The Ice Kingdom of Lake Baikal, February 2017

Lake Baikal (the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites) is located on the south of Eastern Siberia, Russia. It’s the Deepest and Oldest Lake on Earth. Besides, it’s the World’s Largest Reservoir of Fresh Water. The water is also unique since it’s clear as crystal! If you look through its transparent ice in winter, you’ll be able to see underwater creatures living dozens of meter below. This ancient lake is often regarded as a new forming ocean that will appear a few million years later. Lake Baikal is undoubtedly the most unique and best-known lake in the world!

It’s a special place charged with powerful energy that can be felt by everyone who comes to Lake Baikal.

In winter Lake Baikal turns into a fairy-tale-like place. Winds blow off scarce snow from its surface, and the frozen water stretches in every direction. Here and there you can see large ice mounds and blocks of a rather unusual shade of blue. There’re cracks spreading on the frozen lake and slightly raising the ice. The ice surface and the intricate pattern of cracks amaze with their beauty. Swashes frozen on stones, mountains and grottos create crystal-like banks and also draw tourists’ attention. Olkhon Island and the Small Sea of Baikal with its numerous islands are especially gorgeous in winter. That’s where we’re going to hold our photography workshop!

The winter in the area of Lake Baikal has its special features. The air is dry and it’s easier to endure the local frosts than winters in Moscow or Saint Petersburg.

 

We’ll stay on the famous Olkhon Island in the settlement of Khuzhir in rather comfortable conditions. Each day we’ll explore new interesting places of Lake Baikal. Its main symbol is Shamanka Rock located on the settlement outskirts a 10-minute walk away from our stay.

During the tour a well-known Russian photographer will give you advice on the best shooting techniques and photo editing methods. Amateur photographers will enjoy special workshops on mastering sophisticated photo equipment, building the right composition and using filters. If you’re a seasoned photographer, you’ll learn more about shooting panoramas, focus stacking and night photography.

What’s more, the places we’re going to visit are so picturesque that you’ll take stunning pictures with a camera and even a smartphone!

Our professional team includes a photographer, experienced guide, translator and drivers.

Tour milestones

  • Stay on famous Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal. You spend all the nights in comfortable hotel rooms
  • Try delicious meals from the Baikal Omul
  • Walk on the clear ice of Lake Baikal and visit the main site of Olkhon Island, which is Shamanka Rock
  • Make daily expeditions (mostly car tours) that last for several hours or the whole day. During these expeditions you enjoy the beauty of Lake Baikal and take pictures. We visit ice grottos at sunset and sundown to admire golden stalagmites and stalactites lit by the sun. We walk around large ice blocks of a peculiar shade of blue. We discover beautiful ice mounds on the lake banks and much more!

Details

1 Day: Transfer from Irkutsk to Olkhon Island into the settlement of Khuzhir. Accommodation: rooms with hot water and heating system. We stay there for 9 nights.

2-9 Days: Exploring Lake Baikal.

We make daily car expeditions around the lake or short walkabouts discovering the surroundings.

The hard-driving tour program includes the following sites:

  • Ice grottos of Kharantsy Island and Khoboy Cape
  • Large ice mounds on Khoboy Cape
  • The surroundings of the settlement of Khuzhir (Burkhan Cape, Shamanka Rock)
  • Ogoy Island and the Stupa of Enlightenment
  • Bubbles under the ice of the Khorin-Igri Bay
  • The settlement of Uzury (the north of Olkhon Island) and its surroundings filled with ice grottos and blocks
  • Ice mounds of Budun Cape
  • Steppe landscapes on the southern part of Olkhon Island and Tashkinei fold
  • Zuun-Khagun Island with ice so transparent that the bottom of Lake Baikal is clearly seen.

10 Day: Transfer from Olkhon Island to Irkutsk. Hotel accommodation in Irkutsk. That’s the end of our journey.

11 Day: Departure from Irkutsk.

Tour: February 4 — 14, 2017 SOLD OUT

 

Tour: February 15 — 25, 2017 SOLD OUT

Pricing

Total price:         USD per person twin share

Single supplement: +     USD

Maximum Number of Participants: 10

Difficulty: easy

Deposit:     USD per person

Included

Everything listed in the tour program together with comfortable double rooms is included in the final price. It means that you won’t make any additional payments after leaving Irkutsk and till you come back to the city.

  • double accommodation with all conveniences on Olkhon Island
  • double accommodation with all conveniences in Irkutsk on the return from Olkhon Island, i.e. one night after the end of our journey to Lake Baikal
  • transfer from the airport of Irkutsk to Olkhon Island
  • transfer from Olkhon Island to a hotel in Irkutsk
  • car & driver services for far-reaching expeditions
  • three meals a day (FB). If you’re vegetarian, let us know beforehand and we’ll prepare the menu without any meat
  • photographer guidance
  • guide services
  • translator services (English/Russian)

Non-included

  • flight tickets. It’s better to come to Irkutsk in the morning of Day 1. If it’s impossible due to some reasons, we recommend to come to Irkutsk on Day before. In the latter case you’ll need to book a room for one night from Day before to Day 1. However, if you come to Irkutsk on Day before, you certainly won’t face any problems connected with delayed flights. We’ll pick you from the chosen hotel. In case you need help in booking a room, we can find you a suitable hotel and send the link
  • hotel in Irkutsk – one night before setting off on a journey (in case your flight is on Day before)
  • meals in Irkutsk
  • alcohol
  • medical insurance and flight delay insurance
  • Russian visa (we’ll provide a visa support document, also known as a letter of invitation).

Travelling conditions

We’ll mostly travel by cars so you won’t have to carry your luggage. The only thing you’ll have to carry yourself is your photo equipment.

We’ll explore the surroundings of Lake Baikal on foot.

All the accommodations in Irkutsk and Olkhon Island have hot water.

The itinerary can be slightly changed due to weather conditions.

Make sure to buy travel insurance coverage.

We’d like to draw your attention to the fact that we bear no responsibility for changing weather conditions and delayed flights.

You’ll have the opportunity to take a hot shower throughout the whole journey.

Try taking enough spare batteries for your camera as they go dead much faster in winter. It’s better to bring no less than two or three batteries.

We’ll provide you with full board so you won’t have to worry about food. What’s more, you’ll manage to delicious meals from the Baikal Omul. If you’re vegetarian, let us know and we’ll make a special menu.

Mobile communications will be available in almost all points of the itinerary. Your safety is our first priority. In the beginning of the journey the guide will give you information on the safety rules that must be obeyed.

The technical grade of this tour is basic, and the journey will be suitable for everyone.

Tour leaders

Andrey Grachev

Being a Russian photographer, Andrey sees his mission as showing the world – both his fellow countrymen and foreigners – the true beauty of this largest country. He also wants to draw the public attention to the preserve its unique nature.
Andrey is a member of the Russian Geographical Society.
He made it to the shortlist of the photo contests “35AWARDS 2015” and “Wild Nature of Russia 2015” hosted by National Geographic Russia. One of his shot was included into Top 100 photos of 2015. Andrey became the winner of the photo contest “The Best Of Russia” with his landscape pictures in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He also took part in the photo festival “100 Wonders of the World 2014” and was awarded in the category “Animalistic” in the course of the contest “At the Heart of the Image” hosted by Nikon.

Michael Popov

Traveler, photographer, rock-climber, shaman.

He started to travel 30 years ago. His main emphasis is on safety. From time to time Michael takes part in competitions.

Michael is a professional traveler. He usually has plans for 2-3 years ahead. The main attention Michael pays to Russia, which he considers the most beautiful country in the world.

Join the workshop today!

If you have any questions feel free to email us: aleksey@worldfor.me