On this trip, you are going to experience the wide valley of Barguzin in the north-east of Lake Baikal. You will find a lot of nature and hot water springs, long sand- and pebble beaches at Lake Baikal. You will learn about the traditions and the way of life of people in this part of Siberia.
In the early morning, I will await you at the airport or train station of Ulan-Ude. From there, on a four hours long ride, we’ll start our route northwards in the direction of Lake Baikal. Shortly after the village of Maksmikha we’ll turn and go the sand beach. There you will have time to relax from your travel exhaustion for the first time and lay in a deckchair on the sandy beach. Or maybe you want to take a bath? You will spend your first night in the travel vehicle at the banks of the lake.
We’ll spend the whole day at the beach of Maksimikha. You can do, whatever you desire. Reading, swimming, fishing, laze, a promenade at the beach, gathering mushrooms in the forest, you choose!
Todays driving route will take around three to four hours. We’ll arrive in the valley of Barguzin, following the river course until we’ll arrive in Barguzin, which is the administrative centre of the valley with the same name. This little city offers some discoveries, for example old merchant houses, a Jewish cemetery, a great main square, etc. After the visit of Barguzin, we’ll continue our trip for another hour until we’ll arrive on the mineral water lake Alginskoe, where we’ll stay the night. Its mud is rumoured to have a healing effect for your skin and joints. On our way to the lake, we’ll take a glaze at an ancient rock painting from the time of the Huns or even older. However, the paintings are strongly weather-beaten.
After breakfast, we will drive with our travel vehicle to the village Suvo. The surroundings of this village captivates with its spectacular rock formations, which we’re made through natural erosion. Like remains of mighty castles and gigantic watchtowers from a long forgotten time, some rocks rise in bizarre formations many meters above the ground. Afterwards, we’ll just go a little further northwards and visit the “stone-bull”, the patron of the valley. It is a very important and holy place in Buddhism and traditional shamanism. Again, we’ll stay the night at the lake in Alginskoe.
Todays goal during the afternoon is a pretty and lesser known spa worth viewing. After crossing the river at the end of the valley, we’ll arrive in Umkhej, a lovely cultivated bathing place with its warm lake and hot mineral water springs.
We’ll spend the whole day and night in Umkhej. During the day, you will have the opportunity to discover the surroundings by foot, to fish at the river Barguzin, to bathe in the warm mineral water lake or just spend the day at the picturesque site.
Another spa resort, Arshan Alla, is awaiting us after an one and a half hour drive. An nondescript, but wonderful little place on a rocky plateau. There is a bathhouse with hot thermal water for free usage. It’s situated a little below us and can be reached via stairs, which can be a bit exhausting after bathing…
The surroundings of Alla welcome you to stay. We will spend the whole day here. You have the possibility to take a little walk to the waterfall nearby, a little hike of two hours there and back. The pretty path takes you through a magical forest, then a little upwards to a garden of cairns to the waterfall. And don’t forget, take a bath in the hot water springs. No matter if it’s in the morning after waking up, in the middle of the afternoon, or in the night, before going to bed. Again, you can try your luck in fishing in the river Alla.
Today we’ll continue our trip to southwards to the Buddhist monastery Yanshima. It captivates with its location in front of mighty mountains and a forest path, which leads us to a holy stone. The monastery Yanshima was built in recent years and as such is a newer complex.
To spend the night, we’ll place ourselves a little above the valley at a shamanic ritual place with a breath-taking view.
10. and 11. Day
Our goal for today is the village Ust-Barguzin. Here, the river Barguzin leads to Lake Baikal. “Ust” is a term for a meadow in the river mouth. We’ll spend the night at Aleksandr Beketows guest house. We are going to enjoy his outstanding cooking skills and relax in the Banja (Russian sauna).
Aleksandr will bring us to the nature reserve on the peninsula “holy nose”, in the early morning of the next day. On our programme is a hike to the highest summit of the peninsula, which, if we have nice weather conditions, offers a fantastic view. The hike will take around eight hours there and back. I recommend to take your hiking boots and hiking sticks with you. Alternatively, we can also take an easier hike along the banks of the peninsula, which will only take a few Hours.
Aleksandr will pick us up at the starting point and bring us back to the lodge, where the Banja and delicious food awaits us.
This day won’t be that exhausting. If you desire, we can ride the motorboat in the magnificent Chivyrkuyskiy-Bay or to the island Ushkaniy. On this island, we’ll find the biggest population of Baikal-seals. Please do regard, that those two trips are not part of the travel price and have to be paid for separately.
Today, we’ll travel for about four hours in the travel vehicle until we arrive in Ulan-Ude. There, if desired, we have the opportunity to visit the ethnographic open-air museum. We will then drive for another one to two hours through Ulan-Ude and stay the night on the hills of the South-Buryat steppe, with an overwhelming view, near Ivolginsk. It’s said to be a historic place, because Genghis-Khan must have been there.
Alternatively, we can spend the evening in a traditional, 100-years old Siberian house with shashlik, Banja (Russian sauna), folkloric singing and dancing.
No matter what you choose to do, it’s the last night staying in the travel Vehicle.
In Ivolginsk is the biggest and most important Buddhist centre of Russia. From nine o’clock in the morning you can sit by and watch the Buddhist ceremonies. In the last years, the complex has grown immensely, not least because it is home of a special kind of mystery. The corpse of the lama Etigelov, who died in 1917, does not show any traces of decay. Apparently the lama must have reached absolute meditation. You can also look it up in Geo 360° > http://www.geo.de/GEO/geo-tv/das- mysterium-der-sibirischen-mumie-2663.html or on Wikipedia > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashi-Dorzho_Itigilov . You will have a guide through the monastery where you can ask the lama Dashi-Dorsho-Etigolow for health and well-being.
After visiting the monastery, we’ll comfortably travel in the direction of Ulan-Ude and on the way, visit another viewpoint over the Selenga worth viewing.
In the afternoon, we’ll arrive in the hotel in Ulan-Ude. The rest of the day you’re free to do whatever you want. If desired, I can offer you an one and a half hour guide through the city. In the evening, we’ll go dine together and look back at the trip together.
Unfortunately, your flight back is awaiting you. If you wish, I can take you to the airport and help at the check-in.