No-one needs to tell UK folk about rain, that’s for sure, but Koreans share our pain (kind of) at least once a year.

Jangma is the Korean word for monsoon season, which hits around this time of year and dumps a lot of unpredictable rain and thunderstorms in Asia for about 3-5 weeks. The torrential rain comes with a side helping of humidity. You can expect either a scorching hot, clear day or a muggy hot, rainy day, and sometimes a bit of both on the same day. And lightning!

Shoes or sandals that won’t get waterlogged and shorts are a must for packing if you’re planning to be in Korea during jangma. Raincoats might get a bit too sweaty, and you’ll see that younger Korean adults rarely wear them. Take light layers instead (and a spare in your bag) as you definitely won’t be cold in the rain. Note that your trusty welly boots look cute, but can end up waterlogged in heavy downpours, plus the humidity makes your legs feel hotter in them than in UK rain. If you get caught in the rain in the wrong footwear, some Korean fashion brands like Spao do sell cheap crocs-style rain shoes.

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Umbrellas are plentiful, and you can get reasonably-priced ones from Lotte Mart, Home Plus and Emart. When you enter some restaurants and shops during jangma, you might see an umbrella stand or some long thin plastic bags for umbrellas. If there’s a stand, put your umbrella in it before you go any further; the staff are trying to stop the floor getting wet and you can collect it on the way out. If you see the bags, they’re free. Grab one and slide it onto your brolly while inside the shop. You can ditch it in the trash when you leave, or take it with you to re-use if you’re feeling more eco-conscious.

One last piece of advice from my personal experience of concert-going during jangma; either take a waterproof bag out with you, or wrap some sturdy plastic/ziploc bags around your most precious things to protect them in the event of a storm, where the winds are too ferocious for umbrellas and everything you are wearing and holding will get absolutely drenched.

See some of the jangma rain and wind in action here


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British writer and editor living in Japan. Currently studying Japanese, Korean, K-pop dance, and the fine form of 이성종's legs.