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장마철: Making the Most of the Rainy Season in Korea

Thumbnail Does rainy and overcast weather make you as depressed as it makes me? The rainy weather doesn’t do any favors for my morale, and its effect grows stronger with each day it continues raining…

In South Korea, the rainy season is a several-week period during which the country experiences heavy rains and overall gloomy weather. In this article, you’ll learn all about the Korean rainy season, how to prepare for a trip to South Korea during this time, and some useful vocabulary.

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1. What is the Rainy Season?

Closeup of a Red Umbrella being Rained On In South Korea, the rainy season is called 장마철 (jangmacheol), and it’s a several-week period during which the country experiences bouts of 폭우 (pogu), or “heavy rain.” This is caused by a 장마전선 (jangmajeonseon), or “rain front,” that develops when the cooler air of the north mixes with the warmer southern air. The Korean rainy season is a result of this front moving northward from the island of Okinawa.

In Korea, monsoon season means lots of 습도 (seupddo), or “humidity,” and this is known to cause food spoilage and damage to personal belongings such as clothing. In addition, one must be careful of a possible 홍수 (hongsu), or “flood,” or 산사태 (sansatae), or “landslide,” as well as typhoons which are relatively common during this time period (though they’re not as serious as they tend to be in other Asian countries).

2. When is Rainy Season?

Rainy Season Is Generally in June and July Generally, the rainy season in Korea lasts from June to September, with late June and the month of July being the rainiest time.

3. Visiting South Korea During the Rainy Season

A Family Walking on a Road in the Heavy Rain For many, the rainy season in Korea is a time to stay indoors as much as possible, and a trip to South Korea may not be for everyone during this time. But if you do plan on visiting South Korea, the rainy season doesn’t need to spoil your fun!

How to Prepare

Do your research. Before you plan your trip, it’s good to research when the rainy season is expected to be that year!

Buy an umbrella. Trust us; you’ll wish you had one if a heavy rain catches you by surprise.

Pack clothing for any weather situation. The Korean rainy season can be a bit unpredictable, and there may be several days where it doesn’t rain. Bringing different kinds of clothing with you and dressing in layers is a great idea to keep you comfortable no matter the weather.

Things to Do

In South Korea, monsoon season is the perfect opportunity to explore a variety of indoor activities—of which the country has myriads! Depending on your interests, you may enjoy going to the Myeongdong NANTA Theater, the National Museum of Korea, or the Seoul Arts Center, all located in Seoul.

Depending on the 강수량 (gangsuryang), or “amount of rainfall,” other activities done during the rainy season include hiking, walks through gardens or parks, and spending some cash at outdoor markets.

Of course, if you do visit South Korea during the rainy season, it will be the perfect opportunity to taste and explore a variety of seasonal Korean foods. These often include cool, fresh ingredients, meant to keep you comfortable during the gloomy rainy season.

4. The Floods of 2014

A Deep Flood In 2014, South Korea experienced a series of floods that caused severe damage and an estimated ten deaths. These floods occurred in mid-August, near Honam and Yeongnam.

For several days, South Korea dealt with landslides, house flooding, and even fatal accidents. It’s important to always be watchful and cautious during the rainy season in Korea!

5. Must-Know Rainy Season Vocabulary

A Drawing of a Rain Front Ready to review some of the vocabulary words and phrases from this article? Here’s a quick list!

  • 비 (bi) — “rain” [n.]
  • 칠월 (chirwol) — “July” [n.]
  • 유월 (yuwol) — “June” [n.]
  • 여름 (yeoreum) — “summer” [n.]
  • 장마철 (jangmacheol) — “rainy season” [n.]
  • 폭우 (pogu) — “heavy rain” [n.]
  • 홍수 (hongsu) — “flood” [n.]
  • 습도 (seupddo) — “humidity” [n.]
  • 습한 (seupan) — “humid” [adj.]
  • 산사태 (sansatae) — “landslide” [n.]
  • 장마전선 (jangmajeonseon) — “rain front” [n.]
  • 장맛비 (jangmatbi) — “rain in the rainy season” [n.]
  • 호우 (hou) — “heavy rain” [n.]
  • 호우주의보 (houjuuibo) — “heavy rain watch” [n.]
  • 강수량 (gangsuryang) — “amount of rainfall” [n.]

If you want to hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, be sure to head over to our Korean Rainy Season vocabulary list.

Final Thoughts

The Korean rainy season may be gloomy, but it has some shining qualities, too! We hope you learned something new today, and that you have a better idea of what to expect during your rainy season visit.

Is there a rainy season in your country, too? How do you spend rainy days? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re interested in learning more about South Korean culture and the Korean language, has plenty of free resources for you, straight from our blog:

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