|Mud might not sound like a major tourism attraction,
but the mud flats of Boryeong City is the scene of one of Korea’s most popular
tourist events - the Boryeong Mud Festival. Blessed with mud so mineral-rich
it’s said to surpass Israel’s legendary Dead Sea Mud in its health and cosmetic
properties, Boryeong becomes the biggest beach party in Korea as thousands
of locals and foreigners descend upon the beaches for a nine-day bacchanal
of mud and fun. With word of the medicinal properties of Boryeong’s mud
stretching far and wide in this ever health-conscious world, festival organizers
are hoping for even bigger things in 2007, the festival’s 10th year.
Mud: It’s Good for You!
is a small town on the beautiful west coast of Korea, about an hour and
half outside of Seoul's bustling capital. It’s primarily known for its long
sandy beaches, particularly the 3.5 km-long Daecheon Beach, one of Korea’s
most popular summer resort areas. Daecheon Beach is renowned for its white
sand, made of shell powder, which has the distinct advantage of not sticking
to you, thus making it much easier to wash off. On any given summer weekend,
Boryeong’s beaches are guaranteed to be full of merrymakers taking advantage
of the sand, surf and the town’s multitude of tourist and entertainment
As lovely as the city’s beaches, mountains and ocean views are, Boryeong
is mainty famous for its mud. Beginning in July of 1996, the city of Boryeong
began extracting superior-quality mud from the pristine tidal mud flats
near Daecheon Beach. Boryeong mud was discovered to be remarkably good for
the human body. The mud produces a large amount of so-called far-infrared
rays (FIR), a form of light - invisible to the naked eye - which ionizes
and activates water molecules in our cells and blood. The effects of FIR
are improved oxygen levels in our bodies, the removal of toxins and fats
from our bloodstream and elimination of waste, and improvement of nervous
functions. The mud contains more germanium, minerals and bentonite than
mud imported from overseas, including the so-called “black mud” of Israel’s
Dead Sea region, also renowned worldwide for its cosmetic effects and used
as an ingredient in skincare produces.
The city of Boryeong produces some 16 cosmetic products using Boryeong mud
including the ever-popular mud packs. The wondrous health and cosmetic effects
of the mud have been proven by studies by the Korean Research Institute
of Standards and Science, Korean Research Institute of Chemical Technology,
Taepyungyang Technology Institution and Wonkwang University. The town’s
mud products, meanwhile, have passed the rigorous standards of international
health agencies such as the United States’ FDA and Japan’s Ministry of Health,
Labor and Welfare. In 2001, it also received ISO 9001 certification.
Fun for Locals and Foreigners
|Foreigners apparently like the mud. The Boryeong
Mud Festival is probably Korea’s most popular regional festival for foreign
tourists. Of the 1.72 million visitors who took part in the festivities
in 2006, some 44,000 were foreigners.
The Boryeong Mud Festival goes out of its way to make the celebrations as
foreigner-friendly as possible. Foreign visitors are provided with complimentary
mud-based cosmetic products and clothing storage for no charge. Participation
in programs is also free. Also, when foreigners participate in programs,
the events are conducted in both Korean and the relevant foreign languages.
A free shuttle bus will also be provided to take foreign tourists to Boryeong’s
major tourist sites. Travel companies that send groups of five or more foreigners
will be able to accommodate them for the low, low price of 5,000 won a person.
highlights of the festival are, of course, the mud and the beach. Among
the more participatory events are the mud bath and mud massages, perfect
for rejuvenating both the body and soul. Boryeong's mud is known for preventing
skin aging and and purifying the skin. While basic do-it-yourself mud massages
are free, those with a bit of money in their pockets can opt for more high-tech
mud massages followed by a sea water bath.
The festival is known for its many fun and unusual events. Participants
can take part in an intensive - and very muddy - Marine Corps-style training
program that will test just how in-shape you are. Mud-wrestling is another
participant favorite, although the more physically fit may wish to try their
hand at the 10 km mud-flat marathon. Fans of winter sports, meanwhile, may
like to test their skills at mud-flat skiing.
Most of the facilities, including mud-slides and mud tubs, are “air-bounce,”
so participants can bounce around to their heart's content without fear
If you'd like to bring some of the mud home with you, there will plenty
of opportunities for you to purchase some of Boryeong's fine mud products
such as soap and cosmetics at reasonable prices. Visitors can even participate
in workshops that will teach you how to make your very own mud soap.
Other highlights of the festival will include a Miss Mud Beauty Content,
the Midsummer Night's Concert, a street parade and musical performances.
Find out more!
Programs and schedules of the 2007 Boryeong Mud Festival
Boryeong Mud Festival in 2007
|The lovely town of Boryeong
is easy to reach for those residing in Seoul. Just take a train from
Seoul or Yeoungdeungpo Station to Boryeong Station, where it’s a short
15-20 minute bus ride to the beach. Buses to the beach depart from
Seoul’s Nambu Bus Terminal nine times a day. For more information,
call 011-438-4865 (English).
|Written by Robert Koehler
Photos Courtesy of Boryeong Mud Festival
The article courtesy of Seoul magazine