The Ultimate Korea Packing List: An All Seasons Guide On What To Wear

What should I be packing for Korea? What to wear in winter in Korea? How much to bring to Korea? What is the perfect autumn wear in Korea? Where to buy Korea winter wear? Are you also struggling to decide what to bring on your Korea trip? Read on to find a Korea packing list break down season by season!

South Korea Packing List

Things To Pack For A Trip To Korea

Listed below are all the things to prepare for a trip to Korea, regardless of the season. Sign up for the Be Marie Korea newsletter and receive a free Korea packing checklist.

korea packing list checklist

1. Travel Essensials

  • Passport: Make sure your passport has at least six months validity and one empty page left.
  • Visa: Most nationalities can enter South Korea without having to get a tourist visa in advance, but it’s best to double check in advance. Check visa requirements here
  • Hotel reservations: upon arrival in Korea you’ll be asked to fill in your first night’s hotel address on the landing card at immigration. Make sure you have a booking for the first night and having a paper printout is useful to refer to. Best place to start looking for hotels is Booking.com.
  • Travel insurance is vital for Korea and indeed anywhere in the world. Korean health care is excellent but can get expensive. You also want to insure your luggage and flights in case there are damages or delays. More info here. 
  • Credit Cards and Debit Cards: Visa and MasterCard are accepted everywhere in Korea. Make sure to check with your bank if your card can be used abroad. Check how much money to bring to Korea for 7 days here.
  • Korea Rail Pass: If you’re intending to travel around the country by train having a rail pass is very useful and will save you some money. You need to order it online, at least 3 days before your first train ride. Check more info here.
  • Traveling In Seoul: When traveling around Seoul you need a T Money Transport card for using public transport.
  • Skincare Clinics: Combine your trip to Korea with visiting a skincare or medical clinic as Korea is the capital of technologically advanced medical sector. Find more info about skincare and medical procedures in Korea here.

Things to note: it can be quite difficult to withdraw money with a foreign card in Korea. Many banks don’t cater these foreign cards. Consider getting a Revolut Travel card which is specially designed to be used abroad. More info here.

2. Electronics

  • Wifi and SIM Card access: it is easy to rent a portable WiFi device upon arrival at the airport. Even though there is free WiFi in most shops and restaurants it is convenient to just have your own. Check more info on WiFi devices here.
  • Cell phone: if you are planning on making phone calls or texting make sure your phone is unlocked but beware using your phone abroad can cost a lot! Don’t forget the charger and charger cable.
  • Electric converters and power adapters: Korea uses the European style plug. Make sure to bring the right travel adapter to charge all your devices Korea uses 220v at 60 Hertz, and the outlet has two round holes. Check the Korea travel converter guide here.
  • Camera: Don’t forget your camera, SD cards, and batteries. Korea is very photo genetic, so if you’re planning on taking pictures with your phone only, consider one of these clip on lenses.
  • Power bank: If you will be using your phone a lot to take pictures or for using a navigation app your battery might die quickly. Make sure to bring a power bank for your phone, camera, tablet, etc. Power banks can only be carried in hand luggage on the airplane.

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3. Other Items To Bring

  • Maps: Google Maps is not that accurate in Korea, so make sure to download Kakao Maps, Naver Maps and the Seoul Subway app. Looking for a hardcopy map? The Periplus or Lonely Planet Maps are the best ones when it comes to Korea and Seoul.
  • Guidebook: Having a real guidebook can be useful when visiting Korea. My recommendation are Lonely Planet Korea or Insight Guides.
  • Padlock: if you’re planning on staying in a hostel make sure to bring a padlock which you can use to store your stuff away in the hostel lockers. Check out this padlock that will fit on any locker
  • Water Bottle: consider bringing a reusable water bottle. The tap water in Korea is safe to drink, so you can easily refill your bottle at any tap. More info here.
  • Medication: bring any special medication you require.

Important Note Regarding Bring Your Own Medicines Into Korea

Please note that Korean customs can be very strict regarding the importation of some relatively common drugs. They can also be strict regarding medical equipment like syringes. If you have any doubts, refer to the following links:

What To Wear In Winter In Korea

Winters in Korea can get pretty cold with temperatures going down to approximately -20°C in the mountain areas. When planning a winter break, a ski trip or some winter fun in Korea make sure to include layers in your Korea packing list. The winds can get pretty strong in Korea making the air feel even colder. You’ll have to get the right Korea winter wear.

Even though the winter period might not be the most popular time to visit Korea, it’s great if you are looking to experience real winter fun, like seeing snow in the Korean mountains, going skiing, going to one of the many winter festivals etc.

1. Weather In Korea In Winter

The winters in Korea are generally cold and dry. In the north part of the country you’ll get lots of snow, especially in the mountain and ski areas. The temperatures can drop lower than -20°C and this starts around end of December all through to the beginning of February. Winter also has a lot of sunny days with blue skies which makes it great for getting that perfect Instagram shot.

Korea doesn’t tend to grow a lot of local fruit or vegetables during this season, except for Mandarin Oranges from Jeju Island, which are a typical winter fruit. 

Great places to visit during winter are Busan during winterVivaldi Ski Resort, Jjimjilbangs, Christmas in Korea and the Hwacheon Ice Fishing Festival.

2. Basic Packing For Korea In Winter

  • Ski jacket or very warm jacket (Must Korea winter wear!)
  • Sweaters
  • Long sleeve t-shirts
  • Jeans or long thick trousers (even consider long johns)
  • Woolen or thick socks ( try to avoid cotton)
  • Waterproof shoes
  • Hat, gloves, scarf
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen & lip balm to protect your skin against the sun and cold temperatures.
  • Hot Packs: hot packs are the perfect way to keep your hands and feet warm in winter. You can buy them in any convenience store in Korea or buy them in bulk. Check out the perfect hot packs for hands and feet. Our recommendation goes out to HotHands Hot Packs. Check more info here.
what to wear for winter in korea

What To Wear In Spring In Korea

Spring is one of the most popular times a year to visit Korea as the cherry blossoms are just stunning. Spring in Seoul and the rest of Korea is a bit of a transition season. Start of spring still gets pretty cold but towards the end the temperatures start to rise and the weather is rather enjoyable. Make sure to pack layers but be prepared for hot weather too.

This is probably the most popular period to visit South Korea because of all the cherry blossom trees that are blooming towards the end of April (blooming season differs every year, so check this in advance).

1. Weather In Korea In Spring

The spring season starts out cold and wet but gradually the weather improves and warms up. By the end of March, beginning of April the cherry blossoms start to appear. Other beautiful flowers that are blooming during this season are the magnolia and various trees.

Strawberries and Korean yellow melons are very delicious during the spring season.

Unfortunately yellow dust from China and Mongolia also makes it way to South Korea during spring. Make sure to wear a face mask when visiting Korea during this period.

Great places to visit during spring are the Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival, Daegu and one of Seoul’s covered markets on a food tour. During spring in Seoul there are many flower festivals happening.

2. Basic Spring Wear In Korea

  • T-shirts
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Light jacket
  • Light sweater for the colder days
  • Long trousers or jeans
  • Sneakers or closed shoes
  • Face mask for the yellow dust season. Check K rated dust masks here.

Other things to note:

If you are prone to allergies and you are visiting Korea during the cherry blossom season make sure to add hay fever or allergy medication to this Korea packing list.

What To Wear In Summer In Korea

Summer in Korea, especially during July and August, can get pretty hot with temperatures going up to 40°C. Add to this the extreme humidity and the rain season. Make sure to pack light, protect yourself from the sun and don’t forget an umbrella.

This is not a season we would recommend traveling in as during the last years this is a very rainy period. Heavy rainfall, floods and typhoons are not rare towards the end of July and early August.

1. Weather In Korea In Summer

Summer in South Korea gets relatively hot and humid. The monsoon rains last around 2 weeks starting at the end of June till mid July. Especially in Seoul this means non stop rain. Try to avoid visiting Korea during this period. Summer temperatures can go up to 38°C so it’s important to protect yourself from the sun by wearing hats/sunscreen and keep yourself hydrated.

Watermelon, juicy peaches, samgyetang and cold noodles are typical things to eat during the extreme summers in Korea.

Top places to go during summer are a Hangang river cruise or summer festival like Boryeong Mud Festival.

2. What To Bring To Korea In Summer

  • Umbrella
  • Comfortable shoes or sandals
  • Insect repellent: mosquito repellent is a must bring during summer! Check out the most effective roll on repellents here.
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts, skirts, thin fabric pants
  • Electric Fan: these are very popular in Korea and can be bought literally everywhere.
  • Swimsuit: if you are planning on going to the beach or swimming pool
  • Sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Light sweater

Other things to note:

In most restaurants, shops, subways the air conditioning is blasting cold (18°C) wind into the room. This means that public spaces can be pretty cold compared to the temperatures outside. Make sure to add to your Korea packing list a light sweater to protect yourself against the aircon wind.

As the air in Korea is very humid you’ll be sweating constantly. Make sure to bring a small towel or handkerchief to wipe the sweat of your head and arms.

Koreans do not wear bathing suits or bikinis like westerners do. They wear long sleeved shirts and trousers to protect their body. Be aware of this as you will get stared at when walking around the pool or at the beach when in a bikini.

What To Wear During Autumn In Korea

The days will start to get colder, so you’ll need to pack some warmer clothes. If visiting during this time of year, you’ll be rewarded with smaller crowds and gold and red fall leaves. The best months to visit are September and October as the temperatures are enjoyable and mild.

Visiting Korea during this period is incredibly beautiful, especially when the leaves are starting to turn yellow or golden.

best autumn wear korea
1. Weather In Korea During Autumn

The weather is much cooler and dryer than during the summer months. It is still pleasantly warm and sunny during September and October, in November it starts to cool down a lot. Fall is when the leaves start to change colour, harvest begins and Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving, is celebrated. Another special autumn day is Kimjang, where the family gets together to prepare kimchi for the rest of the year.

The typical fruits during this season are sweet apples, Korean pears, huge purple grapes, roated chestnuts and Korean gingko nuts.

Best places to visit during autumn are Gyeongju, Seoul, Andong Hahoe Village and the beaches as the sea water is still warm from summer.

2. What To Wear In Korea During Autumn

  • T-shirts
  • Long sleeve tops
  • Light Jacket
  • Warm sweater
  • Scarf & hat
  • Jeans
  • Boots or sneakers
  • Warm socks

Other things to note:

Depending on which part of the season you visit, you may want to change some of the items on the Korea packing list above. If traveling in September or early October, you likely won’t need hats or scarves. However, this is a personal choice and as always pack for you and what you need! And if you’re not sure – it’s very easy to go shopping in Korea!

Packing Tips

For more in depth packing lists check out this awesome book by lonely planet. Check prices here

So there you have it – and all seasons Korea packing list! Preparing your trip can be complicated and stressful without having to deal with packing. Don’t forget, Korea and especially Seoul and Busan are the cities of shopping, so if you forget something you can definitely buy it upon arrival.

1. Main Korea Travel Bag

Picking the right luggage is essential, it needs to be versatile, lightweight and big enough to hold all your stuff. If the bag itself is too heavy or bulky it will be a hassle to carry around. Getting a bag with a warranty is a must as traveling with a broke suitcase can ruin your trip. Listed below are the best Korean luggage options. Note: there is luggage storage in Seoul station and other locations.

  • 2 Wheeled Rolling Luggage – The most common type of luggage and let’s face, have a great 2 wheeled suitcase makes everything so much easier. Especially to get a round the Seoul subway system, a suitcase like this will make everything easier.
  • 4 Wheels Suitcase – If you are opting for a bigger and heavier luggage then 4 wheels might be a better option. The wheels will evenly divide the weight and take the stress of your arms or wrists.
  • Day Backpack – Apart from your regular luggage you need a day backpack to take with you during day trips. This should be a light foldable bag which can hold the essentials.

Prepare Your Home

If you are going on a longer trip to Korea and maybe the rest of Asia, it is essential to get your house in order before your trip. Listed below is all the things to keep in mind when going on an extended trip.

  • Empty the fridge of all things that will expire
  • Unplug all electronic appliances
  • Arrange care for your pets and plants
  • Pre-pay bills and rent
  • Let school know you’re kids will be absent
  • Have the post office hold your mail or have someone emptying your letter box
  • Set up a work email autoresponder
  • Turn off air conditioner or heater
  • Turn off water boiler
  • Lock all the doors and windows
  • Leave your house keys to a trusted family member or friend
  • Don’t leave any valuable in plain sight

What Not To Wear In South Korea

Korea is an open minded and developed country so most of the things you wear would be acceptable. Just bear in mind one thing. Showing shoulders and chest is not acceptable. You will see girls with the shortest shorts you can imagine but always with covered shoulders.

At the beach Koreans don’t wear bikinis and swim shorts. They will be fully covered, especially their upper body. If you will be wearing bikinis, just be prepared for the many stares in your direction.

Note: this is rapidly changing and you will see more and more younger Koreans wearing short trousers, sleeveless tops and even bikinis at the beach, especially in Seoul or other major cities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I pack for South Korea?

This fully depends on which season you are traveling in and how many days you will be staying in South Korea. In winter, pack thick clothes, gloves, hats, etc as temperatures can drop to -10°C and below. Summer in Korea is hot and humid. Pack light clothes and bring sun cream!

What can you not bring into Korea?

It is highly illegal to bring drugs into South Korea, even specific medication can be illegal. If you need to take specific medication, check in advance if this is allowed to bring into South Korea.

LIKED THIS KOREA PACKING LIST POST WITH WHAT TO BRING WHEN TRAVELLING TO KOREA? WHY NOT PIN IT?

Are you coming to Korea soon? Have any questions about this Korea packing list? Any suggestions about things that are missing from the list? Let me know in the comment section below.

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46 Responses

  1. AILIN GARCIA says:

    This is an incredibly helpful article. My husband and I will be traveling to Korea in September for the first time. By reading this you have practically transported me there. Your guidance has helped me tremendously. I will now know what to expect and what to pack. Thank you!

    • Kaila says:

      I’ll be visiting Korea for the 1st time in Sept as well. Will you by chance be attending a Special event ?

      • Marie says:

        I’m hosting an event on the 7th of September to a water park. Send me an email if interested.

  2. Mawi says:

    I will be traveling to Korea from 10/11 till 15/11/19…what type of dress should I prepare?

    • Marie says:

      November is quite cold in Korea. Be prepared for low temperatures. Bring hat, scarf and thick jacket.

  3. Nea says:

    I will be traveling to Korea from August 23rd to December 22nd. Do you think that I should pack clothes for summer as well or just fall and winter? Love the article by the way! It is really helpful for me since this is my first time leaving my home country.

    • Marie says:

      Yes, towards the end of August it will still be super hot tshirt weather and by the end of December it will be cold and thick jacket weather. But you can always go shopping in Seoul or other cities as well if you end up needing more clothes.

  4. Katya M says:

    We are travelling to Korea early december (3-11). Wondering if wool jackets are good outerwear?

    • Marie says:

      getting a woolen sweater is a good idea, but i would still recommend bringing a proper outer winter jacket as it can get really cold.

      • D.D. says:

        I live in one of the coldest places in Canada and I am planning to travel to South Korea for a week in the middle of October where temperatures are more likely 12C to 7C, so wearing shorts is still fine with me; however, I’m just curious if the people there would mind the kind of clothing I wear or they’d never mind it at all?

      • Marie says:

        Shorts are totally fine. These days more and more Koreans are wearing things that don’t cover their shoulders or belly.

  5. Nur says:

    I will be traveling to Korea from 11th to 19th November. Should I bring warmer jacket or need winter coat?

    • Marie says:

      November can be quite cold already. Last year during that time I was wearing my winter coat. So I would recommend to bring one.

  6. Joanna says:

    We are travelling to korea on sept 11 – 16 what is the weather that time ? And what to wear on that day ? Is cold or hot that time ?

  7. Joanna says:

    We are travelling in korea around sept 11-16 this year ? Is it cold or hot ? What to wear on that time ? Can u give me a suggestion ? Of what we need to pack in our luggage ?

    • Marie says:

      The weather around that time should be fairly nice. During day time you’ll be able to wear a tshirt, but bring a light jumper for evening times.

      • joanna says:

        aa we change our flight on sept 4-11 so its not that cold in korea that time right ?

      • Marie says:

        no its really not cold. During the day time it can still be 30°C or more. So normally it is very nice weather.

  8. Scarlett says:

    I’m going to Korea in Oct 23-Nov 5th what clothes is recommended? I live in South Texas where it hardly gets cold. So I want to be prepared for the trip. Thank you!

    • Marie says:

      The average temperature end of October & early November lies around 12°C. This is not super cold, but a thick sweater or a winter jacket is needed. Especially if you are not used to the cold.

  9. Chinty says:

    Hi! We are traveling to Korea on Sept. 25-30, is it cold or not? I’m still thinking what we’re going to wear. Thanks a lot!

    • Marie says:

      The hottest day should be around 25°C and the coldest around 16°C. So i would really recommend to bring a thick sweater for the nights and some light sweaters for during the day.

  10. Jo Wong says:

    Going on 23 to 29 Sept 19, is it cold now and need to bring extra sweater. Kindly advise.

    • Marie says:

      No, you won’t need to bring a thick sweater. The weather is around 22°C now, so I would just recommend bringing a autumn sweater for the evenings.

  11. siti says:

    I’m travelling on the 9th nov – 17 nov..will be really cold there? should i bring thick jacket?

    • Marie says:

      Yes, by that time it can be quite cold, especially if you’re not used to the cold weather. Bring a jacket or a very thick sweater.

  12. NJJ says:

    what is a difference of thick sweater and autumn sweater? if i travelling on 15nov, which sweater i should bring?

    • Marie says:

      November 15, 2018 I was wearing long sleeved shirt, autumn sweater (not super thick) and a winter jacket (but not my duck padding jacket).

  13. L says:

    I will be in Korea on 16 November to 22 November and 2019 would I need to pack heavy winter clothing, merino jersey and Kathmandu jacket?

    • Marie says:

      yes, you would need to pack winter clothing. Especially if you are not used to the cold. Mid November it is around 6-12° degrees during the day, but night time it can drop to 2°C.

  14. zvs says:

    Plan to attend g-star conference nov. 7 to 19. Recommend attire for mature adults 60yrs. Thanks

  15. Tiny says:

    We’ll be visiting this coming oct 19-24 from the philippines. I wonder what clothes we should pack. Thanks

  16. Deepak VAVIYA says:

    I will be visiting Korea on 29 October 2019
    And my stay is in mokpo national University,
    Can you tell me which clothes will be fine to wear
    And what will be the weather.
    And I am pure veg so is their any veg restaurant near Mokpo national University.

    • Marie says:

      It’s still quite hot in Korea for the time of the year. Around 18°C. Currently I am wearing long sleeved tshirt during the day and at night i wear 2 extra sweaters.

  17. Karyn says:

    I will be visiting Korean in the last week of November. Please advise on type/kind of clothings will be suitable?

  18. Kate says:

    Hi, we are planning to go to Korea on Novermber 13 to 18.. can we still be able to see experience autumn during this time?

    • Marie says:

      sorry for the belayed reply. I know you are arriving today but yes you’ll still be able to see autumn leaves. If you are in Seoul you should go to Deoksugung palace or Namsan Mountain

  19. Elle says:

    Hi, our trip is on mid-Mar this year, what’s the average weather like for day & night? Do we still need winter clothes? Do you recommend bringing gloves/scarves? Thanks!

    • Marie says:

      March can still be a bit cold. Gloves and scarves will probably not be necessary but make sure to bring a thick jacket and some thick jumpers.

  20. Pilar says:

    This article was very useful, I will go to Korea for one year and now I have an idea of what type of clothes do I need to pack. Thank you very much!

  21. Kate says:

    Hi Marie,

    I’m native Korean and I found your article very helpful (though I didn’t need to read this through haha)

    I have few comments on your article in that “What Not To Wear In South Korea”.

    “Showing shoulders and chest is not acceptable” <<— This is mostly true except that younger people are less caring about those "old-fashioned" social rules. Also Koreans are not that strict with foreigners on their clothing, korean manners and etc. Most won't even expect travellers to know those. Of course, shorty shorts and off-shoulders are not suitable for formal occasions but young people won't mind your chest and shoulders showing, and even the olders would not care about foreigners wearing what you call "not acceptable". So as native Korean, I wouldn't quite agree on this particular section.

    Yes, there might be stares but it's not because your outfits are "unacceptable". It's more like koreans thinking 'woow, foreigners!'.

    Also you see a lot of girls covering up their body at the beach in summer because Koreans put ridiculously high standard on themselves for "being in good shape". In a country like Korea where most people are obssessed with style, beauty and being good shapes, most girls are simply too shy to show their bodies thinking "My body isn't good enough to show, coz I have fat here and there" and etc. Most people (I say most because there are older people who are still very conservative and strict) absolutely do not mind other people showing their body at the beach.

    So long comment short, Yes, there might be some stares on your clothing or bikinis but it's not because what you're wearing is unacceptable.

    I understand your experiences may have been otherwise or may be your Korean friend/s told you about 'what not to wear' but please note not all koreans think like above.

    Thanks 🙂

  22. Rosario Val says:

    Hi. I love wearing sleeveless and singlets. Would it be okay?

  23. Iris says:

    Hi, I am going Korea in Dec and I am thinking of taking a train to Busan after getting off the plane. May I know if the train is spacious enough for 3 large luggage?
    Appreciate your advice. Thank you.

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