11.11.2009 -10 °C
If your time is limited, and you plan only a short stop in the Lake Baikal region, but you want your time to be well spent and you want to discover something new, visit interesting places, experience new things...
I would like recommend you some possibilities for the interesting excursions:
Excursion to the Ivolginskij Tempel (40 km from Ulan-Ude).
This is a unique Buddhist temple complex widely known abroad Russia. Most of the guests who visit Republic of Buryatia seek to visit this temple surrounded with a picturesque neighborhood. Here you will learn the history of how Buddhism penetrated into Russia, will find out about the Dashi Tchojkhorling Institute. The name means "wheel of learning, which brings happiness". Here future lamas, healers and specialists in Oriental and Tibetan culture study. You can visit an actrologer or a specialist in Tibetan medicine. And on festive days you may get a chance to see the imperishable unique body of Pandido-Khambo Lama Dashi Dorjo Itigelov.
Acquaintance with the capital of Buryatia – Ulan-Ude.
During the excursion you will learn the history of the city that once was a small winter village on the steep bank of the Uda River and then grew into a prominent city of merchants Verkhneudinsk. Old merchants' villas built in the 18th and 19th centuries, Odigitrievski Cathedral constructed in the style of “Siberian baroque”, a striking Soviet square and the biggest sculptured head of Lenin, a unique Opera and Ballet theatre, numerous museums, all this together with harmoniously interwoven Western and Eastern traditions will leave indelible impressions.
Acquaintance with the village of Old Believers.
During the visit to an authentic village of Old Believers (“semeiskie”) in the Baikal region you will about the culture of Old Believers which is included into UNESCO world heritage. You will learn about customs and traditions of the “semeiskie” people, will hear unique ancient folk songs, take part in traditional games and joyful dances. You will learn the facts about how a traditional house of Old Believers is built and will get acquainted with its household objects the history of which dates back to ancient times. And of course no one will be left indifferent with the richly laid table: Russian borshch, boild potatoes fried with lard, mushrooms in marinade, vegetable salads, berry pies, home-made kvass.
Acquaintance with the Buryat village.
It is a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the way of life of the nomad Buryats and dive into their traditions, culture and everyday life. A yurta is settled in one of the most picturesque places in the neighborhoud of Ulan-Ude where the hosts meet guests with a greeting song. Getting inside the yurta guests learn about household objects and take their seats in accord with a tradition. In this cozy, warm atmosphere the hosts treat the guests with the dishes made by the same recipes that were used during Genghis Khan time. The meal is accompanied with telling Buryat folk legends, demonstration of a unique in its kind throat singing, slow Buryat songs and dances. The guests are offered to take part in a Buryat folk dance Jokhor and get acquainted with some traditional folk games: archery, fight, Shage game (dice).
Excursion to the Selenga River Delta.
The Delta of the Selenga River is the most beautiful and picturesque place where the river joins to the huge amounts of water of the Lake Baikal. Also it is a key ornithological territory of Eastern Siberia. You will explore numerous channels, see islands where rare species of waterfowl and semi-aquatic birds nest, visit the oldest lighthouse in Baikal region and the boarder of the Kabansky nature reserve. You will also try dishes of the traditional Baikal cuisine and just enjoy the harmony of untouched nature.
One day at Baikal.
For those who don't have much time during the trip to our region but for who missing a visit to one of the most admirable lakes in the world would be something inexcusable I offer to discover the sacred Siberian Sea taking a one-day trip to the banks of Baikal. Picturesque landscapes, heady fresh air, captivating facts that the guide will tell about unique Baikal nature, history and traditions of the people living on the ancient Baikal land for centuries and the traditional Baikal cuisine, all this will let you proudly say «Yes, I did visit the lake Baikal!»
Kyakhta – Eastern Gates of the Great China Way.
Kyakhta is an old merchants' town Kyakhta (used to be Troitskosavsk) which once was one of the most important transit points of the Great Tea Way. During the excursion you will get acquainted with unique Siberian architecture of the Kyakhtinskaya Sloboda settlement, hear fascinating facts about the history of the region's developing, commercial relations between the two great empires – Russian and Chinese, about the époque of geographic discoveries in Central Asia. You can visit the Kyakhtinski Museum of Regional Studies named after academician V.A. Obruchev which is the oldest museum in Siberia and is rightly called "miniature of the Hermitage".
Merkitskaya Fortress (Tugnujskaya Valley).
Travelling along a fascinating route to the Tugnujskaya Valley (120 km from Ulan-Ude) you will see a natural outpost of militant Merkits – Tugnujskie columns, the sacred apricot grove of Genghis Khan, ruins of a defensive barrage dating back to the époque of the Huns, a unique natural monument Taban-khurgan (the Five Fingers), mysterious caves with well-preserved petroglyphs, the Bain-Khan Mount which is one of the greatest mounts in Asia, and you will hear many captivating legends and stories about the first campaigns of Genghis Khan.
Buddhist Relics of Buryatia – Buddhist Temples.
In the Republic of Buryatia you can visit the main Buddhist temples and sacred places: Ivolginskij Dazan – the center of Buddhism in the Russian Federation where one of the Buddhist miracles is situated - the imperishable body of Pandido-Khambo Lama Dashi Dorjo Itigelov, Tamchinskij and Murochinskij Datsans – the oldest Buddhist temples in Russia that once used to be the biggest centers of Buddhist philosophic education. If you wish, it is possible to visit an astrologer lama or a specialist in Tibetan medicine.
Along the Baikal Way to the beginnings of the Angara River at Baikal.
Begin your acquaintance with the Lake Baikal through an excursion to an old Siberian village and a fast-developing tourist center of Listvyanka. The road to the village of Listvyanka goes along the right bank of Angara (68 km) – the only river that flows out of Baikal. On your way it is possible to visit a famous museum of wooden architecture open-air museum of "Taltsy". Close to Listvyanka, having a stop at the observation platform you will be able to see the legendary Shaman stone at the beginnings of Angara. Visiting the Baikal Limnological museum you will get to know the history of research in the Lake Baikal, its animal and plant world, you can also have an interactive dive to the bottom of Baikal. Using a cable way or walking on your wish, you will be able to climb up to the Stone of Chersky, from this point you will have an admirable panoramic view to the Khamar-Daban mountain chain, the beginnings of Angara, port of Baikal, and on the other side one can see the pier of Listvyanka where water tours around Baikal begin.
Old Circum-Baiakl railroad.
This is a fascinating excursion along the Circum-Baiakl railroad – a giant historic and architectural, engineering and landscape site where tunnels, drainage systems, retaining walls have been well preserved for a century at the length of 85 km. And all this stands at the background of capes and cliffs of the picturesque Baikal bank. On your wish it is possible to organize a walking tour as well as an excursion ride in a comfortable railway bus (a cabin of a one-carriage diesel train with first-class seats). During the whole way you will hear an interesting story told by the guide about the history of Circum-Baikal railroad building. During the trip a few stops are provided in the most interesting and beautiful places, your can go out of the carriage accompanied by the guide.
"The Heart of Baikal" – the Olkhon Island.
The Island of Olkhon is not only the biggest isle in the lake Baikal, it is also the heart of Baikal, its geographic, historic and sacral center, the mysterious beauty of which attracts people from all the corners of the world since ancient times. An excursion to the Olkhon Island (270 km from Irkutsk) is a good chance to plunge into the world of legends and traditions, enjoy on your way the great landscapes of the sacred Tazheranskaya Steppe and the Small Sea bay, to see one of the nine sacred places of Asia – the famous Shamanka Rock (Burkhan Cape) and the settlements of the ancient civilization of Khurykan, to visit religious places of shamans – Khoboi Cape (the northern end of the isle), marble cape of Sagan-Khushun, the healing lake of Yalginskoe and the lake of Shara-Nur, to get acquainted with the traditional lifestyle of the local people. And all this you will be able to do for a limited amount of time. On your wish it is possible to organize the excursion on land-rovers (UAZ), mountain bikes, horses as well as on foot.
Tunkinskaya Valley + the Arshan Resort.
It is an amazing place where you can not only enjoy miraculous landscapes of the Tunkinsky Alps of the Baikal region, but also restore your strength at the mineral waters of the Arshan Resort. These mineral springs are known for their healing qualities, they are helpful for cardiovascular disorders, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. The surroundings of the resort are very picturesque. You will see the most famous and interesting places like the sacred place of shamans "Takhmi-Baryaasha" (Tabacco Giving), one of the oldest resorts in Buryatia "Nilova Pustyn", a Buddhist temple "Burkhan-Baabaj". You will be able to take a fascinating walk to the gorge of the mountain river Kyngarga, the bottom of which is paved by Nature with water polished marble, will see a powerful waterfall 6 meters high at the falling edge of which there is a bridge. There are 12 waterfalls on the Kyngarga River. On your wish it is possible to have an interesting horse-ride along a picturesque valley of the Irkut River.
Trekking to the Cherski Peak.
You can take a short trekking-tour to the natural park "The Cherski Peak" and climb up the mountain with the same name (2,090 meters). This fascinating route will let you learn how to cross numerous rivers, you will see picturesque landscapes of the famous mountain chain Khamar-Daban, mountain lakes, the most beautiful waterfalls, you will visit the Starokomarskaya road – the ancient caravan way from Russia to Mongolia and China. And the views of the vast Baikal lands which you can see from this height will let even an amateur mountaineer feel a real winner, a conqueror of the mountain peaks.