Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
Discover the mysterious and inaccessible heartland of Siberia on a ten day loop of the Sayan mountains. From the thriving, historic city of Krasnoyarsk with its churches and monuments, experience a slower pace of life in the traditional mountain villages and finally venture deep into nature. Camp in authentic nomadic yurts and explore the flora and fauna of the taiga, witness mystic shamanic displays and visit ruined Buddhist temples. Visit outdoor museums full of archaeological wonders revealing traditions of ancient cultures. Hike through the mountains and marvel at the scenery: glittering lakes and rushing rivers, grassy meadows and rocky steppes.
On arrival in the pretty city of Krasnoyarsk, check into your central hotel before hitting the town for a tour of all the historical sights. Orientate yourself with the view from the mountaintop Paraskeva Pyatnitsa chapel before lunch. In the afternoon explore the Bobrovy Log fun park, with views of the neighboring national park. Discover local history at the city’s ethnography museum before dinner and a good night’s sleep at the hotel.
After an early breakfast, embark upon an epic 8-hour journey to the Sayan mountains in southern Siberia, through Divnogorsk and across the Yenisei river across the mighty Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric dam. After lunch in Abakan the capital of Khakassia, head onwards to the traditional village of Shushenskoe for a taste of authentic farming life. Experience local life, eating, sharing, playing and celebrating with the locals and bed down in a comfortable guest house, decorated in the traditional style but with all the creature comforts.
After a home-cooked breakfast, visit the village’s ethnographic museum, spread over seven hectares along the riverbank. Discover historic Siberian lifestyle and share a cup of traditional tea. After lunch, the journey continues to Tuva through wildly varying scenery. As evening draws near, you will reach your traditional yurt camp and enjoy an authentic meal followed by Tuvian entertainment under the stars.
First thing this morning, you’ll head into Kyzyl, the capital city of the Tuvian region to see the giant globe of the Geographical Centre of Asia. A morning of religious harmony follows with a visit to a Buddhist temple and later a Shaman community. After lunch, discover fascinating archaeological finds in the Regional Museum, followed by an afternoon to yourself. In the evening head back to the yurt camp for dinner, a special tea ceremony and a Shaman show.
After breakfast, it’s time to head into the Sayan mountains and through the sacred places including Khairkhan mountain, which the Dalai Lama considered a place of significant power. Enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the flora and fauna and meet the Tuvian nomadic people. Explore the restored Buddhist temple of Ustuu-Khuree before reaching the ‘Snow Leopard’ forest camp, on the banks of the River Stoktysh. Relax here for the evening and bed down for the night.
Allow yourself to be immersed in nature with a range of activities to choose from. Depending on the conditions, take the hike to Mayak mountain or Lake Marankul, across the bridge of love or visit a Tibetan medicine man. Discover the healing properties of a steam in a Russian Banya and cool off with a dip in the lake. Gather round the campfire back at Snow Leopard for a peaceful evening beneath the stars.
After a final breakfast in the Snow Leopard camp, big goodbye to the taiga and head for the delightful valley of Kyug. Stop to visit the Khurtuyakh Tas fertility shrine, where women come to pray for children. When you reach the valley, nestled between two mountain ranges, relax in your wooden yurts, built in the Khakassian style. Tonight, enjoy a simple meal made with local ingredients and enjoy entertainment from folk dancers.
A morning spent in the outdoor National Museum of Khakassia sheds light on its ancient civilizations as well as its fascinating terrain, flora and fauna, including painted caves. Later, pay a visit to the Khakassian village of Aal, to see the traditional lifestyle in action. Back at the yurt camp, enjoy dinner and another visit to the Banya before retiring.
Begin the long journey back to the city with a stop off in Abakan to see the stone monuments at Regional museum of Khakassia. From here it’s on to the Valley of Kings, a breathtaking series of enormous burial hills said to be a source of shamanic powers. After a picnic lunch, continue on to Krasnoyarsk to check into your city hotel for dinner and rest.