What Languages Are Spoken in Tuva?

Tuva is home to a remarkable variety of languages and dialects, though most Tuvans (96%) report acquiring Tuvan as their first language.  Tuvan is a Turkic Altaic language, which shares grammatical similarities with other Turkic group languages and draws much of its vocabulary from Mongolian.  Though Tuvan is the language of the majority, Tuva remains a republic of the Russian Federation, and most business and public operations carry out their affairs in Russian.  TravelTuva recommends that travelers acquire familiarity with basic phrases in both Russian and Tuvan before and during travel in Tuva.

Is Tuva Safe to Visit?

While Tuva experienced mild political and social strain following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Tuva maintains a welcoming and stable environment for tourists.  That said, Tuva’s remote location, economic challenges, and sparse infrastructure contribute to travel risk.  For more information, please feel free to contact TravelTuva administration.

How Many People Can Your Tours Accommodate?

Tuva hosts many national cultural events during the summer months, and lodging accommodation often reaches capacity, placing a limit on our tour availability. That said, TravelTuva also prefers to limit tour group sizes to numbers manageable by onsite staff. While we regularly do not accommodate more than 15 people per group, TravelTuva assesses tour size on a case by case basis.  Feel free to contact TravelTuva administration before booking a tour to ensure availability.

Are Travelers Restricted by Age?

TravelTuva welcomes all travelers 18 years old and above.

Is My Skill Level/Physical Fitness Adequate for Your Adventure Tours?

TravelTuva cannot legally provide medical advice to TravelTuva clients.  In lieu of medical advice, we are more than happy to provide you written descriptions of the Adventure activities you hope to participate in, which you may then forward to your health care provider for a physical fitness assessment.

What if I have Only Limited Experience in Outdoor Adventure?

TravelTuva is more than happy to consult on the appropriateness of our adventure activities for each traveler’s level of out experience.  Please do not hesitate to contact us for consultation.

What Is the Climate Like?

Tuva’s climate is described as “continental” and varies in the extreme.  Summer time highs may reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while winter time lows drop below -70 Fahrenheit.  We only offer tours from mid-summer to early fall in order to ensure optimum weather conditions.  TravelTuva clients can expect a temperature spectrum—depending on the region of Tuva clients visit— that swings between a day time high of 85-100 Fahrenheit and an overnight low of 35-55 Fahrenheit.

Does TravelTuva Rent Outdoor Equipment?

Currently, TravelTuva does not rent personal outdoor equipment.  As we develop as our business, we aim to offer a full inventory of rental gear.  That said, TravelTuva is more than happy to consult clients on gear purchases to most suitably fulfill their travel goals.

What Is Included in the Cost of Your Tours?

We compose our adventures in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Tourism officials, Tuvan tourism professionals, and each client group.  As such, we can include as many or as few tour features to accommodate your needs and goals.  Though TravelTuva does not provide airfare or visa services–both of which must be arranged independently by our clients–TravelTuva is more than happy to provide airfare and visa consultation.

What if I Am Interested in Taking Music Lessons, but Have Never Studied Music?

Tuvan musicians affiliated with TravelTuva represent the finest level of musicianship in Tuva today.  The musicians’ high level of expertise allows for clients of all musical skill levels and abilities to gain important insights from professional lessons or workshops.

Does TravelTuva Rent Musical Instruments to Students?

TravelTuva does not rent musical instruments to students; however, we can arrange musical instrument rentals via the Center for the Development of Traditional Tuvan Cultures and the Tuvan National Orchestra. Please contact TravelTuva administration for more details.

Is Airfare Included?

TravelTuva tours do not include the cost of airfare.  We are available to consult your travel itinerary and highly suggest that you contact us to ensure ease of transportation, as travel to Tuva requires specified knowledge to smoothly accomplish.

Do I Need a Visa?

The Russian Federation requires foreign tourists to apply for a visa in advance of their travel to Russia.  Please contact us for a visa consultation BEFORE purchasing your airline tickets or booking your tour to Tuva.

Are There Any Special Visa Application Requirements or Instructions I Need to Know About?

Most foreigners who apply for a Russian Visa require a letter of invitation and proof of travel/health insurance.  TravelTuva is available to consult as you prepare your visa application.  Additionally, travelers who intend to visit any of Tuva’s regions that share the border with Mongolia require a special “Border Zone” permit, for which travelers must apply a minimum of 60 days in advance.  Please contact TravelTuva if you intend to travel to a border region, and we will consult and aid in the border permit application process.

Are There Any Discounts Available?

Any group numbering 8 and over will receive a 5% discount.

What Are Your Cancellation and Refund Policies?

As the Ministry of Culture and Tourism requires a 50% deposit to hold reservations, TravelTuva can only ensure a 50% refund for cancellations.  For more information, please feel free to contact us.

Are Travel, Medical, and Evacuation Insurance Policies Included?

TravelTuva does not provide insurance of any kind.  We do provide registered travelers a list of recommended travel insurance providers who offer policies that provide coverage in the Russian Federation.

Can I Use My Existing Health Insurance?

Please contact your current health insurance provider for your current health care plan.

What Vaccinations Are Required to Travel in Tuva?

TravelTuva cannot provide medical advise.  We highly encourage each client to seek medical advice from their health care provider well in advance of travel in order to address any health issues/considerations.

What Should I Pack?

Your packing list depends entirely on your travel goals.  TravelTuva will provide a suggested packing list once you book your tour and develop an itinerary with TravelTuva administration.

How Will I Meet Up with TravelTuva Hosts When I Arrive?

TravelTuva hosts meet TravelTuva clients at the airport in either Abakan or Krasnoyarsk and provide transportation to Kyzyl.

How Far Is Tuva from the Nearest Airport?

The nearest airport is an 8 hour drive away from Tuva in Xhakhasia. Kyzyl does have an airport but flights into Kyzyl are not as regular as flights into Abakan or Krasnoyarsk.

How Long Is the Flight from Moscow to Siberia?

Depending on the Siberian city into which you fly, you can expect between a 5 and 6 hour flight from Moscow to Siberia.

I Have Special Dietary Needs.  Will This Be An Issue?

While Tuva’s capital offers cosmopolitan restaurants that cater to a variety of dietary needs, those with highly specialized diets will experience difficulty fulfilling their needs.  Travelers who require vegan or gluten free foods will experience particular difficulty as even vegetarian options in Tuva are often prepared in animal fat.  Once travelers leave Kyzyl, dietary options are restricted to foods found in herding camps: meat, potatoes, breads, and various dairy products.  Though much of Tuvan food is extraordinarily delicious and locally sourced, those who cannot eat diary or dishes heavy in meats will certainly need to pack their own foods.