Every summer, thousands upon thousands of foreigners and Koreans, trek down to Boryeong to play in the mud and frolic on the beach.
This is one of the most popular events in Korea among foreigners (and one of the only reasons sleepy seaside Boryeong is on the map) for this reason: It is simultaneously the most wild, fun, exhausting and disgusting time of your life.
The festival goes on for two consecutive weekends, but my friends and I only attended the first weekend.
Thankfully we booked ahead of time with a tour group so we got a seat on a charter bus (it’s about 3 hours from Seoul) and a Korean hostel (you sleep on the floor), which cost us about 75,000 KRW each.
This is important because Boryeong literally explodes with people for the weekend. So if you’re planning on sleeping, book a hotel or hostel a few months in advance! Many people also take a train to Boryeong.
Mudfest boasts a large stage with live music, lots of free mud-painting stations and for 5000 KRW, you can go into the festival area.
Inside the festival gates, there are huge mud slides, slip’n’slides, mud wrestling and basically a million different ways for the Korean employees to throw huge buckets of mud on you.
And when you’re finished playing in the mud, let it dry- it’s actually great for your skin! There are tents set up all over selling mud cosmetics, which are very popular. And I have to admit, despite being sunburned, my skin looked great after the weekend!
Did I mention there are no open-container laws in Korea?
Of course the festival has tons of drinks to buy (my favorite is called the IV bag, where they mix a cocktail in a large zip lock bag and throw a straw in it), but my friends and I brought our own to save money.
At night, there are still plenty of events on the beach: concerts, fireworks and thousands of foreigners still going strong and looking to have a good time.
Mudfest is difficult to describe, because it’s chaos – in the best way possible. People come to have fun and let loose, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone looking for a quiet weekend.
If you want that kind of mud bath, it’s best you hit your nearest spa.
Mudfest is more like Las Vegas, if it were outside and drenched in mud. And if the Korean press were constantly taking pictures, making you feel like a celebrity being chased by the paparazzi.
But that’s not to say you have to drink to have fun.
There are so many activities that it’s easy to stay busy and entertained for a weekend, not to mention the great beach where you can take a break from the mud and soak up some sun.
And while I think I could ramble on about the amazing insanity of it all for another 500 words, I will leave you with my top 3 favorite moments:
1) Walking into the festival!
Despite leaving my apartment at 6 that morning, I felt so much energy when we entered the festival. Then, after hours of anticipation, I was finally covered in mud. And I loved it.
2) Watching the clash of Koran families and drunken foreigners on the boardwalk!
The fireworks were amazing, and all the beach statues were lit up with glitter and lights, making for some great photo ops. I also found heart-shaped, glow stick glasses (my best Korean purchase by far) and a motorized scooter to rent for 20 minutes. My friends and I raced our scooters around the boardwalk, chasing each other and having a perfect summer night.
3) Sunday’s full-on mud immersion!
While Saturday was more about partying, on Sunday we got serious about the mud. After a few rounds on the slip’n’slide, we were completely covered (in our ears, in our hair, everywhere) and ready to let our mud dry. 20 minutes later, we sprinted down to the water and dove in, which felt amazing! We then repeated all of this after visiting the colored mud station.
So bottom line, if you’re in Korea in July, go to Mudfest! It’s a relatively cheap way to have an unforgettable experience, or at the very least, a few great stories.
What festivals have you been to abroad? Anything you recommend?