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Seals & Ice Floes

Destination: Lake Baikal
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
Minimum age of the participant of this trip
6 Days
April
Highlights
  • Tour led by Pavel Ageychenko, the founder of BaikalNature
  • Possiblity to observe Baikal seals in the wild
  • Wonderful itinerary through the most remoted areas of Lake Baikal
  • Visit of Lake Baikal in the off-season period
  • Travelling by comfortable and safe hovecrafts
  • Baikal landscapes with drifting ice
  • Possiblity to try ice-fishing on the Chyvyrkysky Gulf
  • Relaxing in the hot springs
  • Two overnights in the cozy guest house on Ushkany islands
  • Discovery of Small and Big sea of Lake Baikal
Tour Overview

During Baikal's off-season, we invite you to discover a majestic period when all nature of Baikal, from every leaf to cute animals, awakens from winter cold and dark nights to be filled with light and warmth. You will be a witness of this amazing phenomenon and go along the most beautiful and remote routes, that are accessible only to a small number of people. Our expedition is dedicated to the unique nature and the pacifying energy of Baikal. The Baikal seal as the main symbol of Baikal and its embodiment will become our guiding star in our expedition.

Lake Baikal is the only place on Earth where it is possible to observe the local endemic, the lake's freshwater seal. To our time scientists could not solve the riddle of its appearance in the lake. However, many researchers support the hypothesis that the seals went down the Yenisei River from the Arctic Ocean and adapted themselves to the conditions of the freshwater lake.

In the spring Baikal seals bask in the bright and warm sun on the drifting ice floes of Lake Baikal. After a long winter, they can finally get to the surface where they like to spend most of their time. We will follow in the footprints of the seal to meet it and take stunning photos, one of the unique animals in the world. You can easily call Baikal seal as the most photogenic and cute animal you have ever seen in your life. For our photo tour we will use an old technique of seal hunters, the only difference is that you will only armed with your cameras, wearing special white costumes! 

The tour is led by Pavel Ageychenko, founder of BaikalNature, who will share with you his secrets as he has already met Baikal seals in the wild many times. 

Together you will take comfortable and safe transport "hovercrafts", that are capable for riding on ice, land and water, to discover the picturesque western coast of Lake Baikal with its cozy bays and capes, the largest island Olkhon, the Maloye More and the Big Sea of ​​Baikal, which is just separated by the Olkhon Island. The highlight of the tour will be crossing the lake in its deepest part and visiting the largest rookery of the Baikal seal, where you will spend several nights in a cozy base. Also, you will discover the pearl of the eastern shore of Lake Baikal - Chyrvykuysky Bay with its hot springs. We will not miss the opportunity to relaxing here, and you can also try ice fishing for the first time! 

Tour is a kind of expedition, as the route may vary depending on the conditions, but we guarantee vivid emotions, harmony and incredible landscapes. And of course, if we are lucky, we will definitely meet the main symbol - Baikal seal!

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Tour programme
  • Day 1
    First meeting with Lake Baikal
    Irkutsk — Sakhurta village
  • Day 2
    The largest island on Lake Baikal
    Sakhurta — Olkhon island
  • Day 3
    Towards Ushkany islands
    Olkhon Island — Ushkany Islands
  • Day 4
    Scenic Gulf Chyvyrkuysky
    Ushkany Islands
  • Day 5
    Final day of photo hunting
    Ushkany islands — MRS village
  • Day 6
    Goodbye Lake Baikal
    Sakhurta — Irkutsk
  • 09:30
    Arrival in Irkutsk
    Welcome to one the biggest city of Siberia - Irkutsk! From there we start our journey to the Great Baikal. At the airport, your guide will be meeting you with the sign BaikalNature.
  • 10:00
    DEPARTURE TO THE LISTVYANKA VILLAGE
    You will go to the village of Listvyanka situated on the Baikal shore near the Angara river source (70 km from Irkutsk). Here you will meet the Baikal lake for the first time.
  • 11:00
    Departure by Hovercraft along the western coast of Lake Baikal
    Upon arrival in Listvyanka, we take the safest transport and most comfortable transport on Lake Baikal - hovercraft (hivus). This transport is popular for the ability to move on ice, water and land. We travel by hovercraft on Baikal ice to the village named MRS on the shore of Small Sea. All journey will be on the ice, along the most picturesque coast of Lake Baikal. On the way we will make several stops and visit: the village Bolshoye Goloustnoye, Sandy bay and the rock Sagan-Zaba to observe the mountain relief and cave paintings.
  • 13:00
    Lunch-picnic
    During our excursion we will have a small picnic on ice and enjoy the beautiful scenery, as well as taste the local Baikal dishes
  • 14:00
    Continuation of the way to MRS village
  • 16:00
    Arrival at the base
    Check-in at your resort and rest.
  • 19:00
    Dinner at the resort
    Local dishes will be served at the cafe.
  • 20:00
    Russian banya
  • Overnight at the resort
Photo of the day
Route
Irkutsk — Sakhurta village
Accommodation
Accommodation at the resort "Vorobyevy Gory"
Dome home for 2 persons
  • 09:00
    Breakfast at the resort
  • 11:00
    Start of photo hunting
    Departure by hovercraft on Small sea of Lake Baikal to Olkhon island. Today we will change our look and put on special white clothes for the search of the Baikal seal, to blend with the local landscapes as much as possible and not frighten off shy Baikal seal. These animals have excellent hearing and vision, as well as a unique sense of smell. All time they are quite careful and at the first danger they dive into the water. So it is no easy task to get close to the seals , but we will definitely be lucky. So, be all eyes, so as not to miss the moment! En route, you will visit the Ogoy island - the biggest island of the Maloye More. On the top of the island there is the Buddhist stupa, that also named "The stupa of the clarification".
  • 13:00
    Lunch-picnic
  • 14:00
    Discovery of Small sea and visit of ice caves
    While our search for the seal goes on, we will also visit the caves sheltered from the spring sun and take some couple of amazing pictures. Then, we will head for the village of Khuzhir - the main village on Olkhon island. Possible to have excursion around the village, discovery of the Burkhan Rock, "place of residence of the Baikal's God" and one of the nine sanctuaries of Asia.
  • 17:00
    Accommodation in the hotel
    After the long day, you have a rest in the comfortbale hotel.
  • 19:00
    Dinner in the hotel Not included
  • Overnight in the hotel
Photo of the day
Route
Sakhurta — Olkhon island
Accommodation
Accomodation in the guesthouse U Lukomorya
Twin room
  • 09:00
    Breakfast in the hotel
  • 11:00
    Way to the Great Baikal
    We departure by our hovecrafts to the North of Olkhon island. On route, you will see the Belenkiy island (White), the habitat of thousand of gulls, you will stop near the cape Tri brata (Three brothers, Sagan-Hushun) with its picturesque ice caves. and, of course, we discovery of Khoboy Cape (the northernmost point of Olkhon), sacred site for shamans. Enjoy the spectacular 360° view!
  • 13:00
    Lunch - picnic
    During outdoor picnic we will taste real fish soup from Baikal Omul cooked on fire.
  • 14:00
    Continuation of the way and search of the seals.
    Set course for Ushkany islands - the most famous rookery of Baikal seal in summer. The Ushkany Islands are a tiny mysterious archipelago located in the middle of the big Baikal. It includes four islands: Bolshoy Ushkaniy Island and Malye Ushkany Islands, which have rather simple names - Krugly, Tonky and Dolgiy. As it is quite difficult to get here, just a few people have the chance to visit it. And you will be one of them.
  • 17:00
    Arrival and accommodation on Uskany islands
  • 19:00
    Dinner in the guest house
  • 20:00
    Russian banya
    After a day in the great outdoors, relax in a Russian banya. Add steam and whip up the birch branches! After: pour a bucket of ice water over yourself - you'll look a few years younger, guaranteed!
  • Overnight in the guest house
Photo of the day
Route
Olkhon Island — Ushkany Islands
Accommodation
Accommodation in the homestead
Room in the house
  • 09:00
    Breakfast
  • 10:00
    Explore the area of the gulf Chivyrkuysky
    Today, we have another chance to mee Baikal seal in the wild as well as take opportunity to discover the gulf Chivyrkuysky and the Svyatoy Nos peninsula that are one of the most attractive and interesting places on Lake Baikal. The epithet "most" is often applied to these places, and they really deserve special attention. Today you have to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Chivyrkuisky Bay, which includes 7 islands: Bolshoy Baklaniy, Bolshoy Kyltygey, Maly Kyltygey, White Stone, St. Helena, Pokoynitskiy Kamen and Kovrizhka. The first four islands are natural monuments. The largest island is Bolshoy Baklaniy.
  • 13:00
    Lunch - picnic
  • 14:00
    Ice-fishing
    Chivyrkuisky Bay is also considered one the best fishing spot, and you should definitely try to do ice-fishing on Lake baikal, even if you have never pulled a rod in your life!
  • 16:00
    Bathing in the hot springs
    On return way we visit Zmeinaya bay and relaxing in the hot springs!
  • 19:00
    Homemade dinner
  • Overnight in the guest house
Photo of the day
Route
Ushkany Islands
Accommodation
Accommodation in the homestead
Room in the house
  • 09:00
    Breakfast
  • 10:00
    Return way to Olkhon island.
    Today we return to Olkhon Island by a new route and explore its eastern part, so we will have a circular route around Olkhon. Make sure to take photos of Lake baikal with the bright spring sun and drifting ice floes.
  • 13:00
    Lunch - picnic
  • 14:00
    Continuation of the way
    On route, we make several stops in the most interesting places and discover the stunning landscapes of Big Baikal.
  • 17:00
    Arrival in MRS and accommodation at the resort
    Free time and have a rest.
  • 19:00
    Festive dinner
    It's time to have share your emotions and photos of the trip. In a warm and friendly atmosphere, you can spend an atmospheric evening on Lake Baikal, and remember all the great moments of the tour together .
  • Overnight at the resort
Photo of the day
Route
Ushkany islands — MRS village
Accommodation
Accommodation at the resort Naratey
Twin comfort room
  • 09:00
    Breakfast
  • 11:00
    Transfer to Irkutsk
    Our journey ends, so we say goodbye Lake Baikal and head for Irkutsk.
  • 16:00
    Arrival in Irkutsk and transfer to the airport
    The end of the programme.
Photo of the day
Route
Sakhurta — Irkutsk
Note

3 h transfer  (260km)

Detailed description
New departures available soon
Price includes
  • English-speaking guide
  • Accommodation as per itinerary
  • Transport as per itinerary
  • 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
  • Banya
  • Letter of invitation
  • Bathing in hot springs
  • Meals according to the program
Price does not include
  • Visa
  • Medical insurance
  • Personal expenses and tips
  • Airline tickets
For more info, please download the detailed description of the trip.
Note

The price is given for the group of 6 people. If there are less people, the price will be recalculated accordingly. The route can vary depending of ice and weather condition. On some part of the route there is no mobile connection (3-4 days).

Reviews
No reviews anymore or no reviews at all for this tour. Below reviews for destination:
4.33
4.33
Total score
5.00
Work of BaikalNature office before and during travel / customer support
3.00
Quality of accommodation
4.00
Quality of transport / transfers
4.00
Quality of meals
5.00
Friendliness and professionalism of guides / management
5.00
Quality and originality of visits / attractions / events
Veronika
From 29 July 2021 to 3 August 2021
Destination: Lake Baikal
Custom tourBaikal tour
Would you like to travel with BaikalNature again? Yes!
The trip was exactly prepared how we wanted :))
BaikalNature's reply
Thank you!
4.00
4.00
Total score
4.00
Work of BaikalNature office before and during travel / customer support
3.00
Quality of accommodation
4.00
Quality of transport / transfers
4.00
Quality of meals
5.00
Friendliness and professionalism of guides / management
4.00
Quality and originality of visits / attractions / events
Claire
From 25 February 2021 to 2 March 2021
Destination: Lake Baikal
Custom tourVoyage au Baïkal en famille
Would you like to travel with BaikalNature again? Yes!
Nous avons vraiment passé un excellent séjour au Baïkal et en gardons tous de merveilleux souvenirs.
BaikalNature's reply
Nous vous remercions vivement pour votre confiance. Au plaisir de vous revoir parmi nos voyageurs !
4.67
4.67
Total score
5.00
Work of BaikalNature office before and during travel / customer support
4.00
Quality of accommodation
5.00
Quality of transport / transfers
4.00
Quality of meals
5.00
Friendliness and professionalism of guides / management
5.00
Quality and originality of visits / attractions / events
Peter
From 27 February 2021 to 6 March 2021
Destination: Lake Baikal
Custom tourKingdom of Ice Individuel
Would you like to travel with BaikalNature again? Yes!
Une expérience de voyage fantastique. Guidé par des professionnels Bon rapport qualité-prix. Je recommande absolument ce voyage
BaikalNature's reply
Merci, Peter, pour l'appréciation du travail de notre agence. Au plaisir de vous revoir parmi nos voyageurs !
4.67
4.67
Total score
5.00
Work of BaikalNature office before and during travel / customer support
4.00
Quality of accommodation
5.00
Quality of transport / transfers
4.00
Quality of meals
5.00
Friendliness and professionalism of guides / management
5.00
Quality and originality of visits / attractions / events
Nathalie and Frederic
From 15 February 2021 to 19 February 2021
Destination: Lake Baikal
Would you like to travel with BaikalNature again? Yes!
It was a wonderful trip with a lot of fun and magnificent landscapes. Our guide, Maria, was really great with a lot of useful explanations and kindness. Sasha, the owner of the buggy was also very kind and allow our kids to drive and to enjoy our trip. We definitely recommend Baikal Nature and this tour in order to mix the discovery of Baikal lake and to feel as the only ones on the ice.
4.50
4.50
Total score
5.00
Work of BaikalNature office before and during travel / customer support
4.00
Quality of accommodation
4.00
Quality of transport / transfers
4.00
Quality of meals
5.00
Friendliness and professionalism of guides / management
5.00
Quality and originality of visits / attractions / events
Dirk
From 4 March 2020 to 11 March 2020
Destination: Lake Baikal
Custom tourIndividual Grand Crossing Tour
Would you like to travel with BaikalNature again? Yes!
This was a very good organised trip over the lake. I worked very well with Olga. It was a nice cooperation. some remarks: - The homestay in Ust-Barguzin could have been better. If I knew that there were two families and how the beds were divided, then I could have prepared the group and it would be less chaotic. - Some of the group were disappointed that we didn't walk all the way. On the first day
  Read more
BaikalNature's reply
Thank you for your feedback! We would like to give you some comments about the tour. - Large groups always have to be divided into several houses, since it is not a hotel, it's a house of a local. Such number of places can’t be provided by one homestay. Please, feel free to ask us a better hotel, we are always ready to follow your requests. -Perhaps the drivers misunderstood you because of the lang
  Read more
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