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Where to Escape the Heat in Seoul This Summer

The summer season in Seoul is hot and humid, with average high temperatures over 80°F (28°C) during July and August. But with classes and finals over, there are ways to spend your free time while beating the heat.

An excellent way to spend a rainy or humid afternoon is in one of the many art galleries in and around Seoul- many of which even have free entry. The Leeum Museum of Art (리움미술관) is one such gallery in the Itaewon neighborhood. It's comprised of two sections so that you can peruse both contemporary and traditional Korean art. The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Gwacheon (국립현대미술관 과천) is another large art gallery that houses Nam-June Paik's famous video installation tower. It features a rotation of diverse exhibitions, which are either free to enter or have a ticket price of ₩2,000. To get there, take the Line 4 metro to Seoul Grand Park station (대공원역) and hop on the complimentary shuttle to the entrance that is offered every 20 minutes.

Traditional honey cookies, 약과

If you are looking for smaller galleries, Baik Art (백아트), nearby Anguk station on line 3, is a popular destination for art fans like RM, who posted the gallery on his Instagram this spring. The nearby neighborhood, Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을), is also home to several historical tea shops and cafes where you can enjoy a drink and try some yakwa (약과), traditional Korean honey cookies.

With the rainy season still ongoing and the scorching heat, people are exploring different ways of staying active this summer without missing out on the fun. One of them is indoor rock climbing which has gained much popularity among people who enjoy hiking and intense activities. The gyms are well equipped and have instructional classes for beginners, which professional trainers lead. If you are looking for a place to avoid the rain, you check out The Climb in Hongdae(홍대), which offers a variety of classes drop beginner to advanced and also provides children classes. Another indoor climbing gym is Aller Climbing at Yeondeungpo-gu market station exit 4.

Another way of escaping the rain and summer heat is by exploring the beautiful caves across South Korea. Caves are typically cold and expel a cool breeze, thus making them a perfect place to hide from the heat wave. However, remember to wear good shoes for walking due to the uneven cave floors. Hwanseongul (환선굴)cave is one of the most famous caves and also the largest cave in Asia found in Samcheok Gangwon provi

nce. Another one is Gwangmyeong (광명)cave in Gwangmyeong, Gyeongi-do. The cave is famous mainly for its cooler underground temperature and has aquariums, light shows, children's amusements, and an underground winery.

Hwanseongul Cave, 환선굴

If you are the type to enjoy swimming and water recreation activities, head to the Han River (한강)area, where outdoor pools and water playgrounds have opened and will be operating all through August 23rd. The pools are located at TTukseom(뚝섬), Yeouido(여의도), Gwangnaru (광나루), Jamwon (잠원), Nanjing (난징) and Yanghwa (양화). The collections are divided by age group (adult and children) and have shower facilities. Other than swimming, there will be other activities such as survival games, a bubble dance festival, and safety training.

Korea is well known for its all-around cuisines that also cater to the different seasons, and for that, it has no shortage of summertime dishes that help with dealing with scorching heat. Among them is the Bingsu (빙수) which is made of shaved ice with sweetened red beans, chewy rice cakes, chopped fruit, and condensed milk. It is renowned for its icy texture and unique flavors. One of the famous bingsu places in Seoul is Dangok (당옥) Sinsa station exit 8, Pan Honesta (빵어니스타), which is vegan friendly in the Gangnam area and Bookhaebingsoo (북해빙수) near Euljiro 3-ga station.

Nam-June Paik's video installation at MMCA Gwacheon

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