Every July, Boryeong (on the Northwestern coast of South Korea) holds a Mud Festival to celebrate the local mud that is so good it is used in cosmetics. It’s also a great excuse to party and so thousands of English teachers, military personnel and a few Koreans descend on this tiny village to play in the mud. Here are some lessons I learnt from the 2 days I spent in Boryeong.
1. You will get muddy. It’s a mud festival after all.
2. You get what you pay for. We chose the cheapest option for travel and accommodation (we are in Korea to save money after all), and ended up leaving Busan for Boryeong 8 hours after our official departure time. Which left us spending money on taxis home and trains back to the meeting point, meaning that we spent the same amount as people who spent more than us in the first place, but we were more exhausted.
3. If it’s the rainy season, expect rain. Trying to be optimistic regardless of the forecast over all of Korea, I was hoping that the clouds would part and we would have two days of brilliant sunshine. Fortunately it did hold out for a little while, but during the rainy season in Korea, when it rains it really does pour.
4. Minbak accommodation means you sleep on the floor – that is, there are no beds or even mattresses. Our room had a heated floor (which fortunately we didn’t need with temperatures around 30°C), and blankets. It’s definitely not the most comfortable way to sleep unless, like our roommate, you end up in a Soju induced sleep.
5. Take plastic bags for your camera (or buy an old-school disposable camera if you can find one). It might make your photos blurry but it will save your camera while you play in the mud and run to the sea to wash off before starting all over again.
6. Don’t get mud in your eyes. It may be good for your skin, but those of us who did get it in our eyes suffered for about a week and a half afterwards.
7. Make sure you get to the beach to watch the fireworks at about 10pm. Koreans sure know how to put on a great display and seeing as I’m a huge fireworks fan at the best of times, this was one of the highlights of my trip.