South Baikal region

South Baikal region with its centre in Baikalsk and Utulik village is a great place to start your visit to Baikal. Baikalsk is one of the two towns located right on the shoe of lake Baikal. The region has good road infrastructure and mild climate. Since Baikalsk Cellulose-Paper plant has been closed the local environmental situation is gradually improving. In 2014 a passenger ship terminal has been opened in Baikalsk. If you do not plan to travel around a lot you can find the majority of the most popular activities within Baikalsk. It is also worth noting that Utulik village hosts three sanatoriums.

During summer season you can do mountain hiking, explore local forests, go hunting for wild mushrooms and berries, try knocking off pine cones for famous pine nuts, go fishing for lenok and grayling in crystal clear water of mountain rivers or simply buy omul on a local market, try famous Baikalsk strawberries, go to banya (sauna) or meet sunset on the bank of a raging mountain river, take part in one out many local summer festivals. For more dynamic activities we suggest to consider climbing breathtaking peaks of Khamar-Daban (Chersky peak, Babkha peak, Three-headed peak, etc), relatively easy walks, rafting (rivers suitable for this: Snezhnaya, Utulik and Khara-Murin), boat trips around the lake, moto- and quadro off road tours or trips towards the high points of mountain rivers by aero boat. In the centre of Baikalsk there is a sports centre with big swimming pool, banya and all sorts of sports activities available for you and your family. Baikalsk neighborhood is a natural reserve but if you travel a bit further East or West you can get a great experience of hunting for waterfowl, ungulates, bear and Siberian stag. These can be deserted places where you will not meet a single person for the whole day.

One of the good ways to learn about the region is to catch a train around Baikal, the trip starts near Slyudyanka and goes all the way to Baikal water terminal along the edge of the lake on old one way track built in the beginning of the 20th century which used to serve as a transportation link between East and West (before the Transsiberian was built), and was then partly flooded when Irkutsk hydro powerstation arrived. There is a train for everyday transportation of the locals and a tourist train which makes longer stops at the key stations. There is also a place in Baikal where every summer wind- and kitesurfing festival takes place - it is of course Posolskiy sor (150km from Baikalsk). It is a big bay separated from Baikal by a narrow strip of sand full of warm not very deep water which is a perfect place for sailing. 35 kilometers from Baikalsk you can visit Warm Lakes - three beautiful deep lakes amidst the forests near Snezhnaya river. It is great for a simple walk or a swim in warm water of emerald lake with a sandy bed.

Baikalsk is also a great base from which you can undertake the trips to Tunkinskaya valley and Okinsky district of Buryatiya. These are beautiful deserted areas which offer an opportunity to swim in hot springs (Zhemchug), try healing drinking water (Arshan) and go tracking around Eastern Sayan (Orlik village in Okinsky district). In May near Mondy village an annual event of mass climbing to the top of Munku-Sardyk takes place - it is the highest peak of Eastern Sayan. The road leading to Okinsky district ends in Orlik village with the population of around 2000 people. It takes at least 8 hours to get from Baikalsk to Orlik but the road is interesting in its own right. You can find more details about summer season activities in the relevant section of our website SUMMER ACTIVITIES.

South Baikal region also offers a lot of opportunities during winter period. We believe that Sobolinaya mountain is the best skiing resort in Siberia. It is a very sunny place with a season starting quite early which provides astonishing views of Baikal and the mountains from the top. It is also important that the climate is mild and the temperatures do not reach extreme -20-30 C degrees. Average day temperature during winter months does not drop below -10 C. If you prefer unprepared tracks as oppose to maintained hills of the ski resort and would like to be among the first people to open country's skiing season then a free-ride mecca Mamai mountain is just 50 kilometers away from Baikalsk. The fans of free-ride start gathering here in November to climb up the mountain to the height of 1500 meters and slide down for the first time in a season on "pukhlyak" (snodrifts) and finish your day in a company of like-minded people or steam yourself up in banya by a small fresh stream. To succeed you will need to bring your skitour-skis or snowshoes. Warm Lakes provide quite good opportunity for ice fishing. In Baikalsk itself you can go cross-country skiing on 3 and 5 kilometer long maintained tracks which belong to the local school or visit banya accompanied by a jump to an ice-hole. During windy weather you can enjoy beautiful view of the mountains when snowkiting on the frozen surface of the lake. You can discover more ideas for winter activities which can be found in the region in WINTER ACTIVITIES section of our website.

We describe all options in detail because we tried it ourselves and fell in love with everything. We love what we do and offer our client individual tailored solutions. If there is anything that we cannot provide ourselves we recommend services from our partners who will help completing your preparation for the trip. Here you will always find something that will suit your particular needs and will exceed your expectations.

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