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Lake Baikal – Siberia Photo Tour

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Photo Tour on the Frozen Lake Baikal
“Big Ice Journey”


Itinerary for Lake Baikal-Siberia Photo Tour

Day 1 – Irkutsk
After your pick-up from airport or train station, you will have lunch and later on a guided excursion around the historical center of Irkutsk city. You will see several Orthodox churches with beautiful indoor paintings, the central city square decorated with fantastic sculptures made of transparent ice of Lake Baikal and the central food market, an original Siberian bazar. Also, you will be offered to visit local history museum where you may learn a many interesting things about aboriginal civilizations of Lake Baikal, Trans-Sib railway building and Siberia are settling history. Dinner will be served in one of the local traditional restaurants where you could try several tasty dishes of Russian cuisine.

Overnight: Hotel **** at the city center, Included meals: L – D.

Day 2 – Irkutsk- Buguldeika – MRS
Today we´ll drive through the snow-covered fields and mounts covered with Taiga woods towards to Lake Baikal. On our way to the little village Buguldeika hidden at the picturesque valley of the western shore of the Lake Baikal we will have a stopover at quarry, where the locals cut out cubes of snow-white marble stone. In Buguldeika we will get on the ice shield of frozen Lake Baikal and start our exciting ice driving journey. Today you will see several ice grottos and rocks covered with amazing ice structures and visit the famous ancient rock drawings on high gorgeous rocky cliff of Sagan Zaba bay.
Lunch will be served for you as the picnic on ice with a barbecue. This afternoon on our way you will see ancient stone build walls on the top of gorgeous Shibite Mount. Those walls remaining here from the late iron age and belong to the civilization of enigmatic Kurikan people, nomads who settled around Baikal in a past. Also you will definitely enjoy breathtaking panoramic view to the endless spaces of the frozen Lake Baikal and valley of Anga River opening from this summit. From here we will get inland to see main destinations of this area – sacred Mount Erd – place of the annual Nomadic games and valley of the Stone Spirits – tight group of unusually shaped rocks in the middle of steppe plateau.
In evening we will arrive to the settlement Sukhurte located right opposite to the southern extremity of Olkhon Island. We will get accommodated at the hotel with a nice opened view to snow covered mounts and Olkhon’s Gate straight.

Overnight: Hotel . Included meals: B-L-D.

Day 3 – MRS – Huzjir, Olkhon Island
Right after the breakfast at the hotel we will continue our ice driving trip. First we will drive across the Olkhon’s Gate straight and get close to island. First stop would be taken at one of the most spectacular local place – Horse Head Cape. This is long, deeply sticking out cape has overhanging rocky walls with ice grottos. From here we will enter a Small Sea – part of Lake Baikal framed by mountains of Baikal’s western shore and Olkhon Island. This area is famous for its small islands. We will take a special stopover at the picturesque island Ogoy, which has a Buddhist monument. We will walk to the top of the island to take close look tell on the monument and colorful pray flags decorating this area. Here your guide will tell you about Buddhism religion and suggest you to do a traditional circle walk around the monument.
Later on will discover fascinating ice caves and other islands of the Small Sea between the island Olkhon and the mainland. Upon arriving on Olkhon Island, you´ll see local port with many frozen ships and rocky Cape Burhan, which is still a sacred spot for all local Shamans. This cape has cave in it, with a help of the guide you could climb from one side of the cape to another. Finally we arrive to the main settlement of the island – Huzhir and get accommodated at the local hotel. This evening you will have an experience of Russian seam sauna – Banya! Dinner served at the hotel will complete this day.

Overnight: Hotel, wooden loge with a twin rooms, flashing toilet and shower facilities in a room. Included meals: B-L-D.

Day 4 – Huzjir, Olkhon Island – Cape Hoboy – Goryatchinsk
Along your ice drive route today you´ll see huge icicles, hanging like sharp teeth from the sailings of the rocky grottos of Harazy Island and several quite deep ice caves located at the bottom of the huge cliffs of Three Brother Cape. We will head to the most northern cape of Olkhon, locally called “Hoboy” (means fang tooth in translation) which is a most spectacular place of the whole Olkhon area. At this spot island ends by a high rocky cliff surrounded by endless ice fields with a plenty of ice cracks focusing to the bottom of the Hoboy cliff. Lunch will be prepared over a campfire, directly on the ice.
This afternoon we will take a jeep drive across Lake Baikal towards to its eastern coastline. On the way we will take a stop at the deepest spot (1682 m) of Lake Baikal located not far from Olkhon Island. From here you could clearly observe all northern part of the Olkhon Island including its heist summit – holy mount Izjimey.
Usually driving across Lake Baikal is quite challenging: we’ve got to face to the opened ice cracks, rough fields of pack ice, deep snow and many other obstacles. Drivers experienced in ice driving taking their own unique line following current ice conditions and intuition fillings. There are no practical ice roads at this remote part of Lake Baikal, so chances to meet someone’s tracks and other cars are minimal.
On the way across white arctic desert you´ll see snow covered amounts of peninsula Holy Nose, southern part of the rocky Barguzin Mountain range and whole Island Olknon. This evening we will arrive to the eastern cost of Lake Baikal in a region of Turka settlement and have a dinner in a road cafe with a good view. After dinner we’ll take a short drive along the road to Goryatchinsk village.

Overnight: Hotel ***, twin rooms, ensuite. Included meals: B-L-D.

Day 5 – Goryatchinsk – Ust-Barguzin – Holy Nose Peninsular – Chivirkuiskii gulf – fishing villages Monakhovo and Kurbulik.
Right after the breakfast in the hotel we will take a drive on the road up north along the cost of Lake Baikal to the mouth of Barguzin River, where is located settlement of Ust-Barguzin. Here we will get on the ice of the frozen river and drive on it to the Lake Baikal. Here you could see many local people ice fishing, their small fishing houses on the ice forming a whole village here. Meet some local fisherman while ice fishing. After that we will continue ice driving to the famous Chivirkuiskii gulf across the neck of the Holy Nose peninsular. Here we will explore open-air hot mineral springs of Snake Bay – you could get a swim in a hot water of the small pool in the middle of the frozen bay with a stunning view to the snow covered mountains around!
Lunch will be served as a picnic by the hot springs place. After lunch we will take a drive in a vast spaces of the Chivirkuiskii gulf exploring multiple islands, spectacular ice grottos and two old Russian fisherman villages – Kurbulik and Monakhovo – where locals still do the ice fishing in a old style with horse sleds and long fishing nets. This evening we will head back to the Goryatchnisk settlement along the main road, accommodation in a same hotel. Dinner and experience of Russian steam sauna will complete this day.

Overnight: Hotel ***, twin rooms, ensuite. Included meals: B-L-D.

Day 6 – Goryatchnisk – Ulan-Ude
Today morning you´ll have a guided walking excursion around Goryatchinsk village which is a good sample of Siberian genuine log architecture. Majority of the houses are done in a traditional log style with a plenty of the wood carving. Also, we will visit main local destination – open air hot springs and take a pleasant foot bath in a hot mineral creek!
After that we will load our luggage in a car and take a drive on a main road to the capital of Buryatia Region – Ulan Ude. On the way we will take a stop for lunch in a road café where you could try one of the local dishes – Posy – meat dumpling cooked on steam. After lunch we will continue our drive southwards through the wintry Taiga woods passing a mountain range. Just before Ulan-Ude city we will take a special stopover for visiting open-air ethno-geographic museum in Beresovka village. Here you can learn a lot about the culture of the Buryats, local ethnicity which descends from Mongolia, and live in the republic of Burjatia on the eastern shore of Lake Baikal. Also, there is a small zoo here where you could take a look on local animals – bears, wolfs, lynx, deer and many others. Afterwards you´ll cover the rest of the way to the capital of Buryatia – Ulan-Ude town. A city excursion in the afternoon and dinner at the restaurant will complete the day.

Overnight: Hotel **** At the central city square . Included meals: B-L-D

Day 7 – Visiting old Russian villages of old-believers.
This day will be dedicated to the trip to old Russian settlement Tarbagatay village where you could meet some native Russian people which kept a lot of old culture and religious Orthodox traditions from early 17 century. Sight seen tour around the Tarbagatay village and surroundings, meeting with local folk dance and sing group, lunch with dishes of traditional Siberian cuisine in a old log house. Coming back to Ulan-Ude town at the afternoon, free time for a city exploration on your own in the evening. Dinner will be served in a restaurant of traditional Buryat cuisine with a dishes of nomadic food.

Overnight: Hotel **** At the central city square . Included meals: B-L-D.

Day 8 – Ulan-Ude – Bolshoe Goloustnoe, crossing Lake Baikal back to the west coast.
This day we will leave Ulan-Ude city and take a driving excursion to the main Buddhist temple of this area – Ivolginsky Monastery, which is located in the middle of the steppe not far away from Ulan-Ude. Here you could see how local monks reading mantras and doing other sacred ceremonies in a main richly decorated temple hall.
Then we´ll drive along the Selenga River valley towards to Lake Baikal and in a while will arrive to the village Posolskoye, where the oldest church of the Russian Orthodox Convent stands. This place is also known as a one of the best fishing spots at the lake, so we have a good chances to meet there local fishermen on work to see local ice fishing technique. Today we’ve got to cross Lake Baikal in opposite direction, back to the western coast. Here, close to delta of Selenga River Lake has minimal width, just about 25 km in a direct line. This evening we are should to arrive to Goloustnoe settlement at the western cost of Lake Baikal. This place is famous as one of the oldest Russian settlements along the historical trading Silk &Tea route. This evening we will get accommodation in wooden logs of local hotel.

Overnight: Hotel. Included meals: B-L-D.

Day 9 – Along the west cost of Lake Baikal to the headwaters of Angara River.
Today we will continue our ice driving venture by driving southwards along the western shore to the headwaters of Angara River. On the way you could see several interesting local attractions – caves of the Kadilniy cape and rocky cliff Screeper . Special stop will be taken at the spectacular high cliff named Devil’s Bridge. Here you could take a walk along an interesting artificial trail which goes across the cliff wall. Other stopover will be taken at the village Bolshie Koty – Old Russian settlement settled here at the golden rush times.
After visiting this village we will continue our drive and in a short while arriving to Listvyanka – small town at the source of Angara River – the only river which flew out of the Lake Baikal. Lunch will be served in one of the local restaurants with dishes of the local fish cuisine – so you could have a taste of famous Omul fish.
This afternoon you will have an excursion to the Baikal Nature Museum where you could see Seals – “Nerpa” and nearly all local fishes species collected in a museum aquarium. After excursion you´ll take a drive back to Irkutsk along the main road. On the way you´ll stop at the open-air log architecture museum of Talzy. Here you could see a rich collection of the original log constructions typical for a Russian settler’s era of the Baikal area. Upon your arriving to Irkutsk city you´ll be accommodated at the hotel at the city center.

Day 10 – Departure to Moscow


February 27th – March 8th, 2017


10 Days / 9 nights

Photographic themes:

Landscape, seascape, people, nature, wildlife, icebergs, glaciers, whales

Olkhon Island
Cape Hoboy
Holy Nose Peninsular
Chivirkuiskii gulf
fishing villages Monakhovo and Kurbulik
Bolshoe Goloustnoe
Lake Baikal



3995 US$

per person in double room

Single supplement
  • Service of 2 English speaking guides-interpreters
  • All meals described into the tour itinerary
  • Accommodation according to the itinerary
  • All transfers included into the route plan by jeep car.
  • Fees for visiting national park zones and museums.
  • Rent of winter outfit (clothing details, insulated shoes etc)
  • 2 Professional photographer guidance

not included:

  • International flights to/from Irkutusk
  • Optional tours
  • Drinks/sodas
  • Tips and Travel Insurance

How physical is this workshop/tour?

Rating for Lake Baikal:

We will drive to a lot of the places, there are only one or two short hikes involved. For a safe walk on the ice without slipping and falling, we recommend to bring chains for your shoes, such as Yaktrax Walk+.

easy (mostly in and around the classroom)
light (some walks, mostly easy terrain, no flip-flops please)
moderate (includes usually optional walks over mixed terrain, suitable shoes and clothing required if not mentioned otherwise)
heavy (includes trekking, hiking boots, altitude under about 10,000 ft)
very heavy (think trekking at altitude, Himalayan tours)

If you have questions about details, please don’t hesitate to contact me any time via email at
or just call me

Getting there:

You will organise your own travel to and from Irkutsk (and optionally Moscow, if you participate in the extention).

Getting to Irkutsk is straight-forward and usually includes a lay-over in Moscow. If you come on the Moscow extension, we will give you clear recommendation which flights on S7 airlines to book, so the entire group can travel to Irkutsk from Moscow and back together, making this a simple exercise.


Photography Instructors

Chris Marquardt

Chris Marquardt

He is a photographic mythbuster and the host of Tips from the Top Floor, the world’s longest running photography show. He has taught photography all over the world. Chris is also a regular guest on the TWiT Network.

Visit his websites:

Chris Marquardt
Discover the Top Floor


Tim Vollmer

Tim has devoted his life to photography, which has been his long held hobby and great passion. Tim has always felt himself drawn to the power and beauty he finds in nature. Tim has been leading photo tours and workshops in Iceland and in many different countries over the years. He has had the world as his workplace. Photographing everything from the dramatic landscape in Iceland, to the native people in the remote corners of the world and the culture that are unique to each country. His journeys have taken him around the world in pursuit of memorable travel experiences and the creation of compelling images. His work has been featured in international publications. His images and stories are shared on various internet outlets. As a driven artist, professional, entrepreneur and an adventurer, Tim is eager to share his passion, knowledge in photography and travel through the tours he designed on his own, or through his partnership with professional photographers from around the globe. Tim and his family currently lived 11 years in Iceland. Now they are based in Czech Republic.
Phone: (00420) 732203764

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Siberia Photo Tour on a Frozen Lake Baikal
Tim Vollmer,Lake Baikal,Siberia/Russia
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Lake Baikal – Siberia Photo Tour 29. July 2015