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  #1  
Old 24 Jan 2007
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Kosh Agach (Altai) to Khandagayty (Tuva) - Anyone done??

Hi

Has anyone taken the track from Kosh Agach in Altai to Khandagayty in Tuva?

What were the road conditions like?

How easy was the track to follow (i.e. getting lost, losing the track?)

How many river crossings were there, and how deep?

Were any special permits required?

Does anyone have GPS waypoints?

Thanks for your help.

Dan
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  #2  
Old 29 Jan 2007
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Kosh Agach to Khandagayty

Hello

I failed in November 1998! I was (mostly) hitching around the world then.

I visited the mountaineering association in Gorny Altai who gave me an excellent map and said I should get a border zone pass in K A. I took the bus (what a landscape!) and found the 'hotel', 2 very simple rooms, earth closet behind the shop nearby and it got warm by morning, when cold water was brought to wash from a tin basin in the corridor. Cost 1 dollar.

Next day I applied at the local military base (helpful and friendly), but the superior officer with authority was - visiting the M. A. in G-A!!! (perhaps they had told him I was coming and he wanted to discuss it with them). So I was told to come back next day for his reply by radio, and to get a hot shower - my first in the Republic of Altai as the hotel in G-A had no water.

The answer was no, due to 3m snow and high winds on the passes, their own patrols were then cancelled. The officers spent their time playing simple computer games like tetris. I was invited to return during better conditions when I could if I wished join one of their patrols! Now I am sure it is very different under Putin. His FSB (ex KGB) has been given sole control over all the widened border zones.

However, I got to Tyva through Russia - getting there by hitching the back road from the Republic of Khakassia. I got arrested by the young Tyvan internal border guards who had never seen a business visa (the most flexible for travelling then) and had no comms or transport. After a sleepless night in their hovel they sent me in a passing truck to Ak Davorak, where I got a formal official apology - eventually, after threatening an international diplomatic incident. On arrival in Kyzyl I went as always to the English dept at the uni, where I ended up with a job and stayed 2 years!!!

I did actually get around the world with my thumb, rucksack and tent - and a young Tyvan lady!

After that I went to the Republic of Kalmykia, also Mongol Buddhist but in Europe, and also taught for 2 years, got involved in pro-democracy activity, threatened with up to 4 years in prison and now can't get a visa. My partner is a Kalmyk though, so I have an excellent souvenir!

Best wishes - get in touch if you think I can offer any useful info.
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  #3  
Old 3 Jun 2011
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Hello,

thanks for the information I found here. I would like to do the same: get from Altai to Tuva. In the Lonely Planet is almost no information. I would like to take a bus or go hitching. In August - so no problems with snow. Remains the question: how long does it take and is there enough traffic?

Thanks a lot!
Bernd
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  #4  
Old 4 Jun 2011
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See here for more information in the posts and links. http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...nd-altay-57161

You are probably safe from snow - or at least problematic quantities. We camped the night on frozen ground overlooking the still completely frozen Lake Khindiktig Khol (2400+ m) in very late June. There were patches of snow and ice around. Nearby passes and hills are a bit higher.

Apart from a few horseman, we only come across one van/minibus while off route looking for the all important bridge. I think it was a group of farming people returning from somewhere. Other than that, and two local lads on an old motorbike, we saw no other vehicles along the entire route between Kosh Agach and the Chadan/Khandagayty road.

It took us 3 full days riding motos, albeit not always fast but as fast as conditions allowed.

Thumbing might be a long journey - although in such remote areas all vehicles will stop to ensure others are OK and the wild induces a spirit of co-operation among all people there, sadly lacking in most peoples everyday lives.
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  #5  
Old 4 Jun 2011
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Hi Tony,
thanks a lot for the information. That's exactly what I wanted to know.
I would do it on motorbike or with more time on a horse. But as I thought - apart from the fact that everyone gives a ride in remote areas - there is not enough traffic for hitch-hiking.

Cheers, Bernd
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  #6  
Old 4 Jun 2011
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Bernd, you might be able to find a UAZ 4WD minibus that does an occasional journey between Kyzyl Khaya and Kosh Agach and back for Tuvans that want to do shopping and see the outside world and the return. The problem for you will be seeing anything. If you find the minibus thing, you will be crammed in the back with people returning from the market in Kosh Agach. Drivers will not stop to let you take pictures. Doing it without your own transport will be a very different experience. And I cant see it being better in any way. If the Tuvans in the minibus start drinking and getting aggressive, you will wish you werent there!

Your best bet might be to offer the driver extra to sit in the front and then at least you would see some of the amazing scenery, and give you some minor degree of separation from the alcoholism.

But that will not take you over "the bridge" or past the amazing Khindikhtig Khol lake - all of the best bits ... the 4WD route will be to Kyzyl Khaya. From there you should be able to find a lift to Mugur Aksy within 3-4 hours. But good luck getting a lift from Mugur Aksy to Khandagayty ! That wont be so easy.

There is just no substitute for your own transport in places like that! You have very limited freedom without it.

You will also still need all the border permits between Kosh Agach and Khandagayty, even when hitching, as the permits are for the movement of people, rather than vehicles.
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Old 5 Jun 2011
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Dear colebatch,

also thanks to you. After what I heard I think it's just not realistic to do this trip hitching. I guess I will either skip Altai or Tuva and probably do it on another trip one day.
Cheers, Bernd
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  #8  
Old 5 Jun 2011
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Altai will be mush easier to hitch around than Tuva
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