Korean summers are not my favorite . They are not only hot, with temperatures soaring up to 35°C and more, but they are also very humid !
Most precipitation falls during changma or east Asian monsoon (between june and september) and this causes very humid weather which makes the summer not the best season to visit Korea. Somedays you can really wring your shirts and pants. However, I like the Korean summer because the large amount of rain fills up the empty rivers and creates beautiful green landscapes and ricefields.
How to endure a hot summer ?
If you have the chance to leave the city than you can go for a nice cooling breeze on one of the many beaches or mountains that Korea has to offer. Haeundae Beach in Busan is probably the most crowded one among all. Also hiking in the shadow of the mountains and forests works really well.
In the city people like to cool off in the fountains and at home they use airconditioning and electric fans. Older people like to use an umbrella to protect themselves from the burning sun. They also enjoy sitting in the cool subway while young people like to walk around in the huge shopping and departement stores. Anyway, be cautious off the big gap between the temperature in subways, stores and taxis and the air outside, it can make you coughing.
In the countryside people leave in the very early morning to work on the fields. Next to the fields you can often find nice wondumak (pavilion) to take a relaxing break.
And what to eat during a hot summer ?
Some of my favorite summer foods are naengmyon(cold noodles) and patbingsu (crushed ice with ice-cream, beans and fruits). They are good to cool off your body. In stores and coffeeshops you can find all kind of cold drinks, cold coffee and tea, juices and smoothies.
To strengthen your body you should try samgyetang (chicken with ginseng) and chuotang (mudfish soup). Both are good in winter too. They are often eaten at the hottest days in summer.
On almost every street corner you can find fresh fruit whole year around. Popular in summer are sliced fruits like subak (watermelons), chamae (honey melon), chadu (plum) etc.