12 teams take off on the tenth Amazing Race for a journey that host Phil Keoghan promises to full of unexpected surprises. The teams set off from Seattle Washington and are immediately directed to head to Beijing, China on one of two flights. The teams face heavy traffic as they scramble for position, and ultimately the lead of the first flight is dampened by a delay. Once in China, the teams travel to the Gold House Restaurant where one member of each team is required to eat fish eyes in a Roadblock. After completing the task, they travel to the Meridian Gate kiosk in the Forbidden City, where arriving teams grab one of three deparature teams and spend the night. They also find their first twist --- the last team to arrive is eliminated on the spot. In the morning, the teams continue the race. They ride in the sidecars of motorbikes to 14 Hou Hai North Bank Road where they receive a Detour choice --- Labor or Leisure. Most teams choose Labor, which requires them to create a sidewalk pattern, but two choose Leisure in which they perform a relaxation routine in unison. Finally, the teams arrive at the Pit Stop at the Great Wall of China, where they must first complete a tough climb to reach the top. A second team is then eliminated.
The ten remaining teams continue from Juyyongguan, a gate at the Great Wall of China and received a clue instructing them to travel to a temple in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, a total of 963 miles by bus and train. Once the teams arrive at the temple, they watch a performance and then receive a clue instructing them to drive a jeep to a riverbed in Terelj. The teams then choose a pair of horses and travel to a meadow where they find a Detour --- Take it Down or Fill it Up. The choice was about evenly split, however, two teams faced difficulty on the Take it Down task and switched Detours midstream. After completing the tasks, the teams were required to travel back to their vehicles on their horses--a problem for Kellie and Jamie when they lost a helmet. The teams then drove 47 miles to the Hotel Mongolia, where a Roadblock awaitied that involved shooting flaming arrows. Once the teams completed, they ran only a short distance to the Pit Stop, where another team was eliminated.
The teams continue from their Pit Stop at a hillside pavilion and receive a clue instructing them to fly over 2,300 miles to Hanoi, Vietnam. Teams are surprised to learn that they were receiving no money for the start of the leg. Following an argument over line placement between Tom/Terry and Dustin/Kandice, teams arrive at Hanoi, where at 8:00 A.M., they enter a prison nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" and searched for John McCain's flight suit. Some teams choose to stop briefly for a moment of silence out of respect for the veterans of Vietnam. They then make their way 1½ miles to the Old Quarter, where at a flower shop, one member of each team participates in a Roadblock that required them to sell flowers and make 80,000 Vietnamese đồng. Teams were allowed to keep money made and afterwards travel thirty miles by public bus to Vac Village. Here, the teams participate in a Detour that gave a choice between Fuel or Fowl. One team makes a critical error in not following a clue's instructions, potentially dealing a fatal setback.
The teams take off from their Pit Stop at a rice paddy and receive a clue instructing them to travel by taxi twenty miles to the Ly Thai To Garden in Hanoi, Vietnam. The teams receive 588,000 Vietnamese dong, but must first pick it up, as it is not included with the clue. At the Garden, the teams receive an auditory clue that eventually directs them to the Hydrofoil Harbor in Ben Xe Bai Chay. There, the teams face a Roadblock which requires one member of each team to make a steep climb. After completing the task, the teams take a motorboat 1.2 miles to the Song Sot Cave and search for the next clue. It's a Detour that requires them to choose between Over (delivering supplies) or Under (hauling oysters.) Difficulty in navigating the boats and problems with wind lead to a suspenseful finish.
The teams take off from their Pit Stop at the Soi Sim in the Halo Bay and receive a clue instructing them to fly 3,000 miles to Chennai, India. After riding the train to Hanoi, a scramble for planes begins with many twists and turns. All teams eventually arrive in Hanoi some together and the rest trailing only minutes to a couple hours behind. The teams take a bus 40 miles to Mamallapuram and are then faced with a Detour --- Wild Things or Wild Rice. Wild Things requires them to handle crocodiles, while Wild Rice involves constructing a complex pattern out of colored powder made from rice. After completing the task, the teams travel by bus to the Karthik Driving School. A Roadblock requires one member of each team to complete an Indian driving test. Teams then check-in at the Pit Stop, the Chettinad House, after driving ten miles with the driving instructor. When the final team arrives, they are not eliminated, but are surprised to learn about a new penalty twist.
The teams take off from their Pit Stop at the Chettinad House in Chennai India and receive a mobile-phone clue instructing them to fly 2,400 miles to Kuwait City in Kuwait. Once there, the teams find the mystery location, the Kuwait Towers and take numbers to face a Roadblock when the towers officially open. The Roadblock requires one member of each team to climb 610 feet above the ground and retrieve pieces to complete a puzzle. One team opts for the Fast Forward to avoid elimination. Once the remaining teams complete the Roadblock, they travel three miles to a bead shop in a local market. There, they receive a clue with a Detour task of Manual or Automatic. Teams choosing Manual load bags of camel feed, while teams choosing Automatic steer a camel using a robotic jockey. Many teams get lost on the way to their Detour choice. Ultimately, one team is not able to find either Detour task in time and is eliminated from the race.
The teams take off from their Pit Stop at the Al-Sadiq area water towers and receive a clue instructing them to fly to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, over 4,600 miles away. As the teams scramble for flights, members of an alliance known as the "six-pack" both help and hinder each other. Two teams argue over placement in line, but ultimately all teams travel on the same flights to Mauritius. Once there, the teams receive a model of a schooner and match it to a real schooner in the Grand Baie. The teams make a long swim to the schooner and then swim back after receiving a clue. The clue instructs them to drive to the Case Noyale post office. Along the way, teams face both traffic and car problems. They then take part in a Detour --- Salt or Sea, and several teams experience difficulty with their initial choice. Ultimately, one team arrives last at the Pit Stop, but is not eliminated, as this is another non-elimination leg.
The teams race away from their Pit Stop at the Chateau bel Ombre on the island of Mauritius after receiving a clue instructing them to fly 700 miles to Atananarivo, Madagascar. All teams make the same flight and then search for the Black Angel statue, which has recently been painted white. Once there, the teams encounter a surprising new twist --- an Intersection in the race. This requires each team to pair up with one other team and complete all tasks together until instructed to stop doing so. Two teams bond together to complete a Fast Forward task that requires them to eat cow lips. The other four teams pair up and then complete a Detour task that requires them to wrap and deliver mattresses at an open market. Once those teams complete the Detour, they then break apart and individual members of each team complete a Roadblock that requires one member of each team to search through a market for rubber stamps. The tension is nerve-wracking as team-members not completing the Roadblock wait at an area nearby the check-in mat and hope that teams completing the Fast Forward don't arrive before them.
The five remaining teams at the Pit Stop, a cathedral in Madagascar, receive a clue instructing them to fly over 6,000 miles to Helsinki, Finland. Though teams are given tickets to travel through Paris, France, all teams opt for a different flight traveling through Johannesburg. Once in Helsinki, teams arrive at a cafe. They log into AOL and receive video letters from home, causing some teams to get emotional. They then receive a clue from the cafe owner and travel 125 miles by train and taxi to an area school. Once at the school, they find details for a Detour task --- Swamp This or Swamp That. After completing the Detour, the teams take a train and drive to a mine where they face a Roadblock. Next, some teams expect a Pit Stop after receiving a clue to travel to the Olympic Stadium. At the stadium, they complete a final task, rappelling down the tower. After completing this task, one team is shocked to find a clue telling them to continue racing.
After completing a task at the Olympic Stadium in Finland, the teams receive a clue that eventually leads them to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Once there, they drive fifty miles in local cars to the Oster Tank School and complete a Roadblock. Teams are next directed to an apartment building, back 43 miles in Kiev, where they must find Apartment 33 and knock on the door. They then receive a clue featuring a very musical Detour. As time gets short, Lyn and Karlyn decide to break away from the other two members of the former "Six Pack" alliance --- Erwin and Godwin. The teams ultimately travel to the Pit Stop, The Great Patriotic War Museum, where another team is eliminated, leaving only four remaining.
The teams take off from their Pit Stop at the Great Patriotic War Museum in Kiev, Ukraine and receive a clue instructing them to fly nearly 3,000 miles to the oasis of Quarzazate, Morocco. Jockeying for flights immediately ensues, but all teams make the same flight and then drive four miles to an antique shop. Once there, they pick up a good luck charm to turn in at the Pit Stop and then receive a clue instructing them to drive six miles to Atlas Studios with the warning that there's a Yield ahead. When they arrive, the teams find that the location doesn't open until morning and so they must race for the Yield when it does open. Thus, one team waits out a Yield, while the others complete a Roadblock. Fortunes later reverse when the Yielded team pulls out ahead. The teams make their way to Idelssan and face a Detour task that involves either throwing pottery or grinding olives. The team arriving last at the Pit Stop is pleased to discover that they are not eliminated.
The teams take off from their Pit Stop, a nomadic settlement known as the Berber Camp, and receive a clue instructing them to travel 275 miles through the Atlas Mountains to Casablanca. Once there, the teams face a Roadblock that requires one member of each team to get in touch with their "Inner chef and adventurous appetite" by consuming a pound of camel meat. After completing this task, teams fly 800 miles to Barcelona, Spain. At 10 A.M., they enter a confusing labyrinth to search for the next clue. Some teams struggle, while others remain calm, allowing them to easily navigate the complex maze. The teams then travel to a Detour task which involves either dressing up as giants or searching through tomatoes while being pelted with them. Finally, the teams travel to the Pit Stop, the fountain at the Palau National of Mojuic. The top three teams learn that they will be racing for the finish line and one million dollars, but one team receives the disappointing news that they are eliminated.
The final three teams take off from their Pit Stop, the Fountain at the Palau Nacional de Montjuic and receive a clue instructing them to travel the Sangrada Familia. This church has been under construction for 124 years and they must find the park behind it. After finding a clue at the park, teams find that they must fly 500 miles and get to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. As teams jockey for flights and trains, teams that fall behind find themselves catching up. After the teams complete a Roadblock, a comic moment occurs when a team appears to miss a train that arrived early, only for two other teams to find that they simply got on a different train that only had an ultimately insignificant lead. After completing a fashionable Detour, teams are told to fly to their final destination city of New York. One team barely makes an early flight after being placed on standby, but another finds themselves out of the running when they do not get lucky. Ultimately, the two remaining teams travel to the giant globe inside of the News Building, and one team takes a commanding lead after finding a helpful taxi driver. The teams then head to the final destination --- the St. Basil Academy in Garrison, New York (Putnam County.) All three cross the finish line and one wins the top prize of one million dollars.