Autumn Favorites in Korea to Fall For… Oh And Foliage, Too
From fall foliage to roadside eats that send cinnamon and nutty aromas into the air, there is so much to enjoy for the short time that autumn hits the Korean peninsula.
Make sure to take note of that “short” in the first sentence too, because boy is it short. While autumn does exist in Korea, it’s not the month or so long back-to-school autumn of Ohio, but rather a two week long hit or miss sort of season. It will be here and then with one rain, the leaves are down, the temps are down too and welp, there goes autumn. Enjoy it while you can!
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Enjoying the two weeks of autumn in Korea… let me count the ways:
Best Fall Foliage Sightings & Lights, Too!
This may be the BEST season to really enjoy the stunning Changdeokgung Palace Secret Garden (창덕궁 비원 or 후원). Once known as the Forbidden Garden, it is now open to the public and provides some stunning views with over 300 different types of trees and other flora and fauna on the grounds, there’s something to see at every turn and this is in addition to the exquisite palace that already adds bursts of color, too! There are only 100 tickets sold per tour hour to see the Secret Garden to preserve the grounds, so get their early to get your tickets to the stunning Changdeokgung Palace and grounds.
From Seoraksan to Namsan, Gwanaksan, Bugaksan and all of the other “-sans” (mountains) in between, this is definitely the season to put on those hiking shoes and go for a gander into the nearby mountain. Mountains sit in and around Seoul and are easily accessible. Mountain peaks provide amazing vantage points to the rest of the city and the colorful trees below.
Final Han River Hurrah
The Hangang is often overlooked as a fall foliage hot spot, but the views of the river with banks lined with brown reeds blowing in the wind, willow trees changing colors and more in the numerous parks that line the river is really breathtaking. Not only are the views spectacular, but it’s a great time to set up shop for that last picnic of the warmer months.
Parks & Recreation
If hiking up and down mountains is too strenuous, getting to the Han is just too far or getting downtown to the palace seems too crowded and daunting, head to the local park. Seoul is covered with parks. From the famous Sky Park with reeds blowing in the wind to the lesser famous Nanji Stream Park with bunnies hopping here and there and eating from hands, there are parks EVERYWHERE and they will all be stunning this autumn!
Cheonggyecheon Lanterns & Leaves
Each autumn, the Cheonggyecheon Stream downtown is lit up with exquisite lanterns that draw the eye every evening when the sun dims and the lanterns can be thoroughly enjoyed. Of course, the stream is also lined with plants and trees too so this is a two-for of sorts! Leaves changing colors and magnificent lanterns all in one place and in the heart of Seoul. What better autumn outing is there?
With the harvest comes some mighty fine eats and some awesome festivals that celebrate the crops we will just eat up.
Autumn wouldn’t autumn without apples to munch and crunch on! The Cheongsong Apple Festival will take place in November. Book a place to stay in the Slow City of Cheongsong, now! Visitors can crunch and much, pick their own apples from the orchards and see the smallest national park in Korea while in the area too!
In the markets, on the corners and from street vendors, persimmons are a major autumn crop. Known as “gam” in Korean, they stand for transformation in Buddhism and are an important fruit in Korean traditional rites and rituals… oh and they’re delicious too. From teas to crisps, ripe and fresh to dried and every other way imaginable, this is THE food to eat up this autumn in Korea. With vitamins A, B and C and minerals great for the skin and getting over a hangover, this a must eat.
This is probably my personal favorite of the autumn edible delights. Hoddeok’s cinnamon aromas waft down the street and beckon anyone looking for a warm gooey treat to stop and take a bite. Oh the delight! Click on the picture to learn how to make your own from Maangchi or just make sure you’ve got a few chuns (W1,000) in your pocket for when the roadside stalls have them cooking up. mmm mmm mmm
It’s time to get out and about and enjoy the autumn views. From foliage to flowers and edible treats too, there’s plenty of reason to really enjoy this season in Korea! There are also a ton of festivals to check out too. See what you can find to do.