Apr 252012
 

BY MELISSA TAIT

Mudfest in Boryeong, South Korea

(The Mudfest is in JULY this year from 07.14.2012 ~ 07.24.2012)

The Boryeong Mud Festival is one of the things that most people know South Korea for. “Isn’t there some crazy festival where everyone is covered in mud?” Well, yes, and it’s awesome.

This event takes place on  Daecheon beach which is on the west coast of South Korea, close to the middle of the Southern peninsula. The beaches on the west coast are more muddy than sandy, so the enterprising town of Boryeong started a festival to promote the medicinal powers of the mineral rich mud for the skin. Later they added slides, a stage and some mud wrestling tents and it’s just been a crazy festival since then.

But how crazy is it? Well, not too crazy. As a person who doesn’t really like crowds I found it to be a great mix of beautiful beach weekend with the extra silliness of the mud. The beach is really big, especially at low tide, so there is plenty of room to hang out and do your own thing if you want to get away and chill out for a bit.

Back to the mud! You can choose how much time you spend covered in mud. There are buckets of mud positioned along the beach front that you just go up and slather yourself, and any unsuspecting victims that might be in the very near vicinity. You can’t really carry the mud anywhere so I didn’t worry about getting muddy unless I was standing directly next to a mud bucket.

For those who want the full on mud experience there is a section with mud games including slides, wresting and a mud prison. This section was loads of fun, especially duelling in mud with my friends. It cost extra and we had to line up for wrist bands to get in. I admit I can’t exactly remember how much it cost, but I remember some of the friends I went with didn’t want to pay extra, so they just stayed with the free mud and everything else that was going on.

And by ‘everything else that was going on’ I mean a stage on the beach with performers, countless tents selling food, beer and cocktails in bags, fireworks, and a long procession of similar people who were all in the mood to party. I didn’t see anyone being really uncool or mean, it was just a really relaxed and happy vibe.

I guess the only thing to be worried about is the forces of nature, specifically the ocean, which possibly gobbles up hundreds of mobile phones, sunglasses, cameras and wallets every year. But, my camera spent most of the time in my hotel room where it couldn’t be harmed too much. I only really had a zip-lock bag with my cash in it and that’s all I needed for the day. Also, general beach common sense about sunscreen, drinking water and keeping an eye on your friends and valuables still applies.

In summer, if you’re looking for a beach weekend outside of Busan, I would recommend heading to Dacheon. The town is small and relaxed, there are loads of hotels and restaurants very close to the beach. There is also an amusement park and water park within walking distance. The food centres around seafood which was delicious, but there are still some BBQ places if you are more in the mood for that.

During Mudfest, I would recommend going with a tour group. It just saves a lot of hassle when all you have to do is get on a bus and you’re taken straight to your hotel and there (should) be no issues checking into your hotel.

We’d love to create a list of tour operators going to Mudfest, so if you hear of a deal please leave a comment or send us a note and we’ll pop it on the site.

Tour operators:

From Busan

Brant Kim organises travel from Busan, his details are here: http://www.boryeongmudfest.com/signup1.html
The Busan Awesome team went with him in 2011 and we had a great time.

Directions to Dacheon:

You can take the train straight to Dacheon from Seoul (2 1/2 hours) or Busan (4 hours) with a changover somewhere along the line.  Check it out on http://www.korail.com/ –> English —> Booking —> Book online (make sure you hit ‘Transfer’ when looking up the train times. I’m not 100% sure where the train station is in relation to the beach but I’m sure it’s a short cab ride or bus ride away.

I believe there are buses as well that go from major cities, but I can’t find any specific information online. If you know, drop us a comment!

Official Websites:
http://www.mudfestival.or.kr/english/festival/festival3.php
http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_2_1.jsp?cid=697135

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