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2019 marks the Bicentennial of the founding of modern Singapore, and to join in the celebrations, AA Singapore is organising a 92-day AUTOVENTURETM London-Singapore Expedition Drive! Commencing from the 8 August 2019 and continues to the 7 November 2019, this will be the longest ever expedition drive to be undertaken by the Association. 

A total of 31 participants will be travelling in a convoy of 16 cars, passing through a total of 15 countries. The route begins from the United Kingdom, heading towards Germany then other countries such as Croatia, Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan and China as it makes its way back to Singapore. A driving distance of over 22,000km will be clocked along the route.

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The 92-day drive will be challenging for the convoy as they will be travelling across different terrains and varying climates across the various countries, of which the highest altitude could go up to 6,345m when the group passes through China. They would also need to adapt to driving on different sides of the road in different countries. Stay tuned as we update the expedition across various countries!

Also, a big thank you to all our sponsors for this trip 92-day AUTOVENTURETM London-Singapore Expedition Drive!

Sponsors:

3. Amaron    Garmin C white      GetDoc Logo 410x90         Kordel s Logo page 001          2. NamWah Co Logo 17.04.17Select logo      Young Eart Sanctuary logo

For more Autoventure self-drive Holidays, click here. Not a member yet? Get your membership here today!

Pre-Trip Preparation and Briefing

A pre-trip briefing was organised on 20 June 2019 to familiarise participants with the trip details and share the necessary information needed for them to better prepare for the drive. The Expedition Leader also shared safety tips for the drivers when navigating across the various terrains, altitudes and weather patterns. Shortly after, the cars were then convoyed to the depot to be shipped over to London. 

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United Kingdom - National Day Celebration and Flag-Off Ceremony

Our participants are having lunch while catching live telecast of National Day Parade at Rubens Hotel in London. The following day, Singapore's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Her Excellency Ms Foo Chi Hsia flagged off the convoy of 16 cars for the 92-day London-Singapore Expedition Drive.

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Germany - Cologne, Baden-Baden, Konstaz and Munich

The next leg of the trip, Germany! After taking a car ferry into Calais Ferry Terminal and driving into Cologne, the group arrived in Germany. Passing by Cologne Cathedral, the group headed southeastwards, passing by Baden-Baden and iconic Blackforest, and the city of Konstaz and arriving in Munich. 

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Austria - Salzburg, Vienna

After 6 days in Germany, the convoy crossed into Salzburg, more commonly known as the birthplace of Mozart in Austria. The participants also had dinner with Mr Rayner Gan, First Secretary, Singapore Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office and Other International Organisations in Vienna, Austria.

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Croatia - Zagreb, Zadar, Trogir, Dubrovnik

For the next leg of the expedition, the convoy moved onto Croatia, stopping by Zagreb the capital of Croatia. There, the convoy moved southwards to Zadar and subsequently travelled alongside the coastline close to Adriatic sea, passing by Trogir and Dubrovnik, cities that have an exceptional history and rich in cultural heritage. 

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Albania & Greece - Meteora, Thessaloniki, Alexandroupoli

Moving southward from Croatia, the convoy passed by Montenegro and Albania, before arriving in Greece on August 25th. Notable stopovers in Greece include the rock formation and Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Meteora -  a UNESCO World Heritage site, Thessaloniki - a coastal city dating back to 315 BC with a history Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman origins as evident from its architectural influences. 

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IMG 20190825 123218 Entering Greece CIQ Group shot at Meteora

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Turkey - Istanbul, Safranbolu, Cappadocia, Mardin

The next leg of the trip, Turkey! Crossing into Turkey via the Kipi Border Crossing Point, the convoy continued southwest, passing by notable locations such as istanbul, Safranbolu, Cappadocia, where participants experienced a hot air balloon ride and Mount Nemrut, one of the most iconic sights of Turkey and a UNESCO world heritage site. After Mount Nemrut, the convoy proceeded to Mardin, an enchanting city with its beautiful architecture, archaeological wonders and historical heritage as evident from its Assyrians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines and Ottoman influences.

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Iran - Tabriz, Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Yazd, Ferdows, Mashhad

The expedition from London to Singapore is almost halfway into its journey, and the convoy crossed into another landmark country, Iran. Starting from Tabriz, the convoy passed by the famous rainbow mountains, known worldwide for its amazing golden and copper colors of when the Sun shines at the right angle.

The convoy then moved on the Iran’s capital Tehran, visiting iconic locations such as Golestan Palace, National Musuem and Grand Bazaar of Tehran.  

After a 4.5 hr drive, the convoy moved onto Isfahan, once one of the largest and most important cities in central Asia along the silk road, with visits to Meidan Emam, a UNESCO world heritage site in the city centre, surrounded by the Royal Mosque, the Mosque of Sheykh Lotfollah, and the 15th-century Timurid palace; Si-o-Seh Pol (The Bridge of 33 Arches), highly ranked as being one of the most famous examples of Safavid bridge design created since 1602.

Shiraz is the next destination in Iran, widely known as the city of poets, literature, wine  and flowers, and then Yazd, a city of the desert. It may not have the big-ticket sights of Esfahan or Shiraz, but, with its atmospheric alleyways and centuries of history, it exceeds both in its capacity to enchant.

Rounding off the expedition in Iran, the convoy passed by the city of Ferdows, and Mashhad, Iran’s holiest and second largest city, famously known for the Holy shrine of Imam Reza.

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Turkmenistan - Ashgabat, Darvaza

Following Iran, the expedition crossed into central Asia, specifically Turkmenistan, a well known stop along the ancient Silk Road. Starting from the Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, the expedition visited attractions such as Ashgabat National museum of history, Independence Park and Ertugrul Gazi Mosque.

The convoy then proceeded to Darvaza, located in the middle of the Karakum Desert, about 260 km north from Ashgabat. There, the members camped overnight and stay in a yurt near the Darvaza gas crater. The Darvaza gas crater also known as the Door to Hell or Gates of Hell, is a natural gas field collapsed into an underground cavern located in Darvaza, that has been burning since 1971.

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Uzbekistan - Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent, Andijan

Continuing their journey of Central Asia in end September, the expedition Left Turkmenistan and entered Uzbekistan, via Khiva, once a city along the ancient Silk Road.

After a 460 km drive from Khiva, the convoy reached Bukhara, a city dating largely from 9th to 17th centuries with well-preserved mosques, madrassas, and bazaars.

Next, the convoy stopped over at Samarkand, a city in Uzbekistan known for its mosques and mausoleums, and an important stopover, along the ancient trade route linking China to the Mediterranean. Prominent landmarks include the Registan, a plaza bordered by 3 ornate, majolica-covered madrassas dating to the 15th and 17th centuries, and Gur-e-Amir, the towering tomb of Timur (Tamerlane), founder of the Timurid Empire.

The stay in Uzbekistan would not be complete without a trip to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, known for its museums and mix of modern and Soviet-era architecture, and Andijan, one of the oldest cities in the region dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries.

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Kyrgyzstan - Toktogul, Bishkek

The next leg of the expedition in Central Asia brings the convoy to Kyrgyzstan. From Toktogul, the convoy travelled to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, covering a total distance of 350 km along one of the most scenic routes in the expedition. En route, they drove passed by over 2 mountains range, including the picturesque Tian Shan Mountains, with altitudes reaching up to 3500 m and the temperature dropping to 2 C.

At Bishkek, the expedition members explore the various bazaars, and various landmarks in the capital such as victory monument, ala-too square and oak park.

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Kazakhstan - Almaty, Zharkent

Rounding off the final phase of the Central Asia journey, the convoy crossed from Kyrgyzstan to Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest metropolis, and a major trading and cultural hub. The expedition members also visited Sunkar Raptor Falcon Sanctuary Eagles, and were treated to a display of falconry and performances by trained birds of prey.

Leaving Almaty, the convoy continued eastwards toward Zharkent, visited an Uyghur village where they rested and prepare for the crossing into Xinjiang, China.

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