The Siberian nature from Baikal to Altai
20 days/ 19 nights
The Siberian nature from Baikal to Altai
3400 EUROS per person. Group size: 4 - 10
In this tour, you'll learn about the culture of different ethnicity living in Siberia:
- The Buryats, who practice Buddhism
- Orthodox Russians
- Cossacks of different nationalities who came many years ago to conquer Siberia.
- Altaians, who adopted all religions of the world.
and appreciate the beauty of Siberian nature:
- The Baikal lake, that has several world records: (the largest by volume, the deepest lake etc). The lake is surrounded by hills and mountain ranges. It has a unique flora and fauna. Many species of animals and plants can only be found here.
- Altai Mountains is one of the most sizable mountain systems ranges in Central Asia and Southern Siberia. They are composed of many areas. Three of them form Golden mountains of Altai, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Central Siberian Plateau
THE TOUR PROGRAM
Day 1. Irkutsk city
Arrival in Irkutsk early in the morning. Transfer to the hotel, where you’ll have time to get a rest. Around noon we start our Irkutsk city tour (the old Siberian city, which is now one of the largest in Siberia). Day 2. Irkutsk - Taltsy - Listvyanka - Irkutsk
Today you’ll get to the village of Taltsy, located on the Angara river, near the lake Baikal (Angara source), were you’ll visit the open air museum of wooden architecture. Here you’ll see a unique collection of historical, architectural and ethnographic Siberian monuments of the last 6 centuries. Next we’ll drive you to Listvyanka, where the Baikal Museum is located. Here you’ll learn everything about lake Baikal: the appearance of lake Baikal, its flora and fauna, underwater exhibition, etc. On the funicular chair, you'll be lifted to the "Chersky stone" mountain, where you'll enjoy a beautiful view of Baikal. In the evening we return to Irkutsk.
Day 3. Irkutsk - Olkhon island
In the morning we will go to Olkhon island, the largest of the Baikal Islands. The road (about 300 km) to the island goes through picturesque places with a view of the lake. After lunch, the ferry will take us from the mainland to the island. We will spend the next 3 nights in Khuzhir village (the main one on the island).
Day 4. Olkhon island
After breakfast, we will explore the island. There is still no paved roads and no common water supply system. Water in the lake is very clean, so residents use it for household needs and for drinking. The island has been connected to the central power grid only since 2005. Off-road vehicles will take us to the northern part of Hoboy island. On the way, we will make stops in the most interesting places, including Shaman rock (It is considered a sacred place of the Buryats and was previously used as a shaman rocks). We'll take lunch with us and have a picnic.
Day 5. Olkhon - circle boat trip
In the morning we'll begin a cruise on lake Baikal. On a boat we will pass near small Baikal Islands and visit the healing spring (there are more than 200 healing springs on lake Baikal. they have different composition of water and different medicinal properties). We will make a stop on the island of Ogoi and visit the Buddhist stupa installed there. There are no settlements, on the island so people don't live there. You'll have lunch on the boat. We will return to Olkhon island around 3 p.m. and you’ll have a free time after that.
Day 6. Olkhon -Irkutsk
In the morning you'll have a ferry to mainland and transfer to the Irkutsk city. In the evening you'll start the trip on the famous trans-siberian railway road. You'll ride a part of this road from Irkutsk to the Novosibirsk (it's about 2000 km distance or 32 hours riding en route).
Day 7. Trans-Siberian railway - Novosibirsk.
The train will pass by a huge number of villages and small towns. The largest city where the train makes a stop is Krasnoyarsk. Late in the evening, you will arrive in Novosibirsk. Our guide will meet you by a train car and drive you to the hotel.
Day 8. Novosibirsk - Tomsk
Till noon you'll have Novosibirsk sightseeing tour. Novosibirsk is the third largest Russian city, and is called “The capital of Siberia”. In two days we will return to Novosibirsk and continue the tour, but today after lunch we will go to the Tomsk city. The road will take about 4 hours and we’ll arrive in Tomsk about 7 p.m.
Day 9. Tomsk
Tomsk is the old Siberian city. The Fortress from which the city was formed was founded by the Cossacks. Later Tomsk became the center of Siberian merchant class. From there, Siberian goods were sent to Central Russia. There are many interesting monuments of wooden and stone architecture in Tomsk Highlights of the day:
- Visit the reconstructed Cossack jail in the village Semiluzhki (get to know a story about Siberian Cossacks, fire a real cannon (by prior arrangement). Try on armour and weapons, tea with Siberian herbs (by prior arrangement), the opportunity to climb the guard tower and ring the bell.
- Visit to the mother superior of Bogoroditse-Alekseyevskiy monastery, learn the story of the monastery and about St. Feodor of Tomsk (he, according to the legend, was the Emperor Alexander I).
- The place of Foundation of Tomsk: tour to the point of the Foundation (A memorial stone on the site of Tomsk foundation in the heart of Old Tomsk, the view from the resurrection mountain and the story of strategic decisions regarding the place of construction of the fortress, as well as the story of the past Lenin square Central market of Tomsk province; visit to a site of reconstruction of the fortress wall).
- Street Shishkova (house of the arts, the apartment house where from 1911 to 1915, lived the writer Vyacheslav Shishkov, the oldest wooden house standing today Tomsk (on the move), Holy Trinity Church of the community of faith (on the move)
- Labor camp Garden (you'll know a story of the place, visit the Memorial of Military and Labor Glory of Tomsk citizens, from the cliff you'll enjoy the stunning views of the Tom river).
Day 10. Novosibirsk - Tomsk
In the morning you'll have a city centre tour in Tomsk. You'll see: Wooden architecture (“Upper Elan” Historical district), University district (Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tomsk State University (WITHOUT VISITS)), Novosobornaya square. After the lunch we will drive you back to the Novosibirsk city.
Day 11. Novosibirsk - Gorno-Altaisk
This morning starts from Novosibirsk city tour. This tour will take about 3 hours. After city tour we start our travel to Altai Mountains. The road will take about 6 hours. Gorno-Altaysk is the only city in the Altai Republic. It is located on the border of the Altai Mountains and Altai foothills.
Day 12. Gorno-Altaisk - Lake Teletskoe.
At morning you'll visit the Anokhin Museum of Gorno-Altaisk, with the exhibition of the mummy of the Altai Princess and many other interesting showpieces. And after that, we will drive you to the Artybash village, placed on the bench of Lake Teletskoe (drive distance 170 km). Teletskoe lake is the biggest lake in Altai. The lake is filled with very clean water, that allows you to look through the depth of about 15 meters. Teletskoe lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The right bank of the lake is a nature reserve area. Here you’ll have a boat trip. You'll see some interesting places during the trip (Korbu waterfall, Estube kordon, "Stone Creek", etc.). This night you'll stay in a hotel that does not have a category in a double/twin room with a toilet and shower inside.
Day 13. Teletskoe lake - Chemal
After the breakfast we’ll leave Artybash village and drive to the Chemal district area (drive distance 210 km). After lunch, you’ll ride a chairlift to the top of the Manzherok mountain where is the viewpoint on the Katun river valley.
Day 14. Chemal
After lunch, you'll have an excursion to the Chemal area, where you'll visit the picturesque Island of Patmos and walk along the Goat trail. Then we'll drive you to the place called Chech-Kysh, where will be able to see drawings of prehistoric rock art and visit the viewpoint of the Katun river valley. This night you'll stay in the same hotel. Drive distance: 100 kilometres.
Day 15. Chemal - Chuya highway - Aktash
We are setting off for Chuya highway. Today you'll see 2 mountain passes:
Seminsky mountain crossing-the highest one in Gorny Altai,
Chike-Taman mountain crossing (it isn’t as high as Seminsky mountain-crossing, although the landscapes, revealed from there are much more impressive). Then, we will make a stop to look at The Chuya and Katun’s confluence (big rivers of Altai Mountains). A lot of people consider it the most beautiful place on Chuya highway. Not far from the confluence is a place called Kalbak-tash. There you'll have an excursion and learn about the rock art of the ancient humans, who inhabited this part of Siberia thousands of years ago, that since remain unchanged. Among these pictures there is a map of the starry arch and water lens, which was used as primitive telescope; the calendar, displaying the main celestial events of the year (the days of solstice etc.);the notion of the ancients about the world order – the diagram of the world, hell and paradise. This night you'll stay in a hotel near Aktash village that does not have a category in a double/twin room with a toilet and shower inside. Drive distance: 350 kilometres.
Day 16. Aktash - Katu-Yaruk pass - Aktash After an early breakfast at the hotel, you'll have a roundtrip to the Katu-Yaruk pass (Drive distance each way: 100 kilometres.). A road to the pass goes through the Ulagan Plateau, where many beautiful lakes are placed. Katu Yaruk is the most scenic pass in Altai. From the pass, you'll see the canyon of the Chulyshman river, the Karasuu waterfall. On top of the pass you'll have lunch and after that, we will drive you back to the hotel near Aktash village. The approximate time of arrival to the hotel is 6 - 7 p.m.
Day 17. Aktash
The program of the day will start with visiting Geyser lake, which surface is decorated with colourful moving circles. After that, there will be a transfer to Kurai steppe and a panorama of the snowy peaks of the North-Chuya range. Then you’ll visit the unique Kyzyl Chin – colored mountains, which are rightfully called Martian because of bright red and bright yellow and green clay, covering its sides. As an extra option, in the evening we can offer you a concert of Altai throat singer. We’ll spend the night at the same hotel near Aktash village. Drive distance: 170 kilometres.
Day 18. Aktash - Chuya highway - Chemal
After an early breakfast at the hotel, we will start a return trip along Chuya highway. During the trip, we'll turn off the road and visit: Ilgumen rapids. Rapids are the places of riverbed rocks and water power’s battle, which began hundreds of thousands years ago and still continues. The cliffs cut the water making it «boil», seethe, whirl, producing deadly swirls. This night you'll stay in a hotel that does not have a category in a double/twin room with a toilet and shower inside. Drive distance: 370 kilometres.
Day 19. Chemal
Free day. This day you'll have time for a rest. As an extra option for this day:
- you can get an easy rafting
- visit maral (The red deer) farm
- have some fun in the aquapark
- or just relax and enjoy the Altai nature nearby Katun river bank.
Day 20. Chemal
After an early breakfast, we will drive you to the airport of Gorno-Altaisk. Drive distance: 50 kilometres.
The cost of the tour includes:
- Transfer (except flight),
- tour-guide services,
- 3 meals a day,
- museum visit,