Two Days Trip to Olkhon (Ahl’-KHOHN) Island

We booked two days package tour from 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.

Siberia - road to Olkhon island
I saw many horses on both side of the highway

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.

Road Trip to Olkhon Island
The car we were traveling with to Olkhon Island, Russia

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.

Dztraveler-Road to Olkhon Island, Russia
The Restaurant along the highway was pretty much busy that day
Solyanka soup
Solyanka Soup for lunch at lunchtime during the Olkhon Island trip.
Chebureki with meat inside – lunch during the Olkhon Island trip

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.

Ekhe-Yordo (Big Hill)
A quick stop at the sacred Yordin mountain (Ekhe-Yordo) – Olkhon Island Trip

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.

Sacred hill next to the highway
Sacred hill next to the highway

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.

MRS Ferry Terminal to Oklhon Island
Arrive at MRS Ferry Terminal to Oklhon Island

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.

Ferry to go to Olkhon Island
Ferry to go to Olkhon Island

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.

Olkhon Islandd Ferry Terminal
Our ride is waiting for us at Olkhon 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.

Guesthouse where we were staying
The guesthouse where we were staying

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.

The guesthouse where we were staying
Country House Khuzhir, Olkhon Island, Russia

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.

Guest House Natalia
Guest House Natalia, Olkhon Island, Russia

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. 

Was this travel guide helpful for you?

If you’d like to help me continue making free guides, here is one way you can help:

  • Share This Guide – If you have a friend that would benefit from this guide, share it with them. Or post this guide on Facebook, Twitter or Google+

Your help would definitely help me making more free guides like this. Thank you in advance!

Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

Leave a Reply