Boryeong Mud Festival | Photo Essay

Boryeong Mud Festival in Korea

Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea
Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea

I have to admit I had serious reservations about attending the Boryeong Mud Festival held annually at Daecheon Beach, South Korea.  Firstly, it’s well noted for being over-saturated with foreigners and I typically prefer events that are culturally rooted.  Secondly, I was sceptical of whether or not I should bring my dSLR given the forecast weather and obvious culprit, also know as mud, which apparently isn’t all that fine and dandy to have smeared all over your camera.  Well, I can honestly say attending this festival was one of the best decisions I’ve made in recent months.  Not only did I have a blast getting covered in mud but I also feel I’ve captured one of the best photo sets this year.  Head over to Backpacking Travel Blog to see my sister Boryeong Mud Festival Photo Essay once you’ve of course perused this set 😛

The Boryeong Mud Festival is a spectacle that takes place annually in Boryeong during the monsoon season in South Korea.  The first fest took place in 1997 and in recent years participants have been crowding Daecheon beach in record numbers that exceed 2+ million.  Major attractions include all day music concerts, mud wrestling, mud pools, mud mazes, mud jails and general beach activities along with copious amounts of alcohol and plastered mud.  It attracts an enormous foreign crowd (known locally as Waegooks) that include ESL teachers, American military personnel and others who specifically come to Korea for this event. It’s not easy to book cheap holidays when thousands of revellers descend on this small stretch of beach, however, it truly is an event not to be missed in my opinion.

Photo Essay: Boryeong Mud Festival

 

A Korean flashes an authentic smile while enjoying a moment splashing around in a floating tube at Daecheon Beach, Korea.

A Korean girl flashes an authentic smile while enjoying a moment splashing around in a floating tube at Daecheon Beach, Korea.

You wish! A lady is being carried on piggyback through the crowd.

You wish! A lady is being carried on piggyback through the crowd.

A candid shot of a Korean man wearing a 'distinct' Korean style cowboy hat near the beach.

A candid shot of a Korean man wearing a ‘distinct’ Korean style cowboy hat near the beach.

Everybody getting their muddy boogie on during the musical performances.

Everybody getting their muddy boogie on during the musical performances.

Mud flying everywhere! This mud wrestling event covered the crowd just as much as the participants. I'm certainly glad I wrapped my dSLR in plastic.

Mud flying everywhere! This mud wrestling event covered the crowd just as much as the participants. I’m certainly glad I wrapped my dSLR in plastic.

A dude carrying a random 'old school' boom box entertains the wrestling crowd with music.

A dude carrying a random ‘old school’ boom box entertains the wrestling crowd with music.

Two foreigners covered in mud engage in a friendly pre-ceremonial ritual before wrestling one another.

Two foreigners covered in mud engage in a friendly pre-ceremonial ritual before wrestling one another.

A Korean family enjoys a water gun fight with plenty of squirting and even more smiling faces.

A Korean family enjoys a water gun fight with plenty of squirting and even more smiling faces.

An ecstatic lady covered in mud flashes a lovely smile while posing for the camera.

An ecstatic lady covered in mud flashes a lovely smile while posing for the camera.

A Korean lady flashes a peace sign and an even bigger smile near the music stage.

A Korean lady flashes a peace sign and an even bigger smile near the music stage.

Two Korean boys enjoying digging sand in what appears to be an early foundation of a sandcastle.

Two Korean boys enjoying digging sand in what appears to be an early foundation of a sandcastle.

A Korean boy charges into the water with his water tube firmly gripped.

A Korean boy charges into the water with his water tube firmly gripped.

Two foreigners enjoy a candid smile near the mosh pit / concert area of the Boryeong Mud Festival.

Two foreigners enjoy a candid smile near the mosh pit / concert area of the Boryeong Mud Festival.

A drummer plastered in mud without a shirt smiles while entertaining thousands with his slick skills.

A drummer plastered in mud without a shirt smiles while entertaining thousands with his slick skills.

A Korean lady bows during a traditional Korean religious ceremony that was taking place mere meters away from all of the drunken festivities.

A Korean lady bows during a traditional Korean religious ceremony that was taking place mere meters away from all of the drunken festivities.

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  5. says: Julia Reed

    Oh my) They say that mud can be good for our skin)) When I look at these happy people, I must say this festival is defnitely good for health in general. Thanks for this awesome share.

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  13. Awesome photos! Hope your DSLR walked away dry. I’ve had my reservations about attending also and for the same reasons you’ve mentioned. But damn, those are some really great shots you walked away with! Loved the ‘You wish’ shot !

  14. says: Waegook Tom

    Great pics, Sam! I got a new camera the week before the event (if you remember it from the Seoul meet-up?) but I was TERRIFIED of taking it to MudFest so avoided it. I swear I met one of the people in your photos, but I could be completely lying. I ended up being totally surprised, too (I was expecting it to annoy the shit out of me) but in the end, it ended up being one of the funnest things I’ve done so far this year!

    1. That’s great to hear you enjoyed it! I seriously was sceptical. Apparently it keeps growing each year and that a lot of foreigners actually come to Korea just for the event. I still think I was a bit nuts bringing my own camera…lol

  15. says: Franca

    Even if I’m not the first one to say so, I still feel the need to congratulate you for the amazing shots you took!
    The only time I have been involved with mud was at a Music Festival in the UK, where it rained really heavily the all duration of the festival (3 days)… that was a bit tedious considering we were camping (in the mud at the end) but we enjoyed the music and the atmosphere anyway! 🙂

  16. says: Helen

    Wow, this is one festival that will surely bring out the child in all of us. I hope that I will be able to experience this myself.

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  18. says: Simon P

    Looks wicked, mate. I’ve done a tomato festival, a water festival and more than one beer and food festival; it seems only right that I should do the mud fest one day!

  19. says: Andrew

    Looks a lot like Tomatina, which was pretty bad. Though I imagine having the beach there to wash off helps and if it is all day atleast the insanity is spread out a bit. Though I do remember the wrapping of camera in plastic. Not the best pictures from it through the plastic, but better than a lost camera.

  20. says: Hogga

    Too dirty for Hogga… but I like to laugh at the muddy suckers, even if they do look like they are having fun. Hmmm… maybe I should change my tune?

  21. Great shots! I had a lot of reservations about going as well, but ended up having a good time. I was too scared to bring my camera anywhere near the mud, though, so I unfortunately only have a few really crappy photos.

  22. I’m curious about the camera as well. I have no idea how you managed to get some of those close ups without going through DSLRs like they were disposables. Or without a tripod in the case of the shots with frozen mud and water droplets. Great pictures.

  23. says: Margyle

    I heard about this from someone but it did not match these pictures! Wow… I did not expect it to be this muddy… I can see why you had reservations about bringing your camera… not sure if I would’ve been that bold! Seriously though, great shots… looks like a lot of fun!

  24. says: Jeremy

    Looked like an epic time! Sometimes events are popular with tourists for good reason, i.e. they’re awesome as it looks like the case with this one.