Yenisei: You say ‘eh?’ I say ‘wey hey!’

The Yenisei River. Many of you won’t have even heard of it. But that doesn’t make it any less of a mega river: starting out in Mongolia (!), it’s the main river of three great Siberian ones, and the world’s largest river system flowing into the Arctic Ocean. Anyway; introductions over – we headed its way after our Tian Shan adventure

…And not long after we reached it, sure enough – we were heading down its rapids in rafts.

Now for a bit of geography…

On maps there’s Bolshoy (Big) Yenisei, Mali (Little) Yenisei, and Verkhni (Upper) Yenisei, plus other lesser rivers that connect to the Yenisei system. It all gets a bit complicated – especially since some of the sub-rivers have been renamed; even the excursion guides get mixed up. But we needn’t get bogged down in any of that here.

Our journey went so: We were choppered to the top of Maly Yenisei, and we rafted down to the planned destination for our trip – a village called Belbei. Here’s our route:


Now a little about the water…

Most of the river has water running at a relaxed pace in no hurry at all: perfect for the tourist who also prefers a relaxed pace and to be in no hurry at all (to better take in the surrounding nirvanic tranquility and beauty). But sometimes it’s all just the opposite: rough white-knuckle rapids that get the adrenaline pumping and the muscles aching with all the frantic paddling.

Of course there was other tourist entertainment for us to enjoy – including a mobile banya!

Our ‘Yenisei’ day-to-day life:

Gastronomic delights:

The Sayan Mountains looked exceptionally monumental as we passed them on the river – daily – from dawn till dusk.

That’s enough pics for one day. Coming up – more tales from the Yenisei side…

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