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Pearls of Upper Asia

This tour is not available and is archived.
Easy - nothing more than normal walking while sight-seeing
Moderately Easy - 1-3 hours of physical activity daily
Moderate - 3-5 hours of physical activity daily
Challenging - 5-7 hours of challenging physical activity daily
Extreme - 7+ hours of challenging/extreme physical activity daily
Difficulty
Basic — most of nights in tents or rooms with shared WC, some nights in comfortable rooms.
Standard — most of nights in comfortable rooms, some nights in tents or rooms with shared WC.
Upgraded — all nights in comfortable rooms.
Comfort
Highlights
  • Exploration of the two deepest lakes of Asia
  • "Off the beaten track",route aimed at discovering the unique nature of Lake Baikal and Lake Khovsgol areas
  • Discovering of Siberian, Burytian and Mongolian way of life
  • Alternation of trekking, travelling by boat, bus, 4x4, plane, cultural discoveries and visits
Tour Overview

Imagine : 25 million years ago, because of a tectonic movement, a part of the chain Akademichesky sank into waters of the deepest lake in the world, the Pearl of Siberia, Lake Baikal. 20 million years later, another jolt gives birth to its small brother, at foothills of the Eastern Saïan Mountains, the Dark Blue Pearl of Mongolia, Lake Khovsgol. 

These two lakes share same geologic origin, preserved and wild nature and their disproportional sizes which make them the two deepest lakes in Asia. 

They are linked up by Eegiin Gol, the only "child" of Lake Khovsgöl who throws itself into River Selenga, itself feeding Lake Baikal.

During this tour, we offer you to discover wealth, diversity and unique character of one of the nicest regions of Upper Asia.

After visiting Irkutsk, capital of Eastern Siberia, good example of 19th century pomp in Russia, you will be introduced to the Pearl of Siberia, Lake Baikal.

We will trek during 3 days on Olkhone holy island and cross Lake Baikal at its largest part to reach Barguzin Bay, one of the most picturesque Bay of the lake.

We will drive towards Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Republic of Buryatia, nested in the meanders of River Selenga.

Taking back the mythical "Tea Road", we will stop in Kiakhta before leaving Russia to enter Mongolian territory. Continuing our road southward, we will make a pause in Darkhan, second biggest city of Mongolia before visiting the pretty buddhist monastery of Amarbayasgalant. Our road towards Khovsgol will be livened up with treks along rivers and lakes of the region. Once on the banks of the Dark Blue Pearl of Mongolia, we will take part of a two days expedition with our own yurt tracked by a yak as traditionnal nomadic herders.

Our route will come to an end in Ulan Bator, capital of the Sons of the Steppe.

Tour programme
  • Day 1
    Arrival in Irkutsk. Transfer to homestay. Moving in, rest till midday. After lunch walking tour of Irkutsk: historic centre, old churches, wooden houses, embankment of the Angara River, the Decembrists museum. Dinner and homestay overnight.
  • Day 2
    Drive to Olkhon Island (300 km/186 mi). En Route, we will accomply a small buryatian ritual to have a nice trip. Lunch. Arrival to the strait of Olkhonskiye Vorota (Olkhon Gates), crossing of the strait by ferry, drive to the Buryat village of Khuzhir. Hike from the village of Khuzhir until the village of Kharantsy. Accommodation in yurt. Banya (Russian steam bath).
  • Day 3
    Trekking from Kharantsy to Peschanoye area. Overnight in tent on beach near the remains of former Gulag.
  • Day 4
    Trekking from Peschanoye area to the weather station of Uzury through steppe and taiga. Banya.
  • Day 5
    On early morning, excursion in jeep to Cape Khoboy, shaman sacred place, breathtaking view. Transfer to Khuzhir. Lunch. In early afternoon departure for a cruise accross Lake Baikal towards Ust-Barguzin on the east shore. Homestay overnight. Banya.
  • Day 6
    Drive to Barguzin valley, discovery of rock paintings and castles of Suvo picturesque rocks. Drive back to Ust-Barguzin. Homestay overnight. Banya.
  • Day 7
    All-day excursion on Lake Baikal. Early in the morning we will start our drive to Monakhovo following the tongue of sand that separates two largest gulfs. On the way discovery of Barguzinsky Gulf and Svyatoy Nos Peninsula. Boarding a fish boat, grand tour of Chivyrkuysky Gulf. We will visit Zmeinaya Bay (bay of snakes) and its hot springs, bathing. Lunch in the open air, you will taste a local dainty, endemic fish of the lake – fresh omul. Return to Ust-Barguzin in the evening, homestay overnight, opportunity to take banya.
  • Day 8
    After breakfast drive to Ulan-Ude (270 km/168 mi). Arrival to the city by 2.00 pm, transfer to hotel. City-tour and visit of the museum of History of Buryatia. Homestay overnight.
  • Day 9
    Morning, visit to the Buddhist temples complex, Ivolginsky Datsan, the Buddhism centre of the whole Russia. Discovery of the village of Old Believers, tasting their traditional cuisine. Homestay overnight.
  • Day 10
    7:30 AM, departure in bus for the mongolian border on the former "Road of Tea". We will pass through one of the most important city on this road : Kyakhta. After crossing the border, arrival in Darkhan at 5 PM. Meeting with our local staff. Short city-tour of the second biggest city in Mongolia. Overnight in yurt. 400 km (250 mi) in bus to Darkhan, then 200 km (125 mi) in 4X4 which means 7 to 8 hours of transport.
  • Day 11
    Trekking in Burengyn Nuruu steppe. Visit to nomad families, taste "Suutei-Tsai" salt milk tea, the traditionnal mongolian drink. Visit to Amarbayasgalant Monastery, built in XVII° century in honour of Bogd Zanabazar, chief of tibetan buddhism in Mongolia. Overnight in yurt.
  • Day 12
    Transfer to Lake Sharga. En Route, visite of Uraan Togoo volcano. Lunch. Visit to hot srings of Khanui. Overnight in tent. 280 km (175 mi) which means 6 hours of transport.
  • Day 13
    Trekking to Lake Tsegeen, along River Bayan. Visit to nomad families. Overnight in tent.
  • Day 14
    Transfer to River Tseger. Arrival in Khovsgol Aimag. Many ethnies live in this area forming an ethnic patchwork : Khalkhas, Buryatians, Russians, Uriankhais, Tsaatans who are reindeer herders. 250 km (155 mi) which means around 6 hours of transport.
  • Day 15
    Trekking on shores of River Tseger and Arigyin. Visit of petroglyphs of Alangoo Hatny Hoshoo.
  • Day 16
    We eventually arrive on the shore of Lake Khovsgol, the Dar Blue Pearl of Mongolia. Stopover to visit hot springs of Tsengeryin. Overnight in yurt. 120 km (75 mi) which means 4 hours of transport.
  • Day 17
    Departure for a two-days trekking or horse riding trip with yak carrying our own yurt in a cart. During those two days we will experiment nomad's daily life and discover breathtaking views on Lake Khovsgol and Khoridol Saridag Mountains. Overnight in yurt.
  • Day 18
    Way back to the yurt camp through taiga. Overnight in yurt.
  • Day 19
    Morning, departure for airport of Moron. Arrival in Ulan-Bator in early afternoon and transfer to hotel. Free afternoon with guide and driver at your disposal. Suggestion : Memorial of Zaysan, Monastery of Gandantengchilin, Naraantuul Market, Sukhbaatar Square. 6 PM : Traditional Mongolian Show with dancing and throat-singing. 90 km (56 mi) in 4x4 which means 3 to 4 hours of transport. Duration of flight : 1:30
  • Day 20
    Breakfast and transfer to airport or railway station. End of tour.
                                          Detailed description
                                          New departures available soon
                                          Price includes
                                          • English-speaking guide
                                          • Accommodation as per itinerary
                                          • Transport as per itinerary
                                          • Meals
                                          • Excursions and visits as per itinerary
                                          • Reserves and national parks entrance permissions
                                          • Transfer from airport / railway station on first day
                                          • Transfer to airport / railway station on last day
                                          • Letter of invitation
                                          • Camping outfit rental
                                          • Horse and equipment rental
                                          Price does not include
                                          • Medical insurance
                                          • Administrative registration
                                          • Personal expenses and tips
                                          • Visa fees and travel insurance
                                          • Optional activities
                                          For more info, please download the detailed description of the trip.
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