Boryeong City in South Korea on the coast of the Yellow Sea was once renowned for its amazing agriculture. Today, however, this same rich earth is drawing millions of visitors to Daecheon Beach in Boryeong City for very different reasons. In 1997, several institutes in South Korea did studies on the soil and determined that not only was the dirt good for plants, it was good for skin too. To market these newly discovered properties, Boryeong decided to engage in a huge festival and invite people far and wide to enjoy their mineral rich mud. But unlike most ad campaigns, this one asked people to come and get dirty. Really dirty. Welcome to the Boryeong Mud Festival!
The city held the first Mud Festival in July 1998 for four days purely to promote Boryeong’s new skincare and beauty products. Little did they expect that the festival in the town of less than 100,000 residents would usher in a population explosion for years to come. Today the event has been extended to nine days and up to 2 million revelers descend on Boryeong City bringing with them tens of millions of tourist dollars. And when temperatures typically exceed 85 degrees, there’s nothing like a dip in some cold, wet mud to get the blood flowing. Well that and lots of drinks.
Don’t be fooled, it’s not just the 200 tons of skin brightening filth that draw in the crowds. The Boryeong Mud Festival is one heck of a party. It is like a big chocolate covered spring break… except the chocolate is mud. You can expect lots of music, dancing, mud wrestling and drinking. Showing up sparkly clean in shorts and bathing suits festival goers enjoy various competitions, training courses, and mud slides. Those looking for a more laid back experience can check out mud painting, mud massage, or a swim in the mud “mega tub”. You will even see the crowning of the Mud King and Mud Queen amongst the beautiful mountains and warm sands of Daecheon Beach.
Due to the massive numbers of partiers it is strongly recommended that lodging be booked well in advance. If you are feeling a bit waterlogged (or mudlogged as the case may be) there are many wonderful local sites and cultural hot spots to visit, including a magnificent Buddhist temple. Otherwise, there isn’t much to know other than plan on getting absolutely filthy and having a raucously good time.