The sacred lake Kara-Khol

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  • Duration: 8 days/7 nights
  • Tour dates: Mid-Mai – Mid-September
  • Group size: 6 – 12
  • Age limit: 18 years and up
  • This tour does not require any special physical training
Tour information

Ancient kurgans (burial mounds), stelas, stone statues and figures, ancient campings, rock art, ancient writings- all these you will be able to see and learn about it on this exceptional tour. One of the most picturesque lakes of Tuva is Kara-Khol lake, located in the Western Tuva, in Bai-Taiga region. The lake was formed in a tectonic fault and it looks like a crevice filled with glacier waters from the surrounding Kasky-Taiga and Taskyl-Taiga ranges. Kara-Khol lake is located among the steep cliffs. From their reflection, water appears black. Therefore, actually, the lake is called Kara-Khol, that is, Black Lake. Near the lake there is a small waterfall. Kara-Khol and the river of the same name flowing from it are rich in grayling. Baryyn-Khemchik region will be our next destination, where we will visit some nomadic camps, stay in the yurt camp with the nomads and experience their everyday life, to get some traditional food cooking lessons or take photos with yaks.

Day Itinerary Meals Accommodation
1 Kyzyl – Sai-Xonash L+D Yurts
2 Sai-Xonash B+L+D Yurts
3 Sai-Xonash B+L+D Yurts
4 Sai-Xonash – Kara-Khol B+L+D Yurts or tents
5 Kara-Khol B+L+D Yurts or tents
6 Kara-Khol B+L+D Yurts or tents
7 Kara-Khol – Aldyn-Bulak B+L+D Yurts
8 Aldyn-Bulak – Kyzyl B n/a


B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Detailed itinerary
The * means that the indicated service is for an extra fee.

Day 1.Sai-Xonash

We will pick you up from the hotel and we will drive to “Sai-Xonash” yurt camp. On the way there we will stop for an excursion to the Xaiyrakan mountain (50km from Aldyn-Bulak) – one of the most sacred places of Tuva which was sanctified by the Dalai-Lama – XIV in 1992 and worshipped as well by shamans. As the saying goes, the Mountain will give healing and force to those who visit it with an open heart.
Our second stop will be climbing the Uttug-Khaya mountain – Holey mountain which is also considered as a sacred place by Tuvans. There is a cave and a really narrow passage in this cave: “If one can pass through this passage, his dream will come true”, – believe people.
Lunch in café in Kyzyl-Mazhalyk. Drive to “Sai-Xonash” yurt camp which neighbors with the nomads’ camps. (70km from Kyzyl-Mazhalyk to Sai-Xonash) It is located in the place called Ak, an extremely beautiful area surrounded with the high mountains, forests and purest spring waters. It has 4 twin and triple cosy yurts and a banya (Russian style sauna). Every yurt has 3 or 4 beds and Tuvan traditional furniture. People living on this very isolated part of land breed animals such as sheep, cows, horses, goats and yaks. They still live keeping their culture and traditions alive. The tourists will be met by a Tuvan nomadic family. Following the Tuvan hospitality tradition guests will be offered to have some Tuvan milk tea.
Dinner and overnight in the yurts.

Day 2.Sai-Xonash

After breakfast there is an ample opportunity to go for a walk in the forest for a photo session or climb one of the mountains. We will then come back to our camp to have lunch.
After lunch we will be off for an excursion to the old burial places (kurgans) which are situated on the territory of the Bayan-Kol valley.
For dinner we will have Tuvan traditional food with a previous Tuvan traditional way of sheep slaughtering process. Overnight at the yurt camp.

Day 3.Sai-Xonash

Breakfast at the yurt camp. Free time.
After lunch we will go hiking or horse riding to the spring water.
After dinner you will be demonstrated the process of making araka – Tuvan traditional alcohol drink made from fermented milk. Making byshtak – Tuvan fresh cheese. Full board, accommodation in yurts.

Day 4, 5.Kara-Khol

Early breakfast and drive to another beautiful and unique region of Tuva Bai-Taiga. Bai-Taiga means in Tuvan “rich taiga” or “rich forest”. This region has, indeed, a rich flora and fauna, characteristic for Siberia. We will head to a place called Sukpak, stay with nomads who live on the bank of the famous Tuvan river Khemchik, during next days we will enjoy its purest waters and fast stream, its power and greatness. Hiking and visiting neighbors is also possible. Lunch, dinner and accommodation at the nomadic camp, in yurts or tents.

Day 6.Kara-Khol

Breakfast and drive to the pearl of the region the lake Kara-Khol. Kara-Khol ‘is located in the northwestern part of Tuva on the territory of Bai-Taiga kozhuun on the border with the Republic of Altai and the Republic of Khakassia. Lake Kara-Khol, has tectonic origin.
The area is mainly located in the spurs of the Western Sayan mountain-taiga zone. Accommodation in tents at the lake. The lake is considered as one of the most sacred places of Tuva. We will have a walk to the waterfall at the bank of the lake. Lunch, dinner and accommodation at the tent camp.

Day 7.Aldyn-Bulak

Early breakfast and drive to Aldyn-Bulak yurt complex.
On the way we will visit the Bizhiktig-khaya Mountain with ancient petroglyphs discovered by the Russian archeologist A. Andrianov. The Mountain bears more than 300 petroglyphs wich date back to the Bronze Age depicting scenes of hunting, as well as the image of Buddha which dates back to 1358. We will also see a Kizhi-Kozhee statue, a monument to an unknown hero (second half of the Ist millennium B.C.). Lunch in kafe of Ak-Dovurak. Arrival to Aldyn-Bulak yurt complex, diner in restaurant, accommodation in yurts. Folk performance during dinner, shamanic ritual after dinner.

Day 8.Kyzyl

Breakfast and drive to Kyzyl airport.


The price of the tour is:

2 PAX – 1199 Euros per 1 person

4 PAX – 1099 Euros per person

6+1 PAX – 999 Euros per person

10+1 PAX – 899 Euros per person

14+1 PAX – 699 Euros per person



-Accommodation in Tuva during the tour;

-Transfer in Tuva during the tour;

-1 folk performance;

– 1 shamanic ritual;           

-Full board (principal meals during the tour). Please note that the breakfast of the day 1 as well as the dinner of the last day are not included. Kindly inform in advance regarding your meal preferences (vegetarians, allergies, etc.);

Service of the guide-interpreter and a driver according to the program of the tour.


Airplane/train tickets and travel insurance;

Visa procedures and costs (consultation could be provided);

Drinks and water during the tour except the ones mentioned in the program;

Personal expenses and tips;

Individual throat-singing workshops;

Horse rental;

Additional information

Situation: Central Asia and Southern Siberia

Time zone: GMT +7 (summer)

Currency: Russian ruble

Climate and clothing: continental climate (summer max: +30 to +40ºC, winter max: -25ºC to -45ºC). Please note that the mountain temperature is usually lower than in the rest of Tuva (this concerns tours that include Sai-Xonash yurt camp). Therefore, it is advised to take two different types of clothes and shoes: for hot summer days as well as for rainy and cold days. Please note that we cannot be responsible for bad weather conditions.

What else you could need: mosquito repellents, basic pharmacy and medications if you are taking any, umbrella. People with special conditions: Please advise us in advance if you have any special condition such as, for example, diabetes, blood tension, and so on.

Electricity: 220V, 50 HZ

Tour map