(my travel story continued from K-Travel: Jeonju (전주))
Once we arrived at the Jeonju bus terminal we were able to find the time-table schedule of Boryeong/Daecheon Beach bound buses. Purchasing tickets for a noon bus me and Kevin sat down to wait until boarding time. Within twenty minutes we left to stand in line for our bus. Waiting in line already were not only a lot of Korean passengers, but also many foreigners traveling from Jeonju to the Boryeong Mud Festival(보령머드축제).
During the bus ride me and Kevin chatted about our journeys and I learned that Kevin was planning to return to Seoul later on that evening to fly out to Bangkok with a friend. Having had just visited Bangkok a few months prior I was happy to talk about my backpacking adventures in Thailand. We spent a lot of time talking about traveling and within an hour we arrived at the beach front of Daecheon. Looking out the window we could see the area was extremely crowded with people, vendors, and parked cars. Upon departing from the bus at one of the designated event parking lots we walked along the outer event barrier to check out what events, shows, and mud activity rides were open.
I remember seeing a mud pit activity with participants spinning, falling into muddy puddles, and re-surfacing completely covered from head to toe. Excited about getting muddy I asked Kevin if he wanted to try any of the activities. Kevin didn’t really have an opinion, but said he would try anything since it’d be a fun experience as we headed over to the ticketing line. While in line we both we were curious where we would be able to drop off of our bags. Since both of us were backpackers we carrying large bags. But, after receiving our admission tickets an event attendant ushered us to proceed into the event area and head towards the white tents for luggage storage and changing rooms. At the tents we were able change into our swimsuits and safely store away our bags into plastic sealed coverings. Holding onto some essential items (i.e. flip flops, a t-shirt, and phone) I stored away my bag and received a retrieval number to hold onto. With our phones in hand we decided to check out the on-going mud activities.
Fortunately, the weather was great off the coast that day. Even though it was cloudy in Daecheon there were no rain showers and with the coastal breeze little to no humidity present. Walking along the boardwalk our first mud stop was at a minute timed-mud fountain that sprayed mud up into the air like an umbrella. Following along with other event-goers we ran under the fountain and splashed in the mud puddles. When the time ended and the mud from the fountain receded everyone was covered head to toe. I remember hearing people laughing, crying, and screaming with excitement at being covered in fresh mud. Similar to a mud bath the Boryeong Mud Festival(보령머드축제) offers more than just getting muddy. Along with Boryeong geared mud events the festival also hosts a number of vendors and concert performances. Some of the festivals guest vendors range from beauty cosmetic companies, travel & tourism companies, mud art exhibits, and Korean artist performances. Having heard about the Boryeong Mud Festival prior to moving to Korea I had always been interested in experiencing it.
Walking around after our mud bath it nice to see so many foreigners and Koreans attending the same event. The atmosphere was very nice. Me and Kevin briefly talked about the diverseness of people while walking toward the shore. At the shore I took some beach photos of the event area and placed my phone in the water-proof case I purchased(*that you can swim with). Deciding to go for a swim and wash off we raced into the water and swam a few feet off the shore. The water was chilly, but refreshing.
After taking some more pictures we walked back toward the mud events to get in line for a few. By this time it was nearly 2pm. Choosing to try a duo mud game activity we stood in line with other people waiting and watched the participants. However, while in line for twenty-something minutes an official announcement came up on the event audio boxes. Due to limited mud available a number of mud activity events would be closing early. Realizing the activity we were waiting in line for was one of the closing events we left the line and decided to have lunch at one of the food cart vendors by the event entrance.
Talking some more about our lives I learned that Kevin had visited Korea a number of times, and each and every time he would visit a new city or area. Like me he wanted to visit cities in the southern regions and took a bus from Seoul to Jeonju the same time as me. Asking me about my next destination I told Kevin how I planned to go to Gyeongju in the Gyeongsangbuk-do province. Having studied a lot of Korean history in a graduate class at Korea University I had always wanted to see the ancient Silla dynasty capital city. Promising to let him know how I liked the city we exchanged contact info to stay in touch. Once finished with lunch we headed back to the beach boardwalk area and decided to get ourselves professionally mud-painted by some Korean ajummas(*respectful term for older Korean women).
It was a cool experience getting our bodies mud-painted. The mud felt like paint, but was not sticky. After getting painted from head to torso we took some photos again and then chose to attend some evening concerts taking place on the beach. After the concerts ended we discussed if we should stay for the fireworks show. But, due to us both planning on heading in different directions we decided to leave. We were not alone. Around 7pm there were lots of people heading out for the day. Once we collected our bags and cleaned up in the restroom we headed to the event parking bus ticket booth. At the booth Kevin purchased an evening bus ticket back to Seoul. As for me I asked for a ticket to Gyeongju, but due to the time of day I had to purchase a ticket to Daejeon and continue my journey from there to Gyeongju.
Resting at a hillside pavilion while waiting for our bus departure times I thanked Kevin for the company. It was nice to have a traveling companion and make a new friend. Unfortunately, like my new friend Youn Hee(*whom I met in Jeonju) we too would have to say goodbye. After some time resting we both headed back to the parking lot to board our buses. I wished Kevin a safe journey back to Seoul and a safe flight to Bangkok. He wished me the same as I boarded my bus first for Daejeon continuing my solo backpacking trip for Gyeongju.
(to be continued in a future post called Favorite Historic Silla Capital – Gyeongju (경주 ))
*Note: All pictures posted are owned by the Yeppunshikan author, usage of these pictures without the owners consent is strictly prohibited.