Ever thought about taking a trip to South Korea, yea we haven’t either. But now you have a reason to go there, plan it for July. That’s when the otherwise sleepy seaside town of Boryeong explodes to life in a squelching, face-caked orgy of oozing grey mud and partial nudity. Don’t know about you, but we’re already booking our plane tickets. Us and the astonishing 2 million other people who flock like naughty children or mud-starved wader birds to the Boryeong Mud Festival each year. It’s all about getting down and dirty.
What started in 1998 as a marketing stunt to promote Boryeong’s skincare and beauty products – made using local, mineral-rich mud – has splattered like a well-aimed mud bomb into something more: still a marketing ploy, but so too a mud-crazed extravaganza where folks get to have oodles of messy fun – topped up with lashings of partial nudity.
Taking place over nine days, the Boryeong Mud Festival is what it says on the tin: revellers party from dawn till dusk, while wallowing in the therapeutic, skin-nourishing mud. It’s an all out celebration as people bathe, dance, loll, tussle and generally hang out in the gooey substance that’s literally on everyone’s lips – 200 tons of which is trucked in for the festivities.
The fun is focused on Boryeong’s beautiful Daecheon beach area – near the plain where the mud is dug up – and it’s here in ‘Mud Experience Land’ that it’s tops off only and bikinis galore. For the girls it’s a chance to feel the dermatological benefits of the caking one’s face in abundant mud packs. For the guys it’s a chance to ogle the girls. For everyone it’s an opportunity to make a mess of themselves.
Activities include mud wrestling, mud massage, a 100-foot mud slide and mud obstacle courses, plus more obscure events like mud boot camp and mud king contest – whatever in mud’s name that may be. In short, anything you can think of that involves mud, it’s here, and as the mud is also used to manufacture cosmetics, consumers can pick everything from mud soap to mud sun block. Sounds pretty sweet to us, what you think, South Korea this summer?