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: Open now
Here are the nuts and bolts of the Mongol Rally, organised by The Adventurists. How much it costs, how the un-route works and what type of car you can bring. Plus some nuggets of wisdom from a bunch of previous teams. Stick the kettle on, make a nice cup of tea and take your next step towards glorious adventuring chaos.
If you don’t have time for the big one yet we 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.
1. The rules
Rule 1: Small and shit vehicle
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
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
2. The dates
2024 Mongol Rally Dates
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
3. The un-route
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.
4. Rally vehicles
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
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.
5. Entry fee and what you get
Motorbikes: £375 per motorbike
What you get for your wonga
• A massive launch party and mass launch
• A European pit-stop party
• 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
• Vehicle insurance
• Personal travel insurance
• Travel to and from the start and finish line
• Visas and paperwork
• On the road living, fuel, repairs and accommodation costs
• A set route
• Arse wiping and hand holding
6. How much does the rally cost overall?
Your rusty chariot
Getting your vehicle home from the finish line
Refundable Vehicle Deposit
Spares and repairs: fuck knows, hopefully not zero
Gear: £0 - £1000 +
Tipple and Tiffin: £150 to £500+
Visas: £100 - £900+
Accommodation: £50 - £1000+
Travel insurance: £100ish
Getting yourself home from the finish line
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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
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
MOT is valid for 12 months, vehicle tax is valid for 6 months or a year.
8. Need some team mates?
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.
9. Saving the world
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.
How do we raise the cash?
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.
10. The Warning
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.