Ahhhh, summer: the sun on your face, the sand between your toes…and mud in every crevasse of your body. Yes people, we may only be in May, but in Korea time that already means we are late(!) in booking tickets for mid-July’s one and only MUDFEST.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, where have you been?!? An annual event, the small west-coast beach town of Boryeong holds hosts to thousands of foreigners & Koreans all intent on one purpose – playing, swimming, painting and wrestling in mud: dirty, glorious mud. From a mud-covered ‘outdoor playground’, complete with inflatable slides, to a pool of mud to swim in, to coloured mud to paint your body with, there are enough goings-on to make you feel you will never be clean again. And to lure you away from your usual weekend night spots (will there be anyone in Hongdae park?!) , there are also fireworks lighting up the summer sky, live bands playing, as well as a few tried and tested clubs, bars, and of course, noraebangs to help your evening along once the mud has crusted into your hair. Find information about the numerous events here. The best part is this mud is good for you, it’s ‘special’ healing properties making up for the bad you do to your body the other 51 weeks of the year (disclaimer: this is unproven). Oh, and the festival is so popular it runs over two weekends (July 14th – July 24th), so there is no excuse not to get down to the beach and indulge in some good old-fashioned dirty fun-times.

As always, there are a tonne of companies compelling you to book your Mudfest tickets now. Buy, buy buy! Contrary to what you see, it is possible to make your own way to Boryeong without being stuffed onto a coach with your fellow revellers drinking at 8am (just me that finds that impossible to handle?). However, an organised trip does take the stress out of it all, so below is a list of options so you too can partake in the only event worth attending (that week).

Sat 14th July / W85,000 / return bus trip from Seoul (with on-bus belly dancer entertainment!) / Pension by the beach / BBQ grills, accessories & charcoal / Chance to win prizes!

Fri 13th and Sat 14th July / 2 nights: from W94,000 – W110,000 (depending on how many in your room) / 1 night: from W62,000 – W82,000 / Day trip: W48,000 before May 24th, W50,000 after. / Round trip bus from Seoul, Suwon, Bundang, Busan, Daegu, Changwon at various departure times. / Pension by the mudfest site, sleeping from 4 – 24 people per room. The more people per room, the cheaper it is / Ticket to Mudfest (worth W5,000) / One meal coupon (they provide damn good burgers and chilli cheese dogs. Worth buying extra vouchers at W5,000 each so you don’t have to worry about food for the weekend)

(Prices do go up the closer to the leaving date you get, but only by a couple of thousand won). Find ‘When in Korea’ on Facebook.

Fri 13th and Sat 14th July / 2 nights: from W97,000 – W103,00 until June 1st; W102,000 – W108,000 June 1st – June 31st. / 1 night: from W85,000 – W94,000 / Round trip bus from Seoul / Pension, rooms for 2 – 20 people (affects price) / Mudfest entrance fee / Option of BBQ dinner (W10,000)

Adventure Korea

Sat. 14th and Sat. 21th July / W76,000 before May 24th; W81,000 after / Taking part in silt extreme training on the mud beach (not as terrifying as it sounds – wrestling, races, human pyramid, etc all in mud!). Sat. 14th departure only. / Mud fun obstacle marathon. Sat 21st departure only. / Round-trip bus from Seoul / Accommodation

Waygook Travel

Sat. 14th / W99,000 before May 25th; W109,000 after / Return bus trip from Seoul / Accomodation

DIY Trip

Train from Seoul – Daecheon / 2hrs 40 mins / about W65,000 return.

Bus from Seoul Central City Terminal, Gangnam – Boryeong / 2 hrs / W10,400 (economy bus)– W15,200 (fancy bus). Then bus from Boryeong – Daecheon / 20 mins / Local fare.

Accomodation: there are many, many pensions/minbaks in the mudfest surrounding area – just rock up, negotiate & think positive! It IS possible to find somewhere on the day, see how we did it last year. If you really do need the safety net of booking in advance, flutter your eyelashes at a Korean friend who will know much better than us babo waygooks. Or, you can just pass out drunk on the beach…

All costs are liable to change – don’t take this as gospel!

NB. I apologise for the overwhelming use of the word ‘mud’ here, but really, how else can it be described?

Written by Verity Inett

Images by Brittney Wilson

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