South Korea itself is an extremely honest, friendly and polite country. Save for some areas of Seoul, there is no need for bouncers outside clubs, a present police force or single living. Taxi drivers are honest about their fare and tipping is considered rude. It is with this backdrop of a fairly safe, conservative nation that shuns divorce, gays and bright clothing, that something wondrously unique takes place yearly off the shores of Daecheon Beach: the Boryeong Mud Festival.
Squashed into a bus with standing room only, young Korean locals, military folk and English teachers travel to the beaches of Daecheon to see what the fuss about mud is all about. Travelers soon learn that not only are there health benefits involved, but pure carnival antics.
Conducted primarily for the purpose of marketing the health benefits of the local mud, the festival offers everything from mud massages to mud wrestling. Set up in tents along the shoreline, massage tables and mud products over a quick relief from the American youth holding bottles of Soju (liquor tasting similar to rubbing alcohol). Next to these items line tents full of five main options: fried corndogs, fried fish, Hite beer (the local favorite), Makgeolli (a yoghurty, fermented rice wine) or Soju. Enclosed around this crowd of tents and muddy people are a series blown-up arenas that can only be described as a mudpark.
Participants have the opportunity to get splashed with a bucket of mud in the ‘jail’ enclosure, slip n’ slide down an inflatable shoot, and race their friends through a course designed to make you take a face plant. Shoes are left at the entrance with little thought and friends are easily made through mud bucket throwing or mud hugs. To clean off this life-giving mud, the beach is an option, but so is the 30 meter pool full of sprinklers and other muddy customers.
As this was my first weekend in the country…there was no way I was going to miss out on all the fun.
If you are also intrigued about mud, here is the official site: http://www.mudfestival.or.kr/english/festival/festival1.php