Photo expedition to frozen Baikal lake
Duration: 10 days

February - end of March;

“A person becomes dumb at the sight of Baikal, because it doesn’t correspond to his ideas: Baikal was located at the place no one could imagine of, and acted on the soul differently than “typical” nature did. It was something special, extraordinary and exceptional. ” - this is what Valentin Rasputin wrote about Baikal during his visit. On this tour we will try to let you "feel Baikal" in a silent spot while sleeping in a tent on iсe listening to Baikal breath and crackling wood in the stove. You will cross Baikal by a dog-sled and relax in natural hot springs. Discover the transparent ice under your feet while ice trekking and visit ice grottoes!

Short itinerary:

Day 1. Arrival to Irkutsk . Transfer to Small sea Walk on ice.
Day 2. Morning shooting of sunrise on Ogoy island. Transfer by UAZ car over small sea to Olkhon island . Ice-fishing. Banya.
Day 3. A ride by 4x4 Uaz car over the ice to the northernmost of Olkhon - Khoboy. Ice grottoes, picnic.
Day 4. Ice trekking with sleds on Baikal. Overnight in ice camp.
Day 5. Ice trekking on ice of Baikal. A ride by 4x4 Uaz car to Ushkaniy islands. Banya.
Day 6. Ride to Saint nose peninsular . Hot springs in Chiviskuiskiy bay.
Day 7.Transfer Kurbulik - Oust Bargoizine - Vydrino village .
Day 8.Crossing Baikal lake by a dog-sled from Vydrino to Listvyanka.
Day 9. Baikal museum. Transfer Listvyanka - Irkutsk. Sightseeing Irkutsk, visit to Ryinok (central market).
Day 10.Departure.

Day 1.

Arrival to Irkutsk. Breakfast in cafe.Transfer to Small sea. Walk on ice.


08.00 - Arrival to Irkutsk - the heart of Siberia. Meeting with your guide.
09.00 - Breakfast in a cafe. Freshly baked sausages, porridge, pancakes and other Siberian delicacies will be served for you.
11.00 - Transfer by car to Small sea of Baikal. (about 250 km, 5 hours).
13.00 - Stop for lunch in a road cafe.
15.00 - Accommodation in hotel.
16.00 - A walk on ice.

Here we meet for the first time with a legendary lake. You will try walking on foot on the ice, crossing to the nearby island. It is unusual to walk on ice on the first day as it seems like walking on the water! But after sometime you will get used to it because it is safe. The ice gets 60 - 100 cm thick at the small sea in winter time.

19.00 - Dinner. Overnight.

Day 2.

Morning shooting of sunrise on Ogoy island. Transfer by UAZ car over small sea to Olkhon island . Ice-fishing. Banya.


06.00 - Photo - shooting of the first light on Ogoy island. On one side on this island there is a rocky part which forms a dragon.
08.00 - Breakfast in a hotel.
09.00 - Ride by UAZ car to Olkhon.

From the road today, we turn to ice and drive to four wheel drives. Our boxed UAZs will be our home, supporter and helper for nearest days. On this day, we discover the protected lake of the Lake Baikal, the Maloye more (Small-Sea). You will visit Ogoy island with Buddhist stupa.

12.00 - Ice-fishing. Fishermen will show you how locals cut the hole in the ice and you may try to fish yourself.
13.00 - Lunch as a picnic with tasting the fish soup.
15.00 - Arrival to Khuzhir - the central village on Olkhon. Accommodation in guest house.

Since ancient times, Olkhon was considered the shamanic land, the sacred center of Buryats, is a chakra of shamanic energy, according to the local beliefs. Underneath the village there is Burkhan rock, which, according to the legend, is a castle of the main God of Baikal - Burkhan.

17.00 - Heat up and try the traditional Siberian steam sauna - Banya.
19.00 - Dinner. Overnight.

Day 3.

A ride by 4x4 Uaz car over the ice to the northernmost of Olkhon - Khoboy. Ice grottoes, picnic.


06.00 - Photo - shooting of the sunrise on Burkhan rock.
08.00 - Breakfast in a guest house.
09.00 - Meeting with a local shaman.
11.00 - Ride by UAZ car to the northernmost of Olkhon island.

This part of the rocky coast is the most spectacular! You will stop at Kharantsy Island, Three Brother's cape with gigantic, ice-covered rock formations (sometimes 3-4 floors of natural ice sculptures built in December by the freezing waters of waves crashing and swirling by stormy winds). Khoboy cape is the northernmost of Olkhon. At this point, the "sea" opens, here is the widest place (80km) of Baikal. In clear weather it is possible to see our future destination - the silhouette of the Saint nose peninsula. From the rocky cliffs, lines of the cracks start on the endless ice cap in all directions. And here it really feels that under your feet is the endless mass of water! The lake ice cover from time to time forms a new crack with long echoes of sound, sometimes with sharp, gunshot-like dribbles.

13.00 - Lunch as a picnic will be offered for you on the ice.
16.00 - We get accommodation in the homestay of Uzury settlement. As we spend the next two days on the ice, we are warmly warmed in the house of the housekeeper.
19.00 - Dinner.

Day 4.

Ice trekking with sleds on Baikal. Overnight in ice camp.


06.00 - We will climb to catch the light of the dawn to the rocky cliff above the village where the breathtaking panorama opens onto the picturesque bay and the endless icefield.
08.00 - Breakfast.
09.30 - We start ice-trekking on Baikal.

Only a minimal luggage (warm clothing, thermos, photo sticks) are pulled on our lightweight sleds, all other packs and equipment are transported with UAZs.

The Baikal's ice and ice surface are indisputably diverse: with no snow, deep ink, blurry white or turquoise with air bubbles, elsewhere in its full thickness with veiled cracks, even farther translucent than freshly polished glass. The last thing to do is a scary - space feeling, a meter of thick, invisible ice, and a mile of crystal clear water beneath our feet! Somehow, long stretches of ravines or extensive icebreakers cross our way, so we have to go there.

13.00 - Lunch.
16.00 - We will start to set a tent camp.

Halfway down the middle of the Bajkál, we will start to set our tent camp. Your help would be appreciated. The lake is a wide here, there is no one to see - it feels like we are on the Arctic. In the middle of March, minus 10 to 20 degrees is expected in the middle of March, so our tent is heated by a wood-fired stove.

19.00 - Dinner. Overnight in tent.

We will provide you with sleeping bags of -15C comfort and -25-30C extreme.

Day 5.

Ice trekking on ice of Baikal. A ride by 4x4 Uaz car to Ushkaniy islands. Banya.


06.00 - Possible to meet the sunrise in the middle of Baikal lake.
08.00 - Breakfast.
09.00 - We will pack our camping equipment and ride by UAZ car towards Ushkaniy islands.
11.00 - Trekking on ice.

In some places the ice is so clear and attractive for ice-trekking. Underneath the ice, we have newer and more surprising forms. The light of the day in March breaks down a bunch of ice cubes over time, and it can melt the dumbbells in the icebox.

You will have ritual "Kiss of Baikal" performed for you at the clearest ice.

15.00 - We will reach the Uskani Islands. Accommodation in a modest shelter of the meteorological station.

Ushkaniy islands is the home of a freshwater seal - Baikal Nerpa. In winter time it is rarely seen though. The meteorological station has a staff of only a few of the four small Uskani islands, which is the center of the lake, the home of the most unpolluted nature conservation area.

19.00 - Dinner. Overnight.

Day 6.

Ride to Saint nose peninsula. Hot springs in Chiviskuiskiy bay.


08.00 - Breakfast.
09.00 - We will continue our way towards the Saint nose peninsula.

On the way we will make a stops in Chivirkuiskiy bay to discover the ice grottoes of some islands.

13.00 - Visit the hot springs of Zmeyovaya bay (Snake bay).

The springs are on the open air. There are two small baths with temperature of water of about 30-40C. Taking a hot bath outside will help you to relax.

16.00 - We are staying at a single settlement in the peninsula, Kurbulik fishing village.
17.00 - It is possible to have a walk in the village. If you are lucky you may visit the only shop once it is open.
19.00 - Dinner. Overnight in guest house.

Day 7.

Transfer Kurbulik - Oust Bargoizine - Vydrino village.


08.00 - Breakfast.
09.00 - Transfer Kurbulik - Oust Bargouzine - Vydrino village. (460 km, 10 hours).

Today we return back to the southern corner of Baikal. We will leave UAZ cars in Oust - Bargouzine and get on mini-van.

13.00 - Lunch in a road cafe with tasting the local cuisine.

Leaving about 500 km south of us, we arrive to Vydrino village (or Tankhoy) in the evening.

19.00 - Dinner. Overnight in guest house.

Day 8.

Crossing Baikal lake by a dog-sled from Vydrino to Listvyanka.


08.00 - Breakfast in a guest house.
09.00 - Packing the equipment and preparing the sleds.
10.00 - We will start dog-sledding and snowmobiling across Baikal lake.

You will get to know Baikal huskies - a special breed which appeared and trained on Baikal lake. The dog-sledding instructors will tell us about the Siberian Husky originally are from Kamchatka, you will know how to hatch the dogs, to control the sled, which is not difficult, but a little practice will not hurt . In the midst of three dozen blue-eyed husky enthusiasts, we'll go to the Baikal for the second time. Our snowmobiles will accompany our backpacks, so you can try this without any unnecessary mechanical power. Here is the narrowest part (40 km away) of Baikal.

13.00 - Lunch on the ice of Baikal.

15.00 - With our dogs team we will reach to the other side, Listvyanka.
16.00 - Accommodation in guest house.
19.00 - We'll celebrate the successful crossing with a hearty dinner and vodka.

Day 9.

Taltsy museum. Transfer Listvyanka - Irkutsk. Sightseeing Irkutsk, visit to Ryinok (central market).


08.00 - Breakfast.
09.00 - Transfer by mini-bus to Irkutsk. On the way you will visit to the craftsman of birch bark.
10.00 - Taltsy museum of wooden architecture.

On the 47th km of Baikal highway you will visit Talci's open-air museum where we can get an idea of the life of the natives in SIberia in the 17-19th century.

14.00 - In the afternoon, we go to the center of Irkutskand visit a big market for Siberian delicacies. You can buy any souvenirs tonight.
19.00 - Festive dinner. Overnight in guest house.

Day 10.

Departure.


09.00 - Breakfast.
10.00 - Transfer to the airport.

It is always a little sad to say "Good-bye" to each other, because for this one week you've found some good friends and Baikal has made some changes into yourself!

Note: If you like comfort travelling then you should search for another tour. Participants must be prepared to basic accommodation, be ready to cold and windy weather, simple meals, night on ice, be well equipped with warm clothes and shoes.
IMPORTANT: In addition to making every effort to keep the above plan, we would like you to be aware that this photo tour takes place in a remote region during the winter. Every year the Baikal freezes differently, and extreme weather and road conditions can transcribe the original timetable. The roadmap is therefore approximate.
You may find some videos about our expedition on our video pade .
Group Size, people Tour price per person, EURO
6 and more on request
The price may vary depending on a season. Please, contact our manager for actual prices.

Tour price includes:

  • Accommodation in guest houses
  • All fees for visiting national park zones
  • All transfers mentioned in the programme
  • Dog-sledding
  • English-speaking guide service
  • Meals during the tour
  • Rent of camping equipment, cooking and food ware
  • Rent of sleeping bag and mat

Tour price doesn’t include extra services:

  • Beverages
  • Extra services not mentioned in the programme

Our guests about this tour:

Szabo Zoltan

Mar 28, 2018

Baikal is magic – that is why I returned as a professional photographer after four visits made 25 years ago. This time (2018 March) we had a 10 member photographer’s group with an ambitious-challenging plan to discover the most exciting ice world of planet Earth in 10 days: to photograph icy landscapes, shoot ice grottos, cross the lake on black ice trekking, overnight in a tent, try ice hole fishing, cook on ice, taste Siberian food, bath in open air hot spring, try banya (Russian sauna), meet real local people (among a shaman) and last day cross Baikal again on Siberian husky dog sledges.
Having an accurate plan and schedule I found and contacted Baikal Amikan travel agency on internet. I skyped with Svetlana, proprietor and head guide of Baikal Amikan and in a couple of days she booked all the accomodation, UAZ cars with experienced drivers, equipment (tent, sleeping bag, sledge, crampons, walking sticks). She even changed Rubels for all of us, as we arrived in Irkutsk on Sunday and the banks were closed.
Our tour went excellent, Sveta and her co-guide Kolya (ask him for the viking game) and our drivers (Vodim and Gyima) treated us well, far more what we expected. We had a stove heated tent in the middle of Baikal, picnics on ice with delicacies of Siberian food, served with hot herbal tea, coffee and berry drinks on the road. Being photographers we had long days, getting up far before sunrise and ending the day in the dark after sunset. Early mornings Sveta was busy with frying blinchikis (pancakes) for us and after a busy day she even was not tired to play her guitar and sing Russian songs for us.
The cherry on top of our Siberian cake was crossing Lake Baikal on husky dog sledges. It was a whole day program in a cooperation with Baikal Dog Sledding Centre. Its owner, Oleg and his staff were our experienced guides escorting our 12-dog sledges with snowmobiles. Being 10 people we were switching to snowmobile, too. It cost us almost a fortune, but we had an awesome experience never to be forgotten!
After our exciting winter tour I would not change anything what Sveta and her staff offered to us. I am very grateful for their enthusiastic work, it is beyond a service, rather a friendship. So, I will cooperate with Baikal Amikan again.
Anyway these are only words – check out our photos (with watermark kincseskamera.hu), will tell you much more about our trip.
PS: We had a safe drive on risky ice for days and were extremely lucky with the weather – try to make an appointment with a shaman the first day of your trip.