Olkhon Island winter tour


Difficulty

Comfort
6 days
Age 12+
January - April

Tour Overview

This tour takes guests to Olkhon Island to many of Lake Baikal’s most scenic, photogenic and culturally interesting places. The trip includes vehicle rental for 14 hours every day with the opportunity to go out at 5am every morning to photograph the sunrise at several of Olkhon’s most stunning locations. For those who prefer to sleep in they can join the others after breakfast for the main activities of the day.

Highlights

  • Starting in the historical Siberian city of Irkutsk
  • Exploring the Maloe More islands off Olkhon Island’s coast
  • Discovering Shamanka and other sacred Buryat sites
  • Photographing the sunrise and sunset in different locations every day
  • Spotting wild animals such as the Siberian stag
  • Viewing all the most scenically breathtaking spots on Olkhon
  • Visiting picturesque indigenous villages of log cabins
  • Marvelling at numerous different types of ice formation
  • Staying in the area’s most comfortable hotels
  • Experiencing conditions in a real Siberian winter
  • Witnessing a two-hour Buryat shaman ceremony on the lakeshore
  • Ice fishing on Lake Baikal with indigenous Buryat villagers

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Irkutsk and transfer to Olkhon Island. Photography of Olkhon’s offshore islands and sacred Shamanka rock

Transfer from Irkutsk airport to restaurant for breakfast. Receive sim cards. Next transfer to Olkhon Island and check in to Baikal View Hotel. Lunch on the way. Transfer to the Male More (Small Sea) area. Photography of ice, islands, lake shore and Shamanka rock – a huge pointy island cutting out of the lake and one of the most sacred spots on Baikal for the indigenous Buryat people. Dinner at hotel restaurant.

Day 2: Spectacular scenery, remote villages and wild animals

5am transfer to Uzury village in the north-east of Olkhon Island. Possibility to see wild animals such as Siberian stag on the way. Photography of sunrise over the frozen lake in the Bolshoe More (Big Sea) area.

Return to Khuzir village and witness ceremony by local Buryat shaman then transfer to the south of the island. Stops on the way to photograph the beautiful Elgay Cape, Lake Hanhoi and a sacred place where a lonely birch tree grows in the middle of an otherwise treeless landscape. Arrive at the Heart Shore, so-named due to the large number of heart-shaped stones to be found here. Hot cooked lunch and tea on the ice. Ice fishing with locals.

Transfer after lunch to Nurskoe Lake, where the ice is always full of large frozen bubbles. Photography of sunset here, if desired we can also climb to the top of the “Boar’s Head”, the highest place on the south of the Lake. Dinner in hotel and overnight.

Day 3: Ice driving between offshore islands and remote villages

5am transfer by driving on ice to Oltrek island in the Male More (Small Sea). Sunrise with a view on the western coastline of Olkhon. Transfer to the north of the island by way of picturesque Buryat villages of Khuzir and the much smaller Kharantsy, a tiny collection of traditional wooden cottages. Stop in the hotel on the way if required. Arrive at Khoboy Cape and transfer by ice to Cape Sagan-Hushan, Butu Orsa, Edor Island and Modoto Island. Stops for photography and lunch whenever required. In the afternoon transfer from Modoto Island back to Khuzir, where the hotel is located. Photography of sunset over Khuzir and Shamanka rock.

Day 4: River valleys, offshore islands and ice caves

Transfer to the breathtaking Tashkinay Valley to photograph the sunrise. Return to Hotel then transfer by ice to Ogoi Island, stopping on the way to photograph numerous ice caves and grottoes. Return for lunch at the hotel at 2pm. At 3pm transfer to Zamogoy island to photograph the sunset. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 5: Sunrise above Ogoi Island then transfer back to Irkutsk

5am transfer to Ogo Island to photograph the sunrise. Check out of Baikal View Hotel at 09:45am and transfer to Irkutsk. 2-hour city tour. Dinner and overnight at Marriott Hotel.

Day 6: Transfer to Irkutsk airport or train station

Transfer to airport and fly out of Irkutsk.

Price

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Price includes:

  • All transport in Irkutsk, to Olkhon and on Olkhon

  • Rental of vehicles with drivers, petrol and all drivers’ food, accommodation and expenses

  • Ensuite twin rooms in Baikal View Hotel

  • Ensuite twin rooms in the Marriott Hotel

  • English-speaking translator with all their food, accommodation and expenses.

  • All food. This includes two breakfasts every day on Olkhon.

  • Invitations for Russian tourist visas

  • Shaman ceremony on Olkhon

  • Ice fishing on Olkhon

  • SIM cards with 5gb data, 30 minutes of calls and a few SMS

Price does not include:

  • Flights or train tickets to and from Irkutsk

  • Personal expenses

  • Personal travel insurance

  • Clothing or equipment

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