Testimonials

“I highly recommend Sai-Xhonash tours! Our guides went out of their way to make sure we were safe, comfortable, and well fed for our entire trip. They were informative, teaching us local customs, language, and singing. They were constantly available to translate and interpret. They consistently asked us for our feedback during the trip to make sure we were happy with our visit. Our stay with Jhenya’s family at Sai-Xhonash was magical, a rare experience of authentic Tuvan life. I wholeheartedly recommend their service to anyone interested in the real Tuva”

Scott Peterson, Canada

“Zhenya and Anai-Xaak Saryglar are an independent couple living in Kyzyl who offer a number of affordable services for tourists, researchers, and students of Tuvan culture. Anai-Xaak has experience as a professional translator and research assistant in both English and French, and Zhenya is an award-winning igil player and throat singer in the Tuvan National Orchestra. Zhenya was born and raised in the Western districts of Tuva, where the couple offers excursions to see the Alash river, nomad camps, and horseback trips to Khoolaash (Хоoлааш) in some of the deepest taiga(forest-covered mountains) in all of Tuva”

LONELY PLANET

“We sincerely wish them the best in their effort to make a success at what can be a difficult business – hopefully travelers will value their services highly enough to encourage them to continue”.

FRIENDS OF TUVA. UNITED STATES

“My name is Erwin Grafe and I am a musician from Spain. In the summer of 2009, I went to Tuva, and I was so lucky to meet Zhenia and Anai-Haak. They helped me in everything that I needed to find a place to stay in Kyzyl, but the best came later… We traveled together, with three more tourist from the USA, to Sai-Xonash, a beautiful place in the nature, where we had two incredible weeks…playing music ( zhenia is probably th best Igil player in the world, great Khöömei singer, great khomus player…), riding horse ( we went to a waterfall ridind horse hours long, and we staied there for some days; learning Tuvan culture ( the people who lived there in the Yurts were very friendly), eating good food… Anai-Haak can speak a very good english, french and nowdays probably spanish too, and has a very good disposition for helping”

Erwin Grafe, Spain

“Zhenya and Anai-Hak Saryglar connectedness and respect in the community was my access to the natural and cultural wonders of Tuva. Anai-Hak translates and gives history and language talks. Zhenya is a well respected musician who as well as signing autographs for locals is a great driver and a reassuringly expert mechanic. Zhenya is willing to give Tuvan music lessons and I can say from personal experience is very patient with enthusiastic beginners. The Saryglars where able to make use of great extra touristic opportunities as they arise. We spent a day traveling with the director of the cultural centre who introduced us to a mystic in the small town he is from which was a unique experience. We were able to meet many wonderfull musicians one night at an impromptu social gathering at the manager of the international touring bands Alashs house. Their family connections at Sai-¬Xonash yurt camp introduces you to a working nomads summer camp. We had horse riding lessons with a very attentive horse master. With the Saryglars where able be the first westerners to attend Manchurek Naadam festival of horse racing and wrestling and other cultural endeavours. I had such a great experience last year that I am going back for another tour with the Saryglars this year with my partner and some friends to share this amazing pat of the world.”

Andrew Mc. Leod, New Zealand

“I spent a year traveling around the world visiting places like Africa, Northern Europe, and the South Pacific but Tuva may have been the most unusual and even most beautiful part of my yearlong trip. Tuva’s remoteness is what makes it beautiful but also a challenge to visit and see as a tourist. Anai-hak and Zenia are the perfect Tuvan tour guides, as they are incredibly accommodating, knowledgeable and rightfully proud of their homeland. They are also flexible, always willing to tailor any visit to your desires. I had a particularly special experience helping Zhenia’s extended family move from their winter home up the valley into their summer herding camp. I spent the week exploring the valley, listening to Zenia throat sing and trying traditional food – without ever hearing even a single plane engine. It’s a unique experience that I will never forget. I highly recommend travelling to Tuva – especially with the help of Anai-hak and Zenia!”.

Jack Canfield, USA

“My travels in Tuva in the summer of 2015 were, by far, the best travel experiences of my life. I was drawn to this journey because of the music and because I thought it would be an opportunity to experience a culture and landscape that had been minimally affected by tourism. I was not disappointed. We were greeted at the airport by Jhenya and Anihaak (sp?). They handled communication with airport staff and were infinitely helpful in locating a lost suitcase. Our hosts were always very kind, friendly, and fun to be around. They were careful to keep us comfortable and safe and were very willing to adapt our itinerary as necessary to meet the needs and interests of our group. We initially stayed in a beautiful yurt resort nestled in the mountains along one of the longest rivers in the world. From there we travelled to a healing saltwater lake, sacred natural mountain spring baths, and many local monuments and points of interest. With plenty of daily opportunities to explore, I did a lot of hiking in the mountains and along the rivers. Throat-singing lessons every day with Jhenya were an honour. Since Jhenya is so well-loved by the Tuvan people, it was amazing to tour the country with him and share the joy his music brings to so many people. We also met with, and took lessons from, other major throat-singing musicians. It was incredible to spend time with the musicians I had been listening to for years. The highlight of my trip was time spent with Jhenya’s family experiencing their traditional life in the foothills. Since I live a “busy” life in a large city, this truly “unplugged” part of the trip was a revelation. I felt so honoured by their openness, honesty, and truly warm hospitality. The natural beauty surrounding their homes was like nothing I’ve ever seen. Riding horses in this untouched terrain was magical. This was truly a trip of a lifetime… although I know it was only my first of many to come”

Ben Pinder, USA

“Many thanks again to Sai-Xonash and Evgeny Saryglar for babysitting me and my nonexistent Russian through
remote Tuva. This annual music festival in Chadaana is linked with the rebuilding of the local Buddhist temple.
The program includes a 13 km walk from the festival camping grounds to the temple headed by the Tuvan
Wind orchestra who don some impressive outfits for the occasion. Great stuff. ”
Aaron Ferguson, Australia,Brisbon.
“Dear Anai-Khaak and Jenya!
Thank you very much for your warm welcome in Tuva and sharing us your beautiful country and culture.
We really enjoyed our stay with you.”
The group from Austria,
August, 2013.
“Dear anai Khaak and Jenya,
We would like to thank you for a fascinating and relaxing tour: the music of the opening concert, the wrestling
And races at Naadym, the beauty of Sai-Khonash, visiting the neighbours, and the delight of two special
perfomances by Zhenya. Thank you for taking such a good care of us. We will think of you both when we play the
Horses game “kazhyk.
With our best wishes.”

Jane and Andrew, London
Ustuu-Khuree music festival in Western Tuva, July 2013

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