Ethnic expedition to the center of Asia to nomadic yak breeders, camel herders and Todzha reindeer herders

TYVA


August 31 – September 9, 2021
Tour Republic of Tuva, Russia

Tour to Tyva to camel breeders yak breeders reindeer herders horse breeders expedition to Tuva Tyva center of Asia nomads of Central Asia Mongolia cattle breeders Tuvans Todzha people

Tyva is a mysterious land amid mountains, deserts and taiga, located in the very center of Asia. Tuvans are the only people in the world that breed all major types of cattle. It is only here where you can see some of the southernmost reindeer herders in the world and some of the northernmost camel herders.

Our ethnographic expedition will go to the traditional nomadic herders' camps in the mountains of the west of Tyva, to camel breeders in the desert at Mongolian border and to the high-mountain forest-tundra to the Todzha reindeer herders.

The full immersion expedition is accompby ethnologist, big expert in the field of the peoples of Central Asia.

Tyva is a mysterious land amid mountains, deserts and taiga, located in the very center of Asia. Tuvans are the only people in the world that breed all major types of cattle. It is only here where you can see some of the southernmost reindeer herders in the world and some of the northernmost camel herders.
Our ethnographic expedition will go to the traditional nomadic herders' camps in the mountains of the west of Tyva, to camel breeders in the desert at Mongolian border and to the high-mountain forest-tundra to the Todzha reindeer herders.
The full immersion expedition is accompanied by ethnologist, big expert in the field of the peoples of Central Asia.

SCHEDULE & COST:

Dates: August 31 - September 9, 2021

Duration: 10 days / 9 nights

Number of participants: 7 – 12

Cost of participation per person
:
- 93 500 rubles subject to 11 - 12 participants, or
- 99 500 rubles subject to 9 - 10 participants, or
- 107 500 rubles subject to 7 - 8 participants.

Everything is included except for:
  • Flight to Kyzyl roundtrip,
  • Medical insurance,
  • Russian visa (if needed)
Estimated cost of flight Moscow - Kyzyl - Moscow: 25 000 - 35 000 rubles. Usually bought on your own.

Single supplement: upon request (single accommodation can be provided not along the whole itinerary).




TRAVEL PROGRAM: TOUR TO TYVA

Day 0. August 30, 2021. Monday. DEPARTURE TO KYZYL

Evening flight from Moscow to Kyzyl by direct flight.

*Recommended flight:

- direct from Moscow to Kyzyl by IrAero airline on August 30 at 22:00 with arrival at 7:10 am on August 31,
- or any other flight from Moscow or another city with arrival in Kyzyl later than 10:00 am on August 31.

Meals included: no
Accommodation: no


Day 1. August 31, 2021. Tuesday. KYZYL - ALDYN-BULAK (40 km)

Arrival at the international airport of Kyzyl at 7:10 am by direct flight from Moscow or by another flight not later than 10 am.
Meeting of the participants at the Kyzyl airport. Meeting with the guide, transfer to Kyzyl.
Breakfast. Discussion of the route, instructions.
The ritual of "opening the road". Shaman's rituals.
Lunch - at the restaurant / cafe "Tsarskaya Okhota".
Departure to Aldyn-Bulak. Accommodation in yurts. Bath.
Aldyn-Bulak is located in the valley of the Ulug-Khem River. It is no coincidence that the yurt bivouac is located here: according to legends, many years ago the headquarters of the supreme khan of the Dzungars was located in this hollow, and then a Buddhist monastery-khuree operated. These assumptions are confirmed by the fragments of the Khan's seal and mossy stones with the inscription of the Tibetan mantra of prosperity "Om mani padme hum" found during the excavations. According to some reports, a Buddhist temple should have been built in this place, and rituals of cleansing the area have been held. Therefore, today it is considered a saint among Tuvans.
Dinner. Cultural evening, acquaintance with the throat singing of Khoomei.
Acquaintance with national instruments.
"Khoomei is a phenomenon close to the spirit of the Tuvan nomadic people, a way of expressing a worldview, a symbol of the spirituality of people, a key to its soul. It was in the khoomei that the Tuvans found consolation in the most difficult moments. Since ancient times, khoomei helped not to break down, not to lose dignity and worthy of a human appearance. "This is, apparently, the answer to the question "What does khoomei mean for the Tuvan people? "
Rest.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: guest complex "Aldyn-Bulak", yurts


Day 2. September 1, 2021. Wednesday. ALDYN-BULAK - SAGLY-BAZHI II BURIAL GROUNDS - YAK HERDERS NOMADS' CAMP (460 km)

Breakfast. Travel to the west of the republic, to the mountainous region. Today we have to overcome 460 km, by asphalt and off-road.
Transfer to the Toolailig river valley . Travels along the Kindergeysky tract. Stops in picturesque mountain areas, panoramic views of West Tannu-Ola.
Lunch at a roadside cafe.
Visiting historical monuments.
The burial ground of the Scythian time Sagly-Bazhi II is located in the Ovyur region. The Sagly-Bazhi II burial ground turned out to be the first undisturbed burial ground among all the monuments of the Pazyryk type. All previously explored Altai Pazyryk burial mounds were plundered in antiquity.
Within the limits of the Sagly-Bazhi II burial ground, burials of the Mongun-Taiga type which undoubtedly were buried at the same time as those in log chambers: a pair burial of a man with a child and a child burial in a stone box. There are very numerous finds of amulets made of drilled fangs of animals killed in the hunt - bear, red deer (maral), wild boar, musk deer.

Lecture by ethnographer on the traditions and rituals of Tuvans in the Mongun-Tayginsky district, which differ markedly from people of eastern and southern Tuva.
Arrival at the yak herder's camp in the mountainous region of Tuva. Dinner and overnight in yurts or, if desired, in tents.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: yurt (traditional nomad dwelling) or tents


Day 3. September 2, 2021. Thursday. YAK HERDERS NOMADS' CAMP

Breakfast. Immersion in the culture of the nomads – yak-herders.
Acquaintance with the life of nomads: master classes on saddling a yak and transporting a yurt, a master class on cooking sүt araga (milk vodka) from kefir, tasting national dishes made from meat and drinks made from yak milk.
Lunch, local cuisine.
Highland nomads roam seasonal pastures. Cattle gains weight quickly in the short summer on summer pastures. Residents of the district always have fresh meat, milk and dairy products, and prepare supplies for the winter. There are no highways in the mountainous hard-to-reach area. Migrations - "kosh" were mainly carried out on yaks, a yurt and furniture are loaded on them.
Yak breeders also breed horses and have their own herd. Acquaintance with the culture of horse breeders and, if possible, horse riding.
Dinner - yak meat dishes cooked over the fire.
In the evening - ethnographer's lecture on the traditions and rituals of Tuvans in the western regions of Tuva, which differ markedly from the traditions and rituals in eastern and southern Tuva.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: yurt (traditional nomad dwelling) or tents


Day 4. September 3, 2021. Friday. YAK HERDERS NOMADS' CAMP – CAMEL BREEDERS NOMADS' CAMP (550 km)

Breakfast. Moving 550 km along a dirt road to the southern part of Tuva, to a desert region near the border with Mongolia. Lunch on the way.
After lunch, we arrive at the traditional camel herders' camp.
The Republic of Tuva is one of the unique regions and a historically developed area of camel breeding, which is a traditional branch of agriculture. Camels of the Mongolian Bactrian species are perfectly adapted to the natural and climatic conditions of semi-deserts and dry steppes. Camels supplied the nomads with wool, down, meat, and were also saddled and used as a beast of burden.
Dinner and rest. Overnight stay in a traditional yurt or tents.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: yurt (traditional nomad dwelling) or tents



Day 5. September 4, 2021. Saturday. CAMEL BREEDERS NOMADS' CAMP

Breakfast. Departure to the cameleers nomads' camp.
Traditional lunch.
Master classes on the everyday life of a nomad camel breeder.
Excursion on a camel along the dunes.
Dinner and rest. In the evening - ethnographer's lecture on the traditions and rituals of Tuvans in the southern regions of Tuva, which differ markedly from the traditions and rituals in eastern and western Tuva.
Overnight in tents.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: yurt (traditional nomad dwelling) or tents


Day 6. September 5, 2021. Sunday. CAMEL BREEDERS NOMADS' CAMP - LAKE DUS-KHOL (310 km)

Breakfast. Moving north, 310 km along an asphalt road, to Lake Dus-Khol. On the way, an excursion to the Durgen canyon and Lake Chagytay. Dinner.
Excursion to the sacred place Burgan Izi (Buddha's Footprint). The sacred place Burgan Izi is located southeast of Kyzyl, 54 km. According to the legend, a few years ago, when the Dalai Lama flew over Tuva, he saw the glowing light of the Teacher's footprint on the ground. His Holiness informed the Buddhists about this, and they found this sacred footprint. Since then, the pilgrimage of residents from all over the republic began. In that place on the mountain, there is a suburgan "Lhabab Duchen", which means "Descent from the heavens of Buddha Shakyamuni."
Arrival at Dus-Khol lake. People come here to admire the "desert zone" in miniature, to lie on the hot sand. The lake is famous for its healing properties. Every traveller will tell you that the healing properties of the lake are higher than those of the Dead Sea in Israel or Lake Tuz in Khakassia. Swimming in the lake, taking mud baths.
Accommodation at the tourist base in yurts. Bath. Dinner.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: camp site, yurts


Day 7. September 6, 2021. Monday. LAKE DUS-KHOL - CAMP OF TODZHA REINDEER HERDERS (230 km)

After breakfast, we go to Todzha via Kyzyl.
We move from Kyzyl to Kaa-Khem region on a specially prepared off-road vehicle, (230 km). We arrive in the Todzhinsky district until noon.
Lunch at a cafe on the way.
Toora-Khem is the administrative centre of the most inaccessible region of Tuva - Todzha. "If you haven't seen Todzha, which means you haven't been to Tuva either," say the locals. Todzha is a picturesque region of high-mountain tundra in the northeast of the republic. Getting there is quite difficult. From Kyzyl it is a little less than 300 km along mountain serpentines. On the way, you will meet the handsome Biy-Khem (Bolshoi Yenisei).
Departure to the taiga by motor transport "Ural" to the camp of reindeer herders.
Lecture by ethnographer about local rituals and traditions (rituals associated with the owners of the area, dear). Arrival at the camp of Todzha reindeer herders.
Rest. Accommodation for the night in tents or chum at the reindeer breeders' camp (the number of places for spending the night in tents may be limited, so if you wish, you can spend the night in the tents the next day).

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: chum (traditional dwelling of Todzha people) or yurt, or tents

Day 8. September 7, 2021. Tuesday. CAMP OF TODZHA REINDEER HERDERS

Breakfast.
Visit to the chum - the dwellings of reindeer herders. Acquaintance with the way of life, traditions and national cuisine of Todzha reindeer herders, demonstration of traditional crafts of a Todzha Tuvan. A master class in throwing a lasso.
Todzha, the main hunting area of the republic, is rich in fur-bearing animals, wild ungulates, fish, upland game and waterfowl. It supplies valuable skins of sable, squirrels, Siberian weasel, ermine, muskrats, foxes, lynxes, the meat of wild ungulates and maral antlers. All kinds of fur-bearing animals and wild ungulates that are found in Tuva live on the territory of the district. For us, travelers, this is a great chance, which falls only once in a lifetime, to see how this indigenous people lives.
Lunch and dinner, local cuisine.
Lecture by an ethnographer on the history and ethnogenesis of the Tuvan ethnos.
Relaxation.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: chum (traditional dwelling of Todzha people) or yurt, or tents


Day 9. September 8, 2021. Wednesday. CAMP OF TODZHA REINDEER HERDERS - KYZYL (240 km)

Breakfast. Transfer to Kyzyl (240 km).
Dinner.
Excursion to museums (museum of local history and museum of treasures of the Arzhan mound), and to the souvenir shops in Kyzyl.
Gala dinner.
Overnight at the Chalama hotel.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Chalama or similar



Day 10. September 9, 2021. Thursday. KYZYL – FLIGHT BACK

Free time after breakfast. Daytime flight from Kyzyl to Moscow (direct flight).
* Recommended flight:
- direct flight from Kyzyl to Moscow by IrAero airline at 13:00 with arrival at 14:30 in the morning on September 9,
- or any other flight from Kyzyl to Moscow or another city with a departure from Kyzyl at any time on September 9.

Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation: no

Cost includes:

  • Transport services according to the program: all transfers and car rentals (buses and SUVs);
  • Double accommodation for the night in hotels, camp sites and tents;
  • Accommodation for the night in yurts and chums ;
  • Three Meals included a day throughout the trip;
  • Drinking water throughout the trip;
  • All activities according to the program;
  • Museum tickets;
  • Experienced Russian-speaking guide;
  • Russian and English speaking team-leader and ethnographer services
  • Registration of permits to enter the border zone;
  • Registration of a permit to enter national parks and reserves;
  • Support of local communities, payment for guides

Cost excludes (to be additionally paid):

  • Flight to Kyzyl and back
  • Medical insurance
  • Russian visa (if required)
  • Alcohol and souvenirs;
  • Additional options of the program


To take with:

• Sets of clothing suitable for weather conditions (fleece or wool jacket, cotton T-shirts, light trousers, shorts, warm hat and panama hat)
• Warm and windproof clothes, thermal underwear
• Head torch
• Raincoat
• A set of clothes with long sleeves
• Mosquito net
• Comfortable closed trekking shoes and lightweight shoes
• Sun and wind protection (cream, glasses, panama)
• Repellent
• Sleeping bag for -5 celsius degrees comfort temperature (frosts are possible at night in September),
• Personal hygiene products: soap, towel, toothpaste, wet wipes
• Personal first aid kit (analgesics, antiseptics, antibiotics, medications necessary for you personally)
• Large backpack or bag for things,
• Small backpack for radial exits
• Photo and video equipment
• Spare batteries, power bank
• Copy of health insurance
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