South Korea in December: Weather, Events, and What Else to Expect on Your Trip

Witness South Korea as a winter wonderland
south korea winter

As winter sets in, South Korea transforms into a winter wonderland, offering a mix of festive cheer, snowy landscapes, and rich cultural experiences. 

December is an excellent time to visit this dynamic country, whether you’re looking to enjoy winter sports, celebrate traditional festivals, or explore bustling cities adorned with holiday lights. In this guide, we’ll explore what you can expect from a vacation in South Korea in December, including weather, events, activities, and culinary delights.

Chapter Trail

Weather: Winter Wonderland

south korea winter trees
Photo by kwon youn gyoung on Unsplash

December in South Korea brings cold temperatures, with average daytime highs ranging from -1°C to 8°C (30°F to 46°F) depending on the region. Snow is common in the northern and mountainous areas, while the southern regions, including Jeju Island, experience milder weather. 

Be prepared for chilly winds and occasional snowfall, especially if you plan to explore the outdoors. Dressing in layers, with warm clothing, hats, gloves, and scarves, is essential to stay comfortable.

Why You Should Visit South Korea in December

South Korea in December: Weather, Events, and What Else to Expect on Your Trip
Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

Winter Wonderland

South Korea’s winter landscapes are breathtaking, with snow-covered mountains and picturesque villages offering a perfect backdrop for winter activities.

Festive Atmosphere

The holiday season brings a festive atmosphere with beautiful decorations, lively markets, and cultural events that make the experience magical.

Cultural Immersion

Fewer tourists mean more opportunities to engage with local culture, visit historical sites, and participate in traditional festivals in a more intimate setting.

Culinary Delights

Winter is an excellent time to enjoy hearty Korean dishes that are both comforting and flavorful, providing warmth and sustenance during the cold months.

What to Do and Expect

South Korea in December: Weather, Events, and What Else to Expect on Your Trip
Photo by Bradley Dunn on Unsplash

Winter Sports

South Korea is a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. Visit popular ski resorts such as Alpensia, Yongpyong, and Vivaldi Park for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. These resorts offer well-maintained slopes, rental facilities, and cozy accommodations.

Festive Lights and Decorations

Experience the magic of the holiday season with dazzling light displays and decorations in cities like Seoul and Busan. Stroll through illuminated streets, visit Christmas markets, and enjoy festive performances and events.

Explore Historic Sites

Winter is a great time to visit South Korea’s cultural and historical landmarks with fewer tourists around. Explore Gyeongbokgung Palace, the traditional Bukchon Hanok Village, and the vibrant Insadong district in Seoul.

Hot Springs and Spas

Warm up and relax in South Korea’s many hot springs and jjimjilbangs (Korean saunas). Destinations like Asan and Seoraksan National Park offer rejuvenating hot springs with stunning winter views.

Events and Festivals

South Korea in December: Weather, Events, and What Else to Expect on Your Trip
Photo by Nurulloh A.A on Unsplash

Christmas and New Year Celebrations

South Korea embraces the holiday spirit with various Christmas events, including concerts, markets, and church services. New Year celebrations are marked by traditional ceremonies, fireworks, and bell-ringing events.

Pyeongchang Trout Festival

Held in Pyeongchang, this festival offers ice fishing, snow sledding, and other winter activities. Visitors can catch trout and have it prepared on-site for a fresh and delicious meal.

Seoul Lantern Festival

Although it typically starts in November, this festival often extends into December. The Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul is adorned with beautiful lantern displays, creating a mesmerizing winter spectacle.

South Korean Culinary Delights for December

korea samgyetang
Photo by Cyprien Delaporte on Unsplash

Winter in South Korea is the perfect time to enjoy hearty and warming Korean cuisine. Indulge in dishes such as:


Sweet pancakes filled with brown sugar, honey, nuts, and cinnamon, perfect for a winter snack.


Spicy rice cakes served in a hot, savory sauce, often enjoyed as street food.

Kimchi Jjigae

A spicy kimchi stew made with pork, tofu, and vegetables, served bubbling hot.


A nourishing ginseng chicken soup, ideal for keeping warm in the cold weather.


South Korea in December: Weather, Events, and What Else to Expect on Your Trip
Photo by DFY® 디에프와이 on Unsplash

A trip to South Korea in December offers a unique blend of winter sports, festive celebrations, cultural exploration, and culinary delights. 

Whether you’re skiing down snowy slopes, marveling at holiday lights, soaking in hot springs, or savoring delicious Korean cuisine, South Korea provides a memorable and enchanting winter experience. Plan your December getaway to this vibrant country and immerse yourself in its winter charm and holiday spirit.

Check out Baboo Travel’s free itinerary for your custom trip to South Korea:

Plan your next dream trip with one of our hand-picked, highly experienced, licensed, and insured Local In-destination Experts!

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