Two pearls: Arshan and Baikal
Duration:7 days/ 6 nights
Itinerary: Irkutsk - Listvyanka - Circum-Baikal railway - Arshan - Peschanaya bay - Irkutsk
The vast land called Siberia has so many sources of immense energy and native riches, that one trip will not suffice to visit them all. Even a human life is not enough for that. Siberia is like an independent, incomparable land. The area has its virile character and determined spirit. We suggest that you get acquainted with two Siberian pearls: Lake Baikal and Arshan.
When you see Baikal you can get dizzy because of its beauty - such a grandeur was created by Nature. Baikal is full of charm, something mysterious and enigmatic, it is a real severe barbarian, which never will submit to anyone, that is why one should treat the lake with great honor.
Arshan... it is one more mesmerizing in its beauty place at the foothills of the Eastern Sayan Mountains. It is also called Siberian Switzerland. The settlement of Arshan is surrounded by sparkling in the sun snowy tops of Sayan Mountains, gorgeous Alpine meadows with blooming poppies and lilies and centuries-old cedars. In 1920 the settlement got the status of a resort. It is located at the place where the Kyngyrga River is born. The meandering mountain river goes along a narrow gorge, making several water-falls.
If translated from the Buryat language Arshan means "curative water", "the drink of gods".
The main medicinal factor of the resort is carbon dioxide-sulphate-magnesium slightly chalybeat waters, in the contents similar to those of Kislovodsk Narzan water.
In the last 10 years the resort has become very popular. Over 50 vacation hotels with the total capacity 5000 people were built. The biggest curative health-care places are spa resorts "Arshan" and "Sayany".
But our trip is not limited by Arshan. During this trip you will also visit Peschanaya bay, the miracle of the engineering thought - Circum-Baikal railway, where you will have a ride on the very shore of the lake. No other piece of the great Trans-Siberian railways evoked such interest like the Circum-Baikal railway!
Dates of the trips in 2015: August, 6-12
Cost of the tour (group not less than 5 pax):
single accommodation (economy class)- 975 euro /person
single accommodation (renovated rooms)- 1070 euro /person
double accommodation (standard rooms)-)- 795 euro /person
double accommodation (renovated rooms)- 865 euro /person
10% discount for children under 12
Arrival to Irkutsk. Airport or railway station pick-up
Transfer to "Irkutsk" hotel, located in the historical city center on the embankment of the Angara River
Lunch at "Irkutsk" restaurant
* The restaurant's windows overlook the beautiful Angara River and the embankment, a favorite place for Irkutsk people to have an evening stroll.
City tour with a visit to the Decembrists' museum
* The starting point of the trip, Irkutsk city is the capital of Eastern Siberia. It is an old city with remarkable history. In the past it was a wooden ostrog ("fortification"), and now the big city Irkutsk celebrates its 350th anniversary.
* After the Decembrists' uprising in 1825 in the Senate square all the exiled uprising participants went via Irkutsk to their forced-labour destinations, some of the Decembrists later settled down in Irkutsk. You will visit the cozy Volkonskii house. From far away the building stands out from the rest of the surrounding constructions. The interior looks like it used to look in the 19th century. Many of the exhibits used to be the original belongings of the family. Maria, the wife of Decembrist Volkonskii was a hospitable hostess, and very often up to 30 guests were sitting at her table. In the friendly sitting room home performances were staged. Many famous people considered it an honor to visit this house.
Returningto"Irkutsk" hotel. Freetime.
Breakfast at "Irkutsk" hotel
Leaving for Listvyanka, an old settlement on the shore of Baikal, which attracts tourists by its proximity to the lake and the river head of the Angara.
* Along the picturesque road you will go to Listvyanka, situated at the 47th km of Baikal motorway. You will visit the amazing open-air museum "Taltsy", which has preserved the ancient wooden architecture monuments of the 17th - 20th centuries.
In Listvyanka you can visit wooden St. Nikolas church and Baikal museum featuring Baikal nerpas (seals). You can do some shopping in the souvenir and fish markets.
Lunch at the restaurant on the shore of Baikal.
* You will enjoy Baikal cuisine dishes
A walk to Cherskii stone, offering a grandeur panoramic view upon Baikal and headstream of the Angara.
* Cherskii stone is the observation point located at the altitude of 700 meters.
You can get here either by chair-lift or on foot. The walk will take about 30 minutes.
Accommodation at a hotel in Listvyanka
Free time (at your request - Russian banya)
Arrival to the harbor. You will cross the biggest in the world river upstream - that of the Angara (863 m) by the ship "I.Babushkin" to port Baikal.
Then leaving by comfortable tourist train along the Circum-Baikal railways to Slyudyanka settlement.
There will be an exciting guided excursion with stops in the most interesting places of the Circum-Baikal railways.
* The Old Baikal Railway is the unique monument of engineering architecture. It is “a golden buckle on the steel belt of Russia”. This section of 84 km was the hardest on the entire trans-Siberian Railway (from Kultuk to Baikal stations). By the amount of various constructional works carried out per 1 km, the Old Baikal Railway surpasses all the other railways of the world. This section numbers 424 engineering structures which include 38 tunnels with the total length 9063 m., 15 stone galleries with the total length 295 m and iron-concrete galleries with holes, 248 bridges and viaducts, 268 retaining walls. Tunnels and galleries of the Old Baikal Railway are unique for being constructed by non-typical projects and were not reconstructed in the following years thus preserving the initial idea of architects and engineers of the early XX-th century.
At 19 00 arrival to Slyudyanka
*Slyudyanka is the starting point of the Circum-Baikal railways, a part of the Trans-Siberian railways, built in the early 20th century going along the South-West shore of the lake and nowadays being a tourist attraction. Slyudyanka city is famous for its mica deposits, marble quarries and the unique building of the local railway station. It is the only in Russia building constructed from Baikal marble.
Transfer to Arshan (137 km, 2.5 hours en-route).
Accommodation at the tourist camp.
* Arshan has been famous as the most popular place for leisure and recreation in the Eastern Siberia for about one hundred years. The big number of leisure centers is situated in the picturesque place - Tunkinskaya Valley at the altitude of 893 m over the sea level, where air is full of mountain freshness and flavor of conifers. The great amount of different springs flows into the mountain river Kyngarga. The springs are traditionally considered the dwelling place of the spirit - the host of the surrounding lands. Next to every ‘arshan’ (water spring) there is the place for the holy rituals. As a rule such rituals are devotions-requests and devotions- gratitude. One of such devotions is the request to let pass through. The "bribe" for the spirit of Arshan is white food - milk and ribbons, which take place twice: when you arrive and ask for health and liberation from illness or disease and when you depart you donate again as a sign of gratitude. So next to the mineral springs in Arshan there are the whole holy groves decorated with colored ribbons.
Breakfast at the tourist camp
Visiting a waterfall
Lunch at the local café including the dishes of the Buryat cuisine (at your expense)
*Traditional Buryat dishes are pozy (big steamed ravioli with minced-meat (beef, lamb)filling), bukhler (beef or lamb strong bouillon). We recommend to try these delicious and nutritious dishes at one of the local cafes.
Excursion to the Buddhist datsan.
* At the distance of 800 m from Arshan settlement there is an absolutely amazing place - Bodhidkharma datsan. This datsan was founded in the beginning of the 20 century under the blessing of the great holy Lama - Agvan Dorzhiev.
The small complex traditionally includes the building of datsan, praying cylinders and stupas-suburgans. The place with its rare placid beauty seems to have petrified in its wonderful constancy. A man coming to this place is filled with serenity and complacency from the contemplation of the sky, which seems to be so low here that we merge with it. It is a sheer pleasure to look at the brindled calves with long eye-lashes, grazing in the area of datsan and the mountain peaks in the translucent haze... You can reach datsan on a horseback, either accompanied by an instructor or on your own. Anyway, the local horses, inhaling the local stillness and deliberate pace of living, are very calm and friendly. That is why you can without any problems have a horse-ride on your own.
Dinner at the tourist camp
Breakfast at the tourist camp
After breakfast you`ll go Zhemchug settlement. It`ll take you about 45 minutes to cover 40 km distance.
*Zhemchug as well as Arshan is a very popular place not only for recreation, but also for the medical treatment. Methane therms of Zhemchug spring make the settlement an attractive place for medical treatment of supporting-motor and nervous system illnesses and also skin and gynecological ailments. There are water-treatment centers, where the visitors can do the medical treatment in the open water springs: salt water spring (a cascade of pipes with outgoing water), mud "pool" (behind the salt spring) and salt shower. Besides, there is a wooden room with baths and a pool.
During the trip you`ll have opportunity to take thermal water baths (for extra payment).
Lunch at the local cafe (at your expense). .
After lunch - departure for Irkutsk (220 km, about 4 hours).
Accommodation at the hotel “Irkutsk”.
Dinner at the hotel`s restaurant.
Early breakfast at the hotel
08.30 leaving for "Raketa" harbor
09.15 starting the trip by hydrofoil "Barguzin" to Peschanaya bay
13 00 arrival to Peschanaya bay
Excursion along Baikal shore to the Observation Rock, offering a wonderful panoramic view upon the lake and Babushka ('Granny') 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 per 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).Peschanaya bay is considered the most exotic and romantic place in the South-Western part of the lake. It is located far away from the noisy roads, the only way to get here is by water. That is why this beautiful nook has preserved its originality. Here you will find a lot of small bays and secluded bays, where you can swim and sun-bathe. Peschanaya bay is famous for its "walking" trees, which roots are made bare by the water and air erosion.
At 17.15 leaving for Irkutsk
At 21.00 arrival to Irkutsk
Transfer to "Irkutsk" hotel
Dinner at the hotel's restaurant
Check-out. Transfer to the airport or railway station
The tour cost includes:
Airport or railway station pick-up;
All the transfers within the itinerary
Meals within the itinerary (6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, incl. packed lunch; 4 dinners)
Services of a guide within the itinerary;
Accommodation within the itinerary: Irkutsk - 3 nights, Listvyanka - 1 night, Arshan - 2 nights)
tickets for the hydrofoil Irkutsk - Peschanaya bay - Irkutsk
tickets for the tourist train (1st class) along the Circum-Baikal railways
Not included in the tour cost:
additional services not mentioned in the itinerary
thermal baths in Zhemchug
Organization of pick-ups and transfers
An individual tourist/ a group of tourists are met with a sign saying the surname and name of the tourist or a company name. Transfers for departure are carried out according to the tickets time.
The tourists are brought to the airport 3 hours before the flight departure and to the railway station - 1 hour before the train departure.
Guide's telephones will be communicated to you 7 days prior to the tour start
Conditions of transportation
The trips are done by minivans, mini-buses or big buses depending on the group size. During the bus trip there will be stops for rest, walking and picnics.
It is not allowed: to smoke on the bus, to stop in prohibited places and reserved areas. Night trips are prohibited because of the seasonal cattle pasturing.
Throughout the whole tour you will be accompanied by highly qualified guides, speaking one/two European languages, with perfect knowledge of the route and possessing the basic skills of urgent medical aid. We are sure that thanks to our guides the tour has become so interesting and rich in adventures. Their professional approach, openness and friendliness will help you to feel the breath of this ancient land. They say that without a guide any, even short trip is just covering the distance, and with a guide it is a real travelling.
Our company reserves the right to make amendments concerning the days of the itinerary (for weather conditions reasons), change the order of showing the sights, order of staying at the hotels, hotels and campings (similar in quality or better).
We recommend to take with you: comfortable trekking boots; additional pair of comfortable boots; warm windbreaker; swimming gear; sunglasses; sunscreen; sun protecting hat; torch; personal medicine. We recommend to buy before you set on the trip the anti-tick remedy "Iodantipirin", or arrange the tick-bite insurance in advance.
Attention! Please consider possible delays of flights and trains when planning the trip! The company will not be liable to refund the money in case of the tourist's failure to appear!