Lake Baikal: The Land of Ice
A helicopter adventure around Baikal is a brilliant opportunity to plunge into another reality and save precious time while moving along the route. Much like in a kaleidoscope, breathtaking activities will change one another while you meet welcoming local people, savor lake delicacies, and have quality time lost in this fairytale fading away with onset of spring. Whimsical patterns of one-of-a-kind ice surface, the silence of ice grottos, the melody of a jaw harp in the endless steppe and a powerful energy of Baikal are the pieces of this unique jigsaw, a transformational journey that will change you forever. The high season at Lake Baikal is only 30 days long, so hurry up to witness this stunning natural beauty!
NFR Travel Team greets you at the Irkutsk International Airport, accompanying you to the private helicopter. A half-hour transfer passes in the blink of an eye, and we find ourselves on the shores of Lake Baikal. A warm welcome in a private resort: we will stay in authentic chalets with a splendid lake view. After a long flight, a well-deserved relax session is the best remedy to refresh your energy: following traditional Russian wellness rituals, we will take a steam bath, enjoy a Siberian rejuvenating tub under the open sky, and – for the daring ones – dive into an ice hole cut out right in the lake.
Having rest, in the evening we will experience the adventures of the North and ski along the shoreline together with the Samoyed dogs. Later on, we will savor local delicacies during a heartfelt dinner to the tune of a vintage Soviet record player and discover the vinyl classics of the Russian music.
After a breakfast, we are heading to the berth, where that mysterious amphibian boat – a Hivus hovercraft – awaits you. Thanks to an air cushion, it can travel both on ice surface and water, easily overcoming the ice cracks and ensuring an exciting and safe journey. The amphibian boat will be at your entire disposal for the following two days.
Setting sail, we will contemplate the splendor of Baikal and the whimsical patterns of its ice surface, approaching one of the ice cracks and observing the abyss going hundreds of kilometers down. We will see the Angara river on our way: this is the only river originating in Lake Baikal, and it never freezes, even during the most severe frosts!
We will enjoy outdoor activities all day long, traveling with comfort in the open air – heading towards Olkhon Island, the biggest island on the lake. We will spend the following two nights at a cozy hotel located in a bay close to the island. A rich-packed day agenda is followed by a mouthwatering dinner offering national dishes and selected lake dainties.
Having breakfast, we will wander around Olkhon Island full of mysteries and secrets. Being a place of worship for the local tribes, it hides a world-famous Shamanka Rock, one of the nine spiritual treasures of Asia. As the local legends say, the awe-inspiring spirits of Baikal inhabit this area, that is why nothing may be taken away from here: every stone should remain untouched. This is definitely a sacred place of power enriching you with strong energy and allowing spiritual transformation.
We will devote this day to exploring the island surroundings, discovering ice grottos, observing the surfs shaped by the autumn storms, hummock fields, and methane bubbles inside the ice! Forming these peculiar landscapes, the breathtaking winter nature creates one-of-a-kind patterns every year, making each and every Baikal visit unique.
Today’s plan is to skate on the world’s biggest skate rink! Later on, we will make a campfire and have dinner right on the ice surface. On the menu: Baikal-style ukha (fish soup) cooked on open fire, sagudai (a local seafood dish) and natural redberry tincture warming you up.
After a day full of incredible experiences, we will return to the resort in the evening.
In the morning a helicopter will take us over the transparent ice of Lake Baikal, offering a spectacular view on the ice cracks and whimsical patterns from above. We will land right on the lake surface. Don’t worry: the ice is reliable and can hold heavy weights; in the Soviet times, a cargo train rode along the ice railway in here!
Moving on, we will fly to the Tageran Steppe – a magical destination emanating nomadic spirit and limitless freedom. We will enjoy a fascinating cultural journey full of local traditions, with throat singing and national dances of Buryatia.
Our adventure is coming to an end. The helicopter will bring us to Irkutsk, returning to the starting point of our journey. Awaiting our flight back, we will explore the city and go sightseeing, visiting the key attractions.
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 journey 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.
The transportation along the route will be arranged on a helicopter and a private Hivus amphibia boat. A professional guide, an expert on Baikal, and a chef will accompany you together with a service manager ready to solve any questions.
Carefully selected gastronomic experiences complement this exciting journey. On the menu: omul and grayling sagudai (local seafood dish), Baikal-style pickles and mouthwatering ukha (traditional fish soup) prepared from freshly caught lake fish, sliced frozen wild game meat and other local specialties brought to you by a personal chef and served on traditional sophisticated plates representing the local heritage.