Enjoy a cool summer in Siberia Lake Baikal region, where the average temperature hovering between 10°C and 24°C. Lake Baikal is known as the “Pearl” of Siberia, it is the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake. Olkhon is the biggest island on the lake, in summer, the island is full of greenery – grassland carpeted the sparsely populated isle and pine forests exude with nice fragrance.
Noon depart from Kuala Lumpur International airport, transit via Bangkok to Russian Siberia town Irkutsk. Post-midnight arrival, transfer to hostel in downtown.
After breakfast, explore the city on foot. Irkutsk was founded some 350 years ago, first prospered from Gold Rush, then a place for the political exiles (the Decembrists). In 1970, Irkutsk was listed as a protected Russian city to preserve its ancient town planning and wooden architectures adorned with ornate hand-carved decorations. Other attractions include colourful Orthodox churches, and the bustling Central Market.
Day trip to Listvyanka by the southern shore of Lake Baikal. En-route visit Taltsy, an open-air museum featuring wooden buildings brought from all over Siberia, it looks like an ancient village with long streets, wooden houses, and water mills. Upon arrival in Listvyanka, visit the fish market and explore the town. Afternoon, take a cable car uphill to Chersky Rock for panoramic view of Lake Baikal and surrounding mountains. Late afternoon transfer back to Irkutsk.
Transfer to Olkhon Island located on Lake Baikal. The drive passes arid Siberian steppe and traditional villages. After lunch, arrive at lake shore of Baikal, take a public ferry to reach Olkhon Island. Upon landing on the other shore, another 45 minutes to the island’s biggest village Khuzhir. Late afternoon a walking tour around the village, sights of interest include Shaman Rock, the pier and abandoned fish factory, stroll along the lake shore and admire sunset.
After breakfast, embark on a boat excursion to the southern part of the Olkhon Island. En-route stop at viewing points to admire panoramic view of Lake Baikal and surrounding mountain ranges. Uninhibited islands scattered on the lake, such as Crocodile and Ogoi. Take a boat ride to the Stupa island, and then hike to the hilltop to visit a giant white stupa. Picnic lunch on the way. Late afternoon, back in Khuzhir village, free & easy, one may enjoy leisure time at café and write a postcard, or visit souvenir shops.
Today explore the northern part of Olkhon Island dotted with towering cliffs, such as the “Three Brothers” and Khoboi Cliffs. At the Island’s northern tip, stand on top of the cliff and admire the superb view of Laka Baikal where its Small Sea meets the Big Sea. Picnic lunch in a pine forest and soak up fresh air in the nature. Along the way, visit some Shamanistic sites, such as a holy tree with twisting branches extending skyward but no leaf at all. Late afternoon back in Khuzhir, free & easy.
After breakfast drive back to Irkutsk, lunch at local café en-route, upon arrival in Irkutsk check-in to hostel and refreshed. Late afternoon, free & easy, one could stroll around the 130th Quarter, a refurbished historic district turned pedestrian commercial area, or visit the Angara River bank lined with greenery, or do some last minute souvenir shopping. At night, suggest visiting a traditional Russian restaurant for dinner.
Early morning transfer to airport, take a morning flight to Bangkok for transit, and late afternoon connect to a Kuala Lumpur-bound flight. Arrival at night, end of tour.
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