Summer has finally arrived to Korea! Beautiful green trees and plants, colourful flowers and glittering rivers cover the country. However, Korean summers are also extremely hot, humid and rainy. On that note, here are some must have items for summer in Korea!
If I have to describe the Korean summer in only one word, it would be: WET.
From June to August, the temperatures soar to 35ºC, while humidity ranges between 70-100%, making it feel even hotter. You’ll be surprised just how quickly you start to sweat once you go outdoors.
Summer time also means monsoon season. Monsoons are heavy showers that may include thunder and/or heavy wind. The temperature may cool down a little during these periods, but not by much. Furthermore, these storms can start at a blink of an eye, so best to have an umbrella with you!
Must Have Items for Summer
Don’t worry! Koreans always come prepared. Now that you’re here, you’ll find plenty of useful gadgets and tools to endure — and enjoy — summer in Korea. Here are some must-have items to add to your shopping list:
and After Sun! Mistakes do happen…
The average UV index of Korea shows that the summer months have the highest UV levels of the year: avg. 9-10 out of a maximum 11. Therefore, it is crucial that you apply sun cream with high SPF regularly to protect your skin. Remember not just your face, but your ears, hands, feet and anywhere exposed!
Sun cream can be found in any cosmetics stores, such as Olive Young, as well as convenience stores.
Hats and Umbrellas
As well as sun cream, wear a hat and use an umbrella to shield from the sun. Many crosswalks have parasols you can stand underneath while waiting to cross. Furthermore, a portable umbrella can offer both UV protection and rain protection, of course. I always carry a small folded umbrella in my pocket because it is very useful on both rainy and sunny days.
Alternatively, when the wind is strong, it might be worth packing a foldable raincoat in case your umbrella doesn’t survive.
You can buy hand fans in a variety of formats, but I definitely recommend portable electric. They’re easy to use, light and portable as well as amazing for cooling off. Moreover, portable fans have become somewhat of an accessory for Koreans in summer. Not only do they keep you cool, but they’re available in dozens of cute designs and colours.
Like sun cream and umbrellas, you can find fans easily at convenience stores and department stores. Daiso sell fans for just 5000 won!
You can even buy necklace-design fans to escape the burden of actually holding them. Who else wants one?
Scarf or Cardigan
But… why would I want a scarf or cardigan when it’s hot?
Remember when I said Koreans come prepared? Well sometimes, they’re almost too prepared. Every public indoor space is well-equipped with air conditioners. So you can keep cool inside buses, trains and subways. During the summer, public areas usually have ACs working on full blast. However, if you’re staying in these places for a long time, you might find you get too cold! Having a scarf, cardigan or light jacket in your bag will help you stay comfortable.
The monsoon season brings heavy rain, which can easily overflow drains and flood the street. Wearing light sandals is great for the heat but they can be soaked after just a few minutes of walking in the rain. I’ve been living in Korea for 2 years and I finally found the solution for this problem! I bought some waterproof shoes and they were definitely worth it. They look just like normal sneakers but I can waltz through a wet street with ease.
Mosquitoes thrive in such a warm, humid environment, and there’s nothing tastier than the sweaty skin of passers by. By all means, hang out in the gorgeous parks and forests that Korea has to offer, but come prepared with insect repellent. These pesky bugs work sneakily and can leave you with dozens of itchy spots before you realise. Furthermore, though rare, it is possible to contract dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis from mosquitoes, so try to avoid being bitten.
Staying hydrated is of the utmost importance during the Korean summer. You can purchase bottles of water at convenience stores but its better for your wallet — and the environment — if you pack a reusable bottle instead. Moreover, many public places have water fountains for you to hydrate free of charge. Failing that, you can refill at a cafe or restaurant.
Did you know that most Asian people don’t use deodorant? It is almost unthinkable for some of us to go without deodorant. However, Asian people carry a gene that means they do not produce large amounts of sweat from their armpit glands, nor significant body odour. Nonetheless, deodorant is more readily available here than it used to be. You will be able to find in cosmetics stores and large supermarkets, but it may be a tad more expensive than what you’re used to back home.
Looking for more summer tips? Check out more summer articles at KoreabyMe.com!