The Mongol Rally

The Details: Mongol Rally

A third of the way around the planet in a vehicle you swapped for a bag of crisps… Welcome to the World’s Greatest Road Trip.

2024: FULL
2025: OPEN NOW

You can’t sign up for 2024 but fear not, the Poles of Inconvenience: Europe Edition is running in July this year. This is a glorious new flavour of overland stupidity in tiny vehicles. Un-navigate the carefully crafted network of chaos from Scandinavia, to Eastern Europe and all the way down to Northern Africa.

Everything you need to know can be transmitted direct to your peepers right here in this 90 second in depth guide.

We also run a bunch of other adventures on two and three wheels. Check out the Monkey Run for one week of stupidity on 50cc monkey bikes. Rather be in the same vehicle as your mates? Stuff them in a 145cc tuk tuk and drive it across India, Sri Lanka or into the Himalayan Mountains on a Rickshaw Run.

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CONTENTS

 

1. The rules

We quake at the thought of clipboards and officious, stern faced arse-hats telling us how things must be done. So on one level just the word makes us a bit uneasy, but these are not normal rules. They're not designed to keep you safe or stop the chaos. Quite the opposite. Read on and kneel at the altar of chaos.

Rule 1: Small and shit vehicle

You can only take a farcically small vehicle of 1 litre or less (we will allow up to a 1.2 litre - 1,200 cc - if you’re a bit weak)

For motorcycles it must be 125cc or less. And shit. Preferably a scooter. Even better a monkey bike.

You need to drive a small, shit car to make the rally tougher. It's no fun if it's too easy. If you want easy go for a spa weekend. The ultimate rally vehicle is a tiny 50cc motorbike with no room for luggage.

And make sure it's a rolling turd. You're more likely to break down if it's a shit-box. So you're more likely to interact with the locals, more likely to get stuck and more likely to have an adventure. The worse the car the greater the adventure. In fact if you find your car is doing better than expected you are probably wise to pour sugar in the petrol tank.

Rule 2: You’re completely on your own

We could tell you everything you need to know about all the countries, roads and borders between the start and finish line to ensure you have a safe, uncomplicated journey. But if it's not dangerous and you aren't lost, you're not on an adventure.

That means no backup or support.

If you get stuck, you need to get yourself un-stuck. Any ‘Help! We’re broken down in Tajikistan,’ type phone calls to rally HQ will be met with a snort of derision and a click of the receiver.

Rule 3: Raise £500 for the official charity Cool Earth

It only seems fair that if you’re having the mother of all adventures you should give a little back. So we ask teams on the rally to raise a minimum of £500 for the official rally charity Cool Earth. If you'd prefer to raise money for other registered charities that's all good. Anything over the £500 minimum for Cool Earth can be donated to your own causes.

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2. The dates

2024 Mongol Rally Dates

13th July: Launch Party
14th July: Launch Day
10th August: First Finish Line Party
17th August: Another Finish Line Party
24th August: Third & Final Finish Line Party & Closing Ceremony

2025 Mongol Rally Dates

12th July: Launch Party
13th July: Launch Day
16th August: First Finish Line Party
23rd August: Finish Line Party & Closing Ceremony

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3. The un-route

We believe the world is far too safe and organised, that we’ve come to live in ever decreasing circles of freedom. Fear of litigation, greed and a spineless refusal to take responsibility for ourselves have robbed us of one of the most interesting things in life: the unexpected.

The un-route rails against this. It forces you to be lost, to not know what’s around the next corner, to embrace the unknown.

It’s brilliantly simple. We give you a start point and a finish point but where you go or what you do in between is entirely your steaming bag of adventuring magic. We recommend that you don’t spend too long planning your route or poring over useful maps or guidebooks. Find out what’s there when you arrive. Unleash the unexpected.

In the past teams have travelled as far south as Iran and Pakistan. Others have ventured into the Arctic Circle. Why not break the mould and go via the Congo or the North Pole?

The start line is just outside Prague. In normal times the finish line is in Ulan Ude, positioned just outside Mongolia to the north of the capital Ulaanbaatar. So all teams still drive across the vast and most awesome steppes of Mongolia.

The finish line for the 2024 rally is under review. We'll post updates as soon as it's clear what's possible.

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4. Rally vehicles

Any old dullard can purchase a 4x4 that could easily make it across the surface of the moon and drive a quarter of the world’s circumference, and that, is exactly what the Mongol Rally is not about.

It’s about small. It’s about stupid. It’s about unsuitability. It’s about humour.

We have purposely set the bar for engine size to a mere 1 Litre - or 1000cc. We shall allow up to a 1.2 for those of you who can’t handle a whole litre of courage, but anything over this and you’ll have to contact us directly and pitch your ideas to us very carefully. We shall allow larger engines if we think it’s unsuitable and ridiculous enough.

Some countries in Europe have annoying criteria on non-residents ability to buy and register a car to their name. The UK at least is a little easier in that regard as once you have brought a car all you need for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is an address for them to send the appropriate paperwork to. This does not have to be your address. So if you have a relative or friend in the UK ask them if they don’t mind, or make a friend with another Rallier on one of the Facebook pages and ask if they can help in return for a few beers at the launch party.

Want to prove your nuts are akin to a palm tree? Then maybe you want to consider tackling the rally on a motorbike. Ideally, this should be under 125cc. For anything over this please check with us first. We’re slightly more lenient with bikes, because driving 10,000 miles on a bike is badass enough, but you’re not going to be looked upon kindly by your fellow Ralliers if you turn up on a massive, utterly suitable touring bike.

Take your crap home with you

You definitely, 100% really cannot leave your car in Russia or Mongolia. You can't give it away. You can't scrap it. To leave a car in almost ever country in Central Asia you have to pay hefty customs and import fees. And fill out all the paperwork properly. If you don't you risk being stopped at the airport for, well, tax avoidance and possibly fraud. For Mongolia and Russia, the import fees are often on the wrong side of $6000 and involve a shitload of paperwork. And yes, you even have to pay import fees to scrap the car. And yes, those fees have to be paid before you can sell it. Nor can you give it to anyone. Unless you pay all the import fees.

When you enter the country in a car you get a little stamp in your passport, if you leave with the stamp, but no car, you'll have to pay the tax.

All vehicles must be driven or shipped back to whence they came. In previous years we've run a Mongol Rally shipping service from Ulan Ude back to Eastern Europe. Doing it as a big group makes it cheaper for teams. For 2024 we'll be researching all the options and plan to run a similar service. We'll update teams as soon as we know what's possible.

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5. Entry fee and what you get

Entry fees

Cars: £895 per vehicle (max 4 people in each team)

Motorbikes: £425 per motorbike

What you get for your wonga

• Entry to the greatest rally on earth.
• A massive launch party and mass launch
• An awesome finish line to mark your glorious arrival
• A stonking great big finish party
• The official Mongol Rally team t-shirt
• Official Mongol Rally patch to attach to your tweed blazer
• A heap of expert knowledge and organisation in the months leading up to the launch
• Membership to the community of fellow fools on the rally
• Stories so fucking excellent your friends will be in awe of you for decades to come

Not included in the entry fee

• Your vehicle
• Vehicle insurance
• Personal travel insurance
• Travel to and from the start and finish line
• Visas and paperwork
• Immunisations
• On the road living, fuel, repairs and accommodation costs
• A set route
• Arse wiping and hand holding

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6. How much does the rally cost overall?

A reasonable question. Though the answer depends a lot on how much luxury you choose to reward yourself with.

Your rusty chariot

Need we say it again - the shitter the better. If you’re spending more than a few hundred quid on your car then something’s wrong.

Getting your vehicle home from the finish line

No rally cars can be left or scrapped at the finish - you must either drive your car home, or we can join the bulk shipping we co-ordinate for it to be put on a train back to Eastern Europe. Once there you can choose whether to scrap it or collect it and take it home. Costs for this will vary slightly from year to year but we're hoping to get it down to around £1000. Bear in mind if shipping, you’ll need a couple of working days at the finish line for freight procedures, so don’t book flights home straight after.

Refundable Vehicle Deposit

We would prefer not take this but every now and again some naughty Rallier dumps their vehicle in a sewage drain or at a random border post and we have to smooth things over. If you’re not one of these troublesome folks, and drive your vehicle back home, then you’ll get all your dosh back after the rally. The deposit amount is the same as the shipping cost, so should you decide to use the shipping service, we will use your deposit to pay for this.

Fuel: £500+

Naturally this will be more expensive if you take a longer route or you are morbidly obese. Fuel in Kazakhstan is super cheapski. Fuel in Turkey is multo ripoffski. If you’re riding a scooter it likely won't cost very much at all.

Spares and repairs: fuck knows, hopefully not zero

The joy of crap old cars is that they are generally cheap and easy to fix. However, if you blow a piston in the Turkmen desert it might be a little more pricey.

Gear: £0 - £1000 +

If you’re one of those people who starts salivating at the thought of multi-tools, GoPros and thorium sump guards then the rally could prove expensive. But there’s really no need for all this extra jiggery pokery and it’s more than possible to do it with a tent you found in a skip and a few spanners. In our view, less is most definitely more.

Tipple and Tiffin: £150 to £500+

Again, this is entirely down to your tastes, and whether you like side orders of botulism with your plov.

Visas: £100 - £900+

The more adventurous you are, the more visas you’ll need. Some countries are quite pricey, like Iran. Some nationalities may not even need a visa for others.

Accommodation: £50 - £1000+

This entirely depends on whether you love the feeling of waking up sweating in a nylon nightmare each morning, or are more accustomed to butlers and silver trays.

Travel insurance: £100ish

It’s worth not trying to save too much money here – you will feel like a massive bell-end if the shit hits the fan and the only response you can get from your insurance provider is some stifled laughter before they hang up on you

Immunisations: £100ish

You’ll need to get jabbed up before doing the rally. Have a look online or ask a professional what you need - we don't want to start telling you what, or what not, to let a doctor to stick inside you.

Getting yourself home from the finish line

Whist the finish line for 2024 hasn't been confirmed, we are basing this on the 2019 rally where we finished in Ulan Ude.

If you book in advance you can get a flight from Ulan Ude to London for a very reasonable price. The Trans-Siberian will be about the same price as a flight, but take rather longer. Or you can drive home. It’s possible to drive home in a week for around £250 per person, including food, fuel and accommodation.

Options and costs depends on what happens with the war and where the finish line is.

Minus whatever you can blag from sponsors

If you’re cunning, persuasive and equipped with the determination of a charging gaur, then the Mongol Rally could cost you nothing, nada, nil, not a sausage. Yes, you read right: it is possible to get the whole fandango paid for through sponsorship. It is hard work though.

Most sponsors will offer you stuff, not cash. That can still reduce your costs massively. If you can pick some pockets and get cold hard sheckles, you're onto a winner.

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7. Paperwork

The somewhat dull but relatively vital bit… The pieces of paper that grease the wheels of bureaucracy. And borders. And not being arrested for breaking the law.

So you like your liberty, and giving yourself a reasonable chance of making it to the finish line, this stuff needs some quality eye-ball time.

Here’s a brief summary of what you need to consider.

Travel Visas

Despite a shit load of people getting stoned for world peace in the sixties you still need a specially stamped piece of paper to get into most of the countries along the rally route.

Some visas require things like letters of invitation or hotel bookings as well as an application form. You can expect the simplest visas to take about a week to process and the more complicated ones much longer. As the Consulates need your passport for this time you obviously can’t get visas concurrently and if you are getting 9 or 10 visas the whole process can take up to four months. If you are using a visa agency you should expect to be without your passport for this time.

We're updating our partners at the moment and expect to announce a list of recommended agencies at the end of October. We'll also be publishing information to help you apply for the visas yourself if you don't want to use an agency.

You can't start applying for any of the visas until at least March 2024 so there's plenty of time to work out your route and costs before the actual doing of paperwork can begin.

Travel Insurance

It is absolutely essential to both get good cover, and to get it early. Sadly many standard policies won't be worth the cleverly disguised loo roll they are printed on and can leave your family frantically trying to raise half a million quid to make sure you don’t get put back together by the village carpenter. Believe us when we say this has happened before.

It is a good idea to get travel insurance in advance of the rally in case you find yourself unable to participate in the rally after the refund period has expired.

Carnet de Passage en Douane

This is a bit like a visa for your car. Fortunately you only need it if you are travelling through Iran or Pakistan, unfortunately, these tend to be quite expensive. These days most Carnets are organised by agents on or near the Iranian border. We can give details of people past teams have used and a heads up on their experiences.

Vehicle Insurance

You need to get motor insurance in advance for the whole of Europe. You should find that any policy purchased in Europe will cover you for Europe anyway. Some insurance companies might have a problem with you being on the rally so it will help to reiterate that the rally is not a race.

Beyond the boundaries of Europe you purchase insurance at the border of each country you are about to enter. Insurance is bought for the car rather than the driver, you should expect to pay $20 -$50 per country for this.

International Driving Permit (IDP)

The IDP is a small booklet which explains in multiple languages that someone somewhere deemed you capable of driving on public roads. It costs next to nothing and is a doddle to get. They're not a substitute for your original licence, they're literally just a translation of what you've already got.

It's not a bad idea to get a couple so you can give them over to crooked cops looking for bribes without fear of being held ransom.

Vehicle Registration Document

It sounds blindingly obvious but you need a registration document in your name to drive to a foreign country. It proves the car is yours. A 'new keepers supplement' won’t do. A photocopy of the registration document won’t do. A registration document in your mum's name won’t cut the mustard either.

If you've given your car a fancy new paint-job you should make sure the colour on your registration document matches the colour of your trusty steed.

In the UK a registration document (V5) takes at least 3 weeks to process. When there are delays it can be more like 6 weeks.

MOT & Vehicle Tax

These need to be valid until the point you leave Europe. They're issued in the country you buy your car and get your vehicle registration. If you're driving home they also need to be valid for your home leg too. If you're buying your car in the UK the remainder of the MOT can be passed over to the new owner, the vehicle tax needs to be bought afresh.

MOT is valid for 12 months, vehicle tax is valid for 6 months or a year.

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8. Need some team mates?

There are a couple of options if you don't have any teammates...

The first is jumping into the Adventurists Find a Team Mate and Official Mongol Rally Group groups on Facebook and seeing who else is in the same boat. There are always a few others looking to corral some like minded fools into an adventure.

The next is to just rock up on your own - the Mongol Rally is a fluid beast and you'll find people make friends at the launch and then convoy all the way through the adventure, often people will chop and change between cars as well - obviously it's not guaranteed but the additional unknown factor of not knowing who will be on the road with you can make for a more exciting adventure.

Finally you could go by motorcycle, It's harder, comes with more kudos and will definitely result in more stories at the end of it - it can also work out much cheaper as fuel costs, entry fee and on the road repairs all work out cheaper.

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9. Saving the world

Not only is the Mongol Rally an industrial dose of adventure, it’s also about saving the world. We ask every team to make their best efforts to raise a minimum of £500 for the official charity Cool Earth.

Anything above this can be raised for any other registered charity of your choice.

Cool Earth works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction. All their partnerships are community-owned and led. Local people stand to lose the most from deforestation but the most to gain from its protection, that’s why they are the forest’s best possible custodians.

Why?

We need to save every rainforest in the world so future generations have somewhere to get stuck. Not because we’re tree hugging sandal weavers, but because the world would be shit without them. It’s not about the carbon off twatting, the point is rainforests are indescribably excellent.

How do we raise the cash?

The best way to raise these funds is through your friends and families, people you work with or anyone who's got a dirty little secret only you know about. We've found that the best way to collect these funds is to set up a fundraising page on the Cool Earth website. Your donors can chuck cash their way via your page and it saves on fees. You can also use other fundraising platforms such as Justgiving.

You've got until 2 weeks after the end of your adventure to raise the minimum amount of £500. Teams often raise the most cash while they're on the road and just after they get back, but it's wise to start your campaign early.

If you don't raise £500 by the deadline, unfortunately you will go to hell. Together with Cool Earth we give you tips and resources to help you fundraise. Then 2 weeks after the finish line party we will pester you for your final total. But don't panic, we won’t set any dogs on you, or force you to sell your children. We will be very, very disappointed though and do a sad face at you.

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10. The Warning

These are genuinely dangerous things to do. The website is written in a light-hearted fashion but you cannot overestimate the risks involved in taking part in this adventure.

Your chances of being seriously injured or dying as a result of taking part are high. Individuals who have taken part in past Adventurists' adventures have been permanently disfigured, seriously disabled and even lost their life.

This is not a glorified holiday, it's an unsupported adventure and so by its very nature extremely risky. You really are on your own and you really are putting both your health and life at risk. This is what makes them adventures.

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11. I'm ready - sign me up

Registration is open now. Press the button of adventuring destiny and set forth into the unknown in a comically unsuitable rolling turd.

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12. Subscribe and follow

Mongol Rally Newsletter

Follow the Mongol Rally

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13. Contact us

THE ADVENTURISTS UK OFFICE:
+44(0)117 422 3400

EMAIL:
[email protected]

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