Seoul's beautiful nightscape. The festival also offers a variety of performances and fun family activities.Late October–early November: Gwanghwamun International Arts Festival (local)
Organized around a different theme every year, this festival held at the gallery in the Sejong Center brings together emerging graphic and multimedia artists from around the world to build intercultural understanding through the power of art.December 25: Christmas (national)
|Month||Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Average Rains (MM)||Best Time to Travel|
|January||-8/18||0/32||20/0.8||Not the best period to go|
|February||-5/23||3/37||28/1.1||Not the best period to go|
|March||0/32||9/48||49/1.9||Not the best period to go|
|April||6/43||17/63||105/4.1||Not the best period to go|
|May||12/54||23/73||88/3.5||Good period to go|
|June||17/63||26/79||151/5.9||Good period to go|
|July||21/70||28/82||383/15.1||Not the best period to go|
|August||22/72||30/86||265/10.4||Not the best period to go|
|September||16/61||25/77||160/6.3||Good period to go|
|October||9/48||19/66||48/1.9||Not the best period to go|
|November||2/36||11/52||43/1.7||Not the best period to go|
|December||-4/25||3/37||24/0.9||Not the best period to go|
The Seoul Incheon International Airport is located about 52 kilometres (32 miles) west of the city centre.
Public transport is by far the best way to get around Seoul. Seoul's urban rapid transit system, the world's longest by route length, and the city's buses together offer extensive coverage of the entire metropolitan area. In addition, both are easy to use, clean and relatively inexpensive.
Seoul's subway has nine lines and is the fastest and most convenient public transport option for getting around the city, serving all the major tourist attractions. Each line has its own designated colour and all signs are written in both English and Korean. On most of the lines, the recorded station announcements are also given in English. A single ticket costs KRW 1,350.
Note : Subways are very crowded during the morning and evening rush hours.
Like its subway system, Seoul's bus network is particularly well developed, with some 200 lines. A single ticket costs KRW 1,500.
If you decide to use taxis, you should note that the standard taxis (coloured white, silver or orange) are metered, with an initial charge of KRW 2,800, including the first 2 kilometres. The total fare is based on distance and time, there are surcharges for trips after midnight, and drivers can make stops along the way to pick up additional passengers heading in your direction (a practice known as "hapseung").Many visitors prefer to use deluxe "mobeom" taxis, which are coloured black with a yellow sign on top. They offer slightly more passenger space and a higher quality of service than standard taxis. The initial fare is KRW 3,200, including the first 3 kilometres.
Except on the large and popular streets, where it is recommended not to ride a bike, it is a perfect way to get around Seoul. You can rent a bike (KRW 3,000 per hour) in several parks along the Han River, especially in Yeouido and in the Seoul forest. Free rentals are also an option in certain metro stations.
Upon your arrival in Seoul, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.Korea Tourism Organization – Seoul office
Offers practical information and useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).
The official website of the Korea Tourism Organization provides a wealth of information on Seoul.
See your doctor before you travel. It is also recommended to take out insurance covering medical expenses and repatriation before your trip. Seoul counts several hospitals and medical institutions, as well as quality medical practitioners and health specialists.Vaccinations
There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to South Korea.
For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:
call the centre at +33 (0)1 43 17 22 00Food safety
There are no food safety risks in Seoul.Water
It is recommended to drink only sealed bottled water.
As a general rule, a visa is required to enter South Korea, with the exception of short stays by tourists.
For further information, visit the website of the South Korea’s Immigration Service: http://www.immigration.go.kr/immigration_eng/index.do
To enjoy peace of mind during your stay in Seoul, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country.
Here are a few basic Korean phrases that will make your stay in Seoul a little easier:
Neither tipping nor service charges are customary in South Korea, but some top-end hotels have begun adding service charges to their bills. If you would like to leave a little extra, the amount is entirely up to you.