Olkhon Island: A bit piece Of Paradise In Russia

After another long and spectacular train ride, we shown up in the stunning riverside city of Irkutsk. having had pictures of ugly, grey soviet buildings clouding our concept of a Russian town, Irkutsk was a enjoyable surprise. With a Europe-esque look and vibe, Irkutsk deserved much more time than we had to explore. We had a day to walk around and inspect out a few of the stunning churches around town. Upon entering the churches and seeing the ongoing, ceremonious prayer, it was promptly apparent that Russia holds on strongly to its religious roots.  After just 15 hours in Irkutsk, we left on the morning bus (7hrs R700) to Olkhon Island.

One Of The numerous Churches In Irktusk
Olkhon island is a 72 km long piece of paradise and is stated to be one of the 6 epicenters of earths’ shamanic energy points. The island is set on stunning Lake Baikal, which is the deepest lake in the world at over 1,600 meters deep in some places. This single body of water holds an astonishing 1 fifth of the world’s fresh water.

Waiting To Board The Ferry To Olkhon Island
As we rounded the very first bend that provided us a view of the island, we might see why so numerous people had suggested that we come to this place. We took a little ferry over the crystal remove water that is so clean, it is stated that you can drink it directly from the shores. even as we concerned the centre of the little peninsula, we might still see the bottom, which was most likely 50 or much more meters below us.

The Crystal remove Waters Of Lake Baikal
The very first day on the island we delighted in the sun and the warm weather, which had handled to getaway us while trekking in Mongolia. We laid on the stunning beaches and bathed in the warm sunshine. That very first night we discovered a good area on the sand and camped under the stars (camping is totally free and legal on all of Olkhon’s shores). Olkhiin island is the holiday area for numerous Russians so we were surrounded by cheerful locals enjoying their summertime vacation.

Our stunning camping area On The Beach

The next day we inspected into Nikita guest home (R950/person w/Full Board +20mins totally free banya). This large complex is a mecca for travellers going to Olkhon Island and they can organize whatever from day trips to weekend excursions around the island. The expense of Nikita would typically be over our budget, but when we saw the smorgasbord of regional cuisine on offer, and our clean comfortable room, we realized that it was a excellent deal.

Our space At Nikita guest House
We spent another entire day unwinding on the beach and swimming in the remove (and extremely cold) waters of Baikal. We practically got a tan!

After a night in Nikita, the bad weather condition caught as much as us again. sadly we had organized our adventure on this day (R800pp 7hrs w/lunch) and as we boarded the Russian van to head to the north of the island, our eyes were looking cautiously to the dark sky.

The Russian Van and A Dangerously Cloudy Sky
Luckily only a little drizzle fell from the sky as we explored the remarkable cliffs of Cape Khoboy on the northern suggestion of the island. We did a few hikes to some fantastic lookouts where we had full panoramas of Olkhon and the surrounding Baikal.

Lover’s Cliff Near Cape Khoboy
After our tour, we came back just in time for a tasty dinner of Omul (local Baikal fish) borsch and potato salad. After stuffing ourselves we headed for the Banya (Russian sauna/bathhouse) where we beat ourselves with eucalyptus branches and sweated it out for 40 minutes.

Outside Of A Russian Banya
As we left the banya, hot and refreshed, we discovered an old guy playing the accordion outside of Nikita’s music hall. turns out we were just in time for a regional musical show. We sat in the hall and listened to the band play conventional tunes from the different regions of Russia and Europe. The old guy on the accordion was the most charismatic Russian we’ve ever seen and he played off the crowd like a rock star. It was a excellent end to a ideal stay on Olkhon Island.

What A rock Star

After 3 nights on the island we had to leave to get back to Irkutsk for our train to Omsk. We liked the island and although we had heard travel tales of its beauty, we were still impressed by exactly how beautiful it truly was. It’s regrettable that the nature of this trip needs planning far in advance, because if we had much more time, we would have stayed on this mesmerizing piece of paradise.

Check Out Our Olkhon Island video (7mins)!

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