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Is Seoul very cold?


Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, is known for its rich culture, delicious food, and beautiful attractions. However, when it comes to weather, Seoul is known for its long and cold winters. In this article, we will explore the temperature and climate of Seoul in detail to determine if it is indeed very cold.

Geography and Climate

Located in the northern hemisphere, Seoul experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid while winters are long and cold. The city is surrounded by mountains which protect it from strong winds, but also trap in cold air during the winter months. The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is below freezing at -5°C (23°F).

Temperature Trends

Over the past few decades, Seoul has experienced a gradual increase in temperature due to global warming. However, the winter months remain cold and often bring heavy snowfall. The temperature can drop to as low as -15°C (5°F) during particularly cold winters.

Winter Activities

Despite the cold weather, there are many fun activities to enjoy during the winter months in Seoul. From ice skating to hot springs, there are plenty of ways to stay warm and have fun.

Dress Code

When visiting Seoul in the winter, it is important to dress appropriately for the weather. This means wearing layers, a warm coat, gloves, hat, and scarf. It is also important to wear waterproof shoes or boots due to the snow and ice on the ground.

Heating Systems

Homes and buildings in Seoul are equipped with heating systems to keep residents warm during the winter. Traditional Korean homes use ondol underfloor heating while modern buildings have central heating systems.

Winter Sports

Seoul has several ski resorts located just outside the city, making it a popular winter sports destination. Visitors can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and sledding.

Winter Foods

Seoul is known for its delicious food, and winter is no exception. Warm dishes such as hot pot, spicy stews, and grilled meat are popular during the winter months.

Winter Festivals

Seoul hosts several winter festivals each year that celebrate the season. The Seoul Lantern Festival and the Seoul Christmas Festival are two popular events that attract visitors from all over the world.


During the winter months, Seoul can experience heavy snowfall which can make transportation difficult. However, the city has an efficient public transportation system that includes buses, subways, and taxis.

Safety Tips

When visiting Seoul in the winter, it is important to take precautions to stay safe. This includes wearing appropriate clothing, avoiding icy sidewalks, and being aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from heating systems.


In conclusion, while Seoul may not be the coldest city in the world, it does experience long and cold winters with temperatures dropping below freezing. However, with appropriate clothing and preparation, visitors can still enjoy all that this amazing city has to offer during the winter months.

Does it get really cold in Seoul?

Seoul experiences very cold, dry and windy weather during the winter months with temperatures sometimes dropping to as low as -15°C. Despite the weather, tourists can still enjoy various recreational activities during their stay in the city.

Is South Korea very cold?

South Korea has a continental climate, with winters that are cold and dry and summers that are hot and humid. The spring and autumn seasons are brief, with mild and pleasant temperatures, making them the optimal times to visit South Korea.

Is Seoul colder than NYC?

Compared to New York, Seoul tends to have higher temperatures, with an average mean temperature of 13.89°C (57.0°F) compared to New York’s 13.27°C (55.89°F). The difference between the two cities is 0.62°C (33.12°F).

Is Seoul colder than Tokyo?

Even though Tokyo and Seoul share a similar latitude, Tokyo tends to be warmer during the winter. This is due to the fact that South Korea experiences a cooling effect because of its attachment to the Asian continent, whereas Japan, being an island, does not experience the same effect.

Does Seoul get a lot of snow?

Seoul experiences snowfall during the winter season, although it is not consistently predictable. Typically, there are several weeks of snow in January or February, which are the months with the highest snowfall in Korea.

Which part of Korea is the coldest?

Gyeonggi-do, located in South Korea, experiences cold temperatures with an average daily high of 17 degrees. The weather conditions in this region are similar to those found in Central Europe.

Indoor Activities

For those who prefer to stay indoors during the winter months, Seoul has plenty of options for entertainment. The city has a vibrant art scene with numerous art galleries and museums to explore. Visitors can also enjoy shopping in the many indoor malls and markets, or relax in one of the city’s many cafes.

New Year’s Celebrations

New Year’s Eve is a major celebration in Seoul, with many festivities taking place throughout the city. Fireworks displays, concerts, and parades are just a few of the events that visitors can enjoy. Many locals also participate in the tradition of visiting Buddhist temples to pray for good luck in the new year.

Christmas Traditions

While Christmas is not a national holiday in South Korea, it is still celebrated by many residents of Seoul. Visitors can see the city’s streets and buildings adorned with Christmas lights and decorations. Many restaurants and cafes also offer special Christmas menus during the holiday season.

Health Concerns

The dry winter air in Seoul can cause health problems such as dry skin, chapped lips, and respiratory issues. It is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and using moisturizers to keep skin hydrated. Visitors with respiratory issues should consider wearing a mask when outdoors to protect against air pollution.

Winter Landscapes

Despite the cold weather, winter in Seoul can be incredibly beautiful. Snow-covered mountains and parks provide stunning views for visitors to enjoy. The Namsan Tower is a popular destination for panoramic views of the city’s winter landscapes.

Cultural Experiences

Seoul’s rich culture is on full display during the winter months with traditional festivals and events taking place throughout the city. Visitors can participate in cultural experiences such as making traditional Korean rice cakes or trying on hanbok, traditional Korean clothing.


While Seoul may have long and cold winters, the city offers a wealth of experiences to make the season enjoyable for visitors. From winter sports to cultural festivals, there is something for everyone to enjoy. By taking proper precautions and dressing appropriately, visitors can fully experience all that Seoul has to offer during the winter months.

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