Ultimate PackageEverything you can see around lake Baikal
Cross Baikal from West to East and visit the most beautiful sites and see variety of local cultures of the both sides. You will discover magical Nerpas-baikal seals, mysterious Olkhon island, splendid Chivyrkuysky bay, untouched nature of Barguzin valley, indigenous Buryat people, beauty of local Buddhism, joy of Russian old orthodox believers.
- Style of accommodation:
- Private vans/Public buses/Private Boat/Public Boat
- This itinerary can be changed, altered and combined in any convenient way.
Explore famous Olkhon island.
Day 1 – Arrival to Irkutsk. Transfer to Olkhon island 8 hours. drive north 250 km / 155 miles to the Olkhon Island ferry. Lunch en route, served in Buryat village of Elantsi, then make the ferry crossing to Olkhon Island. Explore Khuzir, the island's main village, visit Burkhan Cape and Local Lore museum. Dine on home-cooked grayling, a local Baikal specialty. Our guesthouse accommodation in Khuzir this night is the highest standard available, which means no running water but very nice people. (L / D).
Olkhon is the biggest island of Baikal and the largest lake-bound island in the world. It has become the lake's energetic center. Picturesque landscapes, sandy bays, steep capes with unusual shapes make Olkhon a place to treasure.
There are several settlements and 5 villages in Olkhon island (Yalga, Malomorets, Khuzir, Kharantsi, Ulan-Khushin) inhabited mostly by Buryats. Khuzir is the geographical and administrative center of Olkhon. Population of the island is less then 1500 and consists of fishermen and farmers.
Due to its remoteness, Olkhon island has neither wired nor telephone/radio connection with the mainland. From 2005 cell phones have connection there and the electricity 220V is available 24 hours. Food shops (5) are located on the central/main street of Khuzir.
Olkhon is one of the sacred shamanist center which is also considered a centre of Kurumchinskay culture of VI-X centuries. On the island there are 143 archaeological objects. This land is full of legends and holy places.
Photography & Project by Denis
Day 2 – Khoboi excursion. In the morning depart by Russian military jeeps to explore Olkhon Island and classic Lake Baikal vistas. Heading north, visit Harantsi village and make stops at Peschanka, Sagaan-Khushun Cape, coastal sand dunes and stretches of beach along the way, including the 600'-high cliffs of Khoboi Cape at the northern tip of the island. After a picnic lunch in Uzuri bay, return back to Khuzir. Dinner and night in Khuzir. (B / L / D)
Day 3 – Pick up by a boat. Sail to Uhkanie islands to see Baikal seals in wild. Night on board. (B/L/D)
See unique Baikal seals "Nerpas" in wild!
Photography & Project by Denis
The Ushkany Islands have the status of a natural wildlife sanctuary. In spite of the islands’ strict protection rules and entrance fees about 150 people come here annually to see nerpa. The western side of the Narrow Island is their all-time favorite resting place. The average number of seals there reaches 2 thousand heads. Nerpa is usually cautious and has very keen hearing, so tourists must be as quite as mice, otherwise it hurries to dive into water and disappears. This cute animal won’t leave anybody indifferent. That’s no wonder nerpa is the symbol of Lake Baikal!
Day 4 – Chivyrkuysky Bay sailing. Embarking to see real fishermen villages. Transfer from Monakhovo village through whole Zabaikalsky National Reserve to Ust-Barguzin village. Traditional russian steamed sauna Banya. Family stay.
Day 5 – Excursion to Barguzin valley visiting Yanzheema Buddhist sacred natural relics.
Day 6 – Transfer to Ulan-Ude. Ivolginsky datsan and Old Believers, cultural show. Stay in hotel.
Experience the most Russian Russians' hospitality
Russian history was always not the easiest one, but there is something that deserved a special mention, the Old Believer phenomena. After Great Church Splitup back in 16th century, part of russian people who didn't obey new rules were highly repressed and forcefully exiled to Siberia. Buryatia to be exact. Since then these families had lived in isolation keeping their religion and of course old russian culture. Whereas orthodox Russia kept changing, OldBelievers did not.
Photography & Project by Denis Sobnakov