“It has been said that, if Lake Baikal is the pearl of Siberia, then
Olkhon Island is the heart of Lake Baikal.
Arrive in Irkutsk early morning, as mentioned, and transfer to a hotel near the station. Have your breakfast followed by a scenic drive to the pier in Sakhyurta, (commonly known as the MRS) to take the ferry for Olchon Island.
Olchon or Olkhon Island is the largest of the Lake Baikal’s 27 Islands. The island has an area of 730 sq. km (282 sq. miles) and is inhabited by around 1,500 Buryats. It is 77 km long and 15-25 km wide. This is the most beautiful and mysterious place on the lake. The climate here is different and special. It is dry in summer and not much snow in winter. The average temperature in summer is 20-23 C, and about -20C in winter. The channel between the island and the lakeshore is one of the few places in Baikal where is temperature good enough for swimming.
There is a good sandy beach in the 10min destination from the place of staying. The western shore of the island is steppe. The island was formed during millions of years of tectonic development. Lake Baikal’s deepest point (1637m) is near the Eastern Shore of the Island. In the interior of the island are half a dozen lakes and the 1300m-high Zhima Peak. The northern end of Olkhon is one of the possible places to see Baikal seals.
Olkhon Island has several archaeological sites, beginning with the remains of Iron Age fortress built by mysterious Kurykans, the ancient Chinese people who lived here between A.D.500 and 1000. The Island is also famous as one of the center of Shamanism, primitive form of religion of the local Buryats. Many of the shamanistic sacred places and rock paintings are still found here. The only one settlement of Olkhon is the fishing village of Khuzhir.
Check in to the hotel in Khuzhir area. Day is free to explore on your own…as Lake Baikal is very close to our accommodation. Have dinner and overnight stay in the Magical Serenity of Olkhon Island.
[BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER]