Lake Baikal: The Song of Ice
The Baikal is the deepest lake on the Earth as well as the biggest natural freshwater reservoir. Much more than that, it is a true winter fairytale wrapped in the enchanting ice net, shining with whimsical frozen grottos, opening up boundless steppes in front of you and revealing a real highway laid right on the ice. Riding above this breathtaking depth on a unique hovercraft, making a campfire lit on the ice surface, listening to the ancient legends of the local tribes, savoring Siberian delicacies and feeling the strongest energy of this mysterious destination – Lake Baikal can certainly boast lots of one-of-a-kind experiences to surprise you!
NFR Travel Team welcomes you at Irkutsk International Airport. After a breakfast we will get to the banks of Lake Baikal on a jeep. It will take us around 2.5 hours to reach the hotel located in a remote area off the beaten track. Check-in, dinner, rest, and acclimatization. In the evening you can relax in an authentic Russian steam bath on the banks of Baikal, where you can also dive into a rejuvenating tub or the ice hole – if you wish so. You will see how the ice holes are drilled and try the purest fresh water of Baikal. While enjoying a Russian steam bath, a dinner with Siberian delicacies and Baikal signature tea with taiga herbs will be served for you. You will fall asleep in a cozy chalet on the bank of Lake Baikal.
After a breakfast we will head to Baikal Biosphere Nature Reserve included into the UNESCO world heritage list. There is a visitor center on the territory of the nature reserve dedicated to Lake Baikal, where a private excursion will be conducted for us. There are also some enclosures built for Baikal sables, so that you can observe these animals and feed them. Lunch break on the territory of the visitor center. Getting back to the hotel, we will have some rest and enjoy a dinner.
After a breakfast, a Hivus will take us on a trip along the ice surface right from our hotel’s jetty. We will examine the unique engineering monument, namely the Circum-Baikal Railway (more details on its construction will be provided at an interactive installation in a visitor center on the territory of a nature reserve).
You will see hump bridges, stone viaducts and wander along the tunnels built in the rocks. A heartfelt dinner prepared by a welcoming landlady Irina Pavlovna awaits you. Later on we will see where the Angara river originates, feed the ducks and admire the crystal-clear ice. We will continue our way towards the traditional village Bolshoe Goloustnoe, stopping by to visit Kadilny Cape – a destination with the caves where the settlements of ancient people dating back to the Neolithic Age were discovered. Our day ends by contemplating the sunset which is truly marvelous here! Check in at the hotel and a dinner.
After a breakfast we will head to Olkhon Island on a Hivus. We will wander around the biggest island of Baikal known for its powerful energy, so a day full of bright emotions awaits us. We will see the ice landscapes of incredible beauty with our own eyes: grottos, hummocks, and methane bubbles inside the ice!
We will reach a Buddhist stupa on Ogoy Island. We will also visit Shamanka rock, the landmark of Baikal being one of the nine spiritual treasures of Asia. We will have lunch right on the ice surface by a grotto. On the menu: Baikal-style ukha (fish soup) cooked on open fire, sagudai (a local seafood dish) and redberry home-made liquor. In the evening we will head to Huzhir settlement, where we will check in at a hotel and have dinner.
We are starting a jeep adventure in Tageran Steppe and will as well drive along the ice crossing – a real ice track with road signs stuck right into the ice! We will reach Tan-Khan viewpoint, witness puzzling rock drawings and mysterious caves. We will savor the national cuisine of
Buryatia in a yurta (nomads’ tent).
Returning to Irkutsk, we will have some time for a short sightseeing tour. Transfer to the airport in the evening (Aeroflot flight departing at 19.40)
Accomodation & Transport
Starting this winter adventure across the Baikal, forget about the frost: we will keep warm while exploring the lake with utmost comfort. Cozy chalets will welcome you on the first day, while the second part of our tour will pass in a hotel located in a bay on the shores of Lake Baikal. Our bright agenda is packed with activities, and in the evening you can indulge yourself to a hot Russian steam bath, rejuvenating tubs, and local delicacies.
Transfer along the route will be arranged by a jeep and a private Hivus amphibia boat. A professional guide, an expert on Baikal, will accompany you together with a service manager ready to solve any questions.