Mud madness: Getting dirty in South Korea

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Every year, the little town of Boryeong, some 200 kilometers  southwest of Seoul, South Korea, becomes a tourist hot spot.

Attracting about 2 to 3 million domestic and international visitors, the Boryeon Mud Festival at Daecheon beach is an annual event that aims to encourage the use of mud for cosmetic skincare and promote tourism in the region.

The festival runs from July 19 to 28 and it is most famous for its final weekend when almost everyone gets dirty.

During the festival, huge attractions are erected at the event venue including a mud pool, mud slides and a mud prison. Visitors can also engage in mud wrestling and mud marathons.

But it is not just about getting dirty. Certain restaurants in the vicinity are being converted into fast food joints, dishing out pizza and hamburgers during the course of the festival. They are hoping to cater to the foreign palates by offering more options apart from the traditional Korean delights.

Thanks to its unique theme and energy-charged atmosphere, the festival is one of the most popular Korean festivals among international visitors. It has been held every year since 1999, and is a perfect excuse to go wild. Nowhere else in the country one can throw on a swimsuit, down three bottles of soju, cover in five different shades of mud and parade the streets, observers say.

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Arno Maierbrugger

Business journalist

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