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Through the Mountains of Baikal's Wild North


Difficulty

Comfort
8 days
Age 12+
January - May

Tour Overview

Whereas most tourists get off the Trans-Siberian at Irkutsk in the rather spoiled southern part of Baikal, this itinerary takes you to the stark, pristine, mountainous northern part of the lake, 750km further north in and around the BAM town of Severobaikalsk. Guest will travel through spectacular mountain scenery, visit nomadic Evenki reindeer herders, indigenous Buryat villages, sacred shamanic sites, ancient rock paintings, drive across Baikal on the ice from east to west, and more.

Highlights

  • Snowmobiling across the frozen Lake Baikal from east to west
  • Meeting indigenous Evenki reindeer herders
  • Reindeer sledging to the stunning Lake Amur high in the mountains
  • Visiting indigenous Buryat villages on the lake shores
  • Discovering shamanic sites in the forest and mountains
  • Viewing ancient rock paintings
  • Exploring the remains of Stone Age dwellings
  • Climbing a 1990-metre mountain for spectacular panoramic views
  • Overnighting in log cabins next to natural outdoor hot springs
  • Dining on freshly caught Baikal fish

Itinerary

Day 1: Mountain trek for panoramic views, overnight at hot springs

Arrival by train in Severobaikalsk or by flight in Nizhneangarsk.

After a shaman ceremony on the shores of Lake Baikal to bless our trip we depart to the hot springs at Goudzhekit deep in the forest and mountains for a few hours skiing or relaxing in the local hot springs. The water here can reach +50C, whereas the air temperature can be -30C, so you can have an 80 degree difference between your head and body temperatures!

Overnight in small local hotel.

Day 2: Snowmobiling to islands, caves, cliffs, ancient sites and petroglyphs

Snowmobile out onto the ice of Lake Baikal. Visit the Bronze Age red ochre petroglyphs on Boguchan Island. Visit the Ludar caves, once inhabited by the stone age people who painted the area’s petroglyphs and the nearby stone fortifications, possibly left by the Mongol hordes.

After a full day of exploring the islands, caves and cliffs of northern Lake Baikal we head to the small hotel at the stunningly located Kotelnikovskiy hot springs.

Day 3: Crossing Lake Baikal from east to west on snowmobiles

After breakfast, we go for a 60km snowmobile ride and cross Lake Baikal from West to East, ending up on the opposite shore at Tompuda hydrometeorological station where we have lunch and a quick excursion.

We then travel by snowmobile to Turali Cape and its “Singing Sands, several kilomeres of sand dunes where the wind makes bizarre singing noises.

We then travel by snowmobile to Hakusu Hot Springs and their small private hotel, with a stop on the way at Small Samdaki Bay (Shaman’s Cave Rock).

Day 4: Half day at hot springs, half day snowmobiling to Dagary.

Before lunch we have some free time for relaxation in the hot springs after the long snowmobile ride on the previous day. After a lunch of fresh Baikal Omul fish we snowmobile to Dagary, the place where the Angara River flows into Baikal. On the way we stop at the stunning Aya Bay And Froliha Bay. Overnight in a fishermen’s log cabin.

Day 5: Searching for reindeer, foxes, observing or partaking in ice fishing

We spend this day in the vicinity of Dagary, relaxing, snowmobiling, searching for the many wild reindeer and foxes that inhabit the area, ice fishing for grayling and pike.

Day 6: Travel to a camp of indigenous Evenki reindeer herders

This day we will head out to a camp of indigenous Evenki reindeer herders near Lake Amut.

6-hour ride in Russian UAZ vehicle to Noviy Uoyan. Lunch. 4 more hours by Uaz, deeper into the wilderness then the last 6km by snowmobile to the Evenki camp.

Reindeer sledging and ice fishing in the evening. Overnight in log cabin.

Day 7: Reindeer sledging and ice fishing in mountains

Full day with the reindeer herders, observing their work with the reindeer, ice fishing, reindeer sledding through the mountain wilderness.

Day 8: Reindeer sledding and ice fishing in the mountains. Return to Dzelinda.

After breakfast we will head out on reindeer sledges to explore the surrounding mountain wilderness. We will sledge for around three hours before arriving at Lake Balturinda, where we will do a couple of hours ice fishing for a very rare local red fish called Davatchan. After lunch we will do a 2-hour ride back to the reindeer herders camp and a 5-hour drive back to Dzelinda Hot Springs, where we will spend the night.

Day 9: Leave by flight out of Nizhneangarsk or train from Severobaikalsk

Departure by flight from Nizhneangarsk or by train from Severobaikalsk. Any spare time before departure can be spend relaxing at Dzelinda or Goudzhekit hot springs or doing a 6-hour hike up and down Mt. Krugozor, 1990 metres, for a spectacular panoramic view of the northern Lake Baikal. If you have less than 6 hours spare you will still be able to hike up to some amazing views but probably not right to the top.

Price

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Price includes:

  • All transfers and transport, including snowmobiles, UAZ and reindeer sledges, starting and finishing in Severobaikalsk
  • All accommodation throughout the trip
  • All food throughout the trip
  • English-speaking guide
  • Reindeer herders’ fees for hosting us
  • All entry fees and other activities
  • Satellite phone for emergency use only
  • Medical kit
  • Rental of snowmobiling helmets

Price does not include:

  • Flights or train tickets
  • Personal travel insurance or medical insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Satellite phone calls for personal or work purposes
  • Clothing or equipment other than the snowmobile helmet

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