Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
Lake Baikal is the largest of its type in the entire world, and boasts some of Russia’s most spectacular, untouched scenery. This nine-day journey shows you this magnificent natural wonder in all of its glory – and more. Circumnavigate the lake whilst visiting isolated beaches, peering down jaw-dropping cliffs and tackling challenging off-road terrain. After starting out in Listvyanka, it’s then overland and over water to Olkhon Island, the fourth largest lake-bound island in the world. On the way to Zabaikalsky National Park you’ll pass the gorgeous Chivyrkuisky Bay before lapping up the culture at Russia’s centre of Buddhism near the final destination of Ulan-Ude.
Kick off this nine-day tour of Baikal with a morning meeting with your guide (either at the airport or train station), who’ll help you transfer to your hotel in Listvyanka, a port town close to Irkutsk. After lunch, there is a half-day sightseeing trip around town, taking you to an open-air ethnographic museum, as well as a splendid church and quaint local market.
After enjoying an inclusive breakfast at your hotel, check-out and start what promises to be a fun day of travelling, adventure and sightseeing. First, hop on a boat to Baikal port, before embarking on a train journey along the Circum-Baikal railway, one of the most historical and picturesque sections of the famous Trans-Siberian route. Lunch is along the way and you’ll eventually end the journey in Irkutsk, which is where you’ll be staying in the lavish four-star Courtyard by Marriott Hotel – along with dinner here too.
Two hours during the morning of this third day have been set aside for a quick city tour of Irkutsk, one of the largest cities in Siberia with a handful of pretty buildings, interesting historical sites and a few museums. Afterwards, you’ll be heading towards Olkhon Island (the fourth-largest lake bound island in the world) by car as well as a quick ferry ride to reach the island - a journey of some 6 hours. The last leg of the day’s journey takes you to Khuzhir village where you’ll be staying at the comfortable three-star Baikal View Hotel. Take in sights of Lake Baikal, a UNESCO-designated site, and the oldest (25 million years) and deepest (1,700 m) lake in the world. It contains 20% of the world's total unfrozen freshwater reserve.
A full-day excursion to the northern point of the island awaits after breakfast, one which offers the opportunity to really appreciate the incredible natural beauty of this isolated island, as well as the surrounding Lake Baikal. Relax, take pictures, and listen to the guide explain the fascinating history of this little-known part of the world. There’s also a quaint picnic lunch lined up, which will include the famous Omul fish unique to the lake. Arrive back at your hotel for dinner and free time in the evening.
After breakfast, final Olkhon Island visits will be made in the morning to some geographical points of interest as well as the Historical Museum. Refuel with lunch back at the hotel before transferring to the pier and departing for Ust-Barguzin by boat. The journey over the lake is simply spectacular, and takes around four or five hours in total with about one hour overland to Maximiha, where you’ll be spending the night in a lovely guesthouse.
The sixth day’s journey will take you across Chivyrkuisky Bay, well-known for its stunning natural beauty, spectacular cliffs and isolated beaches. The proposed destination of today is Monakhova in Zabaikalsky National Park, and the road to the park goes past an observation tower where the surrounding Baikal region can be seen from above. In the later part of the day, enjoy a boat ride to the Bay of Snake - famous for its healing thermal springs with temperatures over 100° F.
Enjoy breakfast while taking in the natural scenery in Zabaikalsky National Park before embarking on a 3-hour trip to Ulan-Ude by car. Lunch is at a local restaurant along the way, and there’s also chance to see an interesting ethnographical museum – one of the biggest open-air museums in Russia. Arrive at the Mergen Bator Hotel or Hotel Baikal Plaza and enjoy a leisurely dinner before bed.
Make the most of your time in Ulan-Ude with a quick city tour in the morning, taking you to the impressive Ivolginsky Datsan, a Buddhist temple complex frequented by pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. A trip to the old believers’ village follows this, where you’ll have the chance to see the central church and museum. Lunch on this eighth day will be one of the most memorable ones on the trip, as it’ll be taking place at a local family’s house. After enjoying the delicious food and warm hospitality, it’s time to head back to your hotel in Ulan-Ude.
This final day of your nine-day adventure through the Baikal region is set aside for your departure, and brings this memorable trip to an end. After breakfast at your hotel in Ulan-Ude, private transport will take you to either the airport or train station, ready for your next destination of choice!