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


22 - 30 June, 2023
Tour Republic of Tyva, 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, to the shepherds of the Thousanders and to the Tozhu reindeer herders.

The full immersion expedition is led by 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.

Dates: June 22 - 30, 2023

Duration: 9 days / 8 nights

Number of participants: 7 – 12


Everything is included except for:

- Flight to Kyzyl roundtrip
- Medical insurance
- Russian visa (if needed)

Estimated cost of flight Moscow - Kyzyl - Moscow: 30 000 - 35 000 rubles. Usually bought on your own.

Single supplement: 18 000 rub (single accommodation can be provided NOT along the whole itinerary).


Day 0. June 21, 2023.

Evening direct flight from Moscow to Kyzyl.

* Recommended flight:
- direct flight from Moscow to Kyzyl by IrAero airlines on June 21 at 22:00 with arrival at 7:10 am on June 22
- or any other flight from Moscow or another city with arrival in Kyzyl no later than 10:00 am on June 22.

Meals included: no
Accommodation included: no

Day 1. June 22, 2023. Tuesday. KYZYL – ALDYN-BULAK (20 km, 1 hour)

Arrival at the international airport of Kyzyl. Meeting of participants at the airport Kyzyl.
Breakfast. Acquaintance with guides, ethnographer. Route discussion, safety briefing.
Visit to the Tourist Information Center. Monument "Center of Asia".

Lecture about the ethnography of the Tuvans: economic and cultural types of nomadic pastoralism of the inhabitants of Tuva. Elena Aiyzhy, Head of the Department of Ethnology and Anthropology, TuvGU. The rite of "opening the road".
A visit to the local history museum and an excursion to the treasury - a collection of Scythian gold found during the excavations of the Arzhaan-2 barrow.
Visit to the stone-cutting workshop. Stone processing master class(1-1.5 hours).
Lunch - traditional Tuvan cuisine.

Transfer to the ethno-complex Aldyn-Bulak, located in the valley of the Ulug-Khem river. It is no coincidence that the yurt bivouac is located here: according to legend, many years ago, the headquarters of the supreme khan of the Dzhungars was located in this hollow, and then the Buddhist monastery-khuree operated. These assumptions are confirmed by fragments of the Khan's seal and mossy stones found during excavations with the inscription of the Tibetan mantra of prosperity "Om mani padme hum". According to some reports, they were going to build a Buddhist temple in this place, they performed ceremonies of cleansing the area and consecrated it. Therefore, today this place is considered sacred by Tuvans.
Dinner. Acquaintance with Khöömei throat singing and national instruments.

"Höömei is a phenomenon close to the spirit of the Tuvan nomadic people, a way of expressing the worldview, a symbol of the spirituality of the people, the key to its soul. It was in khöömey that the Tuvans found solace in the most difficult moments. Since ancient times, khoomei has helped not to break down, not to lose dignity and maintain 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: yurt (traditional nomad dwelling) or tents

Day 2. June 23, 2023 . ALDYN-BULAK - BELDIR-KEZHII — YAK BREEDERS IN MONGUN-TAIGA (380 km, 7-8 hours)

Journey to the west of the republic, to the mountainous region. Stops in picturesque mountainous places, panoramic views of the Tsagan-Shibetu and Shapshalsky ridges.

Visit to the ethno-cultural complex in the town of Beldir-Kezhii: suburgan (Buddhist stupa) in which the goddess "Nogaan Dariygi" (Green Tara) is located - the protector from unforeseen and unexpected disasters; Subedei's stone - according to legend, it stands on the spot where Subedei thought, made grandiose plans, which he then successfully implemented. At this place, you need to make a secret wish and touch the stone with your forehead, then the wish will come true.

Visiting the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, a place for the rite "San-Salyr" (rite of worship).

Arrival at the camp of traditional sarlyk breeders (yak breeders) in the mountainous region of Tuva - the village of Toolailyg. Immersion in the culture of the nomad yakovod. Acquaintance with the life of a nomad: a master class on cooking sut araga (milk vodka) from kefir, tasting national dishes from meat and drinks from yak milk.
Dinner - yak meat dishes cooked on a fire.

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


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 seasonal pastures. During the short summer on summer pastures, livestock quickly gain weight. Residents of the area always have fresh meat, milk and dairy products, and prepare supplies for the winter. There are no motor roads in the mountainous remote area. Migration - "kosh" was mainly carried out on yaks, they immerse the yurt and furniture.
Yak breeders also breed horses and have their own herd. Acquaintance with the culture of horse breeders and, if possible, horseback riding.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents

Day 4. June 25, 2023. MONGUN-TAIGA - TANDY-UULA (450 km, 8-9 hours)

After breakfast transfer to the shepherds-thousanders to the parking lot "Tandy-Uula", which is located in an amazing region - Semiozerye, at the foot of the Tandy-Uula ridge on the banks of the mountain river Elegest.
Shepherds with thousands of people keep a huge herd of sheep, goats, cows and horses.
The hospitable hosts will introduce you to the culture and life of nomadic Tuvans, place you in real yurts, and show you master classes in dairy and meat cuisine.
Bathhouse on the river bank at the foot of the Tandy-Uula ridge.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tourist yurts or chums


After breakfas we will walk to the nearby top of the sacred mountain (2650m), which offers a breathtaking view of the valley. For lovers of outdoor activities, horseback riding is offered.
Master class on national games.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accommodation: tourist yurts

Day 6. June 27, 2023. TANDY-UULA - DURGEN CANYOUN - CAMEL BREEDERS CAMP (250 km, 5 hours)

After breakfast - drive 285 km along a dirt road to the southern part of Tuva, to a desert region near the border with Mongolia. In the evening we arrive at the camp of traditional camel breeders.
On the way, after 2 hours of the road (110 km) - a walk along the picturesque Durgen canyon, photographing natural beauties and swimming in a mountain river
The Republic of Tyva is one of the unique regions and a historically developed region 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 used under the saddle and as a beast of burden.

All meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents

Day 7. June 28, 2023. CAMEL BREEDERS CAMP - LAKE DUSKHOL - KAA-KHEM VILLAGE (230 km, 4 hours)

Early wake up and breakfast.
Communication with camel breeders, photographing everyday scenes.
Departure to the lake Dus-Khol (Svatikov). People come here to admire the "desert zone" in miniature, to lie on the hot sand. The lake is famous for its healing properties. Swimming in the lake, taking mud baths.
Moving to the Old Believers in the village of Kaa-Khem (160 km, 2.5 hours), accommodation in guest houses.

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

Day 8. June 29, 2023. KAA-KHEM VILLAGE - TODZHA CAMP - KYZYL (160 km, 4 hours)

Transfer to Toju.
Tuvans-Todzhans belong to the indigenous peoples of Siberia, on the territory of Tuva they live in the north-east in the eastern Sayans and in the south-east of the republic. Their main occupation is reindeer herding, fishing and hunting.
Visiting the camp of Todzha reindeer herders, drinking tea, photographing deer.
Return to Kyzyl, hotel accommodation.

Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation included: Chalama Hotel

Day 9. June 30, 2023 KYZYL - RETURN FLIGHT

Early breakfast.
Transfer to the airport. Departure from Kyzyl to Moscow by direct flight.

Meals included: breakfast
Accomadation included: no

* Recommended flight:
- direct from Kyzyl to Moscow by IrAero airline at 8:10 with arrival at 9:40 in the morning,
- or any other flight from Kyzyl to Moscow or another city with a departure from Kyzyl at any time on June 30.

* 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);
  • Double accommodation for the night in hotels, campings 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, traditional Russian steam bath;
  • Museum tickets;
  • Experienced Russian-speaking guide;
  • Russian and English speaking team-leader and ethnologist 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;
  • Single supplement;
  • Tips

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 0 Celsius degrees comfort temperature (cool nights in the mountains),
  • 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
  • Copy of health insurance
  • Photo and video equipment
  • Spare batteries, power bank
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