On a winter tour to Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal you will experience the ice talking to you, visit one of the holiest natural places in Asia and be at one with nature.
Winter Baikal will amaze you with its completely transparent ice through which, when close to the coast, you can see right down to the bottom of the lake. It is hard to appreciate the thickness of the ice and some people even experience vertigo, in places it can be up to 1.5 metres thick. The ice is so clear you can take photos through it.
Olkhon is the largest and only inhabited island in Lake Baikal. It is 71km long and up to 12km wide in places. Close to the island is the lake's deepest point - 1,642 metres. The island is celebrated for its mountain scenes, forests, steppe, sand dunes and even its own lake.
Irkutsk → Olkhon Island → Irkutsk
Total distance of the tour: 586km
DAY1 • ARRIVAL IN IRKUTSK
Arrival in Irkutsk. A guide with a sign saying will wait for you in the arrival section of Irkutsk Airport or the Railway Station, depending on your transportation.
Breakfast at a cafe.
City tour of Irkutsk - the highlights of the tour includes:
- Ploschad Kirova – this is the city’s main square where all celebrations are held. In winter the main Christmas tree is placed here and a “snow city" is built.
- City administration building – although this building is rather typical for the Soviet era, its location is rather interesting. Previously one of the largest cathedrals in Russia stood here which had a capacity of 5,000 people.
- 130th Quarter - the touristic part of the city with many historical buildings.
- Irkutsk’s wooden buildings – Irkutsk is famous for its wooden architecture and many 19th century wooden houses, complete with elaborate carvings, have survived. One of the most famous is the Europe House, which is also known as the Lace House due to its delicate wooden carvings.
- Angara Ice-Breaker – this ship was launched in 1900 in the settlement of Listvenichnoe to where it was delivered in pieces from Newcastle where it was built. It is the oldest surviving ice-breaker in the world.
- Ulitsa Karla Marksa – this is the main street in Irkutsk and one of the oldest.
- Znamensky Monastery - this monastery was founded in 1689 and during the Russian Civil War the leader of the Whites Aleksandr Kolchak was executed nearby.
Transfer to Olkhon Island. On the way to Olkhon you will stop at a café where you can try real Buryat cuisine – posy, which are similar to dim sum. You will also see your first glimpse of the ice of Baikal as you make the crossing to Olkhon on the ice road.
Upon arrival in Khuzhir, the largest settlement on the island, you will check into your hotel and have some free time.
Dinner at the hotel.
DAY2 • EXCURSION TO THE CAPE KHOBOY
Excursion to the northern tip of the Island – Cape Khoboy. The cape is located in the widest part of the lake – 79.5km. On the excursion you will see the transparent ice of Baikal as well as unique creations of nature – ‘sokui’ - frozen waves and ripples and ‘torosy’ – jagged plates of ice which form due to changes in the temperature. The shore of Olkhon is beautiful year round and in winter the snow and frozen water add to its charm. Grottos which are inaccessible in summer can now be visited by walking over the ice. Inside the grottos appear magical as they glitter with ice.
Duration: 5 hours | Transportation: by a car
You will have a warm meal while enjoying views of the frozen Baikal.
After the excursion you will have free time on the island. It is a great opportunity to go ice-skating on the lake or just to walk about on it.
Dinner at the hotel.
Night in Khuzhir.
DAY3 • OGOY ISLAND TOUR
Excursion to the southern part of the island to the Maloe Sea. On the route you will pass several islands, grottos, caves and stunning ripples which have frozen in ice. Ogoi Island - this is the largest island in the Maloe Sea located opposite Cape Khorgoy and it is considered to be a source of spiritual energy. At its summit there was once a lighthouse, but today in its place is a white Buddhist stupa of enlightenment. Many people come especially to Olkhon and Baikal on a spiritual journey and to visit this place, believing it will provide spiritual cleansing and replenish their energy.
Duration: 5 hours | Transportation: by a car | Distance: 110km
During the excursion you will have a picnic.
Free time on the island.
Dinner at the hotel.
DAY4 • RETURNING TO IRKUTSK
Transfer to Irkutsk.
Upon arrive in Irkutsk, check-in at your hotel and free time in the city.
Night in Irkutsk.
DAY5 • LEAVING SIBERIA
Flight to Moscow.
• COST OF THE TOUR •
|PRICE PER GROUP||1-2 PAX||3-4 PAX||5-6 PAX||7-8 PAX|
- Individual excursions according to the programme.
- Entrance tickets to the museums
- Transfers in a private car according to the programme.
- Accommodation in a hotel, central location, standard DBL rooms with breakfast.
- 24h emergency support during the tour
- Visa support documents
- Tips for the guides and drivers.
- Optional excursions.
- The tour is available in other languages upon request.
- The tour is possible from mid-November to end of March.
- The tour is not an extreme tour and does not require any special physical preparation.
- Part of the tour takes place in the open air, therefore you should follow advise in terms of required clothing and provisions for winter tours on Baikal.
- All excursions/guided tours included in the itinerary are private which means private guides and private transport along the programme - unless otherwise stated.
- The tour is suitable for travellers with children.
- The prices given below are for guidance only. The actual final cost of the tour will depend on availability. Hotel prices and train tickets may increase or decrease in cost depending on how much in advance you book them.
• CANCELLATION POLICY •
DATE OF CANCELLATION
|FROM 60 TO 45 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||10%|
|FROM 44 TO 15 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||30%|
|FROM 14 TO 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||50%|
|LESS THAN 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||100%|
• OLKHON ISLAND •
|MINI-HOTEL BAIKAL 3* or similar|
Baikal Mini-Hotel has a great location – just 10 minutes from the centre of Khuzhir and two minutes to the shore. Many rooms have stunning views of the lake and the forest. One of the main sites on the island – Cape Burkhan - is located next to the hotel. En-suite rooms are available. It is also possible to order an additional bed. There is a banya on the territory of the hotel. Internet is available in the café for an additional charge.
• IRKUTSK •
|MARUSSIA 3* or similar|
A small, cosy hotel located in the very centre of the city in the main pedestrian zone – the 130th quarter. The hotel is located close to the main street in the city and you can find many cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops nearby. In the hotel there are 14 rooms of two categories. The rooms are designed in the Russian style, mainly out of wood. Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and there is also a café which serves Russian and European cuisine.