UNKNOWN SIBERIA

throat singing, shamanism and nomadic culture in a lost land of pristine forests, majestic mountains and vast steppes 

Novosibirsk – Altai – Krasnoyarsk – Ergaki – Tuva – Khakassia


Tour dates

Regular monthly departures: this tour is offered regularly once a month from May to October. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the ask-us button below and we will match your preferences with the relevant scheduled group departure. If you are unsure about the month you wish to travel in, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours! 

Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with friends and there are 5 or more of you, you can set your own dates and we will organise a tour just for you without charging any additional fee. If you are travelling solo or with less than 4 companions we will organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.

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ITINERARY

DAY 1 - Novosibirsk

  • In the morning you will meet our tour guide in the lobby of the designated hotel (exact hotel address and meeting time will be communicated well in advance per email; private airport pickup and shuttle service available for a small additional fee).

  • Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in Siberia.

  • During the day we will explore Novosibirsk, the true capital of Siberia: Orthodox churches, Tsarist buildings, mighty bridges, leafy parks and plenty of Soviet-era monuments, buildings and memorials.

  • Lunch, dinner and overnight in Novosibirsk.

DAY 2 - Gorno-Altaysk

  • We will leave Novosibirsk early in the morning for the 8-hour-long journey to the Republic of Altai, a stunningly beautiful autonomous region in Southern Siberia mainly inhabited by the Altai people, a turkic-speaking mongolic ethnic group with fascinating traditions to share and a troubled history to tell.

  • Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we'll break the long haul in Biysk, a small pretty old town boasting an impressive mix of Soviet and Tsarist architecture.

  • We'll then reach Gorno-Altaysk, the tiny leafy capital of Altai.

  • Evening stroll through the old town.

  • Dinner and overnight in Gorno-Altaysk.

DAY 3 - Ongudai and the Chuisky Trakt

  • In the morning we will leave Gorno-Altaysk and head to the Southern Mountains driving along the scenic Chuisky Trakt.

  • Besides the usual stops for food, toilet and photography, we'll break the 5-hour drive by visiting the traditional wooden villages dotting the breathtaking natural sceneries along the Trakt.

  • After lunch we'll reach Ongudai, a relatively big village surrounded by beautiful grass-covered mountain slopes.

  • Here we'll have the chance to learn more about the Altai people and their culture while taking a relaxing walk along the unpaved trails crisscrossing the village.

  • Dinner and overnight with a local Altai family in Ongudai.

DAY 4 - Chagan-Uzon, Mars and Kosh-Agach

  • We'll leave Ongudai in the morning to continue our drive towards the Southern Mountains and the border with Mongolia eventually reaching Kosh-Agach, an out-of-the-world Soviet outpost mainly inhabited by Muslim Kazakh tribes.

  • Traditional Kazakh lunch in Kosh-Agach.

  • After a quick tour around the village, the local mosque and the inevitable Lenin statue we'll head to the tiny settlement of Chagan-Uzon, in the proximity of which we'll visit bizarre sand formations locally known as Mars.

  • Dinner and overnight in Chagan-Uzon.

DAY 5 - Ukok Plateau

  • Early morning start for an otherworldly Siberian adventure.

  • We'll spend, indeed, the whole day 4x4 driving across the Ukok Plateau (6 to 8 hours, packed lunch): amazing landscapes, impetuous mountain streams, ancient Scythian temples, prehistoric rock paintings and remote settlements inhabited by semi-nomadic shepherds.

  • In the afternoon we'll head back to Chagan-Uzon for a well deserved Siberian beer.

  • Dinner and overnight in Chagan-Uzon.

DAY 6 - Hiking and Camel Riding

  • For your last morning in the Altai wilderness we have some special activities planned for you.

  • For the athletic ones: early morning yoga and a short but challenging hike around Chagan-Uzon.

  • For the lazier ones: easy camel and/or horse ride.

  • For the laziest: chill-out time with the locals (beer and shashliks).

  • After lunch we'll head back to Gorno-Altaysk driving again along the mighty Chuisky Trakt.

  • Dinner and overnight in Gorno-Altaysk.

DAY 7 - Gorno-Altaysk

  • After a last Altai-style breakfast together we'll visit the Altai National Museum and/or enjoy some shopping time in town.

  • We'll then transfer to Gorno-Altaysk Regional Airport for our flight to Krasnoyarsk.

  • Late-evening landing in Krasnoyarsk.

  • Overnight in Krasnoyarsk.

DAY 8 - Krasnoyarsk

  • We will devote the whole day to a Soviet exploration of Krasnoyarsk: Socialist architectures, WWII memorials, Lenin statues and some pretty old pre-Soviet buildings scattered around downtown.

  • Lunch, dinner and overnight in Krasnoyarsk.

DAY 9 - Ruble Dam and Ergaki Mountains

  • Early morning departure from Krasnoyarsk and tour to the Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Power Station, a marvel of Soviet engineering locally known as the 10-ruble dam as it is featured on the 10 ₽ banknote.

  • We'll then head south towards Ergaki, a misty fairy-tale mountain regions near the border with Tuva.

  • Dinner and overnight in Ergaki.

DAY 10 - Ergaki Mountains

  • We'll wake up surrounded by the fresh air and the magical atmosphere of the Ergaki Mountains and start the day with some physical exercise like true Siberian pioneers.

  • For the athletic ones: early morning challenging hike to the legendary hanging stone.

  • For the lazier ones: easy hike in the Taiga woods.

  • For the laziest: chill-out time with the locals (once again: beer and shashliks).

  • In the afternoon we'll finally enter the republic of Tuva, an almost mythical land squeezed between Mongolia and Southern Siberia and inhabited by the turk-mongolian Tuvan people.

  • A quick stop to buy Taiga-nuts from local roadside sellers and take some pictures of the white-dragon monument marking the entrance into Tuvan territory and then we'll continue straight to Kyzyl, the capital of the republic.

  • Dinner and overnight in Kyzyl.

DAY 11 - Wrestling and Throat Singing

  • During the day we will explore Kyzyl, a pleasant Soviet little town with a unique Mongol flavour: Buddhist temples, socialist monuments and architectures, interesting museums, shaman houses, and exotic bazaars.

  • Traditional Tuvan lunch.

  • We'll have also the opportunity to witness khuresh (wrestling) and khoomei (throat-singing) performances: a truly mesmerising spectacle of ancient traditions and mystic rituals.

  • Dinner and overnight in Kyzyl.

DAY 12 - Western Tuva

  • We'll leave the capital early in the morning and head to the Wild West of the Republic.

  • First stop will be Chadan, a traditional Tuvan town renowned for its peculiar horse culture.

  • After lunch we'll continue our bumpy ride across Tuva's stunning landscapes to finally reach Ak-Dovurak, a surreal Socialist urban construct: Soviet apartment blocks, communist statues and buddhist stupas lost in the steppes.

  • Dinner and overnight in Ak-Dovurak.

DAY 13 - Mountain Roads and Taiga Hamlets

  • We'll drive north on the scenic A161, a remote mountain road connecting Tuva to the nearby Republic of Khakassia.

  • Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we'll break the 6-hour drive stopping at the Sayansky Point, one of the highest mountain pass in the whole former Soviet Union, and in Abaza, a traditional Khakass town surrounded by beautiful Taiga-covered valley.

  • We'll then proceed towards Askiz, a relatively small Khakass village built along the shores of the Abakan river.

  • Dinner and overnight in Askiz.

DAY 14 - Sushensky Park, Shushenskoe and Abakan

  • In the morning we'll drive across the Shushensky National Park, a remote reserve of extraordinary natural beauty, and tour the nearby city of Shushenskoe, where we'll enjoy a guided visit to the small wooden house where Lenin was exiled during the Tsarist persecutions.

  • After lunch we'll eventually reach Abakan, the capital of Khakassia.

  • Evening stroll through the old town.

  • Dinner and overnight in Abakan.

DAY 15 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations  

  • After enjoying a last Khakass-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.

  • For those flying out: we will arrange transfer to Abakan International Airport for your flight back home.

  • For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: we will arrange transport to the local train/bus station.

  • End of the tour.


PRICE

4 to 8 participants: 3350 € 

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The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 20 euros/night), private transport in the region (jeep or minivan), one-way flight from Gorno-Altaysk to Krasnoyarsk, entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.

The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (35 euros/ride), visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.

The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility. It is also possible to make the tour the other way around, starting from Krasnoyarsk and finishing in Novosibirsk.

One particularly exciting alternative to the itinerary above consists in taking the off-road shortcut from Altai to Tuva along the Mongolian border across the Buguzun Pass from Kosh-Agach to Kyzyl-Khaya, please contact us for more info on this option.

Please note: It’s advisable to arrive in Novosibirsk one day before the actual tour begins. You should notice, however, that you’ll have to take care of your accommodation for any day and night preceding the actual start date of the tour. Without any additional charge we will readily and gladly reserve a room for you at our hotel of choice and you’ll be able to pay for it by cash or credit card once you check-in. If your flight lands on the same day as the tour begins and you prefer to rest a bit before going out sightseeing, you will then meet your tour guide and the rest of the group at the designated hotel in the late afternoon. 

Airport pickup/transfer in Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk is available for just 35 euros per ride.


where the heck am i travelling to?  

BELOW you can see the different tour stages marked on a map of the region you are going to explore with us

CLICK HERE FOR SOME NICE PICTURES AND MORE INFO ABOUT THIS DESTINATION

POSSIBLE TOUR COMBINATIONS FOR THIS ITINERARY INCLUDE

Transbaikal and/or Yakutia