Outdoors

Muddy, Crazy and Still Smiling at the Boryeong Mud Festival

By travel 3Sixty°

Muddy, Crazy and Still Smiling at the Boryeong Mud Festival

Words: Gokul Santhanam & Pravin Shekar, travel 3Sixty° travelsmiths°

Photography: Pravin Shekar

At the entrance of the mud festival square, “prisoners” enter voluntarily and are splashed with mud all over. A very grand welcome indeed!
At the entrance of the mud festival square, “prisoners” enter voluntarily and are splashed with mud all over. A very grand welcome indeed!

The festival was originally conceived as a promotional vehicle for Boryeong mud cosmetics made from the Boryeong mud, which is considered rich in minerals. This year, our friends from Chennai, South India joined us for some slushy fun.

Fun and games

A game where members of the opposing team had to be thrown off the raft and into the mud! 
A game where members of the opposing team had to be thrown off the raft and into the mud!

Mud from the Boryeong mud flats is transported by truck to Daecheon beach, where it was used as the centrepiece of the ‘Mud Experience Land’. Three days of muddy games – mud football, mud wrestling, slides, hurdle runs and other team events – were held here. During the weekend, the crowd swelled with long lines for each game. There was also a mudflats marathon, where participants slip and slide all the way to the finish line!

Another team game which involved skill, strategy and balance.
Another team game which involved skill, strategy and balance.

The best part of the event is that it is truly global and you get to know different people. The face and body painting with colored mud also brought strangers closer together – to preen and pose!

Medicinal mud mixed with paint – on your face and body.
Medicinal mud mixed with paint – on your face and body.

K-Trad and K-Pop

All around the square, a mobile traditional Korean music troupe kept festivalgoers entertained.
All around the square, a mobile traditional Korean music troupe kept festivalgoers entertained.

Traditional Korean music played all around the event location inviting guests to participate in the drumming and dancing. The musicians were fully mobile, covering the entire festival grounds.

Evenings turned into concert nights with PSY of Gangnam Style fame performing to a jam-packed audience.

“What’s this all about?” asks an innocent face.
“What’s this all about?” asks an innocent face.

Stalls around the area sold medicinal mudpacks, shampoos and related products. We tried the base mud and bought fancy stuff for our better halves!

A little bit of Spain in Korea

A festival exchange program where tomatoes substituted mud for one hour!
A festival exchange program where tomatoes substituted mud for one hour!

We experienced an hour of Spain’s Tomatina, thanks to a festival exchange program between the organizers of the two festivals.  A stage performance ushered in the crowd, then tomatoes flew across the air. Madness continued and we were soon squishy, squashy, smiley and red all over.

So, if you’re looking for something different, to go way out of your comfort zone – and ready to get muddy – plan for next year’s Boryeong Mud Festival!

HOW TO GET THERE AirAsia flies to Seoul from various destinations. From Seoul, Boryeong is 3 hours away by bus or train.

Gokul Santhanam is a human resources professional, cycling enthusiast and a movie buff who loves travel, photography and immersive experiences.

Parallel entrepreneur, traveller and raconteur Pravin Shekar is always on the lookout for something different. He has travelled to over 30 countries and clicked drainage covers, park benches, people and cultures.

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