Mongol Rally – Very Early Planning

by Mike on August 22, 2013

Registration opened for the Mongol Rally a few weeks ago. For the uninitiated, the Mongol Rally is an epic car trip starting from the U.K. ending in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.  The journey involves nearly 10,000 miles of driving, crossing about 10+ countries depending on the route you take.

The organizers of the Mongol Rally, The adventurists have been hosting it since 2004 where it originally started with a handful of cars eventually growing to 200+ plus registered cars last year.  The car rally is for charity where each team is required to raise 1,000 GBP for charity.  In addition, the car you drive to Mongolia is auctioned off raising even more money for charity.


As in life, the only thing guaranteed is changed and the cars are no longer being auctioned off (assuming your car makes it to Mongolia).  So that means in 2014, teams will either have to ship the car back or drive it back to the EU.  This adds an element of annoyance because after driving 10,000 miles on barely paved roads, one simply does not want to repeat the drive back.

I for one, have a strong preference in either flying back through Beijing or taking a combination of the Trans-Mongolian Railway and Trans-Siberian railway back to Moscow where I would fly back from there.  Simply put it, I want to explore by taking an alternate route back to Europe.


Apparently from what I’ve read from the forums, when you cross overland into a country, border agents track your stamp your passport that you’ve entered via vehicle along with the registration details and attempting to ditch a car will result in severe penalties.

There are exceptions when the car is considered irreparable and can be written off as a total loss where then you’re free to exit the country by any means.

So one simply cannot point the car towards a lake, place a brick on the accelerator in an attempt to ditch a car.  I’m sure some teams may ignore the rule and ditch their cars, in which case, will ruin the Mongol Rally for subsequent years.


I’m looking for a way to donate or sell the car in Mongolia.  Apparently to sell it, I need to pay the import taxes.  Donating the car would require the car to be of a certain age and buying a newer car just to give away costs a substantial amount of paying the import taxes.

The import tax depends n how old the car is.  I’ve heard that a 10 year old car can be taxed up to 3,000 GBP(I have not verified this).

I’ve looked into selling the car and donating the car in other countries and that’s a problem in itself because:

China requires a Chinese issued driver license and since China engulfs Mongolia on it’s borders, so I can’t drive through China.

Driving around China through the West requires driving through Afghanistan, which is a definite no go, until the country plays nice with the rest of the world.

I could take a scooter 10,000 miles and leave that in Mongolia since that’s allowable by the rules.  But that’s 10,000 miles on a scooter!

Updates to come.

Photo Credit:  JULIAN MASON

Related posts:

Our Mongol Rally Car and How I Bought it
Frequently Asked Questions about My Mongol Rally Trip
Mongol Rally Videos and Trip Planning

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