7-day Snowmobile Expedition


Difficulty

Comfort
7 days
Age 16+
February - April

Tour Overview

This tour takes a group of snowmobilers on a real adventure through southern Baikal’s most spectacular scenery, including the sacred island of Olkhon. The group will use Arctic Cat snowmobiles to travel on the frozen lake surface, through taiga forest, along river valleys and over mountain passes. Guests will pass towering cliffs, 3,000-year old rock paintings, many different ice formations and dozens of rocky islands. They will do two complete crossings of the lake, one from the west shore to the eastern shore and one from east to west.

Highlights

  • Snowmobiling among islands, forested river valleys and over mountain passes
  • Visiting Olkhon Island, the most beautiful spot on Baikal
  • Wondering at Baikal’s towering cliffs and myriad ice formations
  • Discovering 3,000-year old rock paintings
  • Receiving professional instruction in snowmobile driving
  • Marvelling at the engineering feats of the Circum-Baikal Railway
  • Overnighting at an ice station in the middle of Baikal
  • Tasting local delicacies at a table made of ice
  • Exploring isolated Siberian villages
  • Crossing Lake Baikal from east to west and west to east
  • Visiting sacred Buddhist and shamanic sites
  • Witnessing a Buryat shaman ritual as an extra if desired
  • Relaxing in natural hot springs and traditional Siberian bath houses

Itinerary

Day 1: Snowmobile from Listvyanka to Seredina ice station

Transfer from Irkutsk airport to Listvyanka. Breakfast, meeting with guides and briefing on the route. Fitting of helmets, clothing and boots. Pack luggage onto snowmobiles. Ride in an organised column past the mouth of the Angara River to the Circum-Baikal Railway and on to Seredina, a temporary Station built on the frozen surface of Lake Baikal. Dinner of local home-made delicacies and hot tea in the middle of the lake. Overnight.

Day 2: Ride through forest, river valley and over mountains

Breakfast then one hour’s snowmobile ride on ice. We then leave the lake surface to continue on a track through the taiga forest. We follow a river valley for a while before crossing the Primorskiy mountain chain at Chyorniy Pass. Upon descending we eat a hot lunch in a tiny cottage in a little village on the shore of Lake Baikal. We then continue on ice north up the lake’s western shoreline until we reach the village of Bolshoe Goloustnoe. On this day we pass some of southern Baikal’s most spectacular scenery. Dinner and overnight in wooden cottage.

Day 3: Follow west coast via rock paintings to Aya Bay

After breakfast we continue north up the western shoreline of Lake Baikal, passing some of the lake’s most beautiful ice formations and forest scenery. After a lunch on the way we come to the Sagan-Zaba rock paintings, made over 2,500 years ago by the ancestors of the indigenous Buryat people. We pass the mouth of the River Ange and the sacred mountain Yerd. Overnight and dinner at a local guest house in Aya Bay.

Day 4: Male More and Olkhon Islands

Today we head towards Maloe More, an area of Baikal with a huge number of rocky islands with high cliffs. We ride through the islands of Maloe More to reach the biggest one – the sacred island of Olkhon, inhabited by the indigenous Buryat people. Widely considered to be the most scenically beautiful place on Baikal, we will devote the day to exploring Olkhon. First we will head north, passing numerous areas of high cliffs, offshore islands and indigenous villages of log cabins. We may even see wildlife such as Siberian stags on the way. After visiting the northernmost capes of the island we will turn back south to the village of Khuzir, where we will have lunch. After lunch we go off on the ice exploring the Maloe More islands and the sacred Shamanka rock before heading back to overnight in Malomorskaya campus.

Day 5: Cross to the eastern shore and Sukhaya hot springs

Today we head south-east towards Baikal’s eastern shore. We cross the deepest part of the lake (1637 metres). Picnic lunch on the way. In the afternoon we arrive in the village of Sukhaya with its natural hot springs. Dinner, bathing and overnight.

Day 6: Cross to western shore and Listvyanka then transfer to Irkutsk

Ride south to the Selenga River delta. From here we cross Lake Baikal on ice from east to west. Depending on the ice conditions, the weather and the condition of the group we may leave the ice at Buguldyeyka, Goloustnoe or Listvyanka. We will organise a transfer back to Irkutsk from any of these three places, aiming to arrive in Irkutsk no later than 9pm. Overnight in hotel.

Day 7: Depart from Irkutsk

Transfer to Irkutsk airport. Service ends here.

Price

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Price includes:

  • All transport in Irkutsk

  • Rental of snowmobiles

  • All accommodation

  • Two instructor-guides with their own

  • Snowmobiles, petrol and all expenses

  • All food

  • Invitations for Russian tourist visas

  • Use of traditional Russian bath houses twice

  • During the route

  • Rental of clothing, boots and helmets

Price does not include:

  • Flights or train tickets to and from Irkutsk

  • Personal expenses

  • Personal travel insurance

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