Duration: : 6 Days / 5 Nights
Day 1 :Arrival in IrkutskYou 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. Dinner and Free Time.
Day 2Breakfast at the hotel
Departure for Listvyanka, a small settlement located on the shores of Lake Baikal. En route to Listvyanka we will also stop for a guided tour of Taltsy - an open air Museum of Russian/Siberian Wooden Architecture. The museum´s oldest building is the Spass Tower of the Ilimsk Fortress (1667) and the still active Kazan Chapel (1679). We will also stop by an obo (a sacred place for locals). We will then proceed to the headwaters of the Angara River to see the famous Shaman Rock (another sacred site for locals). You will visit a market where locals sell smoked fish from the lake as well as local crafts.
We then check in at the hotel and proceed to lunch in a wooden, waterfront restaurant "Proshli Vek" (fish and vegetarian menus available). After that, we will visit the Church of Saint Nicolas the Wonderworker - the guardian angel of travelers. We then go to the Baikal Ecology Museum.
Return to your hotel. Dinner and Free Time
Day 3Breakfast at the hotel
Check out from the hotel
Departure for the boat station to start the aquatic part of our journey towards Sand Bay (6 hrs sail). Sand Bay is a natural landmark often called the Siberian Riviera. It is the only place in entire eastern Siberia where the average annual temperature is above zero Celsius (+ 0.4C).
Upon arrival we will visit the bay and the neighboring Babushka Bay and take a light hike to the Big Belfry Cliff located nearby. Return aboard. Dinner and Overnight.
Day 4We will now sail towards Olkhon Island. En route, we will stop for sightseeing at the white endomorphic Sagan-Zaba cliff to see ancient rock paintings dating back to the 3rd century BC. The rock drawings are the most complex among drawings found across the huge expanse from the Ural mountains to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Return aboard. Lunch. Arrival at the Khuzshir Settlement located on Olkhon Island. Transfer to the yurt camp (yurts are felt tepees used throughout Siberia and Central Asia by the local nomadic peoples).
Dinner followed by a Russian Banya (optional) and Overnight.
Day 5After 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 camp.
Upon request, we will organize a meeting with a local "white" Shaman who conducts the right of purification and communication with deceased relatives (optional). Shamanism is the oldest spiritual path on earth. It centers on healing, maintaining the balance and harmony in society and the individual and keeping in contact with Mother Earth and nature. A shaman knows that all things alive still walk with one foot in the spirit world. Overnight.
Day 6Early breakfast. Departure from the yurt camp. Transfer to the ferry station for the crossing to the mainland and the trip back to Irkutsk. En route we will stop to stretch our legs and have a snack in a local cafe. Upon arrival we transfer you to the railroad station or airport
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