Forest Boy of the Altai Siberia

A young man is being called ‘Forest Boy’ in media stories as a Kipling-esque moniker to describe the young Russian who recently emerged into Siberian society. The 20-year old says he lived in a hut, alone with his parents in the Altai wilderness, since the family dropped out of society in 1997 when he was about four years old. His parents left the hut in May 2013 and have not returned. Forest Boy ventured out at the end of summer to find other people due to his concern that he would not survive the Siberian winter living alone in the hut.

The story caught my travel writer attention after triggering a memory of visiting the Altai Region tourism booth at ITB Berlin travel tourism convention last March.

The Altai Region of Siberia, Russia

The Altai Region where ‘forest boy’ lived 16 years in a cabin in remote Siberia is a place not too far, 100 to 200 miles or so, from the borders of Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan located to the south. The Altai  Republic is a mountainous terrain of forests and river valleys, lakes and glaciers in an area comparable in size to Maine or Indiana at around 35,800 square miles. Altai Krai has steppes and forests and at 65,000 square miles is about the size of Florida or Wisconsin. Together these two regions of Russia are the size of Colorado or Oregon. Around 2.5 million residents live in Alta Krai and another 200,000 residents in the Altai Republic  of southwestern Siberia in the border region of Russia with central Asia.

The Altai Region receives about 1,000,000 visitors annually, primarily from Russia.


Altai, Russia photo from Altai Region tourism display ITB Berlin 2013.


Belokurikha is the Altai Krai town where ‘Forest Boy’ found society.


The Altai Republic is popular for spas and mineral baths and skiing. Fresh wilderness water is the region’s most valued resource. The Altai region is one of the least populous regions of Russia.


Altai Region, Russia tourism booth, ITB Berlin. I remembered the trees.




This woman was standing near the Altai Region booth in native dress when she was stopped by a crowd of photographers wanting her picture at ITB Berlin. I think she might have been representing some other area in central Asia.

There is so much in the world to see and experience. Although I have never been to the Altai Region of Siberia in Russia, the ‘Forest Boy’ story combined with ITB Berlin Tourism Convention this past March made the story a little more meaningful for me.

Altai Krai — perspective tourist region of Russia Altai Region Official Site – Tourism.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

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