From December to February, it is time to bring out the thick winter coats. The winter average day top temperatures are about 1C with lows of about -10C. If there are any winds, you can bet that those Siberian winds will make it feel colder. In late January, it got down to day top temperatures of -12C in Seoul and a little colder in the north and east. Here is the list of items that will you help you in a Korean Winter.
At the beginning of winter, public transport and stores crank up the heating so you will feel the need to take off your coat. During winter however, the heating gets toned down alittle and the metro stations are quite cold so it is likely that you will still be wearing your coat then. It’s best to dress in layers so you can remove them as needed. Plus, if you’re going to kbbq, it’s going to get quite warm! Uniqlo stores are plentiful here stocking usual western sizes so if you ever need a top up or more layers, it is easy to get. I am wearing double bottom layers most days in the winter.
Something that surprises me here is the lack of headwear and even scarves that people don’t wear! I’m still shocked to see locals walking around with just jackets on and no beanies/hats, gloves or scarfs (except the elderly, they are all rugged up and me) whilst it’s 1C. It seems like a no-brainer- protect your extremities. Ear muffs are quite big here particularly for men. If you are in need of any, Daiso and the markets will have plenty as well as stores in the metro underground. Visit Namdaemun market in Seoul for all your accessory needs!
3. Heat packs
I initially thought that this was so wasteful but if you’re going to be outdoors alot of the day, these are the best! You can buy them basically everywhere (Daiso, pharmacies and convenience stores) for between 1000-3000won ($1-$3), shake them and they start heating up. They are ones to carry, stick on ones and even shoe soles. It is actually widely used here and even many of the school students have one of these of them in winter. If you’re going for some snow adventures, these are great to pack to warm up your hands and feet.
4. A thick cream
Winter is ordinarily back enough but when it’s also dry and heating is on, skin just looses its moisture quicker. You’ll want to be lathering cream on to protect your skin from getting dry and cracked. Ceramide cream here is the recommendation from many people. I think most of the body creams sold here are quite nourishing. There are Olive Young stores everywhere here so you can easily find skincare products for your needs.
It doesn’t snow heavily here so most of the time, so I usually wear normal leather winter boots. You can still get away with wearing sneakers if you pair it with some thicker socks. If you are venturing outside of city areas though, it might be good to bring a pair of sturdy winter shoes. I did buy a pair of “winter boots” which are lined with faux fur here as I did hear that there is the occasional blizzard (yet to be experienced) and didn’t want to be left empty handed coming back home from work late at night in said blizzard.
I hope you found this post informative on what the Korean winter is like and what would be useful and helpful to have. Let me know if there is anything else you would add.
5 thoughts on “What To Wear In The Korean Winter”
Gosh! I knew that Korea could get cold in the winter, but I had no idea that the country experienced regular temperatures below 0°C! Harsh weather, indeed…all the same, it sounds like you prepared yourself really well for winter, and here’s hoping that the worst of it will pass and with that bring temperate spring weather soon!
I don’t want winter to end!! It is getting a bit warmer now (still under 10C). Going to be in a tshirt too soon.
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Wow, I didn’t know it got so cold in Korea, and if it’s a dry winter it’s good that you recommend thick face cream because I can’t imagine how dry your skin must be after a day out! I didn’t know there were heat patches for your feet and now I really want to buy some for myself – though the temperatures in Belgium are nowhere near the Korean ones ahah!
I have gone through 2 tubes of hand cream already this winter! It usually takes me a year to finish 1 tube. It helps if you’ll be outside for a while. I’ve never seen them anyway else apart from Korea so goodluck on your search!