Cruise «Baikal Big Ring»
Duration: 9 days/ 8 nights
The route: Listvyanka — Circum-Baikal Railways — Peschanaya bay — Olkhon Island - Chivyrkuiskii bay - Ushkanii Islands - Olkhon Island - Maloe sea - Irkutsk city
Have you ever been to Irkutsk? If not we offer you to go for a cruise along the purest lake on the Earth and all over the beautiful places of Baikal lake.
During the cruise you`ll see one of the biggest architectural constructions - Circum-Baikal Railways ; Peschanaya bay , which is famous for its stilted trees; sacred place for Buryat people - Shaman Rock , the pearl of Baikal lake - Olkhon Island. You will visit Chivyrkuiskii bay. Chivyrkuiskii bay is a place far away from civilization with thermal springs, virgin nature and real Baikal fishing. You will also visit Tonkii ('the Thin') Island - the reserved area of the natural national park and Baikal seal rookery. You will have opportunity to take the best photos of the virgin places. The tour is full of the most interesting excursions and you will enjoy the nature as well.
- July, 14-22
- August, 11-19
Tour cost: (the group 8 pax min.)
- 1545 euro / person - double accommodation in cabin onboard and hotel “Irkutsk” 1 night
Meeting at the airport or railway station of Irkutsk in the morning with your guide.
After you meet with the other members of you group you will be transferred to the touristic capital of Baikal region - Listvyanka village.
* Listvyanka is an ancient settlement on the shore of Baikal. Listvyanka attracts tourists by its proximity to the lake and the river head of the Angara. In this locality you can visit wooden church of St. Nikolas, Baikal museum featuring Baikal nerpas (seals) and souvenir and fish markets.
02.00 p.m. Embarkation onto the motor boat. Accommodation in the cabins. Meeting the crew, onboard safety instructions during cruises on the Baikal Lake. Departure. The first sightseeing stop -Circum-Baikal Railway. Trekking along the deserted railway tunnel built in the beginning of the 20th century (about 2 hours).
*Circum-Baikal Railway is 84 km long. It was constructed in the end of the 19th century as a part of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The first train arrived in Irkutsk on August 16, 1898. After construction
of Irkutsk hydro-electric station, Circum-Baikal railway was deadlocked. Nevertheless, its uniqueness and exceptional beauty still attracts tourists and historians. 39 tunnels cut through Baikal cliffs, lots of galleries, viaducts and supporting walls are harmonized with the beauty of Baikal shores.
Overnight onboard in a bay next to Shumikha River. In the bay with the picturesque taiga landscape there is a small sandy beach, also not far away there is an old little fishing settlement.
Early in the morning you`ll continue your journey to Peschanaya Bay *.
*Peschanaya Bay is one of the most famous and picturesque spots on Lake Baikal. The bay became known as Siberian Riviera. Pyramidal cliffs of the so called Big Bell tower and Small Bell tower stand out from the dense forest framing an extensive sandy dune in the shape of semicircle. The sandy dune forms a clean beach with the breadth up to 20 meters and length up to 750 meters. Sandy Bay features mild microclimate and a great number of sunny days a year not inferior to those at the Black sea health resorts. It is the only place in Eastern Siberia with annual average temperature being positive (+0, 4ºC). It is the white sandy beach and blue transparent water of the bay which arise sensation of tropical corner of paradise.
Arrival to PeschanayaBay. Debarkation. At your request 2-hour trekking to Sennaya Bay along the scenic mountain path along the shore of Baikal. On the way you`ll visit the famous bay - Babushka ('the Granny') - one of the most beautiful on the Baikal shore.
In the evening you can visit the real Russian banya on the lake shore (for extra payment).
After it you can have a swim in the cool water of Baikal!
Dinner onboard. Overnight onboard.
Early in the morning departure to Sennaya Bay and continuation of the cruise along the west Baikal shore to the island Olkhon (about 10 hours en route).
Olkhon island is the biggest island on Baikal lake and the most sacred place for Buryat people.
* Olkhon is the heart of Baikal and Baikal is the blue heart of Siberia. The island represents geographical, historical and sacred center of the lake. It is a natural treasury of Baikal landscapes: steppes with long and well warmed-up bays, aeol sandy patches with dunes and hills, mixed deciduous forest with relic fir-groves, amazing marble cliffs covered with red lichen.
On the way there is an opportunity to stop opposite the white marble rock Sagaan - Zaba (if the sea is not rough) and have a look at the rock drawings and carvings (petroglyphs) dating to III-V centuries AD.
*Sagan-Zaba is the biggest petroglyphic gallery of Baikal shores. According to the academician Okladnikov A.P., "Sagan-Zaba petroglyphs present the real pearl of the culture and art of the Eastern Siberian peoples. The composition, the art of painting and variety of the subjects makes them the most complex known petroglyphs from the Urals to the Pacific."
Passing the Small Gates of Olkhon, a narrow straits between Olkhon island and the big land.
Overnight onboard in one of the Small Sea bays. (Small Sea is the area separated from the Big Baikal by Olkhon island. The shores, bays and islands of the Small Sea are very picturesque.)
Long passage (8-10 hours) across the open Baikal from the western to the eastern shore from Cape Khoboi (northernmost cape of Olkhon) to Chivyrkui bay.
*Cape Khoboi (if translated from the Buryat language means "canine tooth") is a narrow, rocky cape with a high sharp spire cutting the "sea". The cape offers a marvelous view upon the Small and Big sea.
* Chivyrkui bayis a rare on Earth place with the pristine nature, perfectly tailored for a good family recreation. It is just for You - to stay in a unique area far away from the civilization and everyday rush. Here you can soak in the curative hot water springs, enjoy a fascinating fishing and just have fun swimming in the water of the bay, which is warmed up very well.
On the way, in case the weather is good, it is possible to make a stop on Ushkanii islands (if the sea is rough or just after the storm the seals disappear from their rookery) to watch the seals. If on this day bad weather or lack of time kept you from visiting the islands, the captain will try to bring you here on the way back.
*Ushkanii islands is the famous natural monument 7 km away from the Holy Nose peninsula. From the time immemorial the archipelago has been attracting the scientists, explorers and tourists by its enigmatic origin and unique flora and fauna. The islands shelter the seal rookery.
By the evening - arrival to Chivyrkui bay
Overnight in Zmeinaya ('Snaky') bay
*Zmeinaya bay is famous for its curative radon waters with the temperature from +41 to +45 C.
This day is devoted to the relaxation and enjoying the beauties of Chivyrkui bay.
Going to Krokhalinaya bay (1 hour)
In the bay you can sun-bathe on the wonderful sandy beach or go fishing. It is possible to have
a spinning rod fishing for pikes, perches or carps.
Going to Sukhaya ('Dry') bay, located north-east from the outlet of Chivyrkui bay. It is a very scenic bay with a mountain river falling into it.
On the way you will have a stop on Lokhmatyi island. Walking tour round the island. From the top of the island you can have a great view upon Chivyrkui bay and Big Baikal.
In Sukhaya bay (or, depending on the weather, the other bay - Ongokonskaya) you can do fishing for grayling and lenok.
Returning to Olkhon island (it takes about 10-12 hours).
Water excursion to the picturesque islands of the Small Sea - Zamogoi, Ogoi and Barakchin (any one of them up to the captain's decision).
A stop near the Shaman rock on Olkhon island, one of the 7 sanctums of the Shamanist religion.
*Shaman stone is one of the Asian sanctums, located near Khuzhir settlement. It has become a symbol of the lake, one of the most famous Baikal highlights.
Overnight onboard in one of the island bays closer to Olkhon Gates.
At 12:00 - disembarkation in Sakhyurta settlement (also called MRS) in the Small Sea.
End of the cruise "Big Baikal Ring"
Transfer to Irkutsk by a comfortable mini-bus (it takes about 5 hours to get to the city). On the way you can have lunch in one of the road cafes at your expense.
Accommodation at Irkutsk hotel
*Irkutsk hotel is situated in the peaceful historical part of the city across the embankment of the Angara River. The hotel windows offer a fantastic view upon the Angara and Trans-Siberian railways.
Getting ready and transfer to the airport
The cruise cost includes:
- accommodation onboard( 7 nights)
- guide services during the whole cruise
- Accommodation at Irkutsk hotel - 1 night after the cruise is over
- Transfers: pick-up on arrival day, transfer to Listvyanka, transfer MRS-Irkutsk, transfer to the airport on departure day.
Not included into the cruise cost:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Recreational fee for visiting Ushkanii islands (2000 RUR per person, paying on spot)
You can additionally:
- book accommodation at the hotels of Irkutsk, Listvyanka, Small Sea and Olkhon island
We recommend to take with you on the cruise:
- sun-screen cream and sunglasses
- For the walks on the shore and excursions you will need touristic boots with the massive soles
- For being onboard it is better to have comfortable boots with yacht soles, so that you would not slip on the wet deck and gangplanks.
- To protect you against wind and rain you will need a good windbreaker jacket
- Against the cold - thick fleece jacket or sweater
- and, of course, A WISH TO HAVE FUN!!!
Description and accommodation conditions of a "Yaroslavets" type boat
A boat of "Yaroslavets" standard has 4 cabins: the bows, middle (simultaneously messroom) and the aft cabin. Berths are located like in a train compartment: lower and upper ones. Very rare a boat can have double beds. As a rule a boat has 2 toilets, one in the aft cabin and the second one has access from the deck. The shower is located in the toilet room, there are no separate shower cabins. Often the cook sleeps in the fore cabin. The crew (captain and the mechanic) very often sleep in the cockpit, but if there are free berths, the crew sleep in the fore cabin.
Meals on the boat are presented by home cuisine. The products are exceptionally fresh, for example: borshch, solyanka soup, cutlets, vegetable ragout, fried meat and Baikal fish dishes. For breakfast - pancakes, yoghurt, scones, fried eggs, sausages, meat platter. Kebab, exquisite dishes and fish menu is separately requested and is the subject to extra payment.
The cook prepares the food in cookhouse, a small room with a gas stove, sink, place for products preparation and kitchen cupboards. On the boat of standard class you will have your meals in the messroom, located in the middle cabin of the boat. It means that the people accommodated in the middle cabin have to be informed that this room will be the place for meals. If the weather is fine you can eat in the open deck under the tent, covering the table and benches.
On the boats of higher comfort level, messroom is a separate room functioning as a sitting room with a big dining table, soft sofa and a DVD. As a rule it is located in the upper part of the boat.
Guide for the cruise is a person, who will conduct the excursions, walking trips during the stops, tell interesting facts about Baikal. He will also arrange banya, for example, will help the cook to set the table, communicate with the crew and solve the problems appearing during the trip. But do not mix this person with a fisherman or forester, who will exactly point out the place for you where you should do fishing and guarantee a tremendous catch!
Boat crew is presented by the captain, a mechanic and a cook. They are experienced people who know their ship and Baikal perfectly. Baikal captains are remarkable for their determination, that is why they don't like being bossed around, especially in the challenging weather conditions and other stressful situations.
The itinerary, as a rule, is discussed and agreed upon with the captain beforehand, that is why such variants of tourists like "we shall go there where we want" are not always possible, as only the captain, in order to avoid the accidents, can take the final decision about the route, knowing perfectly his ship and trusting his experience.
One should always take into consideration the weather conditions! Be aware of the fact that you can be "dandled" by the waves. That is why be ready for the changes of the route and unforeseen stops. In the bad weather the experienced captains will act according to the circumstances. That is why, please keep in mind that the itinerary can not be 100% fixed and can be subjected to some amendments. But normally they are minute changes which do not have any impact upon the cruise route. In case there is some delay, the captains try to catch up with the help of "earlier passages".