from 1700 USD
July - August
Three religions of Baikal
This journey will discover the great Lake Baikal in all its wide diversity – natural and cultural. Old streets and churches of Irkutsk city, the Buddhist rites and the Shamans' sacred places as well as Siberian taiga, sand dunes and picturesque rocks — Baikal will open its deepest scenic corners to you and tell you its ancient legends. This journey is a circular route around the lake, starting from Irkutsk and passing through Buryatia and Trans-Siberian. For travellers Lake Baikal offers not only hundreds of amazing natural sites. Also the Baikal region is considered to be a confluence of different religions. The most spread of them are the Orthodoxy, the Buddhism and the Shamanism. You will get acquaintance with the way they remain intact in the spirit of peaceful coexistence and how they are intimately entwined in the life of local people.
Day 1. Old Irkutsk
After meeting at the airport you will be taken to the hotel. Here you could rest after the flight and have lunch in the restaurant (not included).
Afternoon you will have an excursion with the guide in the centre of Irkutsk. You will visit the most worth seeing places: the Decembrists' museum, Orthodox churches, quay of the Angara river, wooden houses, central markets. You will feel the particular atmosphere of the city, listening to the bells ringing in the Church of the Savior.
In the evening you will go back to the hotel and have dinner (not included).
Day 2. Taltsy museum and the first meeting with Lake Baikal
After breakfast you will meet with your guide and driver and depart to Listvyanka village situated on the bank of Lake Baikal near the mouth of the Angara river.
Then you will visit the open-air museum Taltsy, that represents a typical Siberian village of XVIII-XIX century. The museum has become the place of the conservation of the popular culture monuments.
Having arrived to Listvyanka village, you will accommodate in the guest house, have lunch (not included) and rest. After that you will have free time to get acquainted with the village, visit the fish and souvenir markets.
Optionally you can go to the nerpinarium (seal park show) or take a boat excursion (extra charges). Also it is possible to visit The Church of St. Nicholas that was built in the beginning of the XIX century. In the evening you will return to the guest house and have dinner (not included).
Day 3 Baikal crossing in its southern part
After breakfast you will go to the berth and get on board of a speed boat. You will cross Lake Baikal from Listvyanka to Tankhoy village, navigating about 35 km to the eastern coast of the lake to the Republic of Buryatia.The crossing will take about 1 hour.
Having arrived to Tankhoy village you will have time to walk along the shore and take pictures. Then you will continue travelling to Ulan-Ude city. On route you will have lunch in a Buryat cafe (not included), where you could taste the traditional cuisine: posy, chebureki, Buryat tea, etc.
In the evening you will arrive to Ulan-Ude, check in the hotel and have dinner (not included).
Day 4 Centre of Buddhism in Russia
After breakfast you will visit Ivolginsky Datsan. It is the main Russian Buddhist temples complex outside the city located in a picturesque steppe. Here you could get acquainted with the Buddhist culture. This Datsan serving the most important place of worship in Buryatia is the centre of Buddhism in Russia.
Then you will have lunch, during which you will taste the traditional Buryat cuisine and watch the performance, presented by a local folk group. After that an excursion to the Old believers village is waiting for you. The villagers have managed to keep the culture and traditions of the ancient orthodox Russia. They are known for their very specific singing style, unique architecture and costume and, of course, cuisine.
In the evening you will return the hotel and have dinner (not included).
Day 5 Journey to Ust-Bargouzin village
After breakfast you will check out and depart to Ust-Bargouzin. It is a small village, located on the bank of the Barguzinsky gulf, the deepest and the largest one on the whole area of lake Baikal.
On route you will have lunch in a Buryat cafe (not included), after that visit the museum of Buryat history.
At 3 pm you will arrive to Ust-Bargouzin and stay at the local guest house. In the evening you will visit the Russian banya and have a homemade dinner.
Day 6 Barguzin valley
Today you will have a free day in the village. It is a good opportunity to walk along the coast and to get acquainted with the authentic life of the Baikal village.
Optionally we can suggest you a cruise to Ushkany Archipelago to observe freshwater seal. Also you could ascent the summit of Svyatoy Nos Peninsula ("Holy Nose" 1877 m high) or have an excursion to Barguzinskay Valley. These activities are paid additionally.
In the evening you will visit the Russian banya and have a homemade dinner.
Day 7 Baikal crossing from the east to the west
After breakfast you will move to the port and board on a on private comfortable boat. You will be sailing for several hours before reaching the Olkhon island. On the board you will have a delicious hot lunch.
You will cross Lake Baikal in its widest part. This great cruise will really allow you to sail in the geographical centre of the lake.
At 4 pm you will arrive to Khuzhir village, located on the Olkhon island. You will go to the recreation complex, check in the hotel and have dinner.
Day 8 Sacred sites for shamans
After breakfast you will have an excursion by 4X4 (UAZ) to Khoboy Cape, the northernmost point of Olkhon, sacred place of the shamans. The trip will allow you to discover the beauty of the Maloye More (Small Sea) and its islets, also places of worship of shamans.
You will stroll towards the cape and have lunch outdoors. Then you will return to Khuzhir. On route you will visit the Uzury area and observe the meteorological station located here. The road passes through steppes, beaches and taiga.
In the evening you will have dinner and rest.
Day 9 Rest at the Olkhon island
This day is a good possibility to walk along the coast and to get to know the authentic life of the Baikal village.
Optionally we can suggest you an excursion to the Ogoy island (extra charge). You will depart by boat the Ogoy Island to discover the Buddhist Stupa raised at the highest spot of island. A Buddhist stupa is an object of worship and means "a support for gifts". It is believed that if you go around the stupa three times expressing your respect to it and make a wish, it will come true.
In the evening you will have dinner and rest.
Day 10 Departure
After breakfast you will move to Ust-Orda village by minibus. Have lunch in cafe and visit the ethnographic museum of Ust-Orda.
At 3 pm you will meet with the shaman and take part in a real shamanic rite. This unusual acquaintance with the shamanism culture will finish your journey to Lake Baikal. Then you will be transferred to the city centre of Irkutsk or to the airport.
The cost of the tour includes:
Accommodation as per itinerary
Meals as per itinerary
Transport as per itinerary, including transfer from airport/railway station
English-speaking guide services
Letter of invitation
Excursions and visits as per itinerary
Reserves and national parks entrance permissions
- Bathhouse (days 5-9)
Airline tickets to Irkutsk
Visa fees and travel insurance
Single accommodation at hotel and guest house
Personal expenses and tips
Excursion on the Ogoy island (day 9)