The time of the year is upon us again when all the English teachers from the four corners of the Korean Peninsula converge on Daecheon Beach for
their annual Spring Break the Boryeong Mud Festival. Boryeong Mudfest attracts over 2 million visitors and is the foremost mud party in the eastern hemisphere – even your muddin’ cousins from Mississippi would approve. Cosmetic companies ship mud from the Boryeong flats for Koreans and foreigners alike to enjoy. Since 1998, the event exists to promote the cosmetic benefits of mud. Over time, Mudfest has grown into the biggest international event in South Korea with a culture all of its own. The event takes place from July 19th to July 28th. You can sign up with numerous groups like WinK (When in Korea) to go. If you are on the cusp of going, here are 11 reasons that should help you decide to dive-in face first.
11. Because if you don’t go you’re still going to annoy your co-worker about it on Monday.
Don’t be that person who says they don’t want to go to Mudfest and then asks everyone if they had fun the following Monday. Don’t be annoying. Don’t be that person. Just go!
10. What Will Ernie wear this Year?
When I woke up for the first time in 2013, I had four burning questions about the upcoming year: Will this be the year the Cubs win the World Series? Will this be the year we get an update on Final Fantasy 13 versus? Will this be the year either Miley Cyrus or Amanda Bynes go completely crazy? And what will Ernie wear to Mudfest in 2013?
If you don’t know Ernie, he’s become famous for his interesting choice of outfits to special events among the expat and Korean community. If you are fan of cutting edge fashion or big surprises, you owe it to yourself to come to Mudfest to see the spectacle of Ernie for yourself.
9. Mud Wrestling.
This really needs no explanation – It’s fully awesome. Mud Wrestling is the perfect excuse to touch any mud-covered body you desire.
8. Because sleeping with eight people is the best way to make friends.
Are you new to Korea? Are you shy? Are you the recent victim of a poorly executed break-up? You need to socialize and make new friends. If you come to Mudfest, you will likely be sleeping in a very small room with a lot of people. Don’t worry, this is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s one of the quickest ways to make new friends if you bring a positive attitude. After all, strangers who sleep together… uh wake up together.
7. Everyone knows the best people in Korea actually live outside of Seoul.
Sorry – this is true. There are awesome expats and Koreans who live outside of Seoul. Events like Mudfest are one of the rare events where you can meet some of the best people who live outside of your city.
6. Old Korean photographers will make you feel like a movie star.
Mudfest has an abundance of two things: mud and old korean photographers. If you decide to pose for them, these professional photographers will line up like the paparazzi and shoot pictures of you and your friends until your heart is content. I’m not sure where these pictures end up, but I assure you they will make you feel like royalty.
5. It’s one time it’s cool not to be tan at the beach.
Does your skin reflect sunlight? Don’t worry, pale skin is a sign of beauty in Korea. Do you still feel uncomfortable? Here’s another solution: cover yourself with mud. You’ll be doing something in style and no one will ever notice how pale you are. You’ll just be really dirty instead and that’s o.k.
4. Tough guys get hurt.
First of all, injuring yourself is never funny. Please be careful as some surfaces at Mudfest become very slippery and you can hurt yourself.
With that said, injuries are extremely funny in hindsight. The biggest muscle men always seem to injure themselves at Mudfest. Why? Because they were escaping the evil clutches of a 100-pound Korean girl in a bikini with a handful of mud.
3. Mud in the eye is funny as long as it doesn’t happen to you.
This happened to me two years ago and I almost went to the emergency room because I couldn’t move my eye. If you have sensitive eyes, please wear goggles during mud wrestling or other dirty events. You’ll thank me later.
If you have a twisted sense of humor, stand by the first aid booth and watch as grown men cry because they have mud in their eyes. Watch their low pain threshold become exploited as ajummas mercilessly clean their eyes with long q-tips.
Again, this really isn’t funny if it happens to you. However, it’s hilarious in hindsight because you will be ok.
2. International Love.
Korea often takes a beating for having a homogeneous culture. The beautiful thing about Mudfest is that the cleansing properties of mud seemingly dissipate any cultural barriers. Mudfest is a beautiful international event. Foreigners and Koreans throw mud, dance, and party alongside each other in blissful harmony. If you come to Mudfest, you’ll become aware of the positive vibe by mid-Saturday afternoon. It’s a beautiful thing.
1. You owe it to yourself to experience Mudfest while you live in Korea.
If you come with a great attitude and understand access to showers and things like sleeping conditions won’t be perfect, you’ll have an awesome time. You’ll meet tons of great people, experience some of the best benefits of cosmetic mud, and maybe even meet some of the world’s most popular K-pop stars. Mudfest is often a highlight for many people who spend a few years in Korea. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to have a great time.
I’ll be taking photographs exclusively for WINK (When in Korea) Travel. Make sure to stop by and say hi.