The Sacred Sea

Even living on the shores of the lake, it’s impossible to get used to its beauty and grandeur. At any time of the year, on a clear day or in bad weather, it’s picturesque. And one can only envy those who come here for the first time in their life.

Your arrival point may be Severobaikalsk, Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude. Each of these cities is interesting in its own way. But how do you decide where to travel on small group tours?

For your first acquaintance with Baikal, it’s advisable to fly to Irkutsk – from there you can take a boat to the legendary Olkhon Island, a must-see. If you are an experienced traveler, go to Ulan-Ude: from there you may get to the Svyatoy Nos cape and Ust-Barguzin by busses. If you have a car, you should travel to Severobaikalsk – you will find pristine natural beauty and wonderful places like the hot springs of Khakusa.

Olkhon

It’s 70 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide and it’s the biggest island in Baikal. Its name translates from Buryat as “forest,” but there are almost no trees on it. Nevertheless, it is an incredibly picturesque place, which is considered a source of strength.

On the island is a village Khuzhir, as a rule, all the excursions start there. The settlement is small but interesting in its own way. Here you can:

  • eat omul,
  • visit museums and souvenir shops,
  • rent equipment.

As per legend, the main spirit of Burkhan Cape is the Lord of the Lake. It is felt even by those far from mysticism and esotericism: here, they feel the rush of enthusiasm and joy. The people of ancient Shamanka prayed to the spirits for children, health, and prosperity in their families in the cave in the rock.es. Nowadays only true shamans are allowed to enter the Shaman Cave, and tourists are not allowed to do that.

You should come to the Khoboy cape before sunrise – it is rightly considered to be the place with the most magnificent view of the sunrise.

Listvyanka

The village near the mouth of the Angara River is the unofficial “capital”. You can enjoy skiing or sledding in winter here. Listvyanka Baikal museum deserves your special attention because you can take a virtual trip to the bottom of the world’s largest lake.

It is very pleasant to walk around Listvyanka, enjoying the clean air and the landscapes of incredible beauty. And it is worth visiting the seal breeding center, which is located in the center of the village.

Taltsy

Dreamed of travel through time? Come ahead, into the past! Taltsy ethnographic complex, which can be reached by a regular bus from Irkutsk, allows plunging into the times when only indigenous people lived on Baikal.

In addition to the architecture, tourists are offered entertainment programs that transport them back to that period. There are all kinds of masterclasses, excursions, and traditional tea-drinking with honey – neither adults nor children will be bored.

Ust-Ordynsky

A place where there is another amazing museum – “The Golden Horde”. It is notable for the fact that it is located under the open sky, all the exhibits in it can be touched with your hands, and you can go into all the rooms.

And that is great because such interactivity gives you a chance to feel the life of nomadic Buryats of the 13th century. Judging by what you see, the nomads didn’t live poorly at all: decorations of their yurts look luxurious even by today’s standards.

There are regular reconstructions of historical events, performances of musicians playing folk instruments, and masters of throat singing. And if you try the national cuisine, first of all in the “Golden Horde”.

Remittances to the Traveler

For many tourists, who find themselves on Baikal for the first time, the prices are not the most pleasant discovery. Often travelers find themselves in a situation where the planned budget is simply not enough. Another reason for which you may need financial support is a car malfunction, force majeure, which all auto tourists know firsthand.

If you are still in doubt, whether to go to Baikal, listen to the opinion of those who have already been here. This place has amazing magic: once you’ve been here, you’ll never forget it and will be eager to come here again and again.

Posted by Dwayne K. Kelley

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