Video: Drive Across Mongolia in 4 Minutes

[Video Link] Jeff Diehl made a great video of a his drive across the barren landscape of Mongolia, condensed to four minutes. It's a time-lapse with occasional real-time breaks and his comments. This is a nice way to present a travel video.

Experience the roadlessness, the bandits, the breakdowns, the yaks, and the camels, without ever having to figure out how to steer and shift a right-driving mini-car through some of the remotest land on the planet. And see it out the windshield just like we did.
Drive Across Mongolia in 4 Minutes (video)


  1. Awesome video.  I’m doing the same rally in July and alternating between really looking forward to it and bricking it.

      1. I figured as much.  What route did you take?  I’m thinking Ukraine >> Russia >> Kazakhstan>> Russia>> Mongolia.  We’re a little pushed for time as I can’t get more than 4 weeks off work.  Also while I’m picking brains did you go upgrade your suspension and fit a bash plate (and/or regret not doing either?)

        1. we went Turkey – Georgia – Azerbaijan – Caspian Sea ferry – Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan – Kyrgyzstan – Kazakhstan – Russia – Mongolia.

          but there were lots of folks who took the northern route thru Russia for time reasons. we weren’t worried about time, so wanted to take the most challenging/interesting route that didn’t require Iran (tho we’d consider doing Iran if given another chance).

          1. A buddy and I had the whole mongol rally planned right down to sponsorship and the final route we were going to take (minus about two days through Mongolia where we honestly couldn’t see any roads whatsoever) but had to ditch it because of jobs / schools / internships. Still have the planning package, and yeah, we avoided Iran as well.

  2. Nicely done! Does make me wanna go there. 

    But, as I was watching, I wanted to linger more in various moments. Must everything now be condensed to four minutes or less before we’ll consider spending time with it?

    1. alas, most web viewers aren’t as dedicated as you, Millie. but i am making another video of the distance from London where we started, to the Mongolian border.

      1. Cool, hope it’s a longer video! And that you can find the time to make a longer version of this one too.

  3. I travel to Mongolia every year, six trips so far. Really fun video from someone who was just passing through, but does have some factual inaccuracies. I spend most of my time there in the countryside, personally love the earth roads and get depressed when traveling on tarmac for too long. I don’t find the land barren at all nor do I think that Mongolia is particularly remote since it’s an easy hop from the West Coast of the USA. San Francisco to Seoul (11+ hours), then to Ulaanbaatar 3 hours).

    Mining is happening, but it is hardly wrecking the entire interior of the country, although I have seen damaged areas in the mountains.

    The repair sequence was spot on. Mongols are the greatest, most practical fixers of things in the world.

    To answer ET’s question: The people are out there. The population density is very low, but the herders are spread out throughout the countryside. They all have binoculars or monoculars (probably Russian-made) and are keeping an eye on their animals, usually from an elevated spot. They probably won’t be visible unless you have a breakdown, in which case they can almost magically appear. See “Long Way Round”.

    I would encourage people to visit Mongolia. It’s an amazing place where 1000 years of history exist alongside of a 21st century parliamentary democracy and rapid economic growth.  You can spend the day watching wild horses (Przewalski’s horse) at Hustai National Park or visiting a herder family in their ger and be back in Ulaanbaatar in time to hit the nightclub hip-hop scene.

    1. the welding in the video was a result of striking a rock in a very remote part of the country, which is what i’m referring to – we drove for entire days without seeing any signs of humanity, and that was not the case with all the other Central Asian countries we passed through.

      but when we broke down, locals did appear almost magically out of thin air with just right kind of cement we needed to plug the hole in our transmission and get us to the next town. they are extremely giving and industrious people.

      as for the mining, that story is yet to be told. you have a better sense of it than i do i’m sure, and i hope you’re right – the gov’t does seem to be willing to resist the salivating wolves who want their resources. but it is a true democracy and if it slid rightward a little bit, who knows what happens. developing countries don’t have a great record vs. multinationals.

      i want to visit Mongolia again, rent a real 4×4 and go into the north. Susan, what do you do there?

  4. RALPH
    Just have to relax, that’s all. (picks up paper and starts reading) Right. Here’s an item. Says that they’re building a new highway in Tibet.

    Oh, really?

    It’s going all the way from Tibet to Mongolia. Says it’ll cut five hours out of the trip for everybody that’s going there.

  5. Mongolia being a left-hand-drive country, why the right-hand-drive automobile?

    And, “Mining is getting ready to destroy the interior of the country.”  Seriously?  One wonders where the iron and aluminum and oil (and oil products like plastic) came from that went into manufacturing the automobile Jeff and his partner were using…  maybe the Iron Fairy?

  6. I’m not going to manage it this year, but maybe next year I too can buy a massively cheap and inappropriate vehicle and drive to Mongolia.

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