If there was ever a reason to get down and dirty, the Boryeong Mud festival sure is a good enough excuse! Be prepared to unleash your inner child with a host of mud events, parades, K-pop concerts and other fun activities all taking place at Boryeong Mud Festival in Korea.
So, here’s 10 things you need to know about this epic mud festival!
1) What is Boryeong Mud Festival?
Boryeong Mud Festival was initially created in the 90’s to promote Boryeong’s mud based-products that are sold for cosmetic purposes. This mud is said to contain beneficial nutrients with healing and anti-aging properties, leaving your skin feeling radiant and healthy.
Today, Boryeong Mud Festival has grown to be one of the biggest festivals in Korea with people traveling from far and wide to frolic in the mud.
2) What to expect from Boryeong Mud Festival
A massive mud park filled with intoxicated foreigners!
Boryeong Mud Festival is extremely popular, not only with foreigners but also Koreans. It attracts locals from all over the country and of all ages. It’s busy and crowded, but this is something I’ve come to terms with having lived in Korea for the past year.
There is a sense of excitement in the air with people laughing and being silly. No one is stressed, or in a rush to get somewhere. It’s about the mud and the enthusiasm is contagious!
3) When and where in Boryeong does the mud festival take place?
Boryeong Mud Festival takes place on Daecheon Beach and spans over a two-week period in July. To the one end of this beach lies the children’s mud zone. Walk 2km along the shore and you’ll find the official mud zone as well as the stage where the performances take place at night.
The beachside cafes are bustling with excited tourists and numerous mud festival parades take place along the beachfront. The entire area of Daecheon Beach is filled with a joyful and lively atmosphere.
4) Should you buy a ticket for the mud zone?
Tickets to enter the mud zone cost 11 000 won ($10) and can be purchased either online or at the event. This is where all the fun mud activities take place such as Mud Wrestling, Mud Football, and the Mud Super Slide!
However, this mud zone is only one small part of this entire festival area. The rest is open to the public, with no entrance fee, but there are no mud activities.
My thoughts on the mud zone at Boryeong Mud Festival
I’m going to be straight with you. Getting into the actual mud zone is a hassle and the queues are long. It was so full that we had to wait for people to leave the mud zone before we could enter.
At first, it was fun. We met some interesting people in the queue and fed off everyone’s energy. 45 minutes later we reached the entrance and my patience had worn thin by the pushing and shoving.
Mud zone activities
By the time I was finally inside, I was not keen on standing in any more queues. To my dismay, the lines to take part in the mud activities were just as long. You can wait more than an hour for your chance to roll around in the mud for 2 minutes.
Did I have the patience for this? No!
Getting mudded at Boryeong Mud Festival
But I’d come to Boryeong for the mud. And I couldn’t leave looking as clean as I did.
So, I made a beeline for the Mud Prison. The queues weren’t long because, to be honest, the other mud activities are WAY cooler! Here, they fit 15 people into a 5×2 cage before locking you up. For about 10 seconds, mud is thrown in your face and all over your body by the mud staff standing opposite you.
One word of warning for those of you who wear contact lenses – be careful! I hadn’t had lasek eye surgery yet and so I spent the next 30 minutes trying to get the mud out of my contact lenses!
Sounds fun right? (not really!) But the result: we got mudded!
So, is the mud zone worth it?
Yes, buy that ticket!
Chances are you’ll only visit Boryeong Mud Festival once in your life and going to a mud fest, and not getting mudded is just lame! Things get messy and if you’re walking around in a pretty outfit and trying not to get dirty, you won’t enjoy the full experience!
So, buy that ticket, wait in the queue, roll around in the mud and then head to the beach where you can spend the rest of your afternoon swimming, drinking and making friends!
5) What to wear to Boryeong Mud Festival
Don’t wear anything that you aren’t willing to chuck away afterwards! There is no point in trying to look good when you’re smothered in mud! This is the part I loved as I didn’t feel that I had to dress to impress and no one cared that I wore old, ripped pants or a sports bra.
With knotted, muddy hair, no makeup and my not so ripped “6 pack” on display, I trotted around Daecheon Beach feeling completely content with life!
My advice would be to wear comfortable, old shorts with a dark-colored tank top or sports bra. Don’t worry about carrying a towel or extra shirt. You go from the mud zone, straight into the sea and then walk around like this for the rest of the day!
Wear a pair of flip-flops and cheap sunnies and you’re good to go.
6) What’s the itinerary like? Do you stay in your mud clothes all day?
This was my biggest question. I mean, I’m all about being dirty but at some stage a girls got to shower.
So, when does this transition into normal attire happen?
Arriving at Daecheon Beach in Boryeong
We arrived at Daecheon Beach around 11:00 and after checking in to our motel, headed straight to the mud zone. From here, we went for a dip in the ocean which was super refreshing and much needed! The shore is packed, chock-o-block full and the same goes for the sea!
Really taking in the Boryeong Mud Festival atmosphere
Next, we headed to the convenient store along the beachfront and purchased some snacks and refreshments (ie: beer). Along the walkway, there are hundreds of tables and chairs with front row views of the ocean and it’s the perfect spot to people watch!
At this stage, we were a couple of beers down, as were most of the people we were surrounded by. There were also numerous parades, street performances, and people dressed up in crazy outfits all cheerfully walking down the road with not a worry in the world.
This was my favorite part of the day.
We sat here for about 3 hours greeting just about everyone we saw and offering snacks and drinks as they walked past! We danced and played games with our new friends and at about 7 pm we decided to make our way back to the motel to freshen up. After a quick shower, it was back to the beach for dinner.
Boryeong Mud Festival at night
Many people opt for a day trip to Boryeong Mud Festival. Bear in mind that traffic during the mudfest time makes the trip even longer. If you want to fully immerse yourself in the festival, you need to spend the night.
Right on the beach is a performance stage which features an impressive entertainment lineup for the evening. This K-pop concert is free to watch and attracts people of all ages. Following the performances is a spectacular fireworks display. I’m talking pyrotechnics with dramatic music, sound effects, colors, and smoke that lasted over 10 minutes. But the night doesn’t end here!
The normally quiet and placid village takes on a complete transformation during Boryeong Mud Festival! The streets are buzzing during the night and there are bars and clubs eagerly inviting you in. If that’s not your scene then enjoy a delicious seafood dinner along the beachfront. There really is something for everyone and this is what makes Boryeong Mud Festival so special.
7) Should you pre-book accommodation for Boryeong Mud Festival?
If you’re going for the weekend? Yes!
Thousands of people head to Daecheon Beach over the mud festival period. Whilst the town does cater for the large influx of tourists during this time, you may struggle to find accommodation conveniently situated nearby the main mud festival area.
There are a few affordable pensions on Airbnb, Agoda, and Booking.com, but these sell out fast! Many Korean sites also promote accommodation around Daecheon Beach, but these are difficult to book if you cannot speak or read Korean.
Where did I stay for Boryeong Mud Festival?
Because I booked my mudfest trip through a tour group, Bangawayo Tours, my accommodation for the mud festival was taken care of. We stayed at Pine Motel which is only a stone’s throw away from Daecheon Beach. 6 of us shared a room that had only 1 double bed and 3 mats, not exactly my idea of comfortable! There was an option for private rooms at an additional cost, but I was trying to stick to a tight budget.
Despite being cramped, you take the spot for the convenient location. After all, it’s just a place to shower and rest your head for a couple of hours.
Why you shouldn’t just “wing it”
When you arrive in Boryeong, you don’t want to spend your first few hours going from one motel to the next looking for an open bed. This is time wasted where you would rather be sipping on a cold one on the beach!
Motels close to Daecheon Beach will most likely be fully booked and you will probably find accommodation in the center of town. Taking taxis back to a hotel that’s a couple of km’s away will just be a mission and super inconvenient.
8) Should you book your trip to Boryeong Mud Festival with a tour group?
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of tour groups. Meeting people is great but when I travel, I like to go by my rules and my time. But Boryeong Mud Festival was different.
Logistically, planning a trip to Boryeong Mud Festival is a hassle and I wanted a carefree weekend. I didn’t want to be scrummaging around for tickets, and accommodation or waiting for trains and busses. Having a tour group take care of all the admin allows you to really enjoy the festival.
I joined Bangawayo Tours on their Boryeong Mud Festival tour. They were actually the last tour group I contacted as the others had already been fully booked – that’s how popular the festival is. The tour cost 84 000 won ($84) which included round-trip transportation as well as overnight accommodation. For an additional 10 000 won, they arrange your mud festival ticket as well.
This tour package may seem high and yes, you could do it cheaper, but it was just so convenient and easy to arrange. Their staff were great, and the group was a fun mix of people from all over the world.
9) Boryeong Mud Festival tips
- Purchase a waterproof pouch: Everything will get wet or muddy! I bought a waterproof casing from a local store at Daecheon Beach so don’t stress if you arrive without one
- Go Pro: If there was ever a time to have a Go Pro, it’s for Boryeong Mud Festival
- Sunscreen: Summer is scorching hot in Korea! It may look overcast (thanks to the pollution) but it’s hot out there and the last thing you want is to be burnt. Actually, the worst would be hungover AND burnt! The hangover is not avoidable, but the burn is. So layer on that sunscreen
10) How to get from Seoul to Boryeong
Bus from Seoul to Boryeong
- This bus ride normally takes 2h 30min but add an extra hour to this due to traffic
- During the Boryeong Mud Festival, there is a direct bus from Seoul Express Bus Terminal to Daecheon Beach so be on the lookout for this
- If you can’t get this direct bus from Seoul to Daecheon Beach, take the bus from Seoul Express Bus Terminal or Dong Seoul Bus Terminal to Boryeong Bus Terminal
- After your arrival at Boryeong Bus Terminal, you will need to take a bus or taxi to Daecheon Beach
Train from Seoul to Boryeong
- The Korail train take 2h 40min to reach Daecheon Station
- From Yongsan station take the train to Daecheon Station
Final thoughts on Boryeong Mud Festival
With all the hype and excitement surrounding Boryeong Mud Festival, it sure did not disappoint. I have never seen so many happy and friendly people in one place. Seriously! It’s like everyone switches off and their friendly alter egos come out to play for the weekend! My only regret is not being able to take part in the mud zone activities because of the long queues. However, I soon forgot about that as there were so many other fun things happening.