In Love With A Russian Van

I’ll admit it. I’m in love … with a Russian 4×4 van … also known as ‘Furgons’. They are the ultimate off-road vehicle in Mongolia.

No matter how you approach the subject, Mongolia is large with a (slowly) developing infrastructure. Out of a total of 50,000km of roads in Mongolia (give or take a few km) only about 10,000km (20%) are tarmac (asphalt) paved roads and they don’t have a long lifespan. A majority connect the provincal capitals / centres to Ulaanbaatar – the capital city. Otherwise, apart from mining development, nearly all other roads are gravel and dirt roads.  I’ll just give you a little time to consider that statistic.
The Furgon/UAZ is produced in several modifications, with the main difference being the body type – the exact configuration varies depending on the specific modification. The Furgon/UAZ has reached legendary status thanks to its reputation as a very reliable and capable 4×4 with impressive off-road capability.
And by choosing to travel in a Furgon, you’ll get to spend time with men with names such as Baatar and Bold. Yes, your Furgon driver will probably be the ‘strong and silent’ type. And no, they won’t converse in a multitude of languages. But, boy will they understand the roads and their vehicles.  They’re some of the best mechanics I have ever encountered and their ingenuity in the face of adversity (lack of spare parts, no towing services) deserves huge levels of respect. Just another reason to love a Furgon.
This great photo was taken by our guest Pete McWaters during his epic six-week Mongolia winter tour  with Eternal Landscapes this February and March.