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Sign up to the Mongolia Charity Rally 2019

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david treanor

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About david treanor

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    david treanor
  • Birthday 09/14/2008
  1. Ukraine A number of teams will have been have been planning a route which takes them through Ukraine, and will be aware that the situation in the east of the country, near the Russian border, and in parts of the south has become extremely violent. We at Go Help thought it would be useful to pass on the latest advice from the Foreign Office. Things could, of course, change before this year’s rally gets underway, but, as things stand, the Foreign Office advice is to avoid all travel to Crimea, and to the towns of Slovyansk, Kostyantinivka, Krematorsk and Horlivka in the Donetsk region in the east of Ukraine near the border with Russia. The F.O. also advises against all but essential travel to the remaining parts of Donetsk region, the regions of Lugansk, Kharkiv and the city of Odessa. It warns of armed clashes, kidnappings and the ongoing seizure of buildings. This clearly has implications for what have been popular routes for many teams, either taking in Odessa, driving along the edge of the Black Sea and entering Russia near the town of Mariupol, or driving from Kiev and entering Russia at the border crossing near Kharkiv. There are other border crossings from Ukraine to Russia which avoid the troubled east of the country, and, of course, it is perfectly possible to avoid Ukraine altogether. Teams should also be aware that a Foreign Office advice notice can affect personal travel insurance -- always best to check your policy. The Foreign Office will be updating its website as the situation develops. Teams who are concerned can find its advice here...
  2. It's almost impossible for a foreigner to drive their own vehicle in China. There are a couple of specialist tour agencies who claim they can arrange it, but even then it's a long, complicated and expensive process. You need a temporary Chinese driving licence, Chinese plates on your vehicle and your need to pay for an official guide to be with you at all times. There is also a large (refundable) deposit required on the vehicle. If you still plan to have a go, then good luck!
  3. Hi guys, First of all, no need to worry too much. Every year teams get through without paying a penny. Yes, as soon as you leave Western Europe behind you will come up against bent cops and border guards. But they are no real threat. The best rule is not to give them an excuse to demand cash -- so don't speed, buy insurance at the borders, etc. And ignore requests for 'presents'. Remember if you pay a border guard, he will want the same from whoever follows on behind. If you have genuinely been caught speeding it is more tricky. Basically, the equation is time vs money. If you are prepared to sit it out, play dumb, be friendly, they will get bored and leave you alone. If you just want to be on your way, and you have committed an offence, then you have the option of paying up. It's all part of the rally experience! Good luck!
  4. A new option is now available -- Turkish Airlines have started a service from UB to London via Istanbul. For this year they're quoting around £400 which at the moment is the cheapest fare on offer
  5. This site is run by a travel enthusiast and has a wealth of information about Mongolia, both facts 'n' figures and useful travellers' tips:
  6. Great stuff, Tony. I agree with all of that -- I'd add only one thing; the most useful food we took were breakfast bars. Brilliant with a cup of tea when you wake up, great for snacking on anytime. We got through all of ours! Good luck to all the teams.
  7. Hi Tobes, Lonely Planet does sound rather alarming about visiting Altai, but if you're just driving through there's no need to worry about registering and your Russian visa covers you. I think unless you plan to spend about a week in the border area, you can ignore their advice on getting an FSB permit. The road is good and you can easily drive to the border in a day from either Biysk or Barnaul, which are both outside Altai. We were stopped once for a very quick document check with no trouble. Other teams have camped in Altai for a day or two -- it's a beautiful area of rivers and mountains -- and I've never read of anyone having any bother from lack of an FSB permit. If you're staying at hotels in Russia, ask them to register you each time. If they can't do this -- if it's a weekend or you've arrived late and are leaving early -- they should have a pile of official looking documents in a drawer somewhere which they'll fill out with several hearty stamps! If you're rough camping for a day or two there should be no problem provided you've got your initial registration. (if visiting Dorset the main danger comes from pensioners driving Honda Jazzes)
  8. That's a great trip Sophie and I did it myself -- I'd recommend it to anyone, though if cost is an issue it's worth bearing in mind that the flights home from beijing are expensive.
  9. I just had a quick search using Expedia -- and the prices do vary hugely from one day to the next. Just as an example, the cheapest I found was Aeroflot on a Wednesday (August 3rd), connect in Moscow, which was £428. But others might have better tips!
  10. It starts off as a germ of an idea, dismissed at first because it's easy to find good sensible reasons not to do it. But it comes back, takes root, grows until you know you really are going to sign up. You are going to drive half way around the planet to Mongolia. You are going to test yourself, learn about your strengths and weaknesses and have an adventure which will set you apart from the crowd. You will see places which to most people will always be just a dot in an atlas. You will meet people whose way of life is beyond your imagining. And because you are going with Charity Rallies, the vehicle you take will make a difference in a country which doesn't have much. One more quote: 'the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page' - St Augustine.
  11. We didn't use our GPS until we reached Mongolia -- it was useful in pointing us in the right direction (though we still got lost!). I'm sure many people have done it with a map and a compass, you just might get lost more often but that can be half the fun!
  12. For Kazakhstan I'd recommend the Bradt guide -- it's written by Paul Brummell, who's the British ambassador there. He obviously knows the country inside out, and it's packed with useful information -- but he also has an eye for the quirky, and his reviews of some hotels and restaurants etc are very honest and very funny.
  13. For anyone thinking of trains back, this is a really useful website, packed with information
  14. Your visa costs will vary quite a lot depending on which route you choose -- if you go Russia (double entry), Kazakhstan, Mongolia it's much cheaper than taking in, say, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan etc. I'm afraid I can't help with any advice on getting visas during the trip, we got ours before we left. The trans-Siberian is a great trip -- first class (with a shared shower) is expensive, but second or even third class is much cheaper and you can, of course, get trains all the way back to the UK.
  15. I hope our experience -- and it looks like the Unreal Docs as well -- will have served a purpose. If I could offer one tip it would be to get your vehicle documents translated into Russian or, even better, Mongolian. I know this would be quite a lot of bother -- but once we began to make progress with the customs people at the border, one poor chap spent about five hours translating our registration document painfully slowly, word by word.