CONTRIBUTED BY AMY HICKERSON
This is our third summer in Korea, and I had heard about the Mud Festival before, but never had wanted to go. Well, that’s not true….I wanted to go, because I want to experience as much as possible in Korea, but I was worried that this would be too “MTV Spring Break” for our family to enjoy, considering many of the pictures I had seen advertising the event.
Wow, was I wrong. Or should I say, wow, does Korea Tourism market this incorrectly! This is actually quite a family friendly event! I should not have been shocked; many festivals and events in Korea are very family friendly! (*although I have heard this festival can get crazy on nights & weekends)
When I did decide I wanted to go, I messaged a friend asking her to take the plunge and go with me. She was hesitant like I was, but on board to try. We hit the jackpot when we found out another friend was planning to charter a bus and was looking to fill it. Score! It is always a plus to be able to hop on a bus here, traffic can be so iffy, it’s nice to cruise on down the road in the bus lane with 40ish other friends!
So, on a Monday during the course of the run of the festival, July 18-27th this year, my son and I hopped on a bus with about 8 other families and left Yongsan at 8 am, ready for a day of adventure. It took us a little over 2 hours to make it to Daecheon Beach, which is where the festival is held. This was my first surprise. It is on the boardwalk area of a beach. You do not have to get muddy at all if you do not want to! We all set up camp on the beach (behind a stage, which kind of worried me…more on that later…)….sunscreened the kiddos, and then headed back up to the mudfest area.
Here was my next pleasant surprise. There is an adult only area and a family area. And the mud is more like muddy water, not thick, thick mud. We purchased tickets and went in to the family area. Here is a link for ticket prices. http://www.boryeongmudfestival.com/ticket/ . If you go with your kids, and only want to go into the family area with them, be sure to specify” Family Zone” only. I made the mistake of saying “1 adult and 1 child” and I was overcharged….there is a separate “adults only” section that is a higher charge.
Pleasant surprise #3. I was worried about keeping track of my son, but it was a non-issue. The play area was sectioned off; a confined area, so that kids could pretty much be free inside. There were 4 blow up slides/obstacle course things and a big mud pit in the family section. My son loved it! There was also a “Mud Prison” where you go in and the attendants throw mud at you until you get out. Speaking of the attendants….I was also very impressed that there were so many, and that they were so helpful and friendly. The adult section looked to have the same type of things, but I imagine things got a little rougher and wilder on that side!
Also part of the festival, but away from the slides and mud pits, was a colored mud body painting tent. Here, you could have your body painted with red, blue, green, and/or white paint. This was free, but it got crowded quickly. Luckily, a member of our group had been the previous year and knew we should go right when they opened up after lunch to beat the crowd.
We also spent a good deal of time at the beach itself. This is a beautiful beach….smooth sand, nice calm water. My son loved it, and I actually spent some time in the water too (and I hate getting in the ocean!). Along the beach are umbrellas for rent for 30,000 Won and inner tubes for rent for 10,000 Won. The only issue at the beach was a stage area that was set up for the festival….they played a lot of loud music most of the day, and had some contests on the stage. This was the only “MTV Spring Break” part of the day, but it was mild compared to what I really have seen on MTV. It did not bother our group, but if you have small children who are used to napping midday, you may want to be aware and set up camp away from this area.
Hopefully I have convinced you to go if you can! This is the last chance we had before we move on from Korea, and I am SO glad that we jumped on it! I have a feeling that this is something my son & I will talk about for a long time!
**One more thing….if you REALLY have no desire to experience the MudFest after this, I still recommend this beach for a quick weekend getaway or even a day trip! There are several hotels and places to eat along the main road, and again, the beach itself is very nice!
Festival Dates for 2014: July 18 2014 to July 27 2014
Ticket Prices: Admission to the festival ranges from 7,000 won to 10,000 won per day. More information is HERE
Address: 029-3, Sinheuk-dong, Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do
Here is the festival homepage http://www.boryeongmudfestival.com/
Here is the Korea Tourism site’s link: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_2_1.jsp?cid=697135