6 Car Rallies To Catch In Asia In 2019

6 Car Rallies To Catch In Asia In 2019

So you’ve done the Great Ocean Road in a four-wheel drive and seen all of New Zealand’s South Island in a campervan. Still, nothing epitomises the words “road trip” like a car rally.

What is a car rally? The sound of it often scares off novices, and understandably so. After all, few of us fancy ourselves as champions of the road and conquerors of extreme terrain. But you’ll be pleased to know even amateurs can participate in some car rallies, and that it is truly an extraordinary way to see the world—sometimes by literally going off the beaten track.

How do car rallies work?

To clear the air, car rallies are different from races. Touring rallies follow specific routes, and these can be inter-state, cross-country, or even intercontinental. On top of the route, drivers are also given a schedule of checkpoints that they need to reach by a given day and time. In other words, the competitive element in such events lies not so much in speed, but as in endurance and planning.

Most rallies take place in the countryside regions with plenty of space, and organizers would map out the scenic routes months in advance, along with the respective safe speeds drivers should observe on different legs. To keep things challenging, instructions are sometimes kept vague deliberately, and drivers may have to solve clues along the way to decipher their next steps.

Also, because this automobile sport has a long history and rich heritage, many car rallies boast fleets of rare vintage cars. Not only are they a real treat for car nuts, they’re also an extra challenge due to their rarity, as it’s difficult to find spare parts if they break down.

1. Mekong Road Classic 2019 (30 September to 22 October 2019)

Mekong Road Classic 2019
destination-rally.com

Backpacking across Southeast Asia may be a popular way to sightsee, but the Mekong Road Classic 2019 will truly open your eyes to the landscapes of Vietnam, Laos and China, before ending back in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

If you love mountains and beaches, this route will be right up your alley. It kicks off in Da Nang, before proceeding onto Hue and Quang Bin, which is home to the world’s largest cave, Han Son Doong. Along the way, you’ll pass the Mekong River, hot springs and ethnic villages. Upon crossing the Chinese border, you’ll be greeted by magnificent rice terraces and lakes.

The best perk of this itinerary? Waking up in a different type of lodging establishment every morning, from beach resorts to ecolodges and even five-star Banyan Tree hotels.

Find out more here.

2. Asia Cross Country Rally (10 to 16 August 2019)

Asia Cross Country Rally
Asia Cross Country Rally

The Asia Cross Country Rally has been an annual affair since 1996 to promote tourism, sport and networking in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. It usually begins in Pattaya, Thailand, and this year it will finish in Naypidaw, Myanmar, covering 2,400 kilometres in six days.

There are two main challenges for drivers on this route—terrain and climate. Because the route is littered with forests, jungles and beaches, drivers have to brace themselves for surfaces ranging from gravel dirt to swamps and river crossings. It’s as much a driving test as a navigational one!

Find out more here.

3. La Festa Primavera 2019 (19 to 22 April 2019)

La Festa Primavera 2019
La Festa Primavera

La Festa Primavera starts in Nagoya and ends in Kyoto, covering five prefectures over a distance of 1,100 kilometres. Vintage cars are a major part of the rally’s appeal to crowds. In 2017, for example, the rally included three 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spiders, a 1927 Bugatti T38, and the ever-iconic 1962 Jaguar E-Type Roadster.

If you’re not planning to join as a driver, you can join other automobile fans in awe and camp for photographs at the start point, Atsuta Jingu Shrine. Otherwise, you can catch a glimpse at Shima, Minabe, Osaka City, or the finishing point at Okazaki Park, Kyoto.

Find out more here.

4. Royal Rajasthan 2019 (4 to 25 November 2019)

Royal Rajasthan 2019
Fmsci India

The Indian state of Rajasthan is the famous city of Jaipur, made popular by the well-loved filter on Instagram and Wes Anderson-style aesthetics. What better way to soak up the state’s palettes and architecture than this 22-day bespoke rally?

There’s plenty to see for Royal Rajasthan viewers. Curated by locals, the route will take drivers through a camel fair with over 30,000 camels, the Mehrangarh Fort, and even a leopard safari complete with dinner under the stars.

The cherry on top is an Indian train journey to Agra and the iconic Taj Mahal. They didn’t name this ‘royal’ for nothing.

Find out more here.

5. Mongol Rally (21 July to 16 September 2019)

Mongol Rally
Mongol Rally

Arguably one of the most extreme (and hilarious) car rallies around, the Mongol Rally calls itself “the greatest motoring adventure on the planet”, for its philosophy of adventure is borderline insane. In fact, its real tagline is “motoring stupidity on a global scale”. Here’s why this expedition from Russia to Europe is basically one part Amazing Race and one part Survivor.

You have to join the Mongol Rally in teams, and car engines should not exceed 1 litre or 1000cc, rendering the vehicle almost unqualified for the task. There’s no set route either—you’ll have to come up with your own way through mountains and deserts. In fact, past participants even had to camp in farmers’ fields and survive robberies and sustained injuries.

Bring an open mind, strong heart, big laugh and steely determination. You’ve been warned.

Find out more here.

anet. The Mongol Rally is the original and for many, there and there is nothing else like

6. Peking to Paris 2019 (2 June to 7 July 2019)

Peking to Paris 2019
P2P 240Z – Peking to Paris Rally Build

If you’d like to experience a shorter (and saner) version of the Mongol Rally, the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge comes close. The endurance rally starts in Beijing and passes through Mongolia, Russia, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany before reaching France.

Along the way, you can expect to cross terrain like asphalt roads, gravel and sand in the Gobi Desert, an iconic leg that’s stuck around since its 1907 rendition. This trip truly gives the Trans-Siberian railway adventure a run for its money, spanning all of 36 days and covering 8,500 miles in total.

Find out more here.

Get protected on the road

The assortment of car rallies around the world is incredible. While you have events with itineraries that sound more like a boutique honeymoon experience, you also have the downright dangerous.
Whether you’re joining a car rally or simply taking a leisurely road trip to catch sight of the vintage cars, driving overseas always has its risk. Don’t let anxiety get in the way of adventure. Your engines may be raring to go, but make sure you get travel insurance before you start up!

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