Baikal winter dream
During this tour you’ll see the most beauties of wintry Baikal, ride over the ice of frozen Baikal by snowmobile and feel its vastness, experience dog-sledding on Baikal and spend night at the warm wooden houses, try Russian Banya, explore icy grottoes of Olkhon island, try ice-fishing and have a UAZ-car excursion to the northernmost of Olkhon island. It is a nice combination of activities and leisure at the same time!
Middle of February - end of March;
Duration: 9 days
Places: Baikal lake; Maloye more; Olkhon; Irkutsk; Listvyanka;
Activities: Sightseeing; Snowmobiling; Dog-sledding;
Day 1. Arrival. Sightseeing Listvyanka
Arrival to Irkutsk, meeting with your guide and transfer to Listvyanka by car. (about 1 hour ride). On the way to Listvyanka you’ll have a stop in the open air Taltsy museum of wooden architecture which is located at the picturesque shore of Angara river. You will glimpse at lifestyle of Siberians of 16-20 century and their culture. Lunch. Your next stop will be near the Shaman rock - a sacred place among local people. It stands in the widest river mouth in the world – the place where Angara river flows out of Baikal. In Listvyanka you’ll be accommodated at the hotel. Lunch. Sightseeing Listvyanka. Possible visit the Cherskiy rock by a funicular with a great scenery to Port Baikal on the opposite shore. As an option you can visit the Baikal museum if there is time. Dinner, overnight at the hotel. (B, L, D).
Day 2. Snowmobiling and dog-sledding in Listyvyanka
Today you’ll experience the dog-sledding. After you arrive to Baikal Dog-sledding center, our instructor will tell you about the huskies' character, teach you to hitch dogs up correctly and to ride the sled. You’ll see how friendly the dogs are you are sure to find common language with this most devoted and most ancient man's friend! Dog sled riding is not difficult, but requires some training. You will go dog-sledding in wintry taiga forest for about 30 mins ride. The sled can be doubled as expedition type. One person sits on the sleigh and one person controls. You'll be accompanied by instructor. Lunch. After lunch you will experience snowmobiling. You will ride to Circum-Baikal railway over frozen Baikal lake. (due to strong wind conditions or snow regime, the route might be changed for your safety). In the evening at 18.00 you will experience Russian steam sauna - Banya (duration 2 hours). Dinner, overnight in hotel or guest house. (B, L, D).
Day 3. By hover Listvyanka - Peschannaya (Sandy) bay - Buguldeika village
Today you’ll have a ride by hover (inflattable air boat, the safest way to travel on the ice as it can also go over the water). After breakfast we’ll load our luggage on a hover and start to Peschannaya bay - one of the most beautiful places at Baikal both in summer and winter. We'll have a stop on the way near the sights such as Screeper rock, Baklaniy Rock, and others. The hover can ride 60 km per hour, but it depends on the weather, wind and ice regime how fast we'll go. You’ll see different landscapes on the shore – the forests and rocky cliffs as well as small bays. Riding over flat ice is quite fast, but at some places we may meet the fields of hammocked ice, depending on the ice regime which differs every year. Sometimes ice can be black and transparent, which gives a strange feeling of riding over the water. When we arrive to Peschannaya bay you can put on your ice-skates and skate at the deepest ice-skating rink in the world! Sometimes when the wind is strong you can just unfasten your coat and the wind will take you gliding over transparent ice of the lake. We'll have a walk in Peschannaya bay, see the famous "Walking trees", optional climp the Bolshaya Kolokolnya rock which has a beautiful view to the surroundings. Lunch as a picnic. After lunch we'll continue our way. When we arrive to Buguldeika village, you will be accommodated in a guest house. Dinner. Time at leisure. (B, L, D).
Day 4. Buguldeika village - Tageran steppes - Olkhon island
After breakfast you’ll have morning transfer by car to Olkhon island– the biggest island on Baikal lake. It takes about 5 hours to cover the distance of about 200 km. Out way runs partly through the forest, meadows, little villages on both sides of the road, Tageran steppe – unique natural complex with hills, steppes, lonely rocks, caves and lakes. You’ll have a lunch stop on the way in one of the road cafes. For lunch you can try traditional Buryat dish – Pozy (Boozy). Olkhon was originally inhabited by Buryat people, one of Native people of Baikal who are Mongolian physical type. When you arrive to Small sea – part of Baikal which is separated from main part by Olkhon Island from one side and Primorskiy mountain range from another – you’ll cross Olkhon Gate Strait by an ice road. At this part of Baikal there is little snow as winds blow it away from the island. Maximim snow depth can reach 10-15 cm, which happens very rarely. 40 minutes ride will bring you to the central village of the island – Khuzhir. You’ll be accommodated at the hotel/guest house and have some rest. Dinner at the base.(B, L, D).
Day 5. A ride to the northernmost of Olkhon - Khoboy cape
Today you’ll have a day-ride by UAZ cars over the ice to Khoboy (the north of Olkhon). In summer time the road goes on the land but in winter once Baikal is frozen the road lies over the ice. Thus letting you see the incredible iced grottoes and frozen rocks. They are especially beautiful once the sun touches them and they sparkle. Before you reach Khoboy you’ll have several stops on the way to admire the beauty of local landscape. The most popular areKharantsy island with ice grottoes, "Three Brothers" cape with 3 separate steep rocks rising from the water. Khoboy Cape (from Buryat language it means “fang, tooth”) – is the northernmost point of Olkhon Island. It is a spectacular rock which is located near the widest place at Baikal – 79,5 km. At clear weather it is possible to see the opposite shore and rocky outline of Saint Nose Peninsula. This place is also considered as one of the unique places with high energy outcome on Olkhon, as Big and Small Baikal seas meet here. Lunch will be served for you as a picnic. For Buryat people Olkhon island is geographical center of ethnical Buryat territory, it is a sacral center. Still once every 4 years Shamans gather on the island and perform their rituals.Return to the base in the evening. Dinner, overnight. (B, L, D).
Day 6. Sightseeing and rest in Khuzhir
Today you can spend your day exploring Khuzhir village and its surroundings. You definitely have to walk to Burkhan cape (Shamanka rock) at the shore of Baikal. According to a legend this is a castle of the main spirit of Olkhon. It is one of 9 sanctuarities of Asia, center of shaman cult. It is highly respected among native people and shamans. There is a cave inside but it is forbidden to enter it. Right next to Burkhan rock there is a 3 km sandy beach – Saraiskiy bay. You enjoy walking over the ice to Kharantsy island (it is well seen from the shore) which also has beautiful small grottoes easy accessible by ice in winter. Take your time listening to Baikal breath shooting sometimes creating new cracks in its ice shield. Take a walk back and along the streets in Khuzhir to see the atmosphere of a village. There are no paved roads of course, and electricity appeared here just in 2005. You may also visit a local shaman (optional, not included, must be ordered in advance). Dinner. Enjoy watching stars which are incredibly big at the open sky on the shore. Overnight in the wooden houses. (B, L, D).
Day 7. Ice-fishing at the Small sea, ice-skating, visit Ogoy island. Banya.
Today you will spend half day ice- fishing at the Small sea. At 10.00 you will be picked up by a car. The local fisherman will teach you the techniques of fishing Baikal fish in winter, you will try cutting the hole in the ice yourself as well as try fish soup prepared for you. Lunch possible to have on ice. It is also possible to go ice-skating (you should bring your own skates) to explore the shores near-by. After lunch you will be offered to have a ride to observation point of the shore near-by. Return to Khuzhir. The rest of the day you can spend exploring Khuzhir village and its surroundings. If the weather permits you will be taken to Ogoy island with buddhist stupa. This island has beautiful icy rocks from teh sea-side. Take your time listening to Baikal breath shooting sometimes creating new cracks in its ice shield. Banya (Russian steam sauna) in the evening. Dinner, overnight at the base. (B, L, D).
Day 8. Olkhon island - Irkutsk. Sightseeing Irkutsk.
Morning transfer to Irkutsk. Lunch stop on the way. Accomodation in the hotel in Irkutsk. This day you’ll spend in Irkutsk. Today you can relax and feel the atmosphere of Irkutsk – the capital of Eastern Siberia. It is 350 years old this year so the city celebrates its anniversary. It is a small Russian city with a rich history, located on the bank of Angara river, 70 km away from Baikal Lake. Irkutsk used to be wooden in the past. Even nowadays it is one of not many Siberian cities which preserved its wooden outlook. The city has mysterious charm: quiet shady streets with different carved decorations get on nowadays with many-storied modern buildings. Famous Russian writer Anton Chekhov compared Irkutsk to Paris. He said: “As England created London and France - Paris, the same Siberia created Irkutsk”. We’ll visit the historical heart of Irkutsk – the place where it was founded in 1661 and where the fortress was built at the shore of Angara river. You’ll see and can visit the oldest stone structure in Irkutsk – the church of the Saviour. Next to this place is the war memorial with an eternal flame which burns in the memory of Siberians fought in the World War II. Walk along the streets to the embarkment of Angara river – the only river which flows out of Baikal, to the fountain, Lenin and Kirov square, see the monument of Yakov Pockabov – the founder of Irkutsk fortress in the 17th century, souvenir shop, central market… You can have lunch in one of the city cafes. It is also possible to visit one of museum of you would like – Decembrists museum or museum of history. (optional, not included, must be ordered in advance). Dinner in a restaurant. Overnight in the hotel. (B, L, D).
Day 9. Departure
After breakfast you will have transfer to the airport/railway station. (B, -, -).
The price includes:
- English / French speaking guide
- accommodation in hotels: Chalet Listvyanka, Lada or Voskreseniye hotel on Olkhon (double/twin rooms, toilet and shower inside) or similar, hotel in Irkutsk.
- meals according to the programm (B - breakfast, L- lunch, D- dinner)
- transfer from / to train station or airport
- hover / aeroglisseur ride
- snowmobile rent for 3 hours ride and gear equipment
- dog-sledding 30 mins
- UAZ car excursion to Khoboy
- Taltsy museum
- ski lift to Cherskiy rock
- Banya in Listvyanka and Olkhon
- fees for visiting the National park zone
Tour price doesn't include:
- extra transfers not mentioned in the programme (taxi rides)
- Troika ride
- bank transfer fees
- personal insurance
- airplane tickets
- personal expences and souvenirs
Please contact us for the tour price and available dates.
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