Rating in Russia
$ 1254

Ethno tour The Pearls of Tuva

Culture
Culture
min $ 1254
Per person
Tour details
Destinations: Kyzyl
Guide language: German, English, Russian
Price: min $ 1254
Group size: min 8 — max 12
Duration: 8 days
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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Price
  • Important Info

Overview

Tuva? A bird has to cover many thousands of miles in the direction of the rising sun before it has overcome the Altai Mountains. There, in the geographical heart of Asia Tuva lies, in the north it borders with up to 4000m high mountain ranges of Altai and Sayan, in the south it changes over to prairies and semiprairies, up to the border with Mongolia. Politically, the Tuva Republic now belongs to the Russian Federation. Autonomous Republic as a part of the Russian Federation is after all, bigger than Greece and Belgium together. Siberian taiga, high-mountain tundra, bogs and
branches of the Gobi Desert border here with each other. Reindeer, willow grouses, bears, wolves and frozen mammoth bones from river banks are found side by side with yaks, camels and bustards.
Just over 300,000 people live in this rich nature, it is a folk with an ancient history and culture. Originally and even to the present time they have been nomads.
We get to know their traditions and their ideas, their art and culture, the hardness of their daily life and their skills.
Tuva is a country in an ancient crossroads of cultures: Scythians, Huns, Chinese, Mongolians, Russians and others have left their mark - monuments, inscriptions, rock carvings, fairy tales, buildings from the past, prince graves ...

 

Total duration: 8 days/7 nights

Season: June-September

Tour mileage: 1000 km by bus

Number of people in a group: min - 8, max - 12

Age: 12+

Level of physical training: no special physical training

Itinerary

Day 1. Meeting in Tuva

The tourists’ arrival, meeting at the airport or bus terminal of Kyzyl between 09:00 and 16:00.

There are direct flights from Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk / you can take flight Moscow-Abakan and then shared taxi Abakan-Kyzyl (400 km).

Transfer to the yurt camp Biy-Khem.

Free time, rest, those who wish can walk through the outskirts and go up the nearest hill to watch the whole Biy-Khem valley. Evening bonfire.

Accommodation at the yurt camp Biy-Khem

Lunch and dinner at the yurt camp

25 km by bus

Breakfast is provided for extra charge

 

Day 2. Geographical center of Asia

The place of this day is Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva. This city is situated in the place where the Biy-Khem (the Big Yenisei) and the Kaa-Khem (the Small Yenisei) unite their waters and give a life to the great river Yenisei. The first sight to visit here is the Geographical Centre of Asia.

The next place of visiting is the Buddhist temple and Drum of Wishes.

The group will visit the National Museum of Tuva (world-famous exhibition Scythian gold) and see unique archaeological finds of different epochs.

Visit local handicraftsmen who will share the secrets of making shamanic drums, yurts, utensils, jewelry.

Free time in Kyzyl, visit a local market. Departure to a healing mineral spring.

Dinner with traditional dishes of Tuvan cuisine including meat and dairy products will be cooked specially for the guests on returning back to the yurt camp.

Accommodation at the yurt camp Biy-Khem

Breakfast and dinner at the yurt camp, lunch in a restaurant

70 km by bus

 

Day 3. Following the old nomads’ way

Nowadays the tourists can follow exactly the same path that ancient nomads followed crossing Tuva from the east to the west. Here you can meet places which are considered to be energetically powerful. Before lunch there is a stop near a breathtaking mountain Khairykan - one of the most respected places in Tuva. In 1992 it was chosen by the 14th Dalai Lama to be an energetically powerful place. Once a year local shamans come here to get energy, strengthen and purify their spirits.

Picnic is organized right on the grass, next to a Buddha stela. And around the larches a lot of edelweiss’s are growing, which became a symbol of the mountains for many people.

On the way tourists will see the center of Buddhist culture, a ruined temple Ustuu-Khuree. The temple was the crowning of Buddhist construction in Tuva. And it was unique not only in Tuva, but also in the former Soviet Union. In 1930, after the adoption of a special resolution Ustuu-Khuree was closed, and in 1937 - destroyed. In 1999, the Russian government, recognizing the historic and architectural value of the unique temple Ustuu-Khuree, decided to restore it. In June 2012 the new temple was officially re-opened.

In the evening arrival to the yurt camp Sai-Khonash.

Accommodation in local yurts for 2-3 persons. The camp is located in a very beautiful place, surrounded by mountains, nearby there are many nomads sites. Conditions are close to the real Tuvan yurts. Please note that the yurt camp offers visitors a minimum comfort: a wooden toilet and washing facilities outside yurts, there is no summer shower, but there is a Russian wooden banya, also a separate kitchen in a yurt. The yurt camp is an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the real life of the Tuvan nomads. All activities there carry the cognitive character.

Accommodation at the yurt camp Sai-Khonash

Breakfast and dinner at the yurt camp, packed lunch

360 km by bus, incl. 30 km unpaved road

 

Day 4. Diving into a real nomads’ life

Today tourists will dive into the life of nomads. You will find their daily lives; learn how to cook their daily main dishes: lamb meat, cheese, vodka araka.

Master class on cooking Tuvan cheese, firstly a nomad will show you how to cook, then you can try on your own.

Before lunch a master class on butchering sheep will be held. Lamb is the main dish on the Tuvan table.

For dinner try to cook the local milk vodka Araka.

Accommodation at the yurt camp Sai-Khonash

Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the yurt camp

 

Day 5. Faithful companions of every breeder

After breakfast, accompanied by guides, we offer you horse riding around the neighbourhood, into the forest, to the mineral springs arzhaans, to nomads sites, uphill. Snack on the way.

Returning to the camp for dinner. You will be able to visit banya.

Accommodation at the yurt camp Sai-Khonash

Breakfast and dinner at the yurt camp, packed lunch

20 km ahorse

 

Day 6. Throat singing art

Departure back to Kyzyl.

Stop at Syyn-Churek mount (Maral’s heart). Climbing to the top of the mount.

Return back to the yurt camp Biy-Khem.

After dinner – the performance of traditional throat singing – khoomei. It’s a fantastical capability of the Tuva people (and some other Middle-Eastern nationalities) to emit simultaneously two or three sounds of different tone and to sustain the same sound for 25-30 seconds without taking a breath. If you close your eyes it is hard to believe that the sounds are emitted by a person and not by a musical instrument.

Accommodation at the yurt camp Biy-Khem

Breakfast and dinner at the yurt camp, packed lunch

380 km by bus, incl. 30 km unpaved road

 

Day 7. Shamanism of Tuva

After breakfast departure to the salt lake Svatikovo (Dus-Khol). Lake is known as therapeutic. Swimming and mud bathing. Each tourist could tell that healing properties of the lake is higher than ones of the Dead Sea in Israel. With the help of mud some diseases of the joints, digestive apparatus, of peripheral and central nervous system, also skin and gynecological diseases can be cured.

Return back to the yurt camp Biy-Khem.

To make the guests’ life as clear as the milk, to let spirits of heaven and earth help to the successful resolution of all deals, to make the travel trouble free, we invite you to a Tuvan tea ceremony. During the ceremony you will hear a story about cooking national Tuvan tea with milk and salt, you will learn about the history of tea in Tuva, about tea legends and parables. You’ll feel the taste of the rich culture, feel the wonderful land of steppes and open spaces of Tuva.

After the sunset shamans kamlaniye mystic performance. Kamlaniye is a magical communication between shamans and spirits. During this ritual the shamans dance around the fire, sing and beat a drum. Kamlaniye will leave a long lasting impression, nobody remains indifferent after this ritual. There the shamans will tell you about their traditions, rituals and abilities. After that you will get an opportunity to ask them about your future, your health and experience the ritual of purification*.

Accommodation at the yurt camp Biy-Khem

Breakfast and dinner at the yurt camp, packed lunch

150 km by bus

*Not included

 

Day 8. Departure

Transfer from the yurt camp to the airport of bus terminal of Kyzyl.

Departure from Kyzyl by flight or to Abakan by shared taxi*.

Breakfast at the yurt camp

25 km by bus

*Air tickets or taxi to Abakan are not included

Price

Tour price per person
from 1100 €

Children 12-16 years - 10% discount

Price includes:

  • transport service (minibus, UAZs), including group transfers airport (bus terminal)-yurt camp-airport (bus terminal) in Kyzyl
  • twin accommodation at the yurt camp Biy-Khem (4 nights), twin or triple accommodation at the yurt camp Sai-Khonash (3 nights). Everything without WC
  • meals (including mineral water, local drinks)
  • Russian, English or German speaking guide service
  • excursions
  • throat singers concert, tea ceremony, shamans kamlaniye
  • entrance tickets to museums
  • visa support
  • medical and tick-borne encephalitis insurance

Price does not include:

  • tickets to/from Kyzyl
  • breakfast on the day 1, lunch and dinner on the day 9
  • registration of foreigners
  • porter services
  • alcohol drinks
  • repellent sprays
  • tipps

For extra charge:

  • single accommodation +75€ per person (only at the yurt camp Biy-Khem, 4 nights)
  • air tickets Krasnoyarsk-Kyzyl from 135 €/person/one way – air company Nordstar – you can purchase e-tickets online
  • air tickets Novosibirsk-Kyzyl from 200 €/person/one way – air company Nordstar – you can purchase e-tickets online
  • shared taxi Abakan-Kyzyl is 40 €/person/one way (4 passengers in a car)

Important Info

Ethno tour The pearls of Tuva (8 days/7 nights) takes place in the Republic of Tuva.

Region

Tuva is situated on the South of Eastern Siberia in the geographical center of Asia. It borders Krasnoyarsk region, Khakassia republic, Mongolia, Altai republic. Tuva is very rich in natural resources: besides huge geological deposits, there are about 8000 rivers, including famous Khemchik and Yenisei, about 20 big fresh and salt water lakes, lots of healing mineral springs. Fauna of Tuva is very unique and diverse: here one can meet a camel, a desert dweller, and a reindeer, inhabitant of northern territories, Tuvan mountains Tannu-Ola are the realm of snow leopard. Also bear, wolf, squirrel, moose, sable, roebuck, lynx, glutton and birds like hazel-hen, blackcock, goose, duck, eagles and even swans are often met here. From fish such species can be mentioned: Siberian and Mongolian grayling, salmon, bass, pike and many others.

The population of Tuva is about 315 thousand people. The capital of the republic is Kyzyl, the place having been calculated and depicted to be the geographical center of Asia. Distance from Abakan – 400 km, from Krasnoyarsk –1000 km. Time difference with Moscow is +4 hours.

Main confessions: Orthodox Church, Buddhism, Shamanism.

Places of interest in Kyzyl are: free Arat square, The Geographical center of Asia obelisk, National Tuvan museum, Tuvan national theatre, Shaman clinic.

Holidays and customs of Tuva

Shagaa – New Year according to the luni-solar calendar. (January-February)

Constitution day of Tuva Republic – 6 May

Republic Day – 15 August

Naadym - nomads' festival, the date and place is changing every year, traditionally middle August, in Kyzyl.

Season rituals of worshipping nature (sug bazhy dagyyr, taiga dagyyr, ot dagyyr).

If you happen to appear at a Tuvan family’s place, you should know that it is used to give little presents to hosts. You present children with sweets or cookies, and adults may be presented with something useful, for example a torch. It’s very important to deal with older ones with respect, following subordination.

Singing songs in a company of people is much preferred by Tuvans, so be ready to be asked to sing, Good vocal abilities are not important – it’s important to support singing anyway. In their songs Tuvans chant the praises of great rivers Yenisei and Irtysh and of great mountains Sayan and Altai, steppes and valleys. They sing about their friends – horses.

How to get

The journey starts in Kyzyl. Time difference with Moscow is +4 hours.

By air (schedule is valid from May till September, 2017)

You can get to Kyzyl from Krasnoyarsk by airlines Nordstar. The flight Krasnoyarsk-Kyzyl is Mon at 16:00, arrival in Kyzyl at 18:00, on Fri 16:50-18:45, on Sun 08:20-09:55. The one way ticket costs about 135 euro. Return flight is on Tue and Sat 07:15-09:15, on Sun 16:25-17:50.

You can get to Kyzyl from Novosibirsk by airlines Nordstar. The flight Novosibirsk-Kyzyl is Sun at 13:40, arrival in Kyzyl at 15:45. The one way ticket costs from 200 euro. Return flight is on Sun 10:35-12:50. 

Also you can fly from Moscow to Abakan by aircompany Aeroflot (00:05-08:40, everyday) and S7 (22:05-06:35 +1, everyday). From Abakan you can get to Kyzyl also by shared public taxis (400 km). The one way ticket costs from 180 Euro. Return flights are 07:40-08:35 by S7 and 09:55-10:45 by Aeroflot.

By train

There is no railroad in Tuva. The next railway station is in Abakan (400 km to the north of Kyzyl). Abakan you can reach by train 124 from Krasnoyarsk or by train 068 from Moscow via Ekaterinburg and Novosibirsk.

From Abakan to Kyzyl you can get only along motor roads:

In the republic there are 2 roads of federal significance: Kyzyl-Abakan and Kyzyl-Ak-Dovurak-Abakan.

1) transfer ordered in advance, which will be arranged for you by our company, traveling time 6 hours, the price for a car - 200 Euro, a minibus up to 6 seats - 235 Euro, minibus up to 10 seats -270 Euro.

2) by private fixed-run taxi and cars (Toyota Fielder, Honda Odyssey) from the railway station from 06:00 to 11:00. The car leaves as soon as it is full, so passengers usually wait up to 3 hours. Traveling time 4-6 hours, the price is 35 Euro one way

3) by private car on the highway M-54, the distance Abakan-Kyzyl - 400 km.

To compare prices (for those arriving from Moscow):

- combined route Moscow-Novosibirsk-Kyzyl-Novosibirsk-Moscow, plenty of flights Moscow-Novosibirsk-Moscow, air companies Aeroflot, S7, Ural airlines etc + Nordstar flight Novosibirsk-Kyzyl-Novosibirsk. An unconvenient, long or short connection in Novosibirsk is possible. Price about 500 Euro per person a return ticket.

- combined route Moscow-Krasnoyarsk-Kyzyl-Krasnoyarsk-Moscow, plenty of flights Moscow-Krasnoyarsk-Moscow, air companies Aeroflot, S7, Ural airlines etc + Nordstar flight Krasnoyarsk-Kyzyl-Krasnoyarsk. An unconvenient, long or short connection in Krasnoyarsk is possible. Price about 430 Euro per person a return ticket.

- optimal due to comfort and spent time, as well as great impressions, Moscow-Abakan-Moscow by flight and Abakan-Kyzyl-Abakan by shared taxi. Price from 400 Euro per person a return ticket.

- low-budget option Moscow-Abakan-Moscow by train (3 class, 6-berth cabins, 3 nights on board) and Abakan-Kyzyl-Abakan by shared taxi. Price from 300 Euro per person a return ticket.

Accommodation

Yurt camp Biy-Khem (4 nights)

The yurt camp is located 22 km from Kyzyl, on the bank of Yenisei river, and is specially designed for tourists’ accommodation. These are yurts with low door facing the East. They are furnished for 1 or 2 people. There are 2 beds, a cupboard, bedside tables in yurts. At the door you can find a washstand. Electrical heating, electrical outlets. Toilet and shower are in a special big yurt. Also canteen and bar are situated in a separate yurt.
Extra service: banya, shamans' kamlaniye ritual.
Address: Tuva Republic, Piy-Khem kozhuun, Kara-Khaak settlement

Accommodation in twin yurts, single accommodation is possible for extra fee - 60 euro per person.

At the time of departure of tourists on the radial routes involving overnight stays outside the yurt complex tourists have to check out the yurt, leave extra luggage in a cloakroom, taking to the route what you need, some valuable things. Arriving back in the yurt complex tourists are accommodated in free yurts.

Yurt camp Sai-Khonash (3 nights)

The yurt camp is located in the Western part of Tuva, 40 km from the main road Kyzyl-Ak-Dovurak, in a very beautiful place, surrounded by mountains, nearby there are many nomads sites. Conditions are close to the real Tuvan yurts.

Accommodation in local yurts for 2-3 persons. Single accommodation is not provided, but we may ask the reception if a necessary case.

Please note that the yurt camp offers visitors a minimum comfort: a wooden toilet and washing facilities outside yurts, there is no summer shower, but there is a Russian wooden banya (you will visit it twice within 3 days stay), also a separate kitchen in a yurt.

The yurt camp is an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the real life of the Tuvan nomads. All activities there carry the cognitive character.

Weather

The climate in Tuva is sharply continental. Summer there is dry, temperature up to 40 C. Winters are cold –50 C and not snowy.

  • It's very beautiful in June, as the greenery is still fresh, everything is in blossom, at the same time you can see snow high up in the mountains. It's warm during the day, but rather cool in the evening.

  • July is the hottest month, but sometimes there might rain for a week. The weather is stable and it's warm in the day time (till +40) and at night (+20). At the end of the month the steppe starts getting dry.

  • The first half of August is warm, but later it starts getting colder. Nights get colder. At the end of the month there is a change of colors in nature surroundings: leaves get red and yellow. At this time of the year there is a great many of mushrooms and berries.

  • September is rich with a diversity of nature colors, red, yellow, and green colors prevail. Usually, the first half of the month is warm but nights are cold. During the second half of September it can be rainy, the temperature can drop to +5 C.

Meeting and seeing off

Transfers from airport or bus terminal of Kyzyl are organized at fixed time between 09:00 and 16:00. Tourists are met with a board, where tourist’s name or a name of a company is printed.

Seeing off is organized according to your tickets between 08:00 and 12:00. Tourist are transferred to the airport 3 hours before a flight.

The contact numbers of guide will be given to you 7 days before the day of start.

Transportation

Traveling by minivans, minibuses, cars UAZ, jeeps according to group’s size. The final decision, what kind of bus to coose, is made upon group's formation, usually 10 days before the tour start. All transport is with air conditioner (exc,UAZ). During the tour there are several stops, rest, walks and picnics. It is forbidden to smoke in buses, stops in some places, preserves. Driving during the night is also forbidden because of the seasonal pasture.

Guide services

We have highly qualified guides working in our company, due to this fact the tours of the company Sayan Ring have become so interesting and fascinating. The guides will be English, German or French speaking. They say, without a guide any journey, even a short one is nothing more than going some distance, but with a guide it is already travelling. On some trips you will be accompanied by experienced instructors. Tipps to our guides and drivers are not included in the tour price.

Meals

During the tour you will be offered three meals a day: in camps, restaurant, picnics (lunch box). On the way short picnics or packed lunches will be organized. Mineral water, local drinks, coffee, tea are included in tours' pricing. Alcohol beverages are not included in price. We also consider the tourists' preferences, those who follow special diets or are vegetarians. For this you need to inform us in advance about your wishes. In case the meal preferences were not specified one will be provided with standard menu. Any alterings in meal during the tour are possible only for additional fee.

The national Russian and Tuvan cuisine will be an integral part of the program.

The traditional dishes of Russian cuisine are thought to be pancakes, rosted and backed pies, meat dumplings, salty cucumbers, beetroot salad, cabbage soup, fruit drinks and many others.

Speaking about Tuvan people, they also can’t do without meat and diary products. In fact, they eat mostly meat and all other food is just an addition to it. Various dishes made of meat and flour are quite popular with local people, these are soup with meat and noodles (uzken bydaa), meat dumplings prepared on steam (boozy) and traditional ones (manchy), round fried meat pie (khuzhuury), minced meat with pastry (tyrtykan) and many others. Moreover, you can find on the table of Tuvinian people vodka made of milk (araga), which is made of sour milk, boorzaki – pieces of pastry fried in boiled oil, cakes, which are eaten not with prepared food, but as “individual dish” and soktaan dolgan – ground barley. Also Tuvinian people like blood pudding, green tea with milk (it is drunk with butter or salt). The importance of diary products as well as meat product is very high for these people. They developed different ways of cooking products made of  milk such as – cheese (bashtyk), butter (sarzhag), cream (oreme), koumiss (khymys), kefir (tarak), sour clotted milk (khoitpak), dried cottage cheese – of hard  and crumbly consistence (kurut and aarzhy respectively).

Security

All vehicles along the route are equipped with first-aid kit and all our guides have been specially trained to do primary medical assistance. Also all our tourists are insured against accidents and tick-borne encephalitis (insurance Nadezhda, telephone customer service center +7 812 325 72 92, +7 800 333 72 92). Follow the rules of precautions and personal safety.

Mobile communications on the route

On the most part of the tour the cellular network coverage is available. Mobile phones operated by local operators (MTS, Beeline, Megafon, Tele2) are working alright. There is no mobile connection in Sai Khonash camp (you will be not available since the midday on the day 3 till the midday on the day 6).

Useful tips

Travelling clothes must be comfortable. Please, take clothes you put on for walking and outdoor activities with you.

  • Light-toned T-shirts with long sleeves and light pants to protect your skin from spiny plants in Tuvan steppes

  • Shorts, T-shirts in light colors

  • In May and in September warm sweater or fleece jacket, thermal underwear, gloves, hat

  • Cotton socks 2-3 pairs; wool socks in May, late August and September

  • Windproof and waterproof jacket / raincoat

  • 2 pairs of shoes: a pair of sport shoes (preferably closed) and a pair of waterproof shoes.

  • Hat or cap to protect your head from the sun

  • Sunglasses

  • Sunscreen (in Tuva high solar activity)

  • Swimsuit

  • Flashlight, you will need it in the evening at the camps

  • Repellents

  • Personal hygiene items

  • Insurance

  • Individual medicines in the presence of chronic diseases

  • Cash (for souvenirs, sweets, alcohol drinks, other personal expenses)

You can choose from a travel bag, backpack or suitcase, all options are ok. You do not have to carry your luggage over long distances.

You do not need to take with you:

  • tents, sleeping bags and other camping equipment

  • soap

  • toilet paper

  • towels (all hotels and camps providetowels, but you can take your own from personal hygiene reasons)

Ticks and mosquitoes

In Tuva there are not many mosquitoes, but there can be a lot of mosquitoes because of continuous rains, which is a rare phenomenon for Tuva. We recommend tourists to make sure their arms and legs are covered in twilight because mosquitoes are enlivened in the evening time. Anti-mosquitoes repellents are recommended.

There are ticks in steppes of Tuva. The territory of the yurt camp Biy-Khem is treated by the pest control. The peak of ticks activity is from May to Middle July. We provide tick-borne encephalitis insurance for you. Special anty-ticks repellents and vaccination are recommended. What is more, we recommend everyone to regularly check your cloths, open skin areas, the head. Most often ticks fasten on legs and then crawl up, sucking to the upper body, above the waist.

Water

Water provided during the tour is clear and doesn’t need any additional purification. You will be given water for drinking (still or carbonated), that’s why there will be no need in taking water with you. Water in hot Tuva is necessary.

Other information

Information  including meeting guide telephone and timed program is provided 7 days before the first day of the tour. You can get your insurance certificates, air and railway tickets booked in advance from your guide at the starting day.

Guarantees

Sayan Ring is the incoming tour operator in Krasnoyarsk regional, Khakassia and Tuva. The company is in the Federal Register of Tour Operators, according to it our Certificate Number is # МВТ 015694, given by Federal Tourist Agency. We are the member of Association of Russian Tourism Companies.

Financial insurance guarantee #164731893 for 500 000 rubles is valid from the 20.12.2016 to 19.12.2017.

Enjoy your holiday!

All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Sayan Ring
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