tour@expresstorussia.com

Lake Baikal and Olkhon Island

6 days and 5 nights

  • Schedule
    Tour can be started on any day from June 1st to September 30th
  • Route
    Irkutsk - Ust-Orda - Listvyanka - Olkhon - Irkutsk
  • Languages
    English-speaking guide is guaranteed. Other languages are on request.
  • Accommodation
    The following hotel options are available:
    3 stars - tourist lodge
  • PRIVATE TOUR
    This is a private tour, there won't be other people in your group
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Itinerary

June 1 to September 30

We invite you on an exciting trip to Lake Baikal - the youngest ocean of the world. Leave all of your stress back in the city while exploring incredible Baikal nature and enjoying magnificent views.

Day 1

Arrival in Irkutsk
You will be met at the airport or station by our representative and taken to your hotel for check in and lunch.

City Tour including a visit to the Cathedral of the Holy Sign. Apart from ornate and rich iconostasis, the cathedral is famous for its graveyard where you will see the graves of the Decembrists Mukhanov, Beschasnov, Trubetskaya and the Russian Columbus Shelekhov. We will then proceed to the Museum of the Decembrists. The museum is housed in a mansion belonging to one of the leaders of Decembrist revolutionaries - these were Russian aristocracy who were banished to Siberia after their ill-fated attempt in December 1825 to overthrow the Russian Tsar in favor of a Constitutional regime. The museum really gives off an aura of 18th century Russia.

Meals included: lunch

Day 2

After breakfast at the hotel, you will head to Ust-Orda settlement, centre of Buryat culture located 62 km away from Irkutsk. You will visit the Local Lore Museum and learn about the history of different ethnic groups that inhabited the region since the Paleolithic Era. You will learn a lot about the customs, traditions and beliefs of the Western Buryats. The highlight of the trip will be participation in ancient purification ritual with a real shaman.

After lunch at a local cafe, you will head back to Irkutsk

Meals included: breakfast, lunch

Day 3

Breakfast at the hotel
Departure for Listvyanka, a small settlement located on the shores of Lake Baikal. En route to Listvyanka you will also stop for a guided tour of Taltsy - an open air Museum of Siberian Wooden Architecture. The museum´s oldest buildings are the Spass Tower of the Ilimsk Fortress (1667) and the still active Kazan Chapel (1679). As you arrive in Listvyanka, you will proceed to the headwaters of the Angara River to see the famous Shaman Rock and hear local legends about this sacred site. You will then have lunch at a local restaurant serving Baikal fish specialities.

After lunch, you will go on a walking tour around the Listvyanka settlement: you will visit the Church of St. Nicolas the Wonderworker - the guardian angel of travelers, make a stop at a local fish marked, go to the Baikal Ecological Museum to see the lake's flora and fauna. You will also take a trip by cable road to the Chersky Rock observation platform to enjoy a spectacular view of the Lake Baikal. If it is clear enough you will also see the Khamar-Daban mountain range on the opposite shore of the lake.

Overnight in Listvyanka

Meals included: breakfast, lunch

Day 4

On this day you will travel to Olkhon. In the morning, you will go to Irkutsk to catch a public bus that will deliver you to the ferry. The road goes through picturesque green hills of the Pribaikalsky mountain range covered with Siberian taiga and Mongolian-type landscapes of the Tazheranskaya steppe (time en route to the ferry is 4 hours).

Then the ferry will take you across the famous Olkhon Gate that separates Olkhon from the mainland. It will take you about 40 min. to get to the island. On the way you will see both the Maloye (Lesser) and the Bolshoye (Larger) Seas - two parts of Baikal split by Olkhon.

Upon arrival to Olkhon Island you will be taken to the tourist lodge (time en route is 1 hour) to check-in and have lunch.
After some rest you will go on a walking sightseeing tour of Khuzhir settlement and sacred Burkhan Cape (Shamanka Rock), one of the nine Asian shrines that were equally worshipped by Shamanists, Buddhists and Lamaists. You will also visi the local Lore Museum to learn about everyday life and culture of the islanders.
In the evening you will be invited to Russian 'banya' (steam bath) for 2 hours.

Overnights on Olkhon Island

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5

After Breakfast we go to the Khoboy Cape located on the Northern part of the island. The cape is located near the widest part of the lake (79.8 km). On the cape there is a special site (a small platform) that was used for carrying out the tailagan - gatherings of shamans. From the cape visitors can often see Baikal nerpas - fresh-water seals, the lake's only aquatic animals.

On the way to the cape, we will drive through the Sand Tract (20 km north of the Khuzhir Settlement) famous for its sand dunes that stretch 3 km. After visiting the cape, we will have a picnic on the shore and then return to the tourist lodge.

Overnight on Olknon Island

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6

Early breakfast and departure from Olkhon. Transfer to the ferry station for the crossing to the mainland and the trip back to Irkutsk (we will deliver you to the airport or train station; upon request we can arrange extra night at the hotel in Irkutsk).

Meals included: breakfast

Included Sightseeing

These sights are included into the standard package:

Lake Baikal
Ust Orda
Ust Orda

Ust Orda is a Buryat settlement located 62 km away from Irkutsk, in a picturesque valley of the Kuda River. The settlement is famous for being a center of traditional Buryat culture. Local lore museum possesses a rich collection of Buryat artefacts from prehistoric times until nowadays. There is an open-air exposition 'Buryat Peasant Farmstead of late XIX - early XX centuries'

Shamanka Rock
Shamanka Rock

A sacred astral center for the local Buddhists and Shamanists. This is the Holy of Holies for Buryats, generally regarded as one of the 9 sanctuaries of Asia, once called the Altar of Rock, which is believed to be a residence of the major deity of shamanism worshippers - Khan Khute-baabay who is said to have descended from heaven to the earth to rule human destinies.

Olkhon Island
Olkhon Island

Olkhon, the largest island on Lake Baikal, stretches more than one hundred kilometers and divides the lake into 2 parts. The island’s comparatively small territory is a combination of taiga, steppe and even a small desert. Its flora and fauna are unusual. Olkhon has been home to many tribes and peoples of Siberia and Central Asia: the bellicose Huns, Turkis, Kurykans and more. One of the legends connected with the island states that the "Conqueror of the Universe" is buried on the island (Genghis Khan, the great Mongol conqueror of the early 13th century).

Listvyanka
Listvyanka

Listvyanka is a small settlement located on the shore of Lake Baikal. On the way from Irkutsk to Listvyanka there are 3 places of interest. The first is the obo - a sacred place for the local Buryat people. The second is Taltsy - an open air Museum of Russian Wooden Architecture. The third is the famous Shaman Rock (another sacred site) located on the headwaters of the Angara river. Listvyanka is also home to the Church of Saint Nicolas the Wonderworker - the guardian angel of travelers, and the Baikal Ecology Museum with exhibits of the unique fauna and flora that surround the lake. There is also an aquarium which contains different species of local fish and the Baikal nerpa - the earth's only fresh water seal.

Khoboy Cape
Khoboy Cape

The cape is located on the northern part of Olkhon Island near the widest part of the lake (79.8 km). On the cape there is a special site (a small platform) that was used for carrying out the tailagan - gatherings of shamans. From the cape, visitors can often see Baikal nerpas - fresh-water seals, the lake's only aquatic mammals.

Irkutsk
Taltsy Ethnographic Museum
Taltsy Ethnographic Museum

This architectural and ethnographic museum opened its doors to the public in 1980. On the territory of 67 hectares there are over 40 architectural monuments (fortress wall, churches, barns, water mills, parish school, peasant houses) and over 8,000 exhibits that tell about life in the Siberian villages XVII-XIX centuries. The museum often hosts folk festivals, and is also often used by filmmakers because of its authentic look.

Museum of the Decembrists
Museum of the Decembrists

The museum is housed in a mansion belonging to one of the leaders of Decembrist revolutionaries - these were Russian aristocracy who were banished to Siberia after their ill-fated attempt in December 1825 to overthrow the Russian Tsar in favor of a Constitutional regime. The museum is truly evocative of 19th century Russia.

Cathedral of the Holy Sign
Cathedral of the Holy Sign

Apart from ornate and rich iconostasis, the cathedral is famous for its graveyard containing the graves of the Decembrists Mukhanov, Beschasnov, Trubetskaya and the Russian Columbus Shelekhov.

Prices and Terms

All seasons
  hotel 3 stars
1 $2719
2 $1594
3 - 5 $1395
6 - 9 $1165
10-15 $1134
single supplement $537

Included in tour:

  • accommodation at the hotels in Irkutsk (2 nights), in Listvyanka (1 night), and a tourist lodge on Olkhon island (2 nights) on twin-sharing basis;
  • meals according to the program
  • excursions and transfers by an individual car (except for the transfers Irkutsk - Khuzhir settlement - Irkutsk, and excursion to Khoboy Cape)
  • museums entrance fees as per program
  • services of English-speaking guides for the excursions and transfers.

Not included in the tour:

  • International airfare. Our Russian tours are offered as land only where you arrange your own airfare and we meet you at the airport and handle everything else.
  • Passport and visa fees. For US and Canadian citizens, our company offers Full Visa Support. This is where you send us your passport and other documentation and we obtain the Russian visa for you. 
  • Medical and trip insurance
  • Evacuation costs
  • Photography and video fees
  • Food and beverages not included into the itinerary
  • Tips to drivers or guides
  • Items of a personal nature, including alcoholic beverages, laundry and telephone calls
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included.

Payment policy:
To book a tour, 30% deposit is required at the moment of booking. The trip must be fully paid 31 days before departure.

Cancellation policy:
61 or more days before departure - a fee equal to 15% of the entire package will be charged.
60-15 days before departure - a fee equal to 30% of the entire package will be charged.
14 days or less before departure or no-show - a fee equal to 100% of the package will be charged.

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