Southern Baikal in winter
An adventurous tour to wintry Baikal at the southern snowy part of it. During the tour you will be offered to snowmobile for one day in the forest of near-by mountains, visit the mountain ski resort which is right next to Baikal lake where you can snowboard or mountain ski at the slopes of different level, experience Siberian specialty-Banya right next to frozen Baikal with plunging into the ice hole! Ice-climbing on the frozen waterfall as an option for sportive guests, swim in hot springs and overnights in cozy wooden houses with local charm.
February - end of March;
From January till April;
Duration: 5 days
Places: Baikal lake; Irkutsk; Listvyanka; Khamar-Daban; Tunka valley;
Activities: Sightseeing; Snowmobiling; Snowboarding;
Day 1. Arrival to Irkutsk/Sludyanka. Transfer to Baikalsk.
After you arrive to Irkutsk airport/train station or train station in Sludyanka (those who come by Transsib) you will be met and have transfer to Baikalsk city on the shore of Baikal. The road goes along Baikal lake, climbs up and runs down the hills covered with taiga forests. Baikalsk is a small city located on the Transsib railway, on the shore of Baikal at the foot of Khamar-Daban mountains. You will be accommodated at the family hotel. Dinner, overnight.
Day 2. Morning snowmobile, half day ski-resort, Banya.
After breakfast about 11am you’ll have a snowmobile ride to the forest of the near-by mountains. This
part of Baikal gets lot of snow in winter, and the snowy forest there is fascinating with the snow-covered
branches of trees sparkling on the sun and snow-capped mountains. Your ride will take 1-2 hours.
Lunch in café. After lunch you may buy a ski-pass and do snowboarding or mountain ski at Baikalsk ski
resort – the biggest ski resort at Baikal lake. It is very easy to find and reach as it is well-seen from
away. Everyone will enjoy this place – some may walk around enjoying the beautiful views of mighty
mountains and iced fields of Baikal, while others may rush over the steep slopes in the snow making the
snowy clouds on the turns which take your breath away! The slopes give you freedom, not limited with
anything except safety regulations. Here people feel how soul and body merge with the harmonious
world of nature. In the evening it is possible to relax in Banya with the birch-tree branches and to
experience refreshing snow applying over your hot steaming body! (this is in case I don’t find Banya on
the shore with swimming for you). Overnight in wooden houses, double/twin room
Day 3. Ride in a sled pulled by a horse, cross-country skiing, transfer Baikalsk - Arshan
After breakfast you’ll enjoy a ride in a sled pulled by a horse to the forest. Or if you are quite sportive you may go cross-country skiing. There are prepared ski-routes around. It is quite popular among locals to go cross-country skiing as there is usually enough snow for that, warm temperatures and beautiful landscape views. After lunch we’ll have transfer to Tunkinskaya valley to Arshan village (about 165km, takes 2.5 hours). It is also at the southern part of Baikal, only another mountain ridge called Sayan (Sayany mountains). The elevation there is higher than Khamar-Daban mountains and the climate and snow regime are different as well. “Arshan” is translated as “healing spring” from the language of Buryat people, who are locals here. In this village there are healing mineral springs, which are more mineralized comparing to mineral springs of Caucasus mountains. In its content, mineral waters of Arshan are carbonate-sulfate-magnesium, they have a lot of trace elements. Healing water Arshan can
be used in bathing, showering and drinking. They help with diseases of the circulatory, digestive,
endocrine and respiratory systems. Accommodation at the guest house in cozy wooden houses. It is
possible to have dinner in the café near-by.
Day 4. Sightseeing Arshan, walk along Kyngarga river canyon, ice-climbing possible, hot springs
Sightseeing Arshan. Arshan is located at the picturesque Kyngarga river. It is possible to take a walk
along the river canyon to the waterfall. The road there goes through the souvenir market and then the
sacred forest with trees decorated with colorful ribbons – an old Buryat tradition. Another sight of
Arshan is Buddhist temple – Datsan, which is behind the village. It is also possible to meet and
privately talk to Lama there if needed. After lunch you’ll have a ride to another buryat village which
is 40 km deeper in the valley – Zhemchug (which means “Pearl” in Russian). There are natural hot
springs located next to Irkut river. When searching for oil in Tunkinskaya valley in the 1950s. near
thevillage was found a well with thermal water with methane content at a depth of 700-800 m.
Nowadays the temperature of water is 37-38C with radioactivity 6Eman. The healing properties of
the source are used in the treatment of diseases of the joints and the nervous system. There are two
swimming pools with healing mineral water and a shared shower at the territory of hot springs. It is
also possible to have a walk to the shore of Irkut river (due to this river Irkutsk got its name). After
taking a bath in hot springs we’ll drive back to Kultuk – a small village on the shore of Baikal, and
then to Irkutsk. We may stop in one of the road cafes to try traditional Buryatish dish – Pozy or
boozy, which are a kind of meat dumplings. Arrival to Irkutsk, accommodation in the hotel.
Day 5. Irkutsk, transfer to the airport
Morning sightseeing Irkutsk. You can walk along the streets and feel the atmosphere of Irkutsk – the
capital of Eastern Siberia. It is more than 350 years old, a 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 manystoried
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”. You may
also walk to central market (Ryinok) to buy Baikal fish, cedar nuts or caviar.
Optional visit to the Irkutsk sea for the dog-sledding. Departure to the airport.
Please contact us for the tour price and available dates.
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