Lake Baikal: Two Shores, Four Cultures

Cultural immersion in Siberia
©Photo by Ilya Pitalev

Explore rich cultures of Lake Baikal and enjoy its endless beauty and tranquility.

On this 9-day Lake baikal tour, you will visit Baikal's most famous sites and get acquainted with the history of four different indigenous cultures inhabiting its shores. We will explore both western and eastern shores of Lake Baikal: "European" Irkutsk region and "Asian" Buryat Republic. You will be amazed at how everything changes around you, from the people to faces, nature and landscapes. Open the curtain of the spiritual world of Lake Baikal: learn the principles of Buddhism, the basics of shamanism, the culture of the Buryats and Old Believers' way of life in modern Russia. 

One of the world’s oldest geographical features (formed 25 to 30 million years ago), magnificent Lake Baikal is the highlight of Eastern Siberia, Russia. Summer travellers enjoy gobsmacking vistas across waters of the deepest blue to soaring mountain ranges on the opposite shore; rarer winter visitors marvel at its powder-white surface, frozen steel-hard and scored with ice roads. Whether they swim in it, drink its water, skirt its southern tip by train, cycle or dog sled over it in winter, or just admire it from 2000km of shoreline, most agree that Siberia doesn’t get better than this. Explore the pearl of Russia on this immersive Lake Baikal tour.

9 days
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3* hotels, guest houses


Action rating

Group size

9 days / 8 nights


2-8 people

Itinerary View map

Day 1:Irkutsk

Arrival to Irkutsk, "the Paris of Siberia". Meet your guide at the airport for a transfer to the centrally located hotel. After short rest, we embark on the city centre tour with visiting main sites.

Day 2:Irkutsk > Ust-Orda > Sakhyurta

After breakfast in the hotel we embark on a long drive north. En route we will stop at Ust-Orda village, where we get acquaintance with the local Buryat people culture, try their cuisine and participate in traditional games and dances. In the evening we will arrive to Sakhyurta village on the Small Sea strait.

Day 3:Ogoy and Olkhon Islands

Today we learn about the 2 cultures of Lake Baikal - Shamanism and Buddhism. After breakfast at the hotel, we board a boat for a mini cruise to Olkhon Island - the shamanistic "capital". On the route to Olkhon we will make a stop on Ogoy island, where the Stupa of Enlightenment is located - the buddhists sacred place. In the evening upon arrival to Olkhon, you will check-in at the hotel and will learn about shamanistic culture of Lake Baikal. We will enjoy the sunset close to Shaman Rock - one of the most sacred shamanistic places of Baikal.

Day 4:Khoboy Cape

This day will be dedicated to the beautiful nature of the Olkhon Island.
We board a mini-bus for a drive to the northern part of the island - Khoboy Cape. We will visit the most beautiful spots of Olkhon, and will enojy a picnic lunch at on the shores of Baikal.

Day 5:Ushkan Islands > Maksimikha

Today we leave the sacred Olkhon Island and move east to the opposite shore of Baikal, located in Buryatia village. We board a boat for a mini cruise to Maksimikha village. En route we make a stop at Ushkan Islands, where if we're lucky enough we meet the Baikal freshwater seals, called Nerpas. After picnic lunch at the bay, we board a bus for a drive to Maksimikha village, where we stay for the night.

Day 6:Barguzin valley

This day we will spend travelling along Barguzin Valley. Here we visit the Yanzhima Palace, where women from all around the globe come to ask gods for babies. We also take a short hike to the cliffs, from where we enjoy the amazing views of Baikal. Before heading back to Maksimikha, we will visit the Barguzin village, where time has stopped and different cultures co-exist together.

Day 7:Ulan-Ude

Today we are leaving Baikal and heading to the capital of Buryatia - Ulan-Ude. After hotel check-in, we embark on a comprehensive city tour, including visiting the Ivolginsky Datsan, where you will learn about buddhism in Siberia.

Day 8:Tarabagatai

This day we spend with the old-believers in the village of the Tarabagatai. You will learn the story of the Old Believers, see their traditional clothes and try the family cuisine.

Day 9:Departure

It's time to say goodbye to Lake Baikal and its cultures. After breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the airport of Ulan-Ude.



3* hotels in Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude

Guesthouses in Sakhyurta, Khuzhir and Maksimikha villages


All meals during the program (B,L,D)


Airport transfers

Transportation according to the itinerary (coach, 4wd cars, boat)


Local professional English-speaking guide

Activities and sights

All activities and sights indicated in the program


Nature reserve fees

Russian visa support documents

*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.

Not included

Flights, travel insurance, visa, optional excursions, individual transfers, tips

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
28 Jul - 5 Aug 2018
Guaranteed Departures
AvailableUS $$ 3,685N/AReserve
9 days
Irkutsk to Ulan-Ude
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9 days
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If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816