From Olkhon Island to the Valley of the Czars

Explore South Siberia, a remote and atmospheric land where mounted Scythians thundered across the steppe long ago. Meet the Buryats of UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal and the Tuvan and Khakass people, whose Mongolian neighbors imbued them with Buddhism, shamanism and khoomei, or throat-singing. 

13 Day Trip

Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Sit in on a shaman ceremony
    Experience a traditional shaman ceremony in remote Tuva or on sacred Olkhon Island; shamans intercede for people with the spirit world, the unseen world that pervades the natural environment...
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  • Discover the sounds of Tuvan throat-singing
    Discover the other-worldly sounds of Tuvan throat-singing at a traditional performance in Kyzyl, capital of Tuva...
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  • Enjoy a home-cooked meal with Siberia’s Old Believers
    Make a village visit to enjoy a home cooked meal and hear the powerful centuries-old songs of Old Believers, learning about their unique history and traditions...
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  • Breathe in the beauty of Lake Baikal, the deepest and oldest lake on earth
    Breathe in the astounding beauty of UNESCO-listed Baikal, a lake so vast that locals call it “the sea”...
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over 30 years of Russia travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Princeton and the Harvard Museum of Natural History have chosen MIR to guide them to Russia
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • MIR affiliate offices in the Siberian cities of Irkutsk and Ulan Ude
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers whom clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-4: Irkutsk, Listvyanka, Lake Baikal, Olkhon Island

Arrive in Irkutsk, and the next day drive to Listvyanka village on the shore of UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal. Hop a ferry to forested Olkhon Island, where indigenous Buryats believe the lake’s gods live. Meet an Olkhon shaman and explore the northernmost cape on the island, Khoboi.


  • Little Listvyanka Village on the shores of UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest lake on earth
  • Wooden Architecture Museum, a collection of authentic Russian and indigenous houses and community buildings from the 17th to the 20th century
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Days 5-6: Irkutsk, fly to Kyzyl

Attend a private concert in the Decembrist Museum in Irkutsk, and enjoy some free time in the “Paris of Siberia.” Fly to Kyzyl, capital of the Republic of Tuva.


  • Ferry to Baikal’s western shore
  • Concert of classical music at the Decembrist Museum

Days 7-9: Tuva

Explore remote and beautiful Tuva, whose people have adopted many of the cultural traditions of Mongolia. Attend a shamanist ceremony and discover Tuvan throat-singing, an eerie-sounding musical form in which one person produces several sounds simultaneously. Visit the village of Samagaltai, Tuva’s former capital, to visit with a nomadic steppe family. Here, learn the art of making Tuvan cheese and get a private throat-singing lesson. Venture to the famous Arzhan II excavations in Turan, in a place known as the “Valley of the Czars,” where ancient Scythian horsemen buried their royalty in rich kurgan. Travel overland through the foothills of the rolling Sayan Mountains, stopping in Shushenskoye, an obscure Siberian village where Lenin was exiled.


  • The Tuvan cowboy statue in Kyzyl, capital of Tuva
  • Visit with a soapstone carver in his studio
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Days 10-13: Shushenskoye, Abakan, Moscow

See the sights and browse the local market in little Shushenskoye, and continue to Abakan, capital of Khakassia, a small South Siberia republic established by Turkic-speaking tribes in the 8th century. Enjoy a Khakassian folk performance before flying to Moscow for one last night.


  • Shushenskoye, site of Lenin’s pre-revolutionary exile
  • State Ethnographic Museum, a re-creation of a traditional 19th century Siberian village
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See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 13 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person
based on double occupancy

  • - Travelers $6,995
  • Plus Internal Air $650
  • Single Supplement $850

2021 Dates

  • July 25-August 6
  • July 25-August 6
  • $6,995
  • Max Travelers

Group Size

Really Small Groups – Never More than 12 Travelers. Guaranteed!

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared hotel accommodations in superior tourist class hotels in Moscow, Ulan Ude, and Irkutsk, in best available accommodations in Kyzyl and Abakan, and in lodge/guesthouse accommodations on Olkhon Island and in Listvyanka Village. Single rooms may not be available at all, and some guesthouse accommodations may require multiple group members to share rooms.
  • 13 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 10 dinners. A few lunches or dinners are not included so that you may dine on your own.
  • Restaurant tips for included meals.
  • Services of an experienced, English-speaking MIR Tour Manager with local guides at specific sites.
  • Arrival/departure transfers. MIR will arrange for all travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end cities.
  • Ground transportation by private van or jeep (type of vehicle depends on group size and terrain).
  • Transportation by boat/hydrofoil/ferry across Lake Baikal to and from Olkhon Island.
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in itinerary.
  • Special events, excursions and cultural performances per the itinerary.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list, reading list, insurance information.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application and instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
Download Detailed Itinerary
Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

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Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for an extended program in Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Baltics or elsewhere before after the tour, or in any of our destinations (many have direct connections from Moscow) after the end of the program. You may want to visit the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, or enjoy a Yangtze River cruise in China. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of these suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

This Explorer Series program, by nature, is designed to be adventurous, but also as comfortable as is possible for rustic travel in this region. Accommodations will vary from three star hotels to simple and basic accommodation in lodges.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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