Kayaking on Baikal 2 days

When we came back from kayak trip, my friend told me that I’m #(*&^ crazy. Well, yes, but we are crazy in a good and safe way.

My firiend let me use 2 person kayak for a little adventure on lake Baikal. We started early in the morining from Irkutsk. Picked up kayak in Bolshaya Rechka, went to Listvyanka, had breakfast, put kayak on the water loaded it with all the stuff.

After that I went to Belka Hostel and parked my car on the territory. Then walked down Chapaev street where Natasha was waiting for me reading her book.

We sailed for an hour. Meeting nerpa, Baikal seal, was unusual. It was sleeping on the water with only it’s small head on the surface. It woke up only when kayak was 2 meters away from it. Blinked it’s black eyes, sneezed at us and went under water. My camera was away, so sorry, no pictures.

After taking a nap on the shore we were trying to get back on the road, but I flipped it over. My bad. First time kayaking with no instructor, so this was expected. It is like a initiation to ‘kayaker’s club’. Camera, phone, money, documents and all important stuff was wet. But not lost. Now I understand what must be kept in dry box of kayak. All the things that got wet. But our box was full of food and there was no extra place. Ha-ha! First hand experience. Now I understand the value of instructors and guides.

I was in a hurry to get into kayak, because the water is so cold that it hurts feet when you are just few seconds in the water, the stones are slippery and I was not wearing proper footwear for this trip. Remember don’t be bear feet when kayaking. Wear at least rubber slippers.

2 hours more and we reached Bolshiye Koty village where we camped, cooked on fire and went to bed very early as we were extremetly tired.

Camping was great. We put our tent near the water stream that flows into the lake and had the source of fresh water. Also the sound of the stream was providing with calming and natural atmosphere. Bolshiye Koty village is small and has almost no cars, very quiet and relaxing.

Next day we woke up. Cooked food. Packed and started to pedal back. Now I get the idea of how to get inside the kayak and thought about my mistakes. I can teach anybody. Also we understood how to pedal properly. The weather was perfect both days. First day it was wind to the back and second day there was no wind at all and it was hot!

When we reached Listvyanka the shore was full of people. It was great hot summer days. People were greeting us from land, ships and boats. It was lovely. We felt like heroes.

40 kilometers total there and back. It is great for beginners, but it is not too easy. Thank you lake Baikal for your beauty and thanks to everybody who instructed and supported us.

We love bicycles

We love to go for a ride on Olkhon Island. The day was not sunny and not hot. Very nice for a day trip to the next small village Kharantsy from where there is a trail to the forest with nice clean water spring. It is very green in the forest and air is fullfilling you with powers of nature. You just can’t stop. But it is time to go home, we return and have great local traditional lunch in a village cafe. Dogs dictate us to go to have a nap after a great lunch.

Come visit us and we will show you something like that. With pleasure.

One day tour to Arshan

It is possible to go to Arshan and return in Irkutsk in one day. The trip takes about 12-14 hours. Yesterday, my brother and his wife took two traverlers to Arshan. Good scenery at Kultuk village, great road to Arshan. Hot summer day.

Lunch in a local cafe started Arshan adventure. Visit to sacred waterfall, stone river and buddhist datsan temple. After exploring Arshan they went to Zhemchug village, where travelers went to take a swim in a hot water pool. Suddenly there was nobody there. Swimming in hot water is more popular in winter 🙂

Then return back to Irkutsk, with dinner stop in a road cafe with great view on Kultuk village and south spot of Lake Baikal.

Bicycle trip to the top of the hill

Today we went for 1 hour bicycle ride to the top of the hill with spectacular view on Khuzhir vllage on Olkhon Island. Going up the hill is hard, but the reward is great. The funny thing is that the view was covered with thick fog. After hard work up the hill it was a little upsetting. But still, the view was amazing anyway.

Second part of the trip is the best when return downhill back to the village.

We left just when cars with other traverlers started to arrive 🙂

Olkhon Island morning ride

I went for a morning forest ride today on Olkhon Island. Picked up some pine tree cones for making health potion later. I was happy to see many snowdrops on the way, these flowers appear first in our forests. The weather was great and it is a great opportunity for one to have such a great excercise trip in the morning.

Best wishes to everybody. Welcome to Olkhon Island.

Music of Irkutsk (free music event)

On 19th of May you can visit a free music festival in the very
center of Irkusk. This event will happen on a square
in front of big shopping center in Tourist area
in downtown.
(See map below, shopping center is marked.)

You will see pop, rock and hip-hop artists from Irkutsk
performing. Also they will have a special guest from
Moscow. Band named: Brothers Grimm

Enjoy! We are sure it is going to be fun.


Holy waters of Arshan

Yesterday me and Natasha came back from Arshan, which is 200 Km from Irkutsk city. It is a great trip to the place of great beauty and most fresh air in the world. The nature was welcoming us. It is early spring now, but it was very warm and sunny on Saturday, when we had a great walk around the village and a little bit into the forest.

Arshan is famous for its holy healing waters that flow from underground in countless spots in and around the village. You can take some water for drinking, in some spots you can even take a swim in hot mineral waters.

Lake Baikal in March

Irkutsk city is the gate to lake Baikal. Starting by exploring the city and its surroundings it turns into search of the way to get to the lake, to Listvyanka.

This is a small village 60 kilometers from Irkutsk on the shore of the lake. Cozy, compact and full of places to visit and stay. What is the most important here? Lake Baikal Museum with cool aquarium and great guides. Dog farm where you can get a ride and visit real Russian blacksmith workshop. Local fish and suvenir market and other cool places that can make someone miss the last minibus back to Irkutsk.

After that one just wants to see more and just can’t get enough. So the road leads to more distant but closer to the lake place. Olkhon Island is the biggest and only inhabitant and tiny town of Khuzhir is waiting for travelers all year round.

March is the best time to go to the island across the ice driving a car or minibus. Frozen lake opens a full spectrum of ice roads that can be taken to the places not available in summer.

During few days it is possible to exlore a huge variety of different destinations around Olkhon Island. Fresh air, adventures on ice, great company of fellow travelers, warm welcoming hosts and great fresh local food. Simple, healthy and fun times guaranteed.

Olkhon Island Trip

Visiting Irkutsk can be fun, but it’s even more impressive to take a 3 day tour to Olkhon Island. At first it’s 5 hour ride on a minibus, including 2 kilometer drive across ice to reach the island.

Driving on the surface of lake Baikal

After arriving and checking into hotel its nice to ralax and explore surrounding area on foot a little bit, have a dinner. Next morning wake up to have a great walk before ice safari starts.

Beautiful place on Olkhon Island

Weather is usually sunny and you get to see sunlight playing with Baikal ice and landscape. Some people go on foot, but we prefer old style offroad minivans that local ice captains run across snow deserts.

Walking tour across the ice

Old school military minivans
Ice on lake Baikal
Shore of Olkhon Island

Even there was a great outdoor lunch during ice trip, eating dinner will be the top priority. Excited, it is easy to get tired fast. Local steam cooked buns and bakery with various fillings will keep you up and running. The food is simple and mostly natural.

Olkhon island landscape
Send postcard from Baikal
Best suvenir for your family ever

There are plenty of spots to warm up, eat and socialise. There is a post office, few shops, bicycle rental and many guesthouses. Electricity appeared here only in 2005, so the place is still developing. People are very kind and welcoming.