Every season in Seoul offers something different for travelers but the month of May is considered one of the best times to travel to this incredible city. Spring is in full swing and it’s a wonderful time of the year to visit. Days are sunny and warm, the air is fresh and crisp, and the countryside is a rainbow of kaleidoscopic color.
The pretty pink cherry blossoms may be waning, but so are the heaving crowds that flock to see them. The annual summer vacations haven’t started yet, so May is a much quieter month as opposed to earlier in spring. You’ll find some fantastic accommodation deals and there’ll be plenty of space when it comes to booking tours.
What’s the weather like in Seoul in May?
Almost perfect! The days are sunny and warm, and the skies are bright and blue. Temperatures range between 10°C / 50°F in the early mornings to 23°C / 75°F during the day. The weather in May is ideal for touring palaces, exploring beautiful gardens and national parks, and market shopping – all the things Seoul is famous for. Evenings are cool, but perfect for enjoying Seoul’s vibrant nightlife!
Best things to do in Seoul in May
The spectacular weather in May calls for getting out into nature and enjoying the great outdoors! Whether it’s wandering the charming alleyways between traditional hanoks or exploring grand palaces; hiking and climbing in pristine national parks or enjoying one of the many festivals held this month, Seoul has a wealth of incredible attractions and things to do in May.
Explore Gyeongbokgung Palace
Seoul is a city of palaces with no less than five grand complexes open to the public to explore. Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest palace in the city and considered the most beautiful. Built in 1395 during the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbokgung Palace is also known as the Northern Palace and the "Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven." Striking features that shouldn’t be missed include the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, the Hyangwonjeong Pavilion and its surrounding pond, and the raised dais and stone markers of Geunjeongjeon.
Be sure to visit the National Palace Museum of Korea to take in some incredible Korean art, and the National Folk Museum next to the Hyangwonjeong Pavilion for a fascinating insight into the history of traditional life of the Korean people.
Why not get into the swing of things and rent a traditional hanbok costume during your visit to Gyeongbokgung Palace?
An important part of the county's cultural heritage, the Korean hanbok is worn on special occasions and holidays, and up until about a century ago, used to be worn by Koreans daily. Explore the palace in style in Korea's traditional costume – you can even have your hair styled in the typical Korean fashion.
Simply use your pass to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience when you visit the breathtaking Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Stroll around Bukchon Hanok Village
Another must-do in May in Seoul is to visit the beautiful Bukchon Hanok Village. Nestled between Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and the Jongmyo Shrine, this charming enclave is a traditional Korean village that embodies a miniature Joseon-era Seoul.
Built over 600 years ago, this enclave is home to narrow winding alleys lined with traditional hanok houses. Simply and harmoniously designed, these beautiful buildings offer a glimpse into the richness of Korean culture.
Plan your visit to this lovely neighborhood in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds.
Cruise on the Han River
See Seoul from a different perspective on a Han River Cruise. Use your pass to enjoy a one-hour river cruise in the afternoon or at sunset and experience the city from the water.
Hop on board at Yeouido Dock and cruise past famous sites like Dongjak and Seogang Bridges, the tiny untamed isle of Bamseom Island, and the majestic Banpo Rainbow Bridge. An evening cruise will include the sunset Moonlight Rainbow Fountain Show from the Banpo Rainbow Bridge – a spectacle not to be missed!
Unwind in Namsan Park
Home to the longest trail of cherry trees in Seoul, Namsan Park is a must in May to catch the last of the blossom season! Located on Mount Namsan just south of Myeongdong, the park is the largest of its kind in Seoul and one of the most popular places to enjoy the outdoors.
Picturesque pathways and walking trails wind their way around the park, offering stunning views over downtown Seoul. Don’t miss the Cherry Blossom path – a breathtaking tunnel of pink and white and one of the park’s most spectacular highlights!
There are also several interesting sites sprinkled around the park, including a section of an ancient wall built to protect the city during the Joseon Dynasty.
The glorious weather in May makes the park a perfect spot for a picnic. Find a shady spot on the lawn and bask in the sun while soaking up the amazing views of the city.
Head up the Namsan Seoul Tower
If you want to take in the most spectacular views of the city, then the Namsan Seoul Tower is the place to be. May is an ideal time to do this as the clear skies and sunny weather are perfect for seeing as far as the eye can see.
Located on the top of Nam Mountain, the 236-meter-high (774-foot) tower is an iconic landmark of the city. From the observation deck at the top of the tower, you can enjoy 360-degree panoramic vistas of Seoul and the landscapes beyond.
Use your pass to visit Namsan Seoul Tower and experience the beauty of Seoul by day or night. The tower is open late so you can watch Seoul transform into a shimmering city of lights as the sun goes down.
The best way to reach the Namsan Seoul Tower is to take a round-trip ride on the Namsan Cable Car Station from the boarding point near Myeong-dong station to Mount Namsan. The relaxing ride will give you a chance to see the city from a bird’s eye view.
Go hiking in Bukhansan National Park
Bordering Seoul in the north, Bukhansan National Park is one of the city’s natural gems. Nature lovers flock to the park to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind in beautiful and peaceful surroundings.
Gorges and granite peaks, forested valleys bisected by crystal clear streams - Bukhansan National Park is nothing less than spectacular. It is one of Korea's most popular hiking destinations with a network of hiking trails of different lengths and difficulty levels.
Whether you are looking for an easy stroll while soaking up the beautiful surroundings or a challenging trek to the top of one of the granite peaks, Bukhansan National Park won’t disappoint. May is a very popular time for hiking in the park, so be prepared to see many fellow hikers en route.
Bright, sunny skies, balmy temperatures, and cherry blossoms! May certainly lives up to its reputation as being the best month to visit Seoul. From exploring grand palaces and relaxing on river cruises to picnicking in parks and hiking in some of Korea’s most beautiful surroundings, a visit to Seoul in May is a must!