Two Days Trip to Olkhon (Ahl’-KHOHN) Island
We booked two days package tour from GetYourGuide.com to Olkhon Island, the largest island in Lake Baikal, and one of the most popular destinations in Siberia. Our tour guide was driving her Mazda and picked us up at 8:00 am from Angara Hotel, Irkutsk where we were staying. It’s about 185 miles (298 km) from Irkutsk to Khuzhir the island’s main village with a population of 1500.
On The Road
The ride was comfortable, and the highway leading to the island was smooth so covered the distance as planned. It was interesting to watch Siberian villages along the highway and many cattle and horse farms on the horizon.
Lunch At Roadside Restaurant
We stopped at a roadside cafe for lunch. The place was packed so I didn’t have much opportunity to try out some of the interesting looking food, but I tried some delicious local Borscht Soup and Chebureki with meat inside.
Quick Stop At Ekhe-Yordo (Big Hill)
After lunch, we drove off the highway and followed the unpaved country road for a few miles to see the sacred Ekhe-Yordo (the big hill) where Indigenous people of Baikal celebrate the Yordyn Games during Spring Festival that takes place every four years. One of the main events at the games is a circular dance around the Ekhe-Yordo (Big Hill). During the festival, the sacred dance around the great hill continues day and night for several days.
It takes about 700 people to completely encircle the hill, and usually 2 to 3 thousand visitors usually participate in the festival. During the festival, only shamans are allowed to climb to the top of the hill.
Visit Secret Hill Along The Highway
We had another stop to see secret hill located right next to the highway, from the top we enjoyed the beautiful beautiful view of the surrounding landscape.
Arrive at Ferry Terminal (Also known as MRS)
Finally, we arrived at the ferry terminal, there was a long queue, could be a couple of hours wait to get on to the ferry due to seasonal summer high season crowd so, our tour guide planned to park our car at the terminal and just get on the ferry.
Taking The Ferry To Olkhon Island
We were lucky because there is no wait for pedestrians and it was free. This Ferry service between MRS (Sakhyurta) to Olkhon island only operates between May 15 to December 15. I was there in July and the weather was beautiful, it was hard to believe that the strait freezes during the wintertime, and people able to drive here on the ice-road.
Arrival At The Island
In about 15 minutes of cruising, we arrived at the Olkhon Island ferry terminal. This leg of the journey was pre-arranged by our tour guide, going to ride a Russian made UAZ (alternative to the American Jeep) for the first time. On the island, there is no asphalt road, so the bumpy trip took us about 25 – 30 minutes to get to Khuzhir Village, which was about 25 km from the ferry terminal.
Check-In At The Guest House
We arrived at our guesthouse located right in the middle of the village. It was an exciting 8-hour trip to another part of the world that surprised me every step of the way. At the guest house, we freshened up real quick and were ready again for our next adventure of the day.
Where To Stay in Olkhon Island
Holiday Park on Olkhon, Lesnaya 11/2, 666137 Khuzhir
Holiday Park is located in the center of Khuzhir with a beautiful view. Great stay with free WiFi, free private parking, private bathroom with shower, fridge, flat-screen TV, and more.
Country house Khuzhir, Байкальская улица 83, 666137 Khuzhir
Country House Khuzhir is centrally located. Great for hiking around the vicinity of the hostel. A BBQ grill and free private parking is also available.
Guest House Natalia, байкальская 4 п., 666137 Khuzhir
This beachfront guest house is located in the center of Khuzhir. Great place budget traveler. They have free WiFi, free parking, Shared bathroom, and complimentary breakfast.
My Opinion and Tips
Have you taken a road trip to Olkhon Island? Any additional tips to share?
Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge.
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