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 Tozhu 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.
30 August 2021. Monday. DEPARTURE TO KYZYL

Evening direct flight from Moscow to Kyzyl.

* Recommended flight:
- direct flight from Moscow to Kyzyl by IrAero airlines 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 no later than 10:00 am on August 31.

Meals included: no
Accommodation included: no


Day 1. August 31, 2021. Tuesday. KYZYL – TODZHA DISTRICT (200 km)

Arrival in the international airport of Kyzyl at 7:10 am by direct flight from Moscow or by another flight no later than 10 am.
Meeting of the participants at the Kyzyl airport. Meeting with the guides, transfer to Kyzyl.
Breakfast. Discussion of the expedition's itinerary, safety briefing.
The ritual of "opening the road". Shaman's rituals.
By specially prepared off-road vehicle, we move from Kyzyl to the north-eastern part of the republic, Todzhinsky district, the vicinity of Lake Azas (200 km). Estimated travel time is 4-6 hours (depending on the weather conditions).
Lunch at a roadside cafe on the way.
"If you haven't seen Todzha, it means you haven't been to Tyva 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 beautiful Biy-Khem (Great Yenisei).
Proceed to the reindeer herders' camp by horseback. Estimated travel time is 2-5 hours.

* Travel time by horseback may vary and depends on weather conditions, the condition of the team members, as well as animals behavior. Part of the way is covered on horseback, but in some sections you have to go on foot (the load remains on the horses).

Camping and dinner upon arrival. Lecture by an ethnologist on local rituals and traditions (rituals associated with the masters of the territory, and with the road).
Rest and overnight in tents.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: tents


Day 2. September 1, 2021. Wednesday. HORSEBACK RIDING TO THE TOZHU REINDEER HERDERS' NOMADING CAMP

Breakfast. Safety briefing when working with horses. Loading. Horseback riding to the nomad camp of the Tozhu reindeer herders. Approximately in 2-4 hours stop for rest and lunch. In 3-5 hours we arrive at the reindeer herders' camp.

* Travel time by horseback may vary and depends on weather conditions, the condition of the team members, as well as animals behavior. Part of the way is covered on horseback, but in some sections you have to go on foot (the load remains on the horses).

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 Tyva live on the territory of the district. For us, travelers, this is a great chance, which falls probably only once in a lifetime, to see how this indigenous people lives.
Dinner, local cuisine.
Lecture by an ethnologist on the history and ethnogenesis of the Tuvan people.
Rest.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: chum (traditional dwelling of the Tozhu) or a yurt, or tents (the number of places for spending the night in the chums may be limited, so if you wish, you can spend the night in the chum in turn, on the next day).


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

Breakfast. Visit to the chum – the dwellings of reindeer herders. Acquaintance with the way of life, traditions and national cuisine of Tozhu hunters and reindeer herders, demonstration of traditional crafts of a Tozhu Tuvans. Workshop on lasso throwing.
Meet reindeer in one of the southernmost locations in the world. The Tozhu people, in contrast to the northern reindeer herders, practice riding on reindeer back and also milk them. The reindeer milking period is short during the year, so hopefully we get to see it.
Lunch, dinner, local cuisine. Night in tents

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: a chum (traditional dwelling of the Tozhu) or a yurt, or tents (the number of places for spending the night in the chums may be limited, so if you wish, you can spend the night in the chum in turn).


Day 4. September 3, 2021. Friday. HORSEBACK RIDING TO THE AREA OF LAKE AZAS

Breakfast. Preparation of horses for the transition, stowage of cargo, instructions. Horseback riding in the vicinity of Lake Azas. Travel time is 5-8 hours during the day. Stop for rest and lunch.
Beautiful landscapes of Todzha area – one of the most amazing places in Tyva.

* Travel time by horseback may vary and depends on weather conditions, the condition of the team members, as well as animals behavior. Part of the way is covered on horseback, but in some sections you have to go on foot (the load remains on the horses).

Dinner. Rest. Night in tents

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation included: tents


Day 5. September 4, 2021. Saturday. LAKE AZAS – ALDYN-BULAK

Breakfast. Proceed by horsebacks in the vicinity of Lake Azas (travel time 3-4 hours). Transfer to a specially prepared SUV. Departure to Aldyn-Bulak.
Accommodation in yurts. Steam 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 included: guest complex "Aldyn-Bulak", yurts


Day 6. September 5, 2021. Sunday. CAMEL BREEDERS NOMADS' CAMP (260 km)

Breakfast. Early check-out. Moving 260 km along a dirty 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 breeders' 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, meat, and were also used under the saddle and as a beast of burden.
Dinner and rest. In the evening - an ethnographer's lecture on the traditions and rituals of Tuvans in the southern regions of Tuva, which differ significantly from the traditions and rituals in eastern and western Tuva. Overnight stay in a traditional yurt or, if you wish, in tents.

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


Day 7. September 6, 2021. Monday. CAMEL BREEDERS CAMP – DURGEN CANYON – BURGAN-IZI – LAKE DUS-KHOL – ALDYN-BULAG (380 km)

Breakfast. Master classes on the everyday life of a nomad camel breeder. Cooking kumis. Camel riding, if possible.
Heading to the north, 180 km along the asphalt road to the Durgen canyon. Walking along the equipped eco-trail (1.8 km one way). Dinner.
The Durgen canyon and the most picturesque waterfall, with all their taiga wildness, are quite accessible to travekers – there are several hundred meters to the dirt road. The height of the gorge is from 20 to 40 meters in different places. The locals associate the name of the fast, turbulent river Durgen flowing along the bottom of the canyon with Genghis Khan, who set out to conquer the forest peoples.
Excursion to the sacred place Burgan-Izi (Buddha's Footprint) - 50 km by car.
The sacred place Burgan-Izi is located southeast of Kyzyl, 54 km. According to 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, the suburgan "Duchen Lhabab" is installed, which means "Descent from the heavens of Buddha Shakyamuni."
Arrival to Lake Dus-Khol (Svatikova) - 55 km by car. People come here to admire the "desert zone" in miniature, to rest on the hot sand. The lake is famous for its healing properties. Every visitor will definitely 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.
Transfer to the guest complex "Aldyn-Bulak" (95 km)

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


Day 8. September 7, 2021. Tuesday. ALDYN-BULAK – ETHNOCOMPLEX BELDIR-KEZHII – YAK HERDERS NOMADS' CAMP (370 km)

Breakfast and early check out. Travel to the west of the republic, to the mountainous region of the Bai-Taiginsky district. Today we have to cover 370 km (260 km asphalt road, 110 km dirt road).
Transfer to the Khemchik river valley. Stops in picturesque mountain areas, panoramic views of the Tsagan-Shibetu and Shapshalsky ranges. Lunch at a roadside cafe.
Visit to the ethnocultural complex in the town of Beldir-Kezhii. There is a suburgan (Buddhist stupa), where the goddess "Nogaan Dariigi" (Green Tara) is located - the protector from unforeseen and unexpected disasters; a monument to Tuvan writing, as well as wooden letters "T" and "D". Wooden letters are a tribute to the ancient religion of Tuva - Tengrianism. "T" and "D" stand for "Tengir demdee", literally - "sign of the sky", symbolizing eternity, inviolability. ... At this point, you need to make a secret wish and touch your forehead to the stone, then the wish will certainly come true.
Visit a statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, a place for the "San-Salyr" rite (a rite of worship).
Lecture by an ethnologist on the traditions and rituals of Tuvans in the Bai-Taiginsky region, which differ markedly from the population of eastern and southern Tuva.
Before lunch arrival at the nomad camp of traditional yak breeders in the mountainous region of Tuva, near the Altai mountains. Immersion in the culture of the nomadic yak herders. Acquaintance with the life of a nomad: a master class on cooking sүt araga (milk vodka) from kefir, tasting national dishes made from meat and drinks from yak milk.
Dinner - yak meat dishes cooked over the fire. Overnight in the yurts of the yak breeders or, if you wish, in tents.

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


Day 9. September 8, 2021. Wednesday. YAK HERDERS NOMADS' CAMP – KYZYL (370 KM)

Breakfast. Continuation of acquaintance with the life of a nomad: master classes on saddling a yak and cooking national dishes.
Lunch, local cuisine.
Highland nomads roam the seasonal pastures. Livestock gain 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. The migrations - "kosh" were mainly carried out on yaks, a yurt and furniture were immersed on them.
Yak breeders also breed horses and have their own herd. Acquaintance with the culture of horse breeders and, if possible, horse riding.
Transfer to Kyzyl. Farewell dinner.
Overnight at the Chalama hotel.

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


Day 10. September 9, 2021. Thursday. KYZYL - RETURN FLIGHT

Breakfast. Tour of the city and museums (local history and museum of treasures of the Arzhaan mound), as well as the souvenir shops of the city of Kyzyl.
Airport transfer. Daytime flight from Kyzyl to Moscow by direct flight.

* Recommended flight:
- direct 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 included: no


* Due to the remoteness of the Todzha region, there may be changes/delays in the program. The order of execution of the program can also be changed, provided that all activities are saved.
Cost includes:

  • Transport services according to the program: all transfers and car rentals (buses and SUVs, horses);
  • 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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