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Mongol Rally

*Prices and visa requirements can change at anytime, and rules can differ depending on your Nationality. Most visa services will have up-to-date information, as will embassy/consulate websites for the countries you're visiting. 

It is impossible to do the Mongol Rally without tourist or transit visas (Now if you want to spend hours and hours searching Google to try and prove me wrong, be my guest! If I am wrong, then email me at.... Wait. I’m not wrong. I’m not giving you my email address!). Everyone will need to apply for tourist and/or transit visas for the Mongol Rally, and once you have chosen your route, you really should plan out your visa timeline. I know, it sounds way too practical and you’re a spontaneous person. Blah, blah, blah.

Navigating in Central Asia is a challenge. As soon as we drove across the border into Georgia (from Turkey), the road rules seemed to change. In fact, the road rules seem to fly completely out the window. Hello Mongol Rally, is this what we have to look forward to?

Turkey, in comparison with Georgia, was orderly. The cars drove the same way we do in North America. There are lanes on the road for traffic, and the cars stay in their own lane. I know, you're thinking 'Why is she even talking about this stuff?'. I'll tell you why!

What is your favourite travel souvenir? Is there a great story attached to it, or is it something that caught your eye while you were out exploring?

I don’t buy a lot of souvenirs when I travel. Part of it it due to space, and part is due to money; and my desire to travel ‘on the cheap’. That doesn’t mean I never buy souvenirs, it just means I am extremely picky!

I may not have made it to Mongolia, but I did make it to Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan! Writing about not finishing the Mongol Rally was difficult, I think because I was admitting (more to myself, than others) failure. Okay, perhaps failure is a rather strong word. And perhaps I am harder on myself than I need to be. I do take pride in what I do, and when I don't accomplish something I set out to do, it bothers me. But, did I actually fail? Maybe not...

Today is one of those “OMG, this is what the Mongol Rally is all about” days.

This morning Charlie and I left the apartment we’ve been staying in here in Baku, Azerbaijan (thanks DJ & Maggie!), and made our way to the Turkmenistan Embassy to pick-up my transit visa. It seemed like a simple process. The Turkmenistan Consulate in Istanbul said my visa would be ready for pick-up in Baku, so I didn’t foresee any problems.

The roads in Azerbaijan are surprisingly good, and as we made our way to Baku Charlie suggested a detour north, into the mountains. The towns north of the city sounded lovely, and we were making pretty good time, so we went for it. Although the roads were good, the road signage was not, and there were a couple times when we would find ourselves driving into a city, and having no clue where we needed to go. So, instead of driving around and getting more lost, we would pull over and ask a local man for directions.