Jeep tour to Western Buryatia (Trip to “The Lost World”) – 9 days / 8 nights
The East Sayan Mountains are relatively young. This is a rocky mountain system covering vast territory from the Altay Mountains through the Republic of Tuva to Russian-Mongolian frontier and Lake Baikal. The heart of these lands - Oka valley, hidden in the center of Sayan Mountains, is separated from the nearest railway station with more than 400 km of taiga forest, swift rivers, high mountain passes. Thirty years ago the Oka valley was virtually untouched, so Russian geographers and geologists had to organize a charter biplane flights or a long horse trip to get there. But the fame of that outstandingly beautiful country with people and culture survived through centuries excited the adventure seekers. A dirt road, built about 15 years ago, opened the access to the region. Now the western part of Buryat Republic with the center in Orlick settlement (490 km from Irkutsk) is getting very popular among the Russian and foreign outdoor enthusiasts. Many natural attractions keep high interest to this magnificent land. Trekkers come to enjoy the uninhabited mountain valleys and extinct volcanoes, relax in thermal baths, climb the mountain cliffs, white-water fans appreciate tough rapids of Oka river combined with picturesque views and good fishing. Horseback riders, fishermen, bikers are developing new routes around Orlick.
This is a jeep tour near the Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake. You will first come to Arshan spa, situated at the foot of Sayans. Beautiful views, clean air, number of mineral springs made Arshan an interesting place to visit. Then the jeep drives up the Tunka to the vast Okinskoe Plateau, called a small Tibet, and further to Dab Khag, (1600m over the sea level). You’ll see the Oka, which starts from the lake as a tiny small spring and turns to a great river. Dab Khag is a small buryat farm, where a family of peasants and hunters live. Tourists receive “meet-and-greet” in the house according to the traditions of nomads. Next morning you will have a day horse trip to ancient volcano lava fields in the wide valley of Oka. The true hikers can also climb a mountain to observe the whole valley. Next day jeep takes you 15-20 km up the Oka River, where the dingey is pumped and a short rafting is started. On rafting tourists can enjoy beautiful views of Oka and Sayan Mountains from the water and try fishing for grayling, pull and other Siberian fish. In the evening, sauna is followed by traditional Buryat family dinner. One of the most impressive experiences is a touch to distinctive culture of Buryats, descendants of the great Genghis Khan.
-Arrival in Irkutsk
-Transfer to hotel/homestay
-Walking city tour
-Excursion to 1 museum.
-Driving to Southern part of the Lake Baikal
-Lunch at the coast
-Starting up the Tunka valley to Arshan resort
-Sightseeing around Arshan, including visit to Buddhist temple, natural thermal springs
-Overnight in family.
-Driving to Okinsky pass (1900m) and down the Oka to Orlick
-Overnight in Buryat family
DAYS FOUR - SIX
-Sightseeing around Orlick
-Horse back riding
-Fishing in Oka
-Meeting with native people
-Trekking (sea kayaking) or hydrofoil to settlement Listvyanka (25 km) situated on Lake Baikal shore at the outlet of the Angara river
-Overnight in tents/hostel
-First half of the trip to Irkutsk
-Overnight in tent or family (about 250 km from Irkutsk)